By Isidore Abah
The United Nations High Commission For Refugees, UNHCR, and the Nigerian Government have raised an alarm on the upsurge of Anglophone Cameroonians scampering into Nigeria as refugees.
Going by the statistics of UNHCR and the Nigerian Government, over 15,000 West Cameroonians fleeing military crackdown on separatists in the Northwest and Southwest Regions of Cameroon have sought refuge across various States in Nigeria.
Speaking to the press on Thursday, January 11, in Abuja, the representative of the High Commissioner of UNHCR to Nigeria, Antonio Jose Canhandula, said over 8,000 Anglophone refugees are currently registered in the South-eastern part of Cross River State.
On his part, the Head of Nigeria’s National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons, Sadiya Umar Farouq, asserted that more than 6,700 Southern Cameroonian Refugees are camping in Benue State.
While, the Deputy Controller General of the Nigeria Immigration Service, Tamuno Dienye Jaja, confirmed that some 350 Anglophone Refugees are pitching their refugee tents in Taraba and Akwa Ibom States.
Jaja, however, wept that the contingent of Anglophone Refugees are mostly made up of women and children with no men to cater for them.
Taking the floor, Canhandula enthused: “certainly there are more … others who are not registered have left us guessing … they are still coming and they are doing so daily because it is a crisis situation. So, more food assistance, education and social services are needed, particularly as a number of women are pregnant at a young age…”
Meanwhile, the Head of Nigeria’s National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons pledged the support of the Nigerian Government to the Anglophone Refugees.
“We are going to do all that we can to bring some kind of relief to the refugees.”
It would be recalled that English-speaking Cameroonians started fleeing into Nigeria when President Paul Biya, late last year, declared war on those he termed “terrorists and secessionists”.
He reiterated his stand to crush all those stoking the embers of upheavals in the two English-speaking Regions of Cameroon to the visiting Commonwealth Secretary General, Patricia Scotland.