The Obong of Calabar, Edidem Ekpo Okon Abasi Otu V, has charged the Nigeria Immigration Service not to maltreat refugees coming into Cross River State from the troubled southern part of Cameroon.
No fewer than 10, 000 refugees are currently seeking asylum in various committees in Cross River State following the crisis in southern Cameroon.
The Obong of Calabar had, while receiving the new state Controller of NIS, Mr. Felix Uche, who led a delegation on a courtesy visit to the palace, said majority of the refugees from Cameroon were of Efik extraction.
He said there was a need to closely monitor activities around the Nigeria’s border with Cameroon in order to ensure that those seeking asylum in the country were treated with care.
The monarch said, “Our border with Cameroon has become something else and the very people that they are attacking are our won Efik people. We should all join hands to fight this injustice. Those in Cameroon that are running away are our people who are being victimised; we cannot turn our eyes away from that.
“Our sojourn as an Efik nation has taken us to different parts of Nigeria, including the Mambila Plateau and other areas. There is also the new Calabar in Brass and Bonny. I appeal to the Nigeria Immigration Service to treat the Cameroon refugees with care.”
The Obong had earlier commended the state’s Passport Office for effective service delivery to Nigerians, adding that he was impressed with the performance of the personnel in the unit when he recently went to renew his passport.
In his remarks, Uche said Cross River State had been in the news lately as a result of the influx of thousands of Cameroonian refugees who were fleeing the country.
The new state controller, who led a delegation of his management team on the visit, said it was incumbent on him to visit the Obong in order to seek the support of royal fathers.
He added that there had been some unpalatable field reports lately, but added that the NIS would continue to manage the situation.
“Cross River State has been in the news lately and it is largely due to what is happening in the southern part of Cameroon. Some of the reports we get are not palatable, but we are managing the situation. We have come to ask for the support of our royal fathers for us to serve you and serve you well.
“The state is one of the frontline states in the country. So, whatever is happening in Cameroon should not have a spill-over effect here. That is why we are taking
this measure to ensure that we are on track,” Uche said.