The Cross River State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), in collaboration with the state Food Bank Commission, has distributed relief materials to more than 1,000 Bakassi returnees evicted from Cameroon.
Mr John Inaku, the Director-General of SEMA, who distributed the relief materials to the beneficiaries on Friday at the Bakassi Council Secretariat, said that the items were provided for the returnees to ameliorate their suffering.
Inaku said that the State Government was touched by their plight.
“Gov. Benedict Ayade in his magnanimity, has provided for the victims all these food and non-food items and also urge them to remain calm.”
“We are also here to take care of our brothers, who were chased out of Cameroon for obvious reasons; some say it was due to taxes and all of that”.
Inaku said that the returnees were from six states comprising: Cross River, Bayelsa, Akwa-Ibom, Rivers, Ebonyi and Delta.
Also speaking, Dr Mercy Akpama, the Managing Director, Cross River Food Bank Commission, said that the role of the state food bank was to provide food for all the people of the state, especially for those in distress.
“When Ayade heard that Nigerians were pushed out of Cameroon, he had to send us here with these food items to alleviate their hardship.”
“These food items are for all the states represented here; since the victims are all Nigerians, the governor has provided for all of them,’’ she said.
The camp leader of Rivers returnees, Mr Paul Boma, said that they were forcefully evicted from Cameroon for failing to pay tax.
“They levied us with a tax equivalent of N55, 000 per adult, we tried to negotiate the amount down to N25,000, but they refused, rather, they asked us to leave their country if we could not pay the money.”
“I want to thank the governor for providing us with these food and non-food items,’’ he said.
Other returnees, who spoke with NAN in separate interviews, thanked the State Government for the relief materials and urged other State Governments to come to their aid.