appeals for assistance and aid for victims

By Peter Duru

Makurdi…Benue state government has stated that over 6,000 Cameroonian refugees are currently being sheltered at Ikyogen Cattle Ranch in Kwande Local Government Area, LGA, of the state.

The Executive Secretary of the Benue State Emergency Management Agency, SEMA, Mr. Emmanuel Shior who made the disclosure yesterday said the refugees were initially sheltered in Abande and Agbatse communities of Kwande LGA in 2017 but later moved to Anyake community on the advice of the Ministry of Interior.

“We have been managing them there and their population keeps increasing because we keep receiving what we call walk-ins or new arrivals but at the moment we have about 6,000 Cameroonian refugees at Anyake settlement area.

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“But again following the concerns of the host community and other partners concerning the need of the refugees and to give them more space for farming and other things to assist their sources of the likelihood the Governor approved that they are relocated from Anyake community to Ikyogen Cattle Ranch.

“That land is owned by the government and it is vast enough to accommodate them and even more because the security challenge in southern Cameroon that compelled them to flee their country to Kwande is still there and they are moving in droves to Benue.

“So we want to have more space to accommodate them. Since 2017 till this time it has been an onerous task on the part of Benue state government given that the state government is also saddled with the challenge of IDPs situation.

“The financial burden is very huge, we have appealed to the federal government through the National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons for support. They have supported quite alright especially in the area of provision of food. They have also helped in the area of data but that support is not enough because the number keeps increasing.

“We are also appealing to the National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA,  to come in. Part of NEMA’s mandate is to also cater for refugees and not IDPs. There are promises that they will extend their support to the refugees’ situation also in Benue. We have continued to interface with UNHCR which is the leading supporter in the humanitarian crisis. We are also working with a host of other humanitarian agencies.

But the Benue State Emergency Management Agency needs more support in this regard, for the refugees as well as the IDPs situation More so that we are faced with the prospect of flooding which Nigerian Meteorological Agency, NIMET, predicted.

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