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Cross River govt alerts to rising IDPs, refugees

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Cross River State Government has raised the alarm over the high rate of about 200, 000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) and refugees in the state as it seeks Federal Government and international intervention on the issue.

Director-General of the state’s Migration and Control Agency, Mike Abua, who gave the figures, lamented the high influx of refugees, migrants and IDPs in the state, while presenting his paper in a workshop organised by Children of Rural Africa-Nigeria (COR Africa) in Calabar.

He said out of the total 200, 000 IDPs, about 50, 000 were refugees who migrated from Cameroon in a bid to take refuge in the state due to the civil war in their country.

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Worried by the figure, he charged the Federal Government and the International Commission for Migrants, Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons to conduct a comprehensive survey to ascertain the number of migrants, refugees and IDPs in the state.

Speaking on Agro-Business And Education Opportunities For Refugees, Migrants And Internally Displaced Persons, Abuo said with a survey, it would be easy to build a database to enable the government to have a full grasp of actual migrants and refugees figure in Cross River State.

He said it would also help the government to plan ahead of time in terms of infrastructure and facilities that could assist refugees and the IDPs.

Giving a breakdown of the number of migrants, who have infiltrated Cross River State due to its position on the border line, he said 100, 000 were IDPs, as a result of persons displaced from Bakassi following the loss of the area to Cameroon at the Internal Court of Justice (ICJ).

Abuo pointed out that most of them were currently being held in Obanlikwu Council of the state, while about 50, 000 IDPs resulted from communal clashes over land and another 50, 000 refugees that fled from the Cameroon civil war.

On his part, the National Programme Director, COR Africa-Nigeria, Dr. Jimoh Odunayo, stressed that the organisation, which had previously provided skill acquisition programmes and support for the refugees embarked on the training of over 1,000 refugees to close the gap between the training that the refugees had received from implementing partners.

UNHCR Head of Field Office, Calabar, Christopher Mubanga, said: “UNHCR estimates that 70.8 million people are refugees or have been displaced by violence in their countries and one out of 100 people in the world had fled their homes.

“Nigeria presently hosts over 57,000 Cameroonian refugees in Akwa Ibom, Benue, Cross River and Taraba states, while and Cross River alone hosts over 36,000 Cameroonian refugees.”

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