A representative of the over 200,000 Nigerians displaced by the Boko Haram insurgency called on the government to quicken the process for their return to their communities in Banki, Pulka and other towns so they could put back the pieces of their lives.
A video of the victims at Minawao Camp, Cameroon was shown at a news conference on Wednesday in Abuja by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees.
The footage was recorded when the agency visited the camp during its tripartite mission on the return of Nigerian refugees from Cameroon.
A woman, who addressed the UNHCR officials during the visit, complained that the FG had abandoned them to starve in northern Cameroon.
“We are hungry, we don’t get enough food to eat; Nigeria has forgotten us here, we wish to come back home even if they would not give us food. We prefer to be back on Nigerian soil without food,” she said in Hausa.
The UNHCR report said that over 200,000 Nigerian refugees in Cameroon could not return to their communities because the conditions were not conducive.
The UNHCR Representative to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Antonio Cahandula, who presented the findings, said the refugees were willing to come back, noting that they were not happy with their dependency on the UN agencies for their needs.
The agency, however, recommended that advocacy should continue to stop ad hoc return by the refugees.
“The refugees are not happy depending on humanitarian assistance, they want to come back. Nigeria should improve reception conditions in anticipation of returns by the refugees,” the UNHCR representative said.
The UN agency chief said there was a need to strengthen information exchange between Nigeria and Cameroon.
Cahandula stated that the World Food Programme was doing its best in prioritising Nigerian refugees over Central African Republic refugees whose food rations had been reduced by 50 per cent due to low budget.