The traditional ruler of Itigidi, Eval Edward Esikong Imong 1V has todl crossriverwatch that all the three tiers of government , the Local, State and Federal have abandoned the Adadama refugees who flooded Itigidi, Anong, Ajere and Ekori Beach in the aftermath of the Adadama –Amagu conflict as no relief materials have been provided for the people since the 19th of January when the communal conflict escalated.
Eval Edward Esikong, who is the head chief of traditional chiefs in Itigidi, Senator Liyel Imoke’s hometown, said the acting governor of Cross River State, Mr Efiok Cobham visited his palace at Itigidi on the 20th of January, a day after the conflict escalated and “sat here and promised the refugees everything but since then nothing has come from the state, local or federal government and I have been shouting and nobody from government seems to hear”.
According to him, the Acting Governor visited his palace in the company of the Chairman of Abi Local Government Area, Mr. Frank Eta, the Director General of the State Emergency Management Agency, Mr. Vincent Aqua, the member representing Abi in the Cross River State House of Assembly, Hon. John Gaul Lebo, officials of the Federal Emergency Management Agency “and all sorts of top government officials but over a week since he visited we have not heard from government”.
The Traditional Ruler said so far non-governmental organisations and individuals including churches have been the ones assisting the refugees in the area. “There are 710 displaced persons here in Itigidi and they are sleeping at the market square, primary school and the beach. What they have received so far is grossly inadequate and the people are suffering”.
Eval Edward, who is a retired school principal, said the ones that are in his palace eat “what I eat and every morning my wife ensures that each of them is given two balls of akara and akamu. This money comes from my pocket at least government should come to their aid as what people and NGOs are giving to them is far too small”.
He said there are about two thousand refugees at the Ajere beach at Ekori and another one thousand in Anong and often these people sleep on empty stomach because “a group of about one hundred people are given just three cups of rice and two fingers of plantain, tell me how can such crowd feed on just that quantity”.
At Anong, over hundred refugees are gathered at the home of Obiansi of Anong, Chief Effiong Usang, the refugees there complain of lack of food and basic needs. One of the refugees, Chief Egbo Lebo Ekpung who gave his age as sixty said they heard that the refugees were given some food stuff but the quantity they have given is far inadequate and this has kept the people starving and suffering.
Chief Murphy Edison, the traditional ruler of Anong said there are over one thousand refugees in his palace. “Right from time we were told by our parents that there is affinity between us and the Adadama people. We do go there to do traditional dance, visit friend and marry from there so when this thing happened, so many of them came here because they have friends, relatives and for others, they came with those who have friends and relations here and they were all welcomed”’.
He said refugees from all the seven villages of Adadama came to his palace. “Etini, 38, Ivone, 27, Ekpong, 58, Imina, 90, Ibalebi, 18, Emikwo, 23 and many more are still coming and I can assure you that they are welcomed”.
He said he has been the one buying rice and garri with which the refugees are feeding. “This year we had a lot of flood in Anong and our harvest is very poor so we have to send people to Adim to buy garri and rice to feed the refugees. I have spent all the money I have on feeding them we need help”.
Mr Efiong Okon, the Chief Press Secretary to Mr. Efiok Cobham, the Acting Governor of Cross River State said the government has approved the sum of “4.5 million or should I say 5 million for the purchase of food and mattresses for the people of Adadama but you know the budget has not been approved so government had to sought for money to meet the needs of the refugees”.
He said the money is being slow in coming for the purchase of items for the refugees because of “government bureaucracy but soon the money will be released.”
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