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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Group empowers Cameroonian refugees in Cross River community with farm seedlings

Biakwan Light Green initiative (BLGI), with support from the Global Environment Facility, Small Grants Programme (GEF/SGP), has empowered Cameroonian refugees living in a Cross River community with farm seedlings.

Cameroonian refugees
Executive Director, BLGI, Mr Peter Bette (fifth left); board member, Mrs Rose Bette; renowned environmentalists, Dr. Odigha Odigha; and Mr Odey Oyama, flanked by some Cameroonian refugees

The refugees, who sought for safety in Cross River State, have formed a significant population in the Biakwan community of Boki Local Government Area due to the ongoing conflict in the country’s southern region.

The initiative provides seedlings for homestead vegetable farming practices, while a philanthropist who witnessed the event supported with food items and clothes.

While presenting the items to the refugees, the Executive Director of BLGI, Mr. Peter Bette, said the idea of the support was to reduce pressure on the community forest, provide livelihood to women, and enhance capacity through training to secure women’s rights and food security pool.

A conservationist, Mr Odey Oyama, commended the environmental group for the initiative, stating that empowerment would serve its purpose.

He, however, encouraged the displaced persons to key into the programme as Nigeria and Cameroon shared a complex and dynamic diplomatic relationship,

Odey further explained that both countries are members of a regional organisation like the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) which promote cooperation and regional integration.

The Board Chairman of NGO Coalition for Environment (NGOCE), Dr. Odiga Odiga, urged the refugees and some of the community members who also benefited to take the opportunity and ensure they engage in all activities.

The renowned environmentalist assured the beneficiaries that the project would promote sustainable agriculture and agroforestry like planting of indigenous fruit trees and home gardens to enhance biodiversity and mitigate climate change.

The Town Council Chairman, Mr. Joseph, praised BLGI for pledged support for the project, noting that it would strengthen collaboration and foster relationships between the refugees and the host community.

Responding to the gesture, the leader of the refugees, Elder Ben Kachi, appreciated the team for the gifts and support.

He also thanked the host community for the hospitality they have been enjoying since 2017 till date, adding that it is an ample opportunity that cannot be taken for granted.

By Tina Ezin

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