May 23, 2024

FG donates relief materials, fishing equipment to Bakassi returnees

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FG donates relief materials, fishing equipment to Bakassi returnees

Ini Billie, Uyo

The Federal Government has donated relief materials and fishing equipment to Bakassi returnees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Akwa Ibom State.

Speaking in Oron during the donation, the Federal Commissioner, National Commission for Refugees, Migrants, and Internally Displaced Persons (NCFRMI), Hajia Ismali Ahmed-Suleiman said President Muhammadu Buhari was concerned about the welfare of Nigerians, especially the vulnerable ones.

Suleiman who inaugurated the Oron field office of the commission and a utility vehicle for operations, commended the displaced persons for their orderly conduct and peaceful coexistence in the IDPs camp in Udung Okung, Oron Local Government Area. 

She assured them that her visit to the area would have a positive impact on the welfare of the refugees in the camp, and encouraged them not to be despaired by their current condition.

“President Buhari is very mindful of the welfare of the citizens, especially the vulnerable ones. I had to come and see things for myself, and I want to assure you that now I have come and have seen.

“I can tell you that as I get back to Abuja, the honourable minister will be briefed and positive things will happen here.

“I want to encourage you not to allow the conditions here to affect your dreams.  This present condition shouldn’t lower your spirit, know that tomorrow holds a lot and with determination; you can overcome the present challenges.

“I commend your orderly conduct and for being able to set a peace settlement mechanism without resorting to conflict,” he stated.

While speaking, Head of Office, Oron field, Mr Cajetan Iheanacho mentioned that the refugee location in the state is spread over 16 local government areas.

Iheanacho stated that since operations started in the area, nearly two years ago, the commission has carried out the identification, documentation and registration of refugees in the state.

He stated that the office has been working with other partners in the daily profiling of new arrivals in the state, and commended the efforts of other international partners and independent NGOs in partnering with the commission.

“The refugees’ location in Akwa Ibom state is spread over sixteen (16) Local Government Areas, but for administrative convenience, it is reduced to seven settlements.

“The NCFRMI Akwa Ibom field office in collaboration with UNHCR carried out a registration exercise of the refugees in the month of September 2021. At the end of the registration, we had a total number of 1670 registered refugees.

“In Oron alone, we have over 200 profiled new arrivals awaiting registration and in Nsit Ubium we discovered over 130 refugees and profiled them. So, far in the entire state, we have over 1500 new arrivals waiting for registration,” he stated.

While speaking, President, Akwa Ibom Bakassi Returnees and Internally Displaced Persons Cooperative Association (AKIBARCON), Obong Solomon Inyang and Secretary General, Dr Anthony Edem appealed to the federal government to implement the Green Tree agreement that was signed in 2006.

They lamented that the non-implementation of the agreement has adversely affected the economic and social well-being of the Bakassi returnees and internally displaced persons in Akwa Ibom state.

“Unplanned and unprepared return from Bakassi Penninsula in 2008. It was only in 2022 that we started to receive welfare packages and relief materials from the Federal Government of Nigeria,” the group said.

They decried the deplorable conditions of 75,000 voiceless Bakassi Returnees and Internally Displaced Persons in the State and urged government agencies to make relief materials available to them on a monthly basis. 

They described the visit of the federal commissioner and the flagging off of the fishing equipment as a milestone and lauded the FG for the relief materials.

The items donated include two engine boats, two wooden boats, assorted food items, blankets, mattresses, utensils and grinding machines.

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