The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has urged Nigerians to support, protect and care for the over 77,000 Cameroonian refugees in Nigeria.
Tesfaye Bekele, the head of the Ogoja sub-office of (UNHCR) in Cross River, appealed on Monday in Ogoja local government to commemorate the 2022 World Refugee Day.
“This year, UNHCR calls for greater support and protection of people forced to flee their homes, whoever they are, wherever they come from, and whenever they are forced to flee,” stated Mr Bekele. “People forced to flee should be welcomed and not discriminated against. To get out of harm’s way, they might take a plane, a boat, or travel on foot. What remains universal is the right to seek safety.”
Speaking on the 2022 theme of World Refugee Day, ‘Whoever, Wherever, Whenever, everyone has the right to seek safety’, Mr Bekele explained that the day should serve as a reminder to the government to do more to prevent and resolve conflict and crises.
Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River, represented by Princewill Ayim, the director-general of Cross River Emergency Management Agency, commended UNHCR for supporting the refugees.
Mr Ayade noted that there was a need for government at all levels to show concerted efforts towards resolving all conflicts that lead to crises.
“We have done everything necessary to ensure that the refugees live in peace with the host communities in all the settlements that are in Ogoja local government area with adequate security,” he noted.
Andy Ubon, a representative of the National Commission for Refugees office, assured Cameroonian refugees of their safety, protection and care in the county.
The UN estimated that 77,000 Cameroonian refugee men, women, and children are registered in Akwa Ibom, Anambra, Benue, Cross River, Enugu, and Taraba.