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UNHCR: Over 70,000 Cameroonian refugees in Nigeria — and they need help

UNHCR: Over 70,000 Cameroonian refugees in Nigeria — and they need help
December 06
15:27 2021

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) says the number of Cameroonian refugees in Nigeria has surpassed 70,000.

Chansa Kapaya, the UNHCR representative in Nigeria, made this known in a statement on Monday.

Kapaya said about 80 percent of the refugees are women and children who were displaced as a result of the conflict in the north-west and south-west regions of Cameroon.

She said more than 8,000 Cameroonian women, men and children have entered six Nigeria states in the last 12 months.


Kapaya listed the states as Akwa-Ibom, Benue, Enugu, Cross River, Taraba, and Anambra.

She called on the international community to intervene in the situation, adding that $97.7 million is needed to attend to their needs.

“The UN Refugee Agency is today reiterating its call to the international community for urgent additional support for refugees in Nigeria, where the number of refugees from Cameroon has now passed 70,000, nearly 80 per cent of whom are women and children,” the statement reads.


“This is not just a number, these are people behind these numbers, mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters, people just like you and I, that have been forced to flee their homes to seek safety and save their lives, 70,000 refugees are 70,000 daughters and sons.

“Their dreams and plans were disrupted by violence in the North-West and South-West regions of Cameroon where a conflict between secessionist non-state armed groups and the army is displacing people from their homes since 2017.

“Recent arrivals and UNHCR’s protection monitoring confirm killings, abductions, forced evictions and other forms of violence, with armed groups attacking schools and hospitals.

“Over 8,000 Cameroonian women, men and children have arrived in Nigeria’s Akwa Ibom, Anambra, Benue, Enugu, Cross River and Taraba States in the past 12 months, many in hard-to-reach rural areas.


“UNHCR, together with the National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and IDPs, registered them. 59 percent found refuge in local communities. The rest lives in four settlements which UNHCR helped build on land generously provided by the government.

“Nigeria has a progressive open-door approach to refugees, allowing refugee girls and boys to go to school just like nationals and their parents to work where they can. With support from UNHCR, Nigeria provides primary health care to refugees and nationals alike.

“UNHCR commends Nigeria because it is on its way to become a champion in implementing the global compact on refugee but Nigeria needs support.”

Kapaya added that the most pressing needs of Cameroonian refugees are food, shelter, improved health care and education as well as livelihood opportunities.



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