Refugee Day: Abuja IDPs Decry Govt’s Neglect

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  • UNHCR appeals for $184m for Cameroonian refugees

Kuni Tyessi in Abuja

The Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Karshi settlement, under the Abuja Municipal Area Council, (AMAC) in the Federal Capital Territory have complained about government’s neglect and loud silence over their plight and living conditions.

Speaking through a representative who spoke in Hausa language, the IDPs said basic healthcare, schools for basic education and adequate food among others, were lacking at the Karshi camps as there has never been a government presence in terms of visits or distribution of relief materials.

The IDPs who spoke through a mother, Hadiza Mustapha, called the federal government’s attention towards alleviating their sufferings through the teaching of skills and various trades.

She made the revelation during the 2019 commemoration of the World Refugee Day at the ECOWAS headquarters in Abuja, and with the theme “#Step with refugees”.

According to her, ‘’I am speaking on behalf of the IDPs in Karshi, here at the seat of government. We are going through a lot after losing our homes and properties. There at Karshi, we have been forgotten as there no hospitals of any kind for us to go to when we or our children fall sick. There are no schools of any kind in which to send out children to in order for them to be educated.

“Ever since we started residing at the camp in Karshi, there has never been a single day that a government official visited us, not to talk if bringing us relief of any kind. We are please calling on the government for intervention and assistance as we can hardly help ourselves through trades in order to support our families. The sufferings and hardship we are going through is unquantifiable.

“We are also appealing to residents of Karshi to be patient with us. They have begun to send some of us away as a result of the rainy season. We need them to sympathise with us and we call on the government to intervene. And if this should continue, we shall have no home and nowhere to go to.”

Also, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has revealed that the sum of $184million (over N63 billion) is needed to cater for the needs of over 35,000 Cameroonians who have fled into Nigeria as their needs are beyond food and shelter which are immediate.

The UNHCH representative in Nigeria and ECOWAS, Mr. Antonio Jose Canhandula, who stated this at the event, said already, talks were ongoing with the governments of Nigeria and Cameroon as both countries play hosts to refugees from Nigeria and Cameroon.

He said with the framework in place, the refugees will be able to contribute meaningfully to the economy of host countries, adding that while humanitarian assistance is needed, it is important for society to note that humanitarian situation is owned by the entire society.

He said: “$184million has been requested for by UNHCR for the displaced Cameroonian refugees in Nigeria. 35,000 have crossed the border to Nigeria.