Chris Steven, Abuja
Despite a treaty with the Nigerian government and UN refugee agency, UNHCR, Cameroon’s army has forcibly deported at least 100,000 Nigerians who ran away from the North east due to insurgency by Boko Haram since early 2015 and subjected some to torture, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said on Wednesday.
The forced returns are a “flagrant breach” of international and Cameroonian law and fly in the face of pleas by the United Nations and other aid groups, said the report, drawn in part from interviews with former asylum seekers and refugees.
In a report by Reuters, the deportations, according to HRW violate international and Cameroonian law and constitute one of the world’s largest recent cases of illegal forced repatriation.
The report says such deportations could also have intensified one of the world’s largest humanitarian crises by sending people in dire need of aid back to northeast Nigeria.
But it says the Cameroon’s Minister of Communications declined to comment on HRW’s report.
Nigeria is struggling to cope with millions of people dependent on emergency relief for food, shelter and medicine, victims of an eight-year conflict in which at least 20,000 have been killed.
At least 10.7 million people are in need of assistance in the region, mainly in Nigeria but also in Chad, Niger and Cameroon, according to the United Nations.
“Cameroon’s army has been aggressively screening newly arriving Nigerians at the border, subjecting some to torture and other forms of abuse, and containing them in far-flung and under-serviced border villages,” the report said.
“This policy of blocking asylum seekers from accessing protection has made it easier for Cameroon to deport them,” it said, adding that the U.N. refugee agency (UNHCR) has been denied access.
A UNHCR spokesman in Abuja declined to comment, and the agency’s representative in Cameroon did not respond to an email seeking comment.
Cameroon signed a treaty in March with Nigeria and the UNHCR to ensure that all refugee returns are voluntary but the rights group said Cameroon’s violations had continued.
Cameroonian soldiers tortured, beat to death and sexually exploited some of them, said HRW.
“They humiliated us like animals and beat us like we were slaves,” one interviewee told the rights group. His brother died from the resulting internal bleeding, he said.
Some deportees, including children, were so malnourished or sick they did not survive their return to Nigeria, said HRW.
Kanu’s lawyers asks court to order Buratai to produce Kanu
Chris Steven, Abuja
Ifeanyi Ejiofor, counsel to Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB)says it has filed a suit before the Federal High Court in Abuja praying for an order directing Tukur Buratai, the Chief of Army Staff to produce Kanu in court.
Kanu has been declared missing by his team of lawyers.
Ejiofor disclosed this in a text message sent the Punch on Wednesday.
“We just filed an application for prerogative order of habeas corpus commanding the Chief of Army Staff to produce Nnamdi Kanu in court,” the text message read.
A draft copy of the motion which Ejiofor stated was filed on Wednesday stated that the Chief of Army Staff was in the best position to produce Kanu in court.
This, the suit stated, was because Kanu was last seen after soldiers, on September 14, invaded the IPOB leaders house in Afara-ukwu Ibeku, Umuahia Abia State, “on a murderous raid, where life and mortar bullets were fired on unarmed and defenseless populace, leaving 28 persons dead and abducting many.”
Police to begin `rigourous’ stop, search operation in FCT
The Police Command in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja said they would soon embark on rigorous stop-and-search operation to check the rising cases of car theft in the territory.
“The command is going to embark on vigorous stop-and-search operation along the highways of the FCT, as such, members of the public are hereby advised to always have proof of ownership of their cars in their possession to avoid embarrassment”, said Anjuguri Manzah, FCT Police Command Spokesperson.
“As a result of the seeming rise in cases of theft of motor vehicles within FCT, especially the ones that are easily removed from where they are parked, the command is poised to take necessary action to stem the tide of the menace.
Manzah, a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) advised car owners to install trackers, alarm and other anti-theft devices in their cars to avoid falling victims of the menace.
“Car owners should install trackers, alarm and other anti-theft devices in their cars, lock their cars with either pedal or steering lock.
The police spokesman also advised that cars should be parked at well-lit area, especially at night, adding that vehicles should be locked at all times, even while driving.
“When parked, keys should not be left in the car. All the windows and sunroof should be closed and valuables such as brief cases, hand bags, should not be kept in public view” .
He also advised car owners to learn to endeavour to memorise their vehicle numbers colour, and any other vital details that would aid identification of vehicles.
“Drivers should endeavour to leave their glass wind up and apply central door lock, especially when driving in areas poorly lit.
“As a driver when you are not comfortable with your passenger, drive to the nearest police stop-and-search point and lodge your complaint” ,he said.
He also urged the residents to cooperate with the police by adhering to the recommended tips to prevent rising cases of car thefts in the territory.