-The Borno state government has been accused of fuelling the expulsion of 100,000 Nigerian refugees from Cameroon
- The refugees mainly affected were said to be women, children and persons that are infirm on account of old age, injury or poor health
- According to a human rights organisation, the Borno state government failed in its responsibility to its displaced citizens
A human rights organisation has blamed the Borno state government over the plight of no fewer than 100,000 refugees recently expelled from Cameroon.
The Save Humanity Advocacy Centre (SHAC), alleged that the Borno state government started the eviction of the refugees with larger proportion of the affected persons being women, children and persons that are infirm on account of old age, injury or poor health.
This comes as the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) said Cameroon is currently home to more than 370,000 refugees, including some 100,000 from Nigeria.
Stating that it has been tracking the plan by authorities in Cameroon to evict the refugees in the country, the executive director of SHAC, Thomas Ejugwu, during a press conference on Monday in Abuja, said Cameroonian government made the decision to sack the Nigerian refugees as pariahs because the Borno state failed in its responsibility to its displaced citizens.
Ejugwu said despite the state government collecting and pocketing huge allocation, there was no road to Rann, one of the communities housing the IDPs.
“SHAC is shocked that Cameroon could be contemplating this move knowing that the larger proportion of the affected persons are women, children and persons that are infirm on account of old age, injury or poor health," Ejugwu said.
He noted that the process of returning these families to Nigeria is fraught with risk since Boko Haram has been known to operate on the Cameroonian borders. He also said that this implies that these refuges could be attacked in their way back.
According to him, the development poses questions about Cameroonian government's commitment to a long term peace in the region since its tepid support for Nigeria’s quest to end Boko Haram’s reign of terror.
“The failure of the state government to properly manage relief efforts, including the chronic theft and diversion of relief materials by its officials, created hardship in the Internally Displaced Persons (IPDs) camps, which made taking flight across international borders more attractive to persons dislocated by Boko Haram activities," SHAC said.
"Even when the state became aware that its citizens are taking such desperate measures, it did little to reassure them and build their confidence to a level where they are willing to voluntarily return.
“Borno government has much to explain about this failure to provide support like inaccessibility of several towns and villages of the state through Nigeria, which makes it easier for indigenes of these communities to get to Cameroon faster than they can relocate to other parts of Borno state. There is no road to Rann and other places due to criminal neglect on the part of the state, even though Rann is a local government headquarters, it can only be accessed through Cameroon to access," Ejugwu added.
He further called investigation on the use of funds meant for the rehabilitation of facilities and infrastructure by the Borno state government.
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“The federal government of Nigeria has an onerous task on its hands. It can no longer continue to ignore the failure of the Borno state government to perform its constitutional duties. The time for indifference over how Borno state is run by Shettima and his aides is over.
"While the state governor presently enjoys immunity, his retinue of aides are not covered by the same immunity so the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) should be brought in to unravel what they did with funds that should have made the situation different," he said.
Meanwhile, Legit.ng previously reported that a fresh attack on Rann, the headquarters of Kala Balge local government area of Borno state by gunmen suspected to be Boko Haram terrorists allegedly led to the death of several people including some personnel of the Nigerian Army.
According to Doctors Without Borders (MSF), the attack which occurred on Tuesday, January 15, was carried out by fighters of the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP).
It was gathered that both civilians and soldiers allegedly lost their lives during the attack. This is the third attack on Rann since March last year.
The first attack killed three aid workers and saw three others kidnapped. Two of the three were later executed. The last attack happened in early December.
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