Cross River houses 36,000 Camerounian refugees, says Reps committee
The House of Representatives Committee on Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) and Refugees says no fewer than 36,000 Camerounian refugees are harboured in Cross River State.
According to its chairman, Mohammed Sani Zorro, who made the disclosure yesterday at an interactive session with officials of the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) in Abuja, no less than seven council areas had been flooded by the refugees. He named councils to include Boki, Obudu and Itu.
Zorro, whose motion on the issue was defeated on the floor of the House earlier this month, also claimed that the refugees had also flooded adjoining villages in Taraba and Benue states.
Listing their abode as “epicentre of suffering”, the lawmaker disclosed that over 70 per cent of the refugees were women and children forced to seek succour outside their nation due to the activities of the Camerounian gendarmes.
Zorro called on the relevant authorities to intervene by providing humanitarian services to the refugees in line with Section 36 of the Geneva Convention that prohibits the deportation of asylum seekers.
Expressing the fear that facilities like schools and hospitals could be over-stretched in the affected areas, he warned that the situation poses dire security and economic consequences to the country.
Promising that the bill seeking to establish a refugee commission would soon be passed into law, Zorro hinted that the Federal Ministry of Justice was perfecting the domestication of the Kampala Convention on Refugees.
An official of CISLAC, Mr. Austin Erameh, sought the support of the committee to address the menace.
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