18,000 Southern Cameroons refugees undergo UN verification in Nigeria 0

The United Nations High Commission for Refugees, (UNHCR) has began verification of 18,000 Cameroonian refugees in Calabar, Cross River capital.

The refugees who are camped in different locations in Cross River were asked to come with their fact sheets and other relevant documents to be verified as registered refugees.

According to UNHCR, the verification is to improve its data on the economic capacities within the population, identify persons with specific needs and extremely vulnerable persons, It also targets them for life-saving interventions, including food assistance, non-food items and livelihood support.

Speaking to journalists on Wednesday in Calabar, Udama Stephen, a Psychiatric Nurse, working with Red Cross Society, noted that the refugees were in Calabar to renew their identity cards which were issued by UNHCR as a source of identification.

Stephen said that the data the organization had showed that about 18,000 refugees from Cameroon would partake in the exercise and as they brought their cards, they would be treated free of charge.

“What we do here is also basically primary healthcare, we deal with common sicknesses like malaria, typhoid, ulcer, cold, body pains and so on but if it is beyond primary level we refer them to a more complex health facility.

“Some of them are sick because they lack access to healthcare, some are physically challenged and majority of them don’t have jobs, so the duty of UNHCR is to take care of their basic needs which includes their health need.

“Others include their nutrition, financial support and empowerment for the less privilege, basically for Cameroonian refugees in Cross River,” he added.

Similarly, an official of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) who preferred to be anonymous, said the officers were present in the verification centre to provide security.

He also noted that they were also ensuring that people who partake in the exercise were truly Cameroonians.

On his part, one of the refugees, 35 year old Tamfu Theodoni, from North-West Cameroon narrated his ordeal and why he decided to flee to Nigeria.

“I was a University Campus Driver but had to flee to Nigeria after my cousin who was also a driver was shot in the head by Cameroonian soldiers.

“I fled to Nigeria to find succour, I pray for peace and unity between the francophone and anglophone Cameroonians,” he narrated.

By Engelis Okesack Besong