Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River has called for a proper identification of refugees in the state.
Ayade made the call on Thursday during the commemoration of the World Refugee Day 2019 in Calabar.
The World Refugee Day is an international observance to raise awareness of the struggles refugees face around the world; the theme of the 2019 commemoration is #stepWithRefugees- Take a step on World Refugee Day.
The governor who was represented by the D.G. of the Cross River State Emergency Management Agency, Princwill Ayim, said the identification was to make it easier for refugees in the nation to go about their businesses without harassments by the security agencies.
He used the opportunity to call on well-meaning Nigerians and organisations to partner with the government in making life comfortable for the refugees.
He said: “A Non Governmental Organisation is coming to the state and would partner with the government to employ 300 refugees and give some amount to female refugees to start up small businesses.
“I urge you to obey the laws of the land and live peacefully with your host communities as the state government was working tirelessly to see that life is more comfortable for you.”
Similarly, the Senior Protection Officer for the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, Clarise Ntampaka, said Nigeria was hosting over 36,000 refugees in Akwa Ibom, Benue, Cross River, and Taraba, meanwhile 75 per cent of the total number of the refugees are in Cross River.
Ntampaka said local authorities and host communities in the state have been exemplary in their support to refugees in their communities.
She said: “World Refugee Day is an opportunity to appreciate the efforts of host communities and the Federal Government of Nigeria for assisting Cameroonian refugees.
“This spirit of participation of shared responsibility is enshrined in the UN Global Compact on Refugees and marks an era of international cooperation while providing a blue print for better responses in humanitarian emergency responses and development of the region.”
She urged everyone to reflect on the fact that millions of families are living far from their homes because of war or persecution and these families were like theirs.
She added that the UN could not do it alone but needed the support of everyone to ensure stability in the entire region.
Some of the Cameroonian refugees who spoke to the News Agency of Nigeria thanked the the government of Nigeria, None Governmental Organisations and individuals who have supported them in the state.
They however pleaded with the government to assist them with capital to start up small businesses and employment, so that they could cater for themselves and families.
According to UNHCR, an estimated 70 million people in the world are refugees or have been displaced by violence in their own country.