Tripartite Agreement: UNHCR,International Communities Express Concern Over Nigeria’s Commitment
The UN Refugee Agency ,UNHCR Representative to Nigeria and West Africa, Jose Antonio Canhandula,has called for more commitment on the part of Nigeria to the signed tripartite agreement for the voluntary repatriation of Nigerian refugees living in Cameroon.
The UNHCR Representative,made the call in Abuja,while briefing the diplomatic community on its findings during the trip to Minawao refugee camp in northern Cameroon,
The agreement signed in Yaounde, the Cameroonian capital between the governments of Nigeria, Cameroon and the United Nation Human Right Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) seeks to among others, ensure that:
- The government of Cameroon sees to the continuous protection of Nigerian refugees in Cameroon and to assist those who wish to voluntarily return to Nigeria, in accordance with International laws.
- – The parties avail volunteer returnees with security and economic information to guild their decision to return home.
The UNHCR will also continue to monitor conditions in the liberated areas to ensure that such operations are conducted in line with the tripartite agreement signed.
According to Canhandula, the refugees do not want to remain dependent on humanitarian gestures. So, return will continue mainly because Nigerian refugees do not appreciate the condition of dependence,
“Let us not fool ourselves, the situation in areas of return is not yet conducive for people to return and this is probably why the federal government is moving people away from Banki. ‘’We told them that the time is not ripe for return, that the tripartite agreement is for now, just a framework.”
“The UNHCR is increasing its advocacy with other humanitarian agencies to intervene in areas of expertise and coordinated response as provision of food for the returnees remains an urgent need.”he added.
Mr Canhandula also called for the support of humanitarian actors to assist the refugees and the displaced persons in order to regain their livelihood .
The Nigerian Ambassador to Cameroon Amb. Nuhu Iliya confirmed that Nigeria was doing all it could to ensure the voluntary return of all refugees to their homeland.
He said that the Nigerian government would put in place machineries to address the current situation and plights of the returnees.