From Judex Okoro, Calabar
The Cross River Government had decried the influx of over 150,000 Internally Displaced Persons (IPDs) and over 50,000 migrants from Cameroon residing in various parts of the communities across the state.
Speaking during a workshop on Children of Rural Africa- Nigeria (COR Africa) held at Transcorp Hotel, Calabar, the Cross River Director General DG, Migration and Control Agency, Prince Mike Abua, said it is high time federal government and the International Commission for Migrants, Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons conducted a comprehensive survey in the state so as to ascertained the number of migrants, refugees and persons who had been Internally displaced in the state.
Speaking on the topic Agro-business and Education Opportunities for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced, Abua said it would be easy for a database to be built to enable the government to have a full grasp of actual migrants and refugees figure in Cross River.
According to him, there are one hundred and fifty thousand Internally Displaced Persons as a result of civil unrest occasioned by inter-tribal/communal clashes for a mere parcel of land about fifty thousand displaced after Bakassi was handed over to the Cameroons and are still currently being held up in bad condition in Obanlikwu local government.
He added that the database would also help the government to plan ahead of time in terms of infrastructure and facilities that can provide succour to the refugees and the internally displaced.
“We have an influx of thousands of refugees because of the Civil War in Cameroon, it’s overwhelming. This is not something that the state governments alone can handle.
“We also call on the UNHCR to stand by us by improving upon the good works that they have been doing, and the IOM and other international organizations to provide some funding and intervention”. We call for an increase in terms of international funding to provide succour for these persons.”
Earlier, the National Programme Director, COR Africa- Nigeria, Dr Jimoh Odunayo, said the organisation, which had previously provided skill acquisition programmes /livelihood support for the refugees, embarked on the training of a thousand refugees to close the gap existing between the training that the refugees had received from implementing partners.
According to Jimoh, the essence of the training workshop is to look at the opportunities that are available for migrants, refugees and internally displaced persons in the area of agribusiness and educational opportunities.
“We also realised that due to the effect of COVID-19, which broke out in 2020, the gains recorded have been eroded so far on this. So we want to ensure that the refugees and internally displaced recover from losses incurred during the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The trainees at the workshop are expected to be empowered with starter packs after the training.