Mr Princewill Ayim, Director-General, Cross River State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), says facilities outside refugees’ camp are overstretched due to the increasing number of refugees.
Ayim stated this during an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday in Calabar.
He said that the refugees were domiciled in various locations in the state, with three major settlements in Ogoja Local Government Area.
The SEMA boss said that Cross River is hosting 37,659 Cameroonian refugees in those camps.
He, however, noted that the refugees had enjoyed tremendous support from their host communities due to the sensitisation and advocacy carried out by the agency.
According to him, the facilities include: primary and secondary schools and primary health centres, amongst others.
“We have been carrying out advocacy talks with the refugees, telling them on how to cooperate with members of the host communities and so far, the relationship has been wonderful.
“The support we get from the United Nations High Commission for Refugees is also wonderful, because they have trained professionals who are in charge of all the critical aspects of the camps.
“As a government, our duty is to check the partners who deliver the services to the refugees.
“The number of refugees in Cross River, as we speak, is 37,659. The challenge we have is that government facilities outside the camps are over-stretched now due to the increasing population.
“We are appealing for good-spirited individuals, the Federal Government and corporate organisations to come to our aid and assist us in providing some of these facilities,” he said.
The director-general noted that the state government had also created relevant ministries in charge of providing psychosocial support and other basic activities to the refugees.
On security, he said that personnel from Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, in collaboration with members of the host communities, were working closely to ensure safety of the refugees.
“We do a lot of sensitisation campaign and enlightenment programmes at the camps.
“We try as much as possible to let them know that being a refugee doesn’t exempt one from arrest and prosecution, if caught engaging in any illegal act.
“We are also working on having the refugees insured by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees so that they too can benefit from Ayadecare health insurance policy in the state,” he said. (NAN)