By Ndahi Marama, Maiduguri
Borno Governor, Professor Babagana Umara Zulum alongside officials of Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, has arrived Marwa in the republic of Cameroon, towards the voluntary repatriation of 9,800 Nigerians of Borno origin, who are among 46,000 Nigerians taking refuge in Minawao camp in Cameroon.
The 9,800 Nigerians constitute the first batch of citizens who have shown willingness to be evacuated to resettlement houses built by Borno Government in Bama and Banki towns.
Zulum arrived Cameroon on Tuesday evening and today, Wednesday, lead Nigerian delegation to a meeting on the tripartite (repatriation) agreement signed between Nigeria, Cameroon and the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, which is to hold in Marwa in far north Cameroon. Governor of Cameroon’s far north, Mijinyawa Bakare is to host the meeting.
Before travelling to Cameroon, Zulum has had series of meetings with Nigeria’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajiya Sadiya Farouq, the federal commission, National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons, Senator Basheer, and with relevant ambassadors with all meetings aimed at following all established procedures towards lawful repatriation.
Zulum is in Cameroon alongside the Perm Sec Fed Min of Humanitarian Affairs, Malam Bashir Nura Alkali and the ministry’s humanitarian director, Ali Grema, some officials from the National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and IDPs, the governor’s adviser on External and Liaison Services, Ambassador Adamu Abbas who is also a member of the Technical Working Group (TWG) established for the implementation of the tripartite repatriation agreement; a member of House of Representatives representing Bama, Ngala, Kala-Balge federal constituency of Borno State, Zainab Gimba, chairperson of Borno State Emergency Management Agency, commissioner for local government and emirate affairs, Sugun Mai Mele, special adviser on projects monitoring and evaluation, Engr Abba Wakilbe and the governor’s principal secretary, Bar Mustapha Busuguma.
Today’s meeting is in line with provisions of the tripartite agreement which has spelt out international best practices on humanitarian issues involving movements of persons between two or more countries as well as roles and limitations of all parties, and the protection of the rights of refugees who can only be repatriated at their own will.
Our correspondent reports that majority of refugees at the Minawao refugee camp, who are mostly from Borno State, have regularly appealed to Governor Babagana Umara Zulum to spearhead their repatriation to safe and rebuilt communities in Borno in order to return to a decent living.
In September 2019, Zulum during his trip to the camp promised citizens that he would in response to their appeal, work with stakeholders towards their successful reparation and dignified resettlement.