UN Worried Over Influx Of Cameroonians Into Nigeria As Refuges
The number of mouths to feed in some Nigerian states are increasing and the United Nations fears it will worsen.
More anglophone Cameroonians are fleeing a violent crackdown in their country and seeking asylum in Nigeria, the Office of the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), said on Wednesday.
While the increasing humanitarian crisis that the influx is causing worries UNHCR, it also expresses concerns over reports of further Cameroonian nationals’ arrests in Nigeria.
“UNHCR urges the Nigerian authorities to refrain from the forcible return of individuals who may have fled persecution in their country of origin.
“We also want respect to the principle of no forced returns,” spokesperson for the UNHCR, Ms Aikaterini Kitidi, said at the regular briefing in Geneva.
The UN refugee agency warned that without more funding and assistance, the fleeing Cameroonians’ situation and that of the Nigerian communities hosting them, would become even more desperate.
According to Kitidi, Anglophone Cameroonians began fleeing violence in October 2017 and continue to pour into Nigeria’s Cross River, Taraba, Benue and Akwa-Ibom states.
“In total, over 20,000 refugees have been registered in the area. Women and children account for four-fifths of the population.”
Recently, humanitarian groups assessed the situation and observed how grim the situation had become – with 95 per cent of the asylum seekers having only three days of food.
Most families are down to one meal per day and their coping strategies are risky – from borrowing money to cutting food portions or saving food only for children, she said.
According to her, most say they are having to drink water from streams, ponds and other unsafe sources, because of inadequate or dysfunctional drinking water facilities.
“Essential relief items, such as clothing, blankets and plastic sheeting, are available to fewer than 25 per cent of them,” Kitidi explained.
She disclosed that only five in every 100 Cameroonians had proper or independent shelter while the rest had little or no privacy, squatting in rooms with some 10 to 15 people.