The Catholic Church in Nigeria says the continued influx of Cameroon refugees into Nigeria’s Cross River State was worsening the poverty situation in host communities.
According to Caritas Nigeria, a wing of the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria (CSN), poor communities were suffering from the burden of hosting fleeing Cameroonians.
Head of Caritas Nigeria, Rev. Fr Evaristus Bassey, in a press statement said the Anglophone crisis in south and northwest Cameroon was beyond the political and security parameters, posing a huge humanitarian condition.
They have been dependent on the generosity of their also impoverished host communities for food and clothing as most of them fled for their lives with only the clothes they had on.
“While Caritas Nigeria has carried out assessments in Cross River State where the refugees have the largest concentration, it is seeking for guidance on other areas where the refugees are located to make necessary assessments in the state.
“The assessment revealed that the Cameroonian refugees in Cross Rivers State were mostly based in the communities within Nigeria that are sharing borders with Cameroon.
“Most refugees lived within host communities with relatives or in abandoned government quarters or uncompleted buildings or any available open space.
“They have been dependent on the generosity of their also impoverished host communities for food and clothing as most of them fled for their lives with only the clothes they had on.”
The United Nations refugee body, UNHCR, has reported that persons fleeing the security situation in Cameroon were virtually entering Nigeria with little or nothing. They have been offering immediate relief as they continue efforts at registering them.
Back in Cameroon, the Ambazonia group continues its face – off with security forces. Over 20 security personnel – soldiers, police, gendarmes, have so far been killed. President Biya has declared war against the separatists seeking to breakaway from the French – majority Cameroon.
Calls for effective and sincere dialogue has been made severally. Biya hinted that he supported dialogue but no concrete efforts have materialized in that area. A known separatist leader, Julius Ayuk Tabe and over 40 others were recently deported from Nigeria to Yoaunde.