C’River Deputy Governor Flags Off Global Compact Refugees Meeting In Calabar

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By Ukongikwen Adie

Cross River Deputy Governor, Rt. Hon. Peter Odey, today, declared open the Global Compact On Refugees high level meeting holding at Transcorp Hotel in Calabar.

The Global Compact On Refugees is a United Nations High Commission programme to lead and co-ordinate international action to protect refugees and resolve refugee problems worldwide. Its primary purpose is to safeguard refugee rights and their well-being, ensure also that everyone can exercise the right to return home voluntarily, intergrate locally or to resettle in a third country.

Rt. Hon. Odey, in his opening remarks, extended the sincere gratitude of the state governor, Sen. Bassey Otu for convening the gathering which offers a platform for dialogue and collaboration.

“As a State, our commitment to the principles of the GCR aligns with our national ethos of unity in diversity. We believe that together, we can address the challenges faced by refugees or forcibly displaced persons. This is why Cross River State is happy to play host to 52, 000 out of the over 84, 000 registered Cameroonian refugees in Nigeria. Our administration will not only continue to provide land in various host communities; we are also committed to improving security and social infrastructure within these communities to promote peaceful co-existence and integration between the host communities and persons concerned,” the Deputy Governor remarked.

Odey commended the UNHCR for their role in providing technical expertise to guide nations on the path of GCR implementation, while urging them to strive to build a future where the rights and dignity of refugees are protected.

Earlier, the Head of Sub Office, Ogoja-UNHCR, lrene Omondi, said the primary objective of the meeting is to take stock and discuss practical ways to support the Cross River state government in the implementation of the pledges and objectives of the GCR through a comprehensive refugee framework approach in Nigeria ahead of Global Compact on Refugees Conference holding in Geneva later this month.

She seized the occasion to recognize the tremendous leadership Nigeria and Cross River State has shown in responding to the refugee crises by ensuring that refugees have access to essential life saving services, including livehood opportunities where possible. She added that despite her own challenges, including the additional strain of hosting a large number of refugees, Cross River state continues to support refugees.

On behalf of the Nigerian representative of UNHCR, Chansa Kapaya, she affirmed the full support of UNHCR in Nigeria for the GCR and their continued commitment to working closely with the Cross River State government under the able leadership of Governor Otu to implement the GCR on refugees by ensuring that the needed national systems and structures are in place.

The meeting which had the Commissioner for International Development Corporation and that of Humanitarian Affairs in attendance, drew stakeholders and participants from CUSO International, Ministry Of Women Affairs (MOWA), Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS), the Nigerian Police Force and representatives of Commissioners of Finance and Information.