The people of Bakassi rolled out the drums as the National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons distributed relief materials worth millions of naira to the families.
The camp, located in the southern Calabar area of Cross River State, holds more than three thousand five hundred displaced families, who expressed their excitement through cultural displays.
Even children recited poems in appreciation of Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari for taking pragmatic steps to cushion the hardship experienced by the people since they returned to Nigeria from the ceded peninsula.
One of the beneficiaries, a nursing mother, who gave birth at the camp, Nsa Umo thanked President Buhari for providing succour to them.
She said: “I am very happy about this gifts and I thank the President of Nigeria because he has done so much for the displaced people of Bakassi. I pray God bless him and his family.”
Another beneficiary, Israel Edet also said “I so much thank God for what President Buhari has done for me and my family. This is the first time any government will visit us directly. May God bless him.”
Similarly, the leader of the IDP camp, Etim Ene, commended the Federal Commissioner of the agency, Sadiya Umar Farouk for ensuring that the items reach those affected.
“The Commission and our President Buhari has shown that relief items can get to the IDPs directly. We now have confidence that this Commission will not allow politicians or even the State Government hijack the materials from the people,” said Ene.
The Federal Commissioner, National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons, Sadiya Umar Farouk, while flagged off the distribution of Care and Maintenance Materials in Bakassi Local Government Area, Cross River State, warned against any diversion.
Farouk, who personally supervised the distribution process, said “The Nigerian Government is determined to step up efforts of rehabilitation and reintegration of IDPs and returnees. Therefore, diversion of distributed items should not be condoned.”
According to her: “The items are distributed to provide respite, succour, hope, relief, assurance and demonstrate Government’s commitment to the plights of IDPs and returnees.”
She commended the Cross River State Government for its support and hospitality to the Commission, urging greater synergy and collaboration towards improving the living standard of IDPs.
In a reaction, the Cross River State Governor, Professor Ben Ayade described the visit of the Commission as timely and appropriate, noting that the government has made efforts to resettle the displaced Bakassi people.
“the visit of your Commission is most timely and appropriate as it will afford you the opportunity to see first-hand, our modest efforts in the resettlement of our Bakassi people,” said Ayade.
Ayade urged the security operatives to protect the nation’s territorial integrity by checking the influx of illegal aliens.
The Governor noted “The nature of our international borders is an issue that deserves attention to ensure we maintain our territorial integrity. I therefore urge our security agencies to be more proactive in stemming the influx of illegal aliens into Nigeria.”
Governor Ayade was represented at the distribution ceremony by the Secretary to the State Government, Tina Agbor.
Items distributed to the families included food and non-food such as starter packs for persons trained in vocations such tailoring and carpentry; educational materials for schools children; maternal and child care products to nursing mothers.
Other items such as pots, mats, buckets, mattresses, stoves, clothing, detergents, palm and groundnut oils, bags of rice, beans, garri as well as millet and maize were also given out to the IDPs.