Posted by News Express | 12 July 2019 | 6,202 times
A socio-cultural advocacy group, the Ethnic Youth Leaders for Peace in Nigeria (EYLPN), has given President Muhammadu Buhari a 21-day ultimatum to accede to their demands over the plight of Southern Cameroonian refugees or face legal action.
In a statement signed by its president, Comrade Edede Franklin, and National Secretary, Mallam Bashir Usman Michika, the group demanded that the President Buhari-led Federal Government should respect the Federal High Court ruling of March 01, 2019 which mandated it to return and compensate all those Southern Cameroonian refugees who were forcefully repatriated.
Other demands of the group include “that the Federal Government should assist in their return, guarantee their safety and protection until the ongoing genocidal war in Southern Cameroon comes to an end.
“The Federal Government should take active steps to end all police harassment of all innocent Southern Cameroonian refugees; unite efforts with all human rights bodies operating in Nigeria to speed up the documentation of all refugees which have largely been neglected by both parties and that it should make available essential health facilities and sustainable nutrition for refugees.”
The group observed that since the relationship between Nigerian and Cameroon have been mutually beneficial especially in the areas of trade and counter-terrorism, the Federal Government should get actively involved and play a major role in resolving the crisis in Cameroon which has now clearly affected Nigeria in many ways.
“The Ethnic Youth Leaders for Peace in Nigeria hereby call on President Buhari to heed to the above demands within 21 days, starting from today, July 8, 2019, or face our legal action.
“EYLPN uses this medium to call on the international community; namely the United Nations, the European Union, the African Union, the ECOWAS, American and British embassies, and all men of good conscience, to prevail on President Buhari’s government to respect court orders, the rule of law, and ensure that those refugees whose rights have been violated are compensated in line with the ruling of the Federal High Court,” the statement noted.
It noted that “since 2016, agitation by the English-speaking minority South for a sizeable autonomy has been met with brutal suppression by the ruling government of the French-speaking majority and this suppression has resulted in a bloody armed conflict with increased loss of innocent lives and property. Consequently, many English-speaking Cameroonians have been fleeing the atrocities and seeking refuge in neighbouring countries, including Nigeria.
“Unfortunately, the Buhari administration, instead of protecting refugees fleeing persecution, decided to collude with Paul Biya, the 86-year-old Cameroonian president who has ruled the country for 37 years and forcefully repatriated these refugees back to Cameroon.”
The group recalled that in December 2017, the Nigerian government raided a refugee community in Taraba state, and forcefully abducted and repatriated 37 refugees back to Cameroon. On January 5, 2018, the government also abducted 12 southern Cameroonians in a hotel in Abuja and forcefully repatriated them to Cameroon.
Also, in another separate incident, the government abducted 11 more in Calabar were sent back to Cameroon to face persecution despite the fact that these men and women were innocent, law-abiding and responsible citizens of Cameroon and who have been legally residing and working here in Nigeria for decades.
“President Buhari carried out all these forceful repatriations without any bilateral treaty to this effect, between the two countries. Interestingly too, on March 1st this year, a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja ruled that the Nigerian government violated the rights of these English speaking Cameroonians, and ordered that they be returned to Nigeria, apologized to, and compensated financially for the damages done to them.
“In this regard, the EYLPN poised to seeing peace in Africa, would like to apologise first of all, on behalf of the Nigerian people, to our Cameroonian brothers and sisters who are victims of this unjust, unfair and inhuman treatment by the Muhammadu Buhari Government and wishes to let them know that the actions of President Buhari are in no way a reflection of the hospitable nature, and milk of human kindness which are in the DNA of Nigerians.
“We also salute the effort and the advocacy being carried out by the Justice4NERA10 Campaign Movement which is also championing this same cause. We assure you that we stand by you in fighting injustice wherever it occurs,” the group declared in the statement.
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