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UNHCR empowers Bakassi IDPs

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Executive Director, Rhema Care Integrated Development Centre, Mrs. Kelechi Okoroji-Ejemson, presenting a cheque to one of the beneficiaries at the Bakassi IDPs camp

The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) has empowered 174 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Bakassi with N8.7 million.

The empowerment would ensure that the IDPs engage themselves in small-scale farming and businesses to improve their lot.

Rhema Care Integrated Development Centre, organisers of the programme, which is fully funded by the UNHCR in collaboration with the Cross River State Government, had distributed N50, 000 cheques each to 174 households of the IDPs at the Government Primary School, Akwa-Ikot-Eyo-Edem camp in Akpabuyo council area.

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The programme titled: “Livelihhod and Economic Empowerment of the Displaced Bakassi Returnees Household in Cross River State through Conditional Cash Vouchering (Transfer),” is aimed at making the IDPs self-reliant and gradually disengage from the camp to their permanent means of survival.

Executive Director, Rhema Care Integrated Development Centre, Mrs. Kelechi Okoroji-Ejemson, said the centre was established as a response to the challenges, created by poverty hence the empowerment of 174 people including 25 members of Akpabuyo Community and 149 of the IDPs who were displaced by the Cameroonian government for the conditional cash transfer.

“Our relationship with the Bakassi IDPs dates back to 2013 when we brought the National Commission for Refugees for a needs assessment. From then on, we have been interfacing with the people. We also take care of the host community because they have been faithful to the IDPs.

“This year, we are doing transfer for 174 people. Our dream for the Bakassi people is to see that we achieve durable solution. For us, we have put forward the issues if shelter, livelihood, education for the people.

“We thank the UNHCR and the Cross River State Government who through its agencies have supported this agenda. What we are doing is like lighting a candle to help us quench the darkness of poverty and fear. We beg all beneficiaries to maximize the use of this money,” she stated.

State Coordinator, Rhema Care, Lucky Ajuzie, charged the beneficiaries to use the money judiciously, saying even though it was non-refundable they should invest it wisely in farming and business to provide for their households.

Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of International Affairs, Gabriel Akpeke, who represented of the state government sued for cooperation among the IDPs in the project as government was concerned about their situation.

Leader of the Bakassi IDPs Camp, Etim Okon Ene, thanked the UNHCR and Rhema Care for the kind gesture, saying: “Rhema Care had trained us on various sources of livelihood such as hairdressing, soap making and livestock farming among others.

“With this fund, the people would able to go fully into livestock farming and other businesses. We will try to ensure that it is well invested so that our people can benefit.”


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