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Refugee Camps, Sites Need Protection from Combatants, Fighters, Says NCFRMI Boss

Refugee Camps, Sites Need Protection from Combatants, Fighters, Says NCFRMI  Boss

The federal commissioner, National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons (NCFRMI), Hajiya Imaan Sulaiman-Ibrahim has stated that refugee camps and sites across Nigeria must be protected from combatants and fighters.

She made the remark during a two-day workshop on the Draft Standard Operating Procedure for the identification of combatants among Cameroonian refugees and asylum seekers in Calabar on Tuesday.

According to her, the mass influx of Cameroonian refugees, if not properly checked and coordinated, could cause easy infiltration of camps by combatants and fighters, thereby compromising the security ambience.

“As we are all aware, seeking Asylum is an inherently peaceful process with a civilian and humanitarian character. Military activity is incompatible with it, therefore persons who pursue such motives in a country of asylum cannot be regarded as asylum-seekers or refugees”, she stressed.

She added that “The political crisis in Cameroon has lingered unabated since 2016 and has occasioned reported gross human rights violations, wanton loss of lives and properties, especially, in the two Regions of North-West and South-West of Cameroon.

“One significant outcome of the conflict is that it has spiked emigration of Cameroonians to Nigeria as Refugees. About 73,000 refugees have registered in Nigeria as at June, 2021. Meanwhile, an average of 300 Cameroonian Refugees come into Nigeria every week”.

“Nigeria and Cameroon are two friendly neighbours and sovereign States of the African continent, who are bound by the African Union (AU) under the1969 OAU Convention Governing the Specific Aspects of Africa Refugees Problems”, she added.

She concluded that “We are committed to bearing each other’s burdens, supporting and accommodating one another, more so in challenging times such this. It is also pertinent to note however that paragraph 4 and 5 of the Preamble to the 1969 OAU Convention express the need for clear distinction between a refugee who seeks a peaceful and normal life and a person fleeing his country for the sole purpose of fomenting subversion from outside and the need to discourage the activities of such subversive elements.”

 

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