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SW Chiefs, Minister Want Fleeing Anglophones Brought Back Home 

By Maxcel Fokwen

Minister Atanga Nji poses with Southwest chiefs and administrators

Traditional rulers of the Southwest Region and Cameroon’s Minister of Territorial Administration, Paul Nji Atanga, have reportedly agreed on the creation of a commission to bring back home fleeing Anglophones from the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

The custodians of tradition and the MINAT head cogitated on the idea as they sat in a closed door conclave last March 28 in Buea during the Minister’s peace mission to the Region.

A source which opened up to The Post on condition of anonymity said, the creation of such a commission formed the high point of the Chiefs’ meeting with Minister Atanga Nji.

The same source explained that during deliberations, the suggestion for the creation of such a commission came from their peers of Manyu Division.

Our source furthered said after deliberations, the Southwest Chiefs and the Minister saluted the idea and opted for the commission to swing into action without delay.

The Post gathered that, if the idea gets the expected support, the commission whose members are yet to be made public would visit the Anglophone refugees in Nigeria this April.

Reports hold that a host of Manyu elite are expected to be part of the commission geared towards concretising Government’s measures to bring normalcy to the Northwest and Southwest Regions.

The proposal came in the wake of calls for traditional rulers, politicians and elite from across the Region to redouble their efforts in bringing peace and order to their communities.

In a press outing on March 20 at the UN headquarters in Geneva Switzerland, the Spokesperson of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, UNHCR, Aikaterini Kitidi indicated that the number of Anglophone refugees registered in Nigeria had reached 20,000.

The UNHCR holds that since October 2017, Anglophone refugees began fleeing violence into Nigeria and continue to pour into Nigeria’s Cross River, Benue and Taraba States.

Of this number registered, women and Children account for four-fifth of the refugees.
Reports hold that only five in every 100 of these Cameroonians have proper or independent shelter. The rest are squatting in rooms believed to host between 10 to 15 persons.

Three quarters of the children who fled into Nigeria do not have access to school either because their parents cannot afford to pay for books or uniforms.

“A political solution to the situation in Cameroon is urgently needed, so that Cameroonians can safely and voluntarily return home. Until then, UNHCR and its partners will continue their efforts to provide assistance and support to this population as long as we are able,”. UNCHR’s Kitidi declared in the March 20 outing.

John Inaku, Director General of Nigeria’s State Emergency Management Agency, SEMA, in a January 25 publication by Reuters news agency is quoted as putting the number of Anglophone Refugees then at 33,000.
Other agencies put the total number of Anglophones who have fled into Nigeria at almost three times the number UNCHR said it has registered.

Other Observations

Other observations made during the deliberation with Chiefs highlighted the fact that, some elite and politicians have done little or nothing to communicate Government measure to their communities.

Some Chiefs are reported to have indicated during the meeting that their elite and politicians are never in touch with their communities.

Besides, the traditional rulers are said to have been assured complete security as they return to their communities to pass across the message of peace to their subjects.

Among other resolutions reached during the meeting, the Chiefs requested the Government to fast track the decentralisation process.

The chiefs used the conclave to salute the recent appointments of sons and daughters of Anglophone extraction in the March 2, cabinet reshuffle.

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