UNHCR Nigeria: Cameroonian Asylum Seekers

As the crisis in Cameroon’s South-West and North-West Anglophone regions continues, and the government in Yaoundé intensifies its actions against the pro-independent movement, the number of people crossing the border into neighbouring Nigeria is increasing. Critics have accused government forces of killing dozens of civilians, while the administration is also alleging that suspected separatists have killed more than 10 security personnel since the crisis intensified following the unilateral declaration of independence on October 1, 2017. Prior to this, there were protests in 2016 with English-speaking Cameroon calling for more autonomy from the majority French speaking regions. The protesters had accused the government of imposing the French language in schools and courts; and also subjecting them to economic marginalisation including in allocation of resources.

More Cameroonians are arriving through Cross River, Taraba and Benue States in South-South and Middle-Belt Nigeria. Those crossing over continue to use informal entry points because official borders between Cameroon and Nigeria remain closed in the above-mentioned states. The receiving communities largely are Amana, Akamkpa, Agbokim, Ikom/Ajasso and Boki in Cross River State and Abande and Imande Agabtse in Benue State. The asylum seekers are mainly coming from Akwaya, Otu, Eyumojock, Nsan, Dadi & Bodam in Cameroon’s South-West Anglophone region. UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, remains generally concerned that, as the crisis in Cameroon continues, and the government adopts extra security measures, more asylum seekers will arrive. UNHCR will scale up its registration activity to identify gaps in information necessary to better estimate needs and response planning for the asylum seekers.