[From ANIEKAN ANIEKAN, Calabar]
Cross River Governor, Professor Ben Ayade has pledged support for refugees residing in the state.
The governor made this known in Calabar during a One Day Workshop on Agro Business and Education Opportunities for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons.
The event was organised by the Children of Rural Africa (COR Africa) in conjunction with the state government, the Cross River State Migration Control Agency and the Cross River State Agricultural Development Programme.
Other participating agencies include; Cora farms, Amerikohi, Cornwell University ITHACA New York and the Abode for Children USA.
Ayade who was represented by the Secretary to the State Government Tina Agbor said millions of people across the world have been displaced.
Welcoming refugees, he said can be an investment which can yield returns because some of them are skilled.
He said about 1815 refugees in the state have been trained and said they should not be seen as a burden to be shared but as an opportunity to be welcome.
On his part, Okon Owuna, the Agric commissioner said food insecurity also leads to migration.
He welcomed the workshop stressing that it tallies with the government’s vision of ensuring food security.
Director General of the Cross River State Migration and Control Agency, Prince Mike Abuo in his part said the state may be playing host to over 200,000 refugees, migrants and Internally Displaced Persons are in the state.
He charged federal government and the International Commission for Migrants, Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons to conduct a comprehensive survey in the state so as to ascertained the number of migrants, refugees and persons who had been Internally displaced in the state.
Earlier, the National Programme Director, COR Africa- Nigeria, Dr. Jimoh Odunayo, stressed that his organization which had previously provided skill acquisition programmes /livelihood support for the refugees embarked on the training of a thousand refugees to close the gap existing between the training that the refugees had received from implementing partners.
He said the essence of the training workshop is to look at the opportunities that are available for migrants, refugees and internally displaced persons in the area of agribusiness and educational opportunities.
On his part, Rev. Dr. Peter Obele Abue, the founder of COR Africa said his organisation is committed to helping vulnerable children and communities now more than ever.
He said the seminar is an indication that they are poised to relive their vision of building vibrant and healthy rural communities where every child can prosper, find opportunities, grow and thrive locally.