African Press Association

UN wary of renewed refugee crisis in Nigeria

From EMEKA OKONKWO in Abuja, Nigeria
ABUJA, (CAJ News) – THE United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees,Filippo Grandi, has expressed concern at the emergence of a new crisis northeast of Nigeria where thousands of refugees are returning from Cameroon.
The envoy is worried the refugees were returning into areas “dangerously unprepared to receive them” owing to severe overcrowding, inadequate water supplies and sanitation facilities, scant humanitarian aid supply and an outbreak of diseases.
The border town of Banki, where most returnees have settled, has been hosting some 45 000 internally displaced people.
A further 889 Nigerian refugees, most of them children, have arrived having travelled from Minawao camp in neighbouring Cameroon.
“It is my firm view that returns are not sustainable at this time,” Grandi said.
He said the new arrivals, amid reports more refugees wereseeking to return, put a strain on the few existing services.
“A new emergency, just as the rainy season is starting, has to be avoided at all costs.”
He recommended the Tripartite Commission, established by UN, Nigeria and Cameroon, hold its first meeting as soon as possible to outline the minimum conditions needed for returns and discuss how to address these spontaneous movements.
The movements from Cameroon in the east have been attributed to the liberation of areas previously occupied by the Boko Haram terror group.
Some 85 000 Nigerians fled the crisis to Cameroon.
CAJ News

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