Nigerian refugees who fled to Cameroon due to the Boko Haram insurgency has started returning to their homeland on Monday in a voluntary repatriation process, an official said.
Paul Nji, Cameroon’s Minister of Territorial Administration said this in Maroua, the chief town of Cameroon’s far north region just before take-off for Nigeria’s Borno state.
The first batch, consisting of 5,000 refugees who spent six years in Cameroon’s Minawao refugee camp, boarded buses as they began the journey.
“We have taken all the precautions and all the necessary measures for you to have a safe trip,” Nji said.
The journey was taking place in strict respect of anti-COVID 19 measures and an announced that Cameroon has provided a “special relief package” for the returnees as they start their new life.
“As a result of the insurgency, the bulk of the town has been destroyed but in the past year, serious rehabilitation efforts have been ongoing by the Borno state government.
“So we are now ready to receive the Cameroun returnees.
“They are going to live in new neighbourhoods,” Lawan Wakilbe, the Special Adviser to the Governor of Borno State said in Maroua on the eve of departure.
A little more than 57,000 Nigerians, mostly from Borno, have been taking refuge in the Minawao refugee camp, located in Mokolo, the Far North region of Cameroon, according to the United Nations.