Reps seek swift intervention in Nigeria-Cameroon refugee crisis over gold mining

Elizabeth AtimeOctober 17, 20233 min

Rep Ugbor said the discovery of precious minerals and the clashes between Cameroonian and Nigerian communities have worsened the security situation as well as the refugee crisis.

The House of Representatives has called for immediate intervention into the Nigeria-Cameroon refugee crisis, banditry, and environmental pollution arising from the discovery and mining of gold in Kwande Local Government Area of Benue State.

It also urged the National Security Adviser (NSA) and other Security Agencies to review the security situation within the region and the Nigerian-Cameroonian border areas in Benue and to implement urgent and proactive steps to curb further deterioration of the peace and security in the area.

The lawmakers also directed the National Commission for Refugees, Migrants, and Internally Displaced Persons to look into the Cameroonian refugee situation and the IDPs in the country with a view to either resettling them permanently within Nigeria or relocating them to their communities.

These resolutions followed the adoption of a motion under matters of urgent national importance moved by Rep. Terseer Ugbor (APC, Benue) at plenary on Tuesday.

Speaking to the motion, Ugbor noted that Kwande Local Government Area has suffered violent attacks in the wake of the farmers-herders clashes, which has left many indigenes either dead, badly injured, or displaced, and with no farmlands and a source of livelihood for over a decade.

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He also bemoaned recent clashes between neighboring communities, which according to him has also resulted in the deaths of over sixteen persons along the Ugbema -Jato Aka road within a few days.

Rep. Ugbor added that the situation has been made worse by the Cameroonian Anglophone crisis between the Cameroonian military and the Separatist Ambazonian fighters as it has spilled over and created a refugee crisis at the Nigerian-Cameroon border in Kwande Local Government.

The lawmaker, who further said the lingering insecurity situation in Benue State particularly, in Kwande Local Government Area has taken another dimension due to the discovery of Gold, Lithium, and other precious minerals, worried that if the situation is not swiftly addressed, Benue State will another hotspot for banditry.

According to him, “The influx of local and foreign illegal miners infiltrating the region has caused daily security unrest, environmental pollution, and possible food crisis as most able-bodied young men and women have abandoned their farmlands for mining sites.

“If this trend is left unchecked, Benue will become the next banditry hotspot just like the case of Zamfara State over the last several years due to illegal gold mining.

“The people of Kwande have cried out to the authorities for support and succor but little help seems to come their way as so many lives have been lost and business activities suspended leading to a massive drop in trade and Internal Generated Revenue (IGR) for the communities and Benue state.”

Further, Rep. Ugboh noted that the Nigerian-Cameroonian international border through Kwande Local Government of Benue State was approved with the potential to enhance trade between the neighboring countries and create massive economic activities.

He, however, lamented that the discovery of precious minerals and the clashes between Cameroonian and Nigerian communities have begun to escalate due to the rush to own these precious minerals, adding to the already volatile security situation in the area.

In adopting the motion, the House further urged the Nigerian Immigration and Nigerian Customs Service to establish an international border post and necessary infrastructure to enhance commerce and trade between the countries.

 

 

 

 

Elizabeth Atime

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