36,000 Cameroonian refugees in Cross River—Lawmaker
Rep. Sani Zoro, Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) and Refugees, on Friday in Abuja, said there were no fewer than 36,000 Cameroonian refugees in Cross River.
Zoro disclosed this during an interactive session with officials of the Civil Societies Legislative Advocacy Center (CISLAC) at the National Assembly Complex.
According to him, about seven councils in the state including Boki, Obudu and Itu have been flooded by the Cameroonian refugees.
Zoro whose motion on the need to protect the Camerronian refugees was defeated on the floor of the House in Jan. 16 claimed that the refugees also flooded adjoining villages in Taraba and Benue.
He described the areas harbouring the refugees as “epicenter of suffering”.
“Over 70 per cent of the refugees are women and children who had to seek refuge on the Nigerian side of the border due to the activities of Cameroonian gendarmes,’’ Zoro said.
The lawmaker urged the Federal Government to wade in by providing humanitarian services to the refugees in line with section 36 of the Geneva Convention that prohibits the deportation of asylum seekers.
He, however, expressed fear that facilities like schools and hospitals could be over stretched in the affected areas.
“The situation has a dire security and economic consequences on the country,’’ Zoro added.
The lawmaker promised that a Bill which aims at establishing a refugee commission would soon be passed into law to address the challenge.
“The Federal Ministry of Justice is putting finishing touches to ensure the domestication of the Kampala convention on refugees.
Representative of CISLAC, Mr Austin Erameh, while expressing concern over the plight of the Cameroonian refugees and IDPs in the country elicited the support of the Zoro led committee to redress the problem.