By Our Reporter
Hundreds of Cameroon refugees who are now in Cross River communities of Bashua, Danare, Biajua, Okwa, Abo, Wula and Bashu have commended the Non Governmental Organisation (NGO), St Rita, for donating relief materials worth millions of Naira to them.
The refugees, who spoke to our reporter at the weekend at Bashua community in Boki local government area to take delivery of the materials, commended the National President of St Rita organisation, CSP Beatrice Odudu (rtd), for wiping their tears away particularly in extreme period of trauma, and described her as ‘God-sent.’
Speaking, Ogar Benedict Ayamba, a native of Bodam community in Akwaya sub-division of Cameroon said: “may God continually bless our mother for this gesture. She has wiped tears away from our eyes, she has carried the burden of strangers and extended hands of love, these seed shall germinate and bear many fruits for her family and all those who have contributed in one way or the other for this show of goodwill.”
He however expressed worry that with the extradition of leaders of Ambazonia separatist group of Southern Cameroon, refugees could be repatriated and as such appealed to the federal government to allow them be, saying the extradition of their leaders was giving them sleepless nights.
“We appreciate our host communities, the State and federal government for all their kind gestures and we thank President Muhammadu Buhari for allowing us to be in Nigeria. Our main problem is that since our leaders were repatriated to Cameroon, we are now living in fear that we may be asked to also leave and as you know, for now, our communities in Cameroon are not safe and until peace is restored, we are not safe there. We are pleading with the Nigerian government not to contemplate extraditing us. We will not bring any problem to Nigeria. We are peace loving people,” he stated.
Also speaking, 35 year old mother of 4, Marie Owan of Kagifu community in Cameroon who said she was now taking refuge in Abo with her four children, husband and mother in-law, was full of praises for St Rita organisation for their magnanimity.
Her words: “St Rita has done what we never expected. Our prayer is that may all members of the group never lack. May God bring their destiny helpers at the right time to help them out of any challenge in life. We are very grateful. It is not an easy thing spending millions of Naira for people you do not know one on one.
Owan also feared that refugees could be repatriated but noted that any form of repatriation would be suicidal, and while pleading for protection from the federal government of Nigeria, she said, “we regard Nigeria as our second home. We prefer to die with hunger in Nigeria than dying with bullets in Cameroon.”
Our reporter gathered that 300 bags of rice, 380 bags of rice, 400 sleeping mat, 400 mosquito treated nets, 20 bags of salt, 10 bags of soap containing 600 tablets each, 20 cartons of magi cubes, 400 blankets and 1400 tubers of yams amongst other items were distributed to the refugees.
Explaining the reasons for the gesture, Mrs Veraz Tiku and Hon Harrison Odudu, coordinators of the NGO for Ikom and Boki local government areas respectively, said St Rita organisation, was out to put smiles on faces of the less privileged, widows and displaced persons who do not have any means of survival.
“Indeed these people need any form of help from groups, cooperate organisations, individuals and government as well. It is not their desire to leave their communities to sojourn in another country without any means of livelihood. St Rita organisation feels it should contribute its quota to, at least, give succour.
“St Rita organisation is made up of St Rita Heroes lifeline foundation and St Rita Multipurpose Cooperative Society with the main objective of providing shoulders for the less privileged widows, refugees and down trodden to lean on,” Mrs Tiku stated.
Odudu, in his remarks, said since the refugees were regarded as international children who should be assisted and encouraged, it is only right for every group and individual to render help for the sake of humanity