The Senate has summoned the Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan-Ali, to explain the alleged invasion of communities in Cross River State by Cameroonian military forces.
While calling on the Nigeria’s military authorities to increase military presence and intensify border patrol within the area “to prevent further acts of trespass by the Cameroonian soldiers” the House also went ahead to follow the adoption of a motion moved by Senator John Enoh (Cross River-Central), entitled, ‘Influx of Refugees from the Republic of Cameroon to Some Border Communities in Cross River State and Its Attendant Security Fallout.’
The motion had Senators Rose Oko (Cross River-North) and Gershom Bassey (Cross River-South) as co-sponsors.
Moving the motion, Enoh said on January 25, 2018, “more than 80 Cameroonian soldiers with various weapons crossed the international border of the Danare-Daddi/Danare-Bodom axis and abducted five natives.”
He said, “The Senate observes that this is a calculated assault and offence from the Cameroonian military on Nigeria and an outright defiance to Nigeria’s territorial sovereignty, not minding the consequences of crossing the international boundary to carry out intimidations and harassment on the already alarmed citizens of Danare, with warnings of further assault.
“The Senate is worried that the current situation being faced by both the refugees and host border communities, if not tackled urgently, may result in both an outbreak of epidemic and a serious humanitarian crisis and further escalate the already troubling security situation along these borders.”
Enoh also alleged that the current agitations for the independence of Southern Cameroon had caused influx of refugees into some border communities in Cross River State with “over 6,000” of the refugees currently squatting at the Obanliku, Boki, Etung and Ikom Local Government Areas of the state.
He recalled that as of December 16, 2017, the United Nations Human Rights Commission had biometrically registered 10,000 arrivals in remote areas of Cross River State and indicated that thousands more were awaiting registration.
Other prayers unanimously granted by the lawmakers included to call on the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyema, to “urgently liaise with his Cameroonian counterpart to secure the release of these innocent Nigerians.”
They also called on Nigeria and Cameroon to strengthen the capacity of Nigeria-Cameroon trans-border security committee aimed at addressing emerging trans-border security issues confronting the two countries.
The Senate further called on the United Nations High Commission for Refugees to intensify ongoing efforts aimed at protecting the Cameroonian refugees and assist in their voluntary repatriation, integration and resettlement.
The upper chamber of the National Assembly also urged all relevant agencies of government saddled with the responsibility of managing emergencies, including the National Emergency Management Agency, states’ emergency management agency to intensify their remedial efforts of providing relief materials to the refugees.