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Press Statement by the Honourable Federal Commissioner on the Formal Handing Over of Care and Maintenance Items for Internally Displaced Persons in Rann Borno State held on Monday, the 4th of February, 2019

As we all know, persistent attacks that occurred since the 14th January, 2019 in Rann community has caused the displacement of over 35,000 persons. These persons on the run to safety were denied entry into Cameroon and stranded along the border as they could not go back to their communities for fear of renewed attacks. This has left us devastated. Hence, my visit to Borno State at this time is to attend to the immediate needs of these displaced persons.

  1. In line with the mandate of the Commission, which is to care and provide durable solutions to persons of concern, we have handed over care and maintenance items to Borno State Government for onward distribution to the affected persons. We are also following developments on ground to determine when a more durable solution will be provided, including the possibility of relocation and resettlement.
  2. In addition, we have contacted the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to take necessary actions and to remind the Government of Cameroon to live up to its commitment to the 1951 United Nations Convention on Refugees and its 1967 Protocol, which provides that “no contracting state shall expel or return a refugee in any manner whatsoever to the frontiers of territories where his or her life or freedom will be threatened on account of his or her race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion”. We urge the Cameroonian authorities to reconsider their decision and take necessary actions. Meanwhile, we have received close to 40,000 Cameroonian refugees in Nigeria since October 2017 and continued to provide relief, care and maintenance to these persons of concern without complain of whatever nature. They are presently located in Cross River, Benue, Akwa-Ibom and Taraba States, and the FCT. This is a clear demonstration of Nigeria’s commitment to international humanitarian obligations and in the spirit of good neighbourliness.
  3. It will also interest you to know that the Federal Government has given the go ahead, including funding for the Technical Working Group of the Tripartite Commission for the return of Nigerian refugees in Cameroon back to areas that have stabilized in Nigeria. This movement will be done in a safe and dignifying manner as clearly spelt out in the agreement with the Government of Cameroon and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and IDPs

4th February, 2019

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