Akwa Ibom Bakkassi returnees get relief materials after 14 years in IDP camp

The Akwa Ibom Bakassi Returnees and Internally Displaced Persons Cooperative Association (AKIBARCON) said since their unplanned return from Bakassi Penninsula in 2008, the Federal Government just started sending them relief materials in 2022.

The President of the group, Obong Solomon Inyang, and the Secretary-General, Dr Anthony Edem, disclosed this on Monday in Oron during a flag off of distribution of fishing equipment and other relief materials to them by the federal government.

They, therefore, appealed to the Federal Government to implement the Green Tree Agreement that was signed in 2006, saying that its non-implementation has adversely affected the economic and social well-being of the Bakassi returnees and internally displaced persons in the state.

The group, while urging the FG to make the relief materials available on a monthly basis, decried the deplorable conditions of about, “75,000 voiceless Bakassi Returnees and Internally Displaced Persons in the state.”

Presenting the items on behalf of the presidency, the Federal Commissioner, National Commission For Refugees, Migrants, and Internally displaced persons (NCFRMI), Hajia Ismali Ahmed-Suleiman, assured that her visit to the area would have a positive impact on the welfare of the refugees in the camp.

She noted that the President was mindful about the welfare of Nigerians, especially the vulnerable members of the society even as she encouraged them not to lose hope because of their present condition.

“I commend your orderly conduct and for being able to set a peace settlement mechanism without resorting to conflict,” she added.

In his address, Mr Cajetan Iheanacho, head of office, Oron field, disclosed that, “the refugees location in Akwa Ibom State is spread over sixteen (16) Local Government Areas, but for administrative convenience, it is reduced to seven settlements”.

He said there are over 1500 new arrivals (returnees) awaiting registration in the state pointing out that in Oron and Nsit Ubium alone, they have profiled 200 and 130 refugees respectively.

“The NCFRMI Akwa Ibom field office in collaboration with UNHCR carried out registration exercise of the refugees in the month of September 2021. At the end of the registration, we had a total number of 1,670 registered refugees.

“In Oron alone, we have over 200 profiled new arrivals awaiting registration and in Nsit Ubium we discovered over 130 refugees and profiled them. So, far in the entire state we have over 1,500 new arrivals waiting registration,” he said.

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