BY: Vitalis Ugoh, Calabar
Cross River state governor, Prof. Ben Ayade has called for more United Nations support for Cross River State where over sixty thousand Cameroonians are taking refuge from the war in the neighboring country.
He made the call at the open field of the governor’s Calabar while receiving a donation of vehicles and vaccine carriers from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, UNHCR office in Cross River.
Ayade said hosting the refugees was one big challenge the state has had to shoulder for the sake of humanity.
According to him, “when the Cameroonian conflict started and there was need for us to provide a location for the refugees, it was a big challenge because we knew that it comes with consequences, especially the sociological implication of having people who have been completely dislocated from their communities settle in squalor , raising children in such conditions and then becoming a source of challenge. However, humanity is humanity irrespective of colour, race or creed”.
He, however, expressed gratitude to the UNCHR for “recognising the fact that we took a great leap of faith by providing land to you to host over 62,000 refugees in Cross River state.
“We want to quickly mention that we also need your support in the food supply chain for the refugees. The population of refugees keeps growing. The children of yesterday are today’s adults and the recreation continues, and it also comes with the problem of food sufficiency”.
He disclosed that Cross River State has invested heavily on the food chain and appealed to the UNCHR to look the way of Cross River in sourcing for food for the refugees while expressing optimism that a time would come when they will return to their home country.
“Cross River state has invested heavily on the food chain. We have noodles, we have chicken, we have rice, we have vegetable oil etc.”
“So, the UNHCR, instead of sourcing food from outside Cross River should patronise our people. Cameroonians who have found themselves here, one day will find themselves back to their home country and enjoy the dignity of mankind once more”, the governor said”.
Responding, Tsefaye Bekele, Sub Head of UNHCR office in Ogoja, Northern Cross River, commended Ayade for the tremendous support Cross River has rendered the refugees.
“I’m very much honoured and privileged to present this token of Ambulance, vehicle and vaccine carriers to the Cross River state government for catering to the needs of the Cameroonian refugees in Ogoja.”
“These items are a token to express our appreciation and gratitude for the great support UNCHR has been getting from Cross River state government at all levels since the Cameroonian refugees arrived in the state”.
“Majority of the Cameroonian refugees are in Ogoja, that is why our main Office is in Ogoja. I am here with other UN agencies and we are all happy and we express our gratitude, Your Excellency and the entire government for making out time to receive these items, Bekele said”.