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Relief materials for refugees found in C’ River markets



FOOD and other relief items from the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNCHR) meant for Cameroonian refugees in Cross River State have reportedly found their ways in Ogoja, Calabar and other markets in Cross River.

  There are over 30,000 Cameroonian refugees who are in the Ogoja camps and other urban and rural centers in the state under the protection of (UNHCR) and Nigerian Government.

  Leaders of the refugees in Calabar, who spoke with newsmen recently, lamented that the last time they received relief items including foods was December, 2018.

  Mr Raymond Bands, a youth leader in the camp, said the (UNHCR) and Nigerian Government have been sending tons of food items to them, including bags of garri, rice, tubers of yam, gallons of groundnut oil, among others.

  Regretting that these were usually diverted by officials, he alleged that they have evidence of the foods being sold at the popular Watt and Mazian Markets in Calabar, as well as markets in Ogoja when there is a settlement for them.

  Bands said they attempted to hold a public demonstration in Calabar over the development but were persuaded by officials of Cusco Internationals who are agents to UNHCR in charge of distribution of foods and payment of stipends.

  They warned us against the demonstration, they said UNHCR was no longer giving them foods but have preferred that they should be trained to equip them with skills and that at the end of the training; we should be given start-up capital of N300,000 “the youth leader said”.

  He added “165 of us were selected. Later were pruned to 100, surprisingly at the end of training, few of us were giving only N130,000 each.

  The head of CUSO, a Canadian NGO in Calabar who gave his name as Mr. Jerry, said he was new but that he doubts the authenticity of such allegations.

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