The Federal Executive Council (FEC) Wednesday approved a memo by the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development for a standard operation procedure on maintaining the civilian and humanitarian character of asylum seekers in Cameroon.
This was disclosed by the Minister of Information and Culture, Mr Lai Mohammed, at the end of the weekly FEC meeting chaired by the President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja.
“You all know that due to the insurgency in Cameroon, Nigeria has witnessed an influx of Cameroonian asylum seekers and there are basic standard procedures for you to be granted status as an asylum seeker.
“This is what the council considered and approved today. And basically is that anybody from Cameroon who is seeking asylum in Nigeria must first convinced the authorities that he or she has actually renounced armed struggle, before you can even be considered as an asylum seeker.
“Also they are cases of some of them who have come even when they claim to have surrendered their arms, go back at times, to join the separatist movement in Cameroon. So, the procedure was explained and approved today that will evaluate the basic criteria to grant asylum,” he said.
He said with the security challenges in some parts of the country, government was taking the necessary steps to ensure that insurgents or terrorists do not take advantage of asylum to infiltrate Nigeria.
“The issue of the standard operating procedure for asylum seekers from Cameroon is not a matter that started today. The issue of the separatist movement in Cameroon is many years old and every day, because of the proximity of Cameroon to Nigeria, we’ve witnessed an influx of refugees, seeking asylum, and under international regulations, there are certain procedures you must take for asylum seekers.
“So, all we have done today is to establish the standard procedure to ensure that those who claim to be asylum seekers are actually not insurgents themselves that have come to destabilize Nigeria or people who will come and be launching attacks against their own country from the comfort of Nigeria,” he said.