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FG donates relief items to Nigerian refugees

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By Mercy Kelani

Inter-tribal conflicts, herdsmen & Tiv farmers, made Nigerians flee to Cameroon.

Recently, the Federal Government of Nigeria made a donation of relief materials, through the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), to about five million Nigerian refugees in Bakinjaw, Messanga Ekol and its environs sub-division, Manyu Division of Southwest Region of the Republic of Cameroon. In the first of April, 2022, the Chief of Bakinjaw, H.R.H Linus Ukpam Agwa, made a report to the Consulate-General of Nigeria in Southwest Cameroon about the inflow of more than seven thousand Nigerians who escapes inter-tribal conflicts between herdsmen and Tiv farmers in Benue State, Nigeria to Bakinjaw.

These displaced Nigerian refugees comprise of women — some pregnant or elderly — children and elderly men. They were welcomed on arrival by community leaders and while majority of them were permitted accommodation in village halls, market places and churches, others stayed with their relations in the communities. The massive number of the refugees overwhelmed host communities which resultantly calls for the need of relief materials and medications. Therefore, a request for relief materials was sent through the Consulate-General of Nigeria, Buea, on April 5, 2022.

Director-general of NEMA approved recommendations to provide relief items.

Ambassador Lawal Bappah, Consul-General of Nigeria to Northwest and Southwest Regions of Cameroon, led a team that affirmed the presence of 6,811 Nigerian refugees in the communities. This report was then sent by the Nigerian mission in Buea to relevant Nigerian Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDA), requesting provision of immediate relief materials for the Nigerian refugees in Bakinjaw, Messanga Ekol and environs. To verify this needs and provide solutions, the NEMA sent a two-man team for reassessment of the needs of the displaced Nigerians and the best route for delivering the relief materials.

Subsequently, Director-general of NEMA, Mustapha Habib Ahmed, endorsed the recommendations for provision of the relief items to the displaced Nigerians. Prior to the delivery, the Governor of the South West Region of Cameroon, H.E Bernard Okalia Bilai and the Divisional Officer in Akwaya were informed about the delivery of relief materials, by NEMA, to the refugees. This was done for provision of necessary security cover for the persons and authorities partaking in the delivery and distribution of these materials to victims.

Items were sent to Bakinjaw, alongside medications.

In April 2023, three-trailer loads of relief materials were dispatched by NEMA from its depot in Jos, Plateau State, Nigeria to Bakinjaw. The materials included food items such as bags of rice and beans, cartons of noodles, milk, sugar, salt; floor mats, clothes for men, women and children; and first aid and basic medications. The Consul-General, alongside relevant host authorities, organized a committee for distribution of the materials to affected refugees. The medications that came with the materials were sent to the medical centers for usage by both displaced Nigerians and their host communities.

According to provided documents, the relief materials consist of 2000 bags of rice (50kg), 600 tins of powder milk, 1000 bags of sugar, 2000 women’s clothing, 1000 pieces of nylon mats, 1000 pieces of plastic plates, 3000 pieces of plastic spoons, 3000 pieces of plastic cups, 1000 bags of beans (50kg), 592 cartons of milo, 1000 children clothes, 2000 men’s wears, 1000 bags of salt, 50 packs of oral rehydration salt, 20 packs of multivitamin tablets, 20 packs of Combatrin, 20 packs of glucose powder, 20 packs of paracetamol tablets, 20 packs of cough syrups for children and adults each, 20 packs of vitamin C and many others.

Republic of Cameroon and Nigeria were commended for the delivery success.

Consulate-General, Ambassador Bappah, commended the Federal Government of Nigeria for provision of the relief materials to the refugees and their host communities in Bakinjaw. He also expressed gratitude to the Governor of the Southwest Region of the Republic of Cameroon, His Excellency, Bernard Okalia, the Senior Divisional Officer (SDO) of Manyu Division, the Divisional Officer (DO) of Akwaya Sub-division and relevant communities leaders and traditional authorities for facilitation of the delivery and distribution of the materials to displaced Nigerians.

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