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47,000 Internally Displaced Persons In C’River

Edem Edem, Calabar

Even as some communities and states are battling to reduce the figures of Internally Displaced Persons (IDP’s) the situation in Cross River State is on the increase.

The figures have risen to 47, 000 and of this number, 38, 000 constitute those displaced by communal conflicts in the State. The Chief Executive Officer Rhema Care Integration Development Centre, Mr Eric Shu made this known at the advocacy meeting for stakeholders meeting organized in collaboration with the Cross River State Government funded by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) held in Calabar said the meeting was to explore approaches for facilitating reconstruction, reconciliation and re-integration of communities affected by conflicts in the state. “This project was conceptualised sometimes last year to support and strengthen local capacity that can be used to analyse the vulnerability of communities and then support those communities to be able to come up with action plans that are community-driven and that will also have stakeholders’ buy-in” Shu said.

He explained that this was necessary to build synergies and partnerships that would assist the affected conflict commission to move beyond stagnation caused by the conflicts.

Also speaking, the programme officer, UNHCR Nigeria, Dr Julius Mensah said the agency was established in 1957 with the aim of assisting internally displaced persons, asylum seekers and refugees. Mensah hinted that the situation of IDP’s in Nigeria is unique because of the high presence of IDP’s in the country, explaining that UNHCR in Nigeria is the best agency and coordinator for the United Nation Development Assistance Fund (UNDAF) for thematic area that deals with human security risk management.

The UNHCR Nigeria programme officer pledged the commitment of the agency towards finding lasting solutions to conflict situations in Cross River and urged the stakeholders to consider the forum as the beginning of an initiative.

In his remark, the special Adviser on International Development Cooperation in the state, Mr. Roy Ndoma-Egba urged stakeholders on conflict resolution and emergency in the state to initiate a framework for periodic review of their efforts towards emergency issues and mechanism to address conflict situations.

Ndoma-Egba noted that this was imperative to enable them reduce crises in the state, stressing the need for them to always identify crisis areas for quick intervention before it escalate as preventive approach to crisis management is more cost effective than the post-crisis approach.

“I tell you that it is better to do what is called pre which is always cost effective in the sense that there will be no damages at all. But the moment it becomes post, you begin to look for how much of property has been destroyed, how much of lives have been lost” he said.

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