The Federal Government of Nigeria has announced the repatriation of 322,000 Nigerian refugees currently living in Cameroon, Niger Republic and Chad. Sadiya Umar Farouq, Nigeria’s Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Friday received a draft Tripartite Agreement for their voluntary repatriation.
Nigeria is making moves to repatriate some 322,000 of its citizens most of whom fled to neighbouring Cameroon and two other African countries. In a statement Friday August 27 in Abuja, Nneka Anibeze, special assistant on media to the country’s Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Umar Farouq said the latter has received a draft Tripartite Agreement for their voluntary repatriation.
The draft was submitted to the Minister by the Technical Working Group on the repatriation of Nigerian Refugees in Cameroon. After its ratification, it would kick start preparations for the repatriation of the said refugees, NAN reports.
After receiving the draft Farouq noted that a total of 322,000 Nigerian refugees were currently living in neighbouring countries. “Out of the figures, the Republic of Niger currently hosts 186,957 refugees; the Republic of Cameroon has 118,409 while 16,634 refugees are in the Republic of Chad."
“With a large number of refugees in Niger, Chad and Cameroon, the federal government has officially initiated talks with the governments of Chad and Niger to sign tripartite agreements similar to the one we have with the Republic of Cameroon…” She said.
“I am happy to inform you that we already have a draft copy of the Tripartite Agreement for Voluntary Repatriation of Nigerian Refugees in Niger and Chad Republics,” Farouq added.
Also speaking was the Federal Commissioner at the National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons in Nigeria, Iman Suleiman-Ibrahim. She thanked the minister for the confidence reposed in her and sought the cooperation of all partners in efforts to ensuring the safe return of these refugees.
Earlier in March, over 2000 Nigerian refugees residing in Cameroon’s Far North region were voluntarily repatriated following a tripartite commission on voluntary repatriation, consisting of the UNHCR, Nigeria and Cameroon.
UNHCR had launched an information campaign to collect and confirm return intentions. All refugees who expressed the desire to return received information sessions on conditions in the areas of return, meanwhile, the Government of Cameroon ensured the vaccination of small ruminants, poultry, the transport of refugee luggage and the security of the convoy to Banki by elements of the Multinational Joint Force, sector N1 and finally the government of Nigeria provided transport buses, an ambulance and a fuel truck.