The federal government has condemned the reported deportation of 40,000 Nigerians living in Cameroon as victims of Boko Haram from Rann Local Government of Borno State.

The government said it appealed to Cameroonian authorities not to chase out the victims of Boko Haram from Rann living in their country.

The Commissioner, National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons (NCFRMI), Sadiya Farouq, stated this in a statement in Abuja on Tuesday.

She explained that the federal government made a passionate appeal for the refugees not to be chased out when Cameroonian authorities threatened to expel them from their country.

Farouq said the federal government, through the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs will take appropriate steps on the matter in due course.

The statement reads: “It is highly regrettable and sad to note that despite the passionate appeal made by the Nigerian Authorities to the Government of Cameroon not to chase out the victims of Boko Haram attacks from Rann Local Government of Borno State, this appeal has been ignored.

“Information reaching us is that the Cameroonian Government has thrown out the Displaced Persons from Rann who ran into Cameroun for safety in total disregard for the appeal and a clear breach of the United Nations Charter and Convention on the protection of Displaced Persons which both countries endorsed.

“The United Nations Convention on Refugees and its 167 Protocol states that: ‘no contracting state shall expel or return a refugee in any manner whatsoever to the frontiers of territories where his or her life or freedom will be threatened on account of his or her race, religion or nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion.

“You may recall that on January 14, 2019, persistent attacks in Rann compelled residents of the area to run into Cameroon territories for their safety, but from the onset, the Cameroon Government threatened to chase them out.

“The Nigerian Government had to remind its Cameroonian counterpart of its obligation to the displaced Nigerians, bearing in mind the UN Convention.

“Unfortunately, today Cameroon has made good its earlier threat by throwing the Nigerian Refugees back to the country in large number. In due course, the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs will take appropriate steps on the matter.”

She noted that Nigeria was currently hosting many Cameroonian refugees located at Cross River, Benue, Akwa-Ibom, Taraba States with some of them in the Federal Capital Territory Abuja since October 2017.

The commissioner said the government would continue to provide them with relief, care and maintenance items.

Farouq noted: “This was a clear demonstration of our commitment to international Conventions on humanitarian obligations and in the spirit of good neighbourliness.”

She stated the commission in line with its mandate would continue to provide care and maintenance to persons of concern including nationals of other countries without any form of discrimination.

“However, we demand that Nigerian citizens in foreign land must not be subjected to any shabby treatment under any circumstance.

“With every sense of commitment the Government of Nigeria is making every necessary arrangement to ensure a smooth return of its citizens that are in various Camps abroad in safety and dignity,” the statement added.

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