Benue assures humanitarian affairs ministry of support

By Sunday Iduh

Benue State government has assured the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development (FMHADMSD) of sustained support in the management of refugees situations in the state.

Governor Samuel Ortom announced this Monday at the Benue Peoples House, Makurdi when the Chairman, Inter-Agency Technical Committee, set up by the FMHADMSD to conduct needs assessment on the possible humanitarian situations caused by the influx of refugees from Cameroon, Murdakai Titus of National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons (NCFRMI) paid him a courtesy call.

Governor Ortom, who welcomed the delegation to the state, especially for coming to see things for themselves lauded the support of the ministry of humanitarian affairs. He said, “we remained an endangered state as far as the issues of refugees and Internally  Displaced Persons are concerned in our country, Nigeria.

“We share boundary with Cameroon. The crisis in the Cameroon which has led to the Refugees crisis has remained a thing of concern.

“We have always sought ways to accommodate these refugees. We have taken it as a responsibility to provide minimum comfort for the people. From 2017, we have continued to witness influx of IDPs.”

He disclosed that over two million  people have been displaced as a result of killings by terrorists herdsmen which has become a regular occurrence in the state, while also noting that the current flood also affected the state.

Governor Ortom said the state needs assistance to be able to manage the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) situation and gave assurances that the government was ready to support the organization in whatever way that will ease the burden on the state.

Earlier, Titus thanked the governor for the cooperation he has  accorded to the team since their arrival and acknowledged his  kind disposition in receiving the asylum seekers/refugees in the state, as well as his commitment in providing enabling environment for their well-being and protection.

He said: “Federal Government of Nigeria is mindful of challenges and tensions always associated with hosting asylum seekers and refugees globally, especially in the immediate host communities and Nigeria’s experience is not different, particularly in Benue state.

“It is to this end that this multi-sectoral team is on this mission to your state to carry out needs assessment of the possible humanitarian situations caused by the influx of refugees from Cameroon into Nigeria through the national border corridors, including Benue State.

According to him, “the Team comprises of representatives of the FMHADMSD, Federal Ministry of Health, Office of the National Security Adviser, National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons (NCFMRI) and our United Nations Partner, United Nation High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR). It is hoped that relevant MDAs in the state will join the team too.”

Titus explained that the exercise will enable the Federal Government and its humanitarian partners in collaboration with state government to obtain first-hand information on the humanitarian situation created by the influx of asylum seekers from Cameroon with a view to provide possible solution through burden sharing mechanism.

“Another very important phase of our mission is to hold a stakeholders interactive meeting with relevant state government MDAs and non governmental organisations to sensitize them on the roadmap for the operationalization of the Global Compact on Refugees (GCR).

“The GCR is a framework design to promote predictability and enhance equitable responsibility-sharing, recognizing that a sustainable solution to refugee situation is better achieved with international cooperation. It constitutes a unique opportunity to transform the way the world responds to refugee situations, benefiting both refugees and the communities that host them.”

He noted that, in order to fully domesticate the blueprint, the Ministry and its agency – (NCFRMI), in collaboration with UNHCR, are conducting a nationwide advocacy sensitization with relevant stakeholders to drive the implementation phase.

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