3000 IDPs, 600 Refugees Return Home, Pray For Peace
Story, Tabi Paul
At least 3000 Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs and 600 refugees who escaped violence in the restive North West and South West regions linked to the Anglophone crisis in Manyu division to neighbouring Nigeria returned home Thursday January 7 to a hectic reception from the Head of State , President Paul Biya.
The IDPs and refugees were officially received at a ceremony staged in Mamfe, Manyu division of the South West region.
The ceremony chaired by South West Governor Bernard Okalia Bilai was meant to hand over humanitarian support from the Head of State to the affected families.
The IDPs were settled in Mamfe and other parts of the country while the 600 Refugees came from Nigeria where they have been grappling with life’s challenges.
It was a visibly happy crowd of returnees who were elated and glad to come back home again.
In a special way, the President of the Republic offered special gifts to welcome them back to their different villages. These gifts included among others; bags of rice, mattresses, buckets, cartons of soap and among others.
3000 families and 600 refugees received these gifts to begin a new page in their lives. The IDPs are from Mamfe Central, Eyumojock and Akwaya subdivisions respectively.
The Presidential package was part of the special gifts distribution that was launched by the Minister of Territorial Administration in December 2020.
600 Cameroonians returning from Nigeria left the country due to the sociopolitical unrest then. They took home items such as kitchen utensils including pots, beds and foodstuffs to ease their resettlement.
Speaking during the ceremony, South West Governor, Bernard Okalia Bilai urged those still carrying guns in the bushes to disarm and return to living normal lives.
“Let them see how those who are already here in Mamfe are welcomed by the Head of State. It is President Biya who has offered all of these to welcome our brothers who have been living out. There may be some misunderstanding somewhere, let them come back, all of us should agree that as human beings there have been errors,” the Governor noted.
To the administrator, “when you recognize your error please correct your way of behaviour. Those who are still in neighboring countries should come back because the Head of State is waiting for them. Those who are still in the bushes, let them come out, they should not fear, their brothers who are for months now with us are safe and fine.”
The refugees especially see in their return opportunity to return to living normal lives.”I was there in Port Harcourt, it was not really easy since it was not my land. I had to manage. When we got information that some people are already returning and calm has begun settling in, I decided to send my family to Bamenda to live with my wife’s parents. I stayed in Port Harcourt again before coming. Since I came back I had to bounce back in the little business I was doing. God has been so faithful,” a returnee said.
Meanwhile another appreciated President Biya asserting that:”We thank the Head of State so much. I have received my package. I am very happy with this show of love. May God bless our President. While in Nigeria we used to receive government support package and they equally trained us how to work”.