By Chioma Onuegbu
ANUA OFFOT- SOUTHERN Cameroonians currently taking refuge in Akwa Ibom State after fleeing from the lingering crisis in their country, have expressed appreciation to Akwa Ibom people, particularly churches, for providing shelter, clothing, and food for them.
The refugees, who spoke to NDV during the presentation of clothing materials and other items to them by the Lutheran Church of Nigeria, Anua Offot community, Uyo, said they would remain grateful to the different churches that decided to accommodate and support them in their hopeless situation.
Army killed my mother, my children’s whereabouts unknown- Epolle
Speaking, a widow and representative of the refugees in the state, Mrs. Agnes Epolle, said: “I am a refugee from Southern Cameroon and I have stayed in Akwa Ibom for more than one year.
“What this church has done today is to help us cover our nakedness. And I cannot express enough thanks to them for the support the members have given to us. I can only pray that the good God help me to reward them. I pray God to reward those that have reached out to us to feed us and cover our nakedness.
“When I ran away from Cameroon, I lost contact with my family, because people were running for safety. I left my children in the custody of my mother, but I learnt that the Army came and killed my mother and burnt down the house. Although I feel at home here in Akwa Ibom, but part of me is not here because I do not know the fate of my children.”
Sone appeals to A’Ibom govt for refugee campsite
Similarly, Mrs. Itah Sone, also from Southern region of Cameroon said: “Since we came here to Akwa Ibom, some churches have been assisting us. Right now, we do not have a particular area where we are living. For now, churches and some people, who know some of us over there in Cameroon; have shown us love by providing us accommodation.
“There was a time some of us were disturbed by immigration. But I am happy that the UN came in and addressed that challenge. The UN came to identify us and register us and that is why we can now move freely and look for something to do to earn a living. We are also appealing to Akwa Ibom State Government to give us a place where we can stay together until the crises in our country is over because we are scattered all over the state,” she said.
Can’t feed my wife, 4 children – Malete
Also, Mr. Emmanuel Malete, said he had been in the state for more than five months, he, however, lamented that he is finding it difficult to get a job to do to be able to feed and take care of his wife and four children.
“Life has not been easy for me and my family. It is difficult to get a job that can fetch you N2000 a day. We are grateful to God for using the church to provide for the needy and helpless,” he lamented.
Why we decided to lend a hand – Elder Jacob
Presenting the items to the representatives of the refugees, Chairman of the Church, Elder Emmanuel Jacob, decried the killings and wars that displaced families all over the world, saying that the gesture by the church was borne out of the desire and passion to lend helping hand to helpless victims of such unfortunate circumstances.
“As a Lutheran Church family in Anua Offot, we have been doing this in our little way to support this kind of people. It can happen to anybody, which is why when we heard about their plight, as a church, we agreed to support them in our own small way. We do not have much to offer them, but we believe that the little we are giving will go a long way to help.
“Nothing is too small or too big. If we had more, we would have done more. We pray that God will support you and in whatever you do, God will never depart from you. I appreciate members of the church for the kind heart, and passion in giving to those in need. The items are clothes, shoes for men, women and children and toiletries”, he stated.