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Nigeria, Cameroon Launch Fresh Partnership To Repatriate Refugees Back To Borno State

Nigeria and Cameroon have launched fresh partnership for the repatriation of thousands of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) taking refuge in some parts of Minawawo Camp back to Borno State.

Governor of Far-North Region of Cameroon, Mr Midjiyawa Bakari, said on Tuesday in Maiduguri during a meeting to effect the execution of the new initiative during a meeting with his 19-member delegation including representatives of International Non-Governmental Organisations (INGOs) with Governor Babagana Zulum of Borno state.

Bakari, who is also the sitting Executive Secretary of the Forum of Governors of Member States of the Lake Chad Basin Commission, LCBC, explained that they were in Borno as part of bilateral cooperation to ensure restoration of peace and civil authority in some parts of the communities ravaged by insurgents in the region, which has left thousands of innocent civilians homeless, without means of livelihood in the past seven (7) years. 

“It is a singular honour and a privilege for me to take the floor this day in Maiduguri, capital of the Borno State, in my capacity as the Sitting Executive Secretary of the Forum of Governors of Member States of the Lake Chad Basin Commission, on the occasion of my working visit to member States of the said Commission.

“Let me first of all use this opportunity to express my gratitude to the Governor of Borno State, His Excellency, Professor Babagana Zulum and to the Nigerian people of Borno State for their warm and hilarious welcome that was given to me and my delegation since our arrival on Monday.

“I would also want to express my very profound gratitude and my recognition to His Excellencies Muhammadu Buhari and Paul Biya, Presidents of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Republic of Cameroon, respectively, for their magnanimity and very high sense of clairvoyance in authorising this working visit. 

“Their personal engagement in the fight against transborder insecurity in the Lake Chad Basin, attachment to the ideals of peace and durable development have remained major sacred challenges.

“Let me also use this opportunity to magnify the quality of relations which characterise the good neighbourliness between the Far North Region of Cameroon and the Federated State of Borno, sharing a common border, signifying the similitude of security challenges, economic growth and sustainable development, which led to the peaceful repatriation of about 5,000 refugees from Cameroun back to Banki community of Borno state last year.

“The main object of our working visit comes as a follow-up to the resolutions of the last Session of the Forum of Governors of Member States of the Lake Chad Basin Commission, which took place from the 4th to the 5th of October 2021, in Yaounde (Cameroon).  

“During this forum, I solemnly took the engagement to follow up in each member State, Region and Province of the Basin of Lake Chad, the putting in place of priority actions of our Territorial Actions Plans (TAPS), that were presented to our development partners, validated and sanctioned in the Final Communiqué.

“It is therefore an opportunity for me, as announced earlier, to see the reality of the realisations and acquaint myself with the realities in the field, the challenges encountered, so that together we can know our strengths and weaknesses. Recall that the region has faceda global menace, and there should be a global action and common strategies to combat it.

“It is not a secret to anyone here that the Far North Region of Cameroon, and the Federated State of Borno in the Federal Republic of Nigeria share certain common preoccupations, whether in the humanitarian, security or socio-economic domains. The present working visit will give us the occasion to present the Transborder Security Context and the Perspectives of the Synergy of operations.” Bakari stated.

He added that, the meeting will present the perspectives of ameliorating transborder cooperation in the management of ex-associates and ex-fighters of Boko Haram and the problematic of transitional justice and the procedure of the repatriation of ex-fighters of Boko Haram after executing their prison terms.

 Beside, Bakari said, “The challenges of autonomisation of the women, in view of their effective participation in the process of stabilisation; – The progress made in relation to Joint Transborder Territorial Action Plans and the perspectives of consolidation of acheivements; – The situation of Nigerian refugees in the Far North Region, internally displaced persons and the perspectives of repatriation would take the centre stage of discussions. 

“The mutualisation of our visions and approaches for sustainable solutions to our preoccupations, necessitates the present initiative whose final objective resides in the need for a synergy of actions, to mutually achieve beneficial results, notably the complete eradication of the nebulous Sect, Boko Haram.” He said.

Responding, Governor Zulum of Borno state, commended Bakari for the visit, and pledged that his administration will continue to give maximum support and cooperation to find a lasting and durable solution to the over decade crisis.

 Zulum said, since the displacement of people living in the shores of the lake Chad, Borno people taking refuge in Cameroun, Niger and Chad Republic are treated in good manner, and is very encouraging. 

“On behalf of the Government and people of Borno state, i commend His Excellency Mr. Bakari for the visit, and i assure you of my administration’s resolve to continue give maximum support and cooperation in order to find a lasting and durable solution to the over decade crisis.

“Since the displacement of thousands of innocent people living in the shores of the lake Chad, Borno people taking refuge in Cameroun, Niger and Chad Republic are treated in good manner, and is very encouraging. 

“Last year, when we repatriated our refugees back to Banki community in Bama local Government area, Camerounion Government through your good office as Governor and Far-North Region has assisted us with over 100 vehicles, with food and non-food items which helped in the stabilization and restoration of their means of livelihood. 

“The crisis in the region is enormous that requires enough resources to mitigate, and with the improved peace, we call on all and sundry to come to our aid in this trying moment.

“I am hopeful this Technical Review Meeting would usher a new course for strengthening our internal reintegration, enhance border security and reopen markets for sustainable development”. Zulum stated.

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