Persons living in Bakassi, a peninsula on the Gulf of Guinea, may become stateless soon, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)’s Representative to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Angele Dikongue-Atangana has warned.
While speaking with the media after the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Parliament of Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to jointly resolve all issues relating to Internal displacement and Statelessness in the West African sub-region in Abuja on Wednesday, she said the people living in the Bakassi area may not be able to prove a link with either Nigeria or Cameroon in the nearest future.
She noted that the issue of statelessness may not be ending in the sub-region and Nigeria specifically very soon, stressing that “it’s a very old problem.”
Dikongue-Atangana added that: “We have declared, since 2014, decade for combating statelessness which runs through 2024. We do hope that through our efforts and all the partnership we are signing across the continent and the world, we would come about some sort of end. Of course, we will like to see the end but it’s not something that will happen tomorrow.”
She said the Mou with ECOWAS will further collaboration between the two organisations in ensuring that the environment in the sub-region of West Africa is conducive for the refugees, asylum seekers, stateless persons, Internally Displaced persons and those who are at risk of statelessness.