Southern Cameroonians Protest In Abuja Over Nigerian Government’s Failure To Bring Back 49 Asylum-Seeking Refugees



According to a report by The PUNCH, some refugees from Southern Cameroon, a region regarded as an English speaking part of Cameroon, on Tuesday, staged a protest against the refusal of the Nigerian government to implement the judgment of Justice Anwuli Chikere of the Federal High Court in Abuja who ordered a reversal of the forced deportation of the 10 separatist leaders who had applied for asylum in Nigeria.

It was gathered that the judgment was secured through the help of a team of Nigerian lawyers led by popular human rights’ lawyer, Femi Falana, SAN.

The refugees made the demand during a protest rally held in Abuja to commemorate the four years’ anniversary of the arrest and extradition of their over 49 leaders and many others.

They were said to have been reportedly arrested by security agencies at the Nera Hotel in the Jabi area of Abuja and other cities in Nigeria.

The arrested persons included the Assistant Vice President of Marketing and Recruitment at the American University of Nigeria, Sisiku Ayuk Tabe; Assistant Professor of Computing and Director of the Office of Institutional Research and Effectiveness and Vice Chair of the Institutional Review Board of AUN, Dr Fidelis Ndeh-Che; Head of the Surgery Unit of the Veterinary Teaching Hospital, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Prof. Augustine Awasum and Associate Professor of Geology in ABU Zaria, Dr Henry Kimeng.

Others were; a senior lecturer in the Department of Economics, Yar’adua University, Dr Cornelius Kwanga; Associate Professor, Department of Civil Engineering, Bayero University, Kano, Dr Egbe Ogork; activist and leader of the Teachers Unions and the Federation of Parent Teachers Union, Wilfred Tassang; human rights lawyer, Shufai Berinyuy; human rights lawyer, Eyambe Elias; and civil society leader, Dr Nfor Ngalla Nfor.

Justice Chikere had held in her judgment that the forced deportation of the Cameroonians was illegal and unconstitutional.

She had stated that irrespective of whether they posed a threat to the Nigerian state or not, the Federal Government did not follow due process and thus violated both the Nigerian constitution and articles 32 and 33 of the UN Convention relating to the status of refugees.

She then also ruled that the government should pay compensation of N67.8million to the deportees while ordering their return to the country.

Meanwhile, the President of the Association of Southern Cameroon Refugees in Nigeria, Ernest Cho, while speaking with journalists, decried the non-implementation of the court judgment.

He said, “Let me use this opportunity to appeal to the Nigerian government to please respect the March 1, 2019, decision of a Federal High Court in Abuja and immediately return AUN Vice President, Sisiku Ayuk Tabe and his colleagues to their families and students.

“On this sombre anniversary, we demand that the Nigerian government implements the judgment. The decision of the court, if obeyed, could kick-start a national reconciliation process and help to resolve the raging conflict in the English-speaking regions of Cameroon.”

The Secretary of ASCRN, Eric Febsar, also called on human rights supporters worldwide to take action to demand the immediate rectification of what he described as “travesty of justice” in the case of the 10 Ambazonian leaders.

He said such redress would help to mitigate the brewing humanitarian crisis posed by the influx of asylum-seeking Ambazonians in Nigeria.

Presently, there are over 70,000 Cameroonian refugees registered with the UNCHR in Nigeria, and tens of thousands more are been pushed across the border in Cross River, Taraba, Benue, and Adamawa states by the raging conflict in the English-speaking regions,” he said.



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