CAMEROONIAN REFUGEES IN IKOM INSIST ON BURYING THEIR DEAD – SPHCDA DG

There seems to be a new twist of events at the Cameroonian refugee’s camp in Ikom Local Government area of Cross River State arising from the reported dead of eight persons from carbon monoxide poisoning recently as the victims’ families are demanding for their dead to bury.

Disclosing this to our reporter in Calabar, the Director General of the State Primary Health Care Development Agency Betta Edu said that the situation was quite unfortunate as the State Government was making efforts to ensure that the refugees were taken adequate care of.

She maintained that she doesn’t know why the families were making such demands to bury their dead since they were in displaced people’s camp and could not take the bodies to their home country because of the troubles there.

The Director General regretted that facilities at the camp have been stretched to its limits adding that “having ten refugees living in a community room along the border areas is against the state health care policy as this may portend greater health danger if urgent assistance was not given to the State by other foreign humanitarian agencies”. 

There are also other growing challenges arising from the continuous influx of Cameroonian refugees into Cross River State through its borders and statistics from the State Emergency Agency SEMA indicates that there may be well over thirty-four thousand of them. 

The Director General of SEMA Mr. John Inaku while reacting in an interview said that “so far, 34, 000 Cameroonians asylum seekers are spread across six local government areas in Cross River, about 21,000 of them have been documented by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees UNHCR and the National Commission for Refugees”

He maintained that the State government was doing its best in providing succor to the refugees but regretted that the growing number was becoming a burden for the State government alone to handle.

Already, the State government has in recent times continue to raise alarm over increase in insecurity. The Governor Senator Ben Ayade had expressed worries at the continued spate of security challenges being experienced in some parts of the State and has attributed it to the influx of fleeing refugees from neighboring Cameroun.

Speaking in Calabar on the rising level of insecurity, Governor Ayade said that he was uncomfortable with the situations especially at the IDP camps.

The Governor explained that according to security reports available to him, the camps have become breeding grounds for the recruitment of militants in the State.

According to him, “50 percent of what we are facing today is as a result of what is happening at our borders especially with Cameroon”. 

“The Southern Cameroonians guerrilla warfare; that is basically the AMBAZONIANS trying to secede from Cameroon has brought about a security burden on the State. The issue is beyond my purview and I am calling on the Federal Government and the United Nations through relevant agencies to come to our aid as we grapple with this massise situation”

Published in maiden edition, Lens Newspapers Vol. 1 No. 7.

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