By Joseph ETTA in Calabar
United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) Representative in Nigeria and ECOWAS, Antonio Canhandula, has said there are 33,000 Cameroonian refugees in Cross River.
Speaking during a courtesy visit to Cross State House of Assembly in Calabar, the UNHCR representative said Cross River had about 70 per cent of Cameroonian refugees in Nigeria.
He said: “As I speak, we have 46,000 refugees from Cameron currently in Nigeria.
Cross River has 33,000 out of this number and 70 per cent of refugees from Cameroon live in Cross River.”
He said that the UNHCR decided to move the refugee camps to Ogoja when it discovered that there was high concentration of refugees in the northern part of the state.
According to him, the UNHCR is seeking collaboration with relevant sectors, including Ministries of Health, Education and Women Affairs, to tackle some of the challenges facing the refugees. The UNHCR representative commended the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) for providing land for the refugees to farm and earn a living.
He said he was at the Assembly to seek partnership with the state legislature on the way forward. Canhandula thanked the state government for its support and solicited increased assistance.
Responding, the Speaker of Cross River House of Assembly, Mr Eteng Williams, thanked the UNHCR for the visit, adding that the House would partner with the UN body. “We are ready to partner with you. All you need to do is to always inform us of your plans,” he said. Daybreak learnt that leadership crises in the Republic of Cameroon had led to residents of Southern part of the country to flee to neighbouring Nigeria for safety.