No fewer than 5,000 Nigerians seeking refuge in Cameroon have been repatriated back to Borno State by the Cameroonian Government after series of consultations between both parties.
As stated, the refugees were handed over to the Borno State Government by Cameroonian officials, led by Minister for Territorial Administration, Paul Atanga Nji, on Wednesday.
It was gathered that the handover took place at a brief ceremony in Amchiide, a border community between Nigeria and Cameroon, close to Banki in the Bama Local Government Area of Borno central.
The handover ceremony was attended by top officials from Cameroon, including Governor of the Far North Region, Midjiyawa Bakary, and officials of United Nations High Commission for Refugees, UNHCR.
Handing over the refugees to the Borno State official Wednesday, Nji Paul announced that President Paul Biya had approved a relief package that included food items, mattresses, blankets, and other non-food items for distribution to all 5,000 returnees as support from the Cameroonian government.
Furthermore, the minister also commended Governor Babagana Zulum-led state government for constructing over 6,000 urban and low-cost resettlement houses sited in Banki, Gwoza, Kondugu, Kaga, and different other areas across the state where the repatriated refugees would be resettled.
Speaking during the ceremony, Zulum, on behalf of Nigeria, thanked the Cameroonian president, other officials and host communities, for taking good care of Nigerian refugees in the last six years.
“I wish to sincerely convey our deepest appreciation to the government of Cameroon under the distinguished leadership of President Paul Biya, for the enormous support to my fellow Nigerians who took refuge in the Minawao [refugee] camp. We remain eternally grateful,” Zulum said.
The repatriation was to implement the outcome of a tripartite commission meeting held in Marwa, Cameroon, in February which was attended by officials from Cameroon, the UNHCR, and a Nigerian delegation.
The returnees were part of thousands of Nigerians, mostly from Borno, who since 2014, fled in batches to Minawao camp located in Mokolo, far north region of Cameroon, to escape Boko Haram’s killings.