BY AMEH IDUJAGI, JALINGO – Governor Darius Dickson Ishaku of Taraba State has said that over 15,000 refugees from the republic of Cameroon are currently taking refuge in Taraba state .
Ishaku said that the refugees are scattered across Takum, Sardauna, Kurmi and Gashaka Local Government Areas of the State.
The Governor, who disclose this during an interactive session with a United Nations delegation led by its Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator, Edward Kallon in Jalingo on Thursday, noted that the crisis in the Cameroon had forced a refugee population of over 15,000 on Taraba State which shares boundary with the Cameroon.
He also said that the refugee problem has complicated the burden being borne by the state arising from Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) as a result of the fallout of the Boko Haram Insurgency in the North East part of the country.
Governor Ishaku accordingly, requested other agencies of the UN to assist the state in the areas of housing and shelter, saying that these are challenges which a rapidly growing population has created.
He said the state is doing its utmost best to re-settle and rehabilitate those that were displaced by the crisis in Southern Taraba, particularly in Chonku and Asa, adding that security is also being beefed up in those areas to encourage those who fled as a result of the crisis to return.
He listed tourism, agriculture and security as critical areas where the state would need the assistance of the UN agencies.
Ishaku also used the opportunity to brief the UN officials on the achievements of his administration, saying that women and youth empowerment has been a critical area of focus of his administration and noted that thousands of people have benefitted from the programme.
In a paper presented at the session, the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator, Edward Kallon, said a UNDP-UNWOMEN-FAO inter-agency project supported by the UN Peace Building Fund is already going on in Taraba, Benue and Nasarawa states.
According to him; “It is in support of a harmonious and peaceful relationship between farmers and herders”.
He said the intervention would promote dialogue and proactive engagement for the mutual economic benefit of the two groups and assured that the UN would also support the Taraba State government to minimize post-harvest losses through public-private partnerships and investments.
Kallon reminded state governments in Nigeria that COVID-19 would remain a major health challenge until the vaccine is found and urged them to take responsibility and lead by example that would help in containing the virus.