A whopping 97,000 Nigerians displaced by the 10-year-old Boko Haram insurgency campaign are currently taking refuge in Cameroon Republic, Director Refugees, Migrants and IDPs National Commission for Refugees, Mr. Lawal Mohammad Hamidu has disclosed.
Making the submission during a chat with newsmen when 133 Adamawa State refugees from Cameroon arrived Yola international airport, Hamidu said they started evacuating Adamawa indigenes because Adamawa State is the safest among the three frontline states afflicted by Boko Haram insurgency.
He said only refugees that personally and unconditionally volunteer to return are taken into cognisance as no one is forced to come back to Nigeria.
Hamidu said out of the 4,000 Adamawa indigenes taking refuge in Cameroon, only 133 agreed to return to Nigeria noting that such informed why only 133 persons were considered.
According to him the returnees will be hosted at a transit IDP camp at Mbamba in Yola south where they will stay for six weeks and further screened so that their local governments could be identified.
He maintained that a committee was in place to train them to acquire skills and entrepreneurship of their choice before they are empowered financially so as to be useful to society.
One of the returnees Mr. Yusuf Bala told our reporter at the Yola International airport that they were in Cameroon in the last six years after they were routed from their villages by the insurgents.
He appreciated the Nigerian government and other humanitarian workers for the renewed interests in them.
Yusuf noted that trauma, safety and security concerns were the major reasons why many of the refugees were skeptical of coming back to the country.
He said it is left for the government to go back to sensitize them and convinced them that normalcy has returned as Boko Haram have vacated those places once held.
Also commenting, UNHCR officer Miss Bina Emmanuel said the United Nations Agency was happy to welcome the women and children to their homes because there is nothing like home.
She said the UNHCR was particularly interested in the welfare of the children that is why it played a pivotal role to enable the refugees to return to Nigeria.