The Jesuit Refugees Service (JRS) has assisted no fewer than 50, 000 refugees and Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Nigeria from 2018 to date.
Its Head of Programmes in Nigeria, Tamara Hart, disclosed this yesterday at the launching of Protection and Health Services for Camerounian refugees in Taraba State.
Hart said the group was not only working in 56 countries across the world but has also pursued its mission to accompany and serve other forcibly displaced people to enable them to heal, learn and determine their own future.
While presenting the overview of the JRS Bureau of Population, Refugee, and Migration (BPRM), she said the group commenced operations in Nigeria in 2018 and has since assisted over 50,000 refugees and IDPs through its field offices in Adamawa, Borno, and Taraba states, as well as its Abuja office.
In addition to the ongoing High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) funded project in the state, the BPRM project, which she described as a “gift from the United States Government” would provide relief to the Camerounian refugees and members of the host community in four council areas of the state.
Besides the protection and health services, the project would also promote peaceful coexistence and reconciliation skills for the Cameroonian refugees and their host communities to enhance social cohesion.
Also speaking, JRS Nigeria Project Director for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Sylvester Kenneth, stated that JRS has been implementing the UNHCR-funded “Protection and Educational Services for Camerounian Refugees since 2019.”
He said the idea of the project was to assist the displaced persons from the neighboring country of Cameroun and host communities in Takum, Ussa, Kurmi, and Sardauna council areas of the state.
Commending the state government for its support for the refugees, he acknowledged that the state was the most accommodating state for Camerounian refugees in the country.”
Corroborating Kenneth, JRS Country Director, Rev. Father Patrick Etamesor, commended the state government for providing an enabling environment for the group to implement its projects.
“JRS has enjoyed enormous support from the government and people of the state, hence the implementation of the project. JRS has assisted refugees and displaced persons in various ways,” he said
On his part, the Project Director, Abang Egbe, said the project team would constantly consult relevant stakeholders on issues bordering on the successful implementation of the project in the state.
Impressed by JRS efforts in assisting the refugees who fled from Cameroun to the state following skirmishes in that country that had led to the destruction of lives and property, the Commissioner for Health, Dr. Innocent Vakkai, assured of the state government’s support for successful implementation of the project.