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Over 500,000 displaced people in Benue allegedly excluded from #10b disaster fund by FG

The Benue State Government has bemoaned the failure of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government to provide adequate support to the state as it is overwhelmed by violence, killings and attacks by suspected Fulani herdsmen in addition to the consequential humanitarian crisis.
This was disclosed at the weekend by the Executive Secretary, Benue State Emergency Management Agency, Dr. Emmanuel Shior.
Shior accused the Federal Government of abandoning the Internally Displaced Persons and Cameroonian refugees domiciled in the state.
Shior, while speaking during a press briefing on the humanitarian situation in Benue State in Abuja, regretted that the state seems to have been excluded from the N10 billion, which the Federal Government promised through Vice President Yemi Osinbajo to give to states affected by insurgency and herdsmen attacks in 2019.
He said no single money has been given to Benue State despite the devastation to its economy by the Farmers-Herders conflict and accompanying burden of catering for the IDPs and refugees.
The Benue SEMA boss explained that part of the money could be used to rehabilitate communities and help in the preparation of the return of the IDPs, but regrets that the state government is now left to shoulder the responsibility of addressing the conflict, a burden he noted should not be borne by a state government alone.
Shior added that in addition to IDPs, the state government is also grappling with the challenge of Cameroonian refugees who are in Ikyogen settlement in Kwande LGA and numbering about 6,000.
He said: “Nigerian Government has not done enough in managing the refugees.
“The Federal Hovernment only comes in through NEMA (National Emergency Management Agency) to provide relief intervention in the area of food, but the IDPs have other needs and the Benue State Government is shouldering that almost alone apart from support form international and local humanitarian actors.
“You will l recall sometime last year, the Federal Government visited Benue State and made a promise of about N10 billion for states that were affected by Fulani herdsmen attacks.
“Benue State Government had a share in this money.
“We had been expecting that part of the money be given to Benue State for the reconstruction of homes, schools, markets and all that were destroyed.
“But up to this point that I speak with you, that money has not come.
“That has also posed a big challenge because such heavy burden is not supposed to be shouldered by state government alone.
“The Federal Government has to take responsibility to be in the lead.”
Shior added that even in the area of security, not much is being done.
According to him, the Operation Whirl Stroke by the Nigerian military is not enough, which is why the attackers are still around.
He said: “There is need for the Federal Government to do more in terms of security.
“There is need to strengthen security efforts.
“There is to include other security outfit like the police and perhaps to strengthen the local vigilante to support the military in addressing the challenge.”
The Secretary noted that as a result of the burden placed on the state government, other areas of governance that are supposed to impact positively on the citizens suffer because a lot of money is being channelled towards provision of food items to IDPs and refugees.
“We are appealing to the Federal Government to come in and do a lot more,” he urged.
Shior appreciated other local and international agencies such as International Committee of the Red Cross, CORAFID and UNHRC amongst others for their humanitarian support to the state despite the Federal Government’s laxity in that regard.
Source: The Eagle Online

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Dominican Republic, IOM clear hurdles for 100,000 Venezuelan migrants

The Migration Normalization Plan will allow Venezuelans living irregularly in the Dominican Republic to work, move without risk of deportation, open bank accounts and join the country’s social security system.  Photo: IOM / Francesco Spotorno

 

 

Santo Domingo – The first group of almost 100,000 Venezuelan migrants without legal status in the Dominican Republic have received visas allowing them to work, open bank accounts and join the social security system under the country’s Migration Normalization Plan.

Created by the Dominican government and launched with the support of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the plan aims to regularize the Venezuelan population in three stages: application for extension of stay, visa, and residency. Since April, when the first phase began, 43,000  Venezuelans have registered to extend their stay and, on 1 July, the first group of 21 Venezuelans received their work visa.

“Now that I have my visa, I feel that for others like me a lot of opportunities are opening. We will be able to establish more safely and formally to offer a better future to our children,” says Gabriela Rivero, who arrived in the country with her husband and daughter in 2018.  “Once we settled, we did not imagine how difficult it would be to get a job because the lack of documentation closed all doors.”

READ  900 stranded Britons to return home next week

Since 2019 Gabriela has led a support organization for Venezuelan migrants in Santiago de los Caballeros called FEV (Fundación Emigrantes de Venezuela), which offers free orientation and helps hundreds of migrants daily to complete their normalization plan applications.

With IOM support, eight Venezuelan migrant organizations have created orientation hubs to assist the Venezuelan population who are applying to the plan. Of the 43,000  registered through the General Directorate of Migration (DGM) web page, around 9,000 have visited the hubs for help on the procedure. The promoters and coordinators of each hub – mostly Venezuelan migrants – have learned the process with the support and guidance of the DGM team and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MIREX). Besides being trained for orientation, they became the pilot group of the plan to receive their extensions and visas.

“The idea of this process is that we are the ones at the front of the hubs, a migrant helping a migrant, a Venezuelan helping a Venezuelan,” says Iván Carrera, a lawyer from Caracas and legal adviser of FUNCOVERD (Fundación Colonia de Venezolanos en RD). Carrera works as a promoter at the orientation hub in El Sambil Santo Domingo, one of the locations with the most people requesting support for their application.

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IOM launches open South America portal

International Organisation of Migration (

Buenos Aires – IOM, the International Organization for Migration, this week launched the Open South America Portal, a web platform providing migrants and stakeholders in the region with access to reliable and timely information on human mobility restrictions and health and safety measures adopted by governments in the COVID-19 pandemic.

Open South America, available in SpanishEnglish and Portuguese, shares official information by country on the latest measures, including border restrictions, quarantine requirements and COVID-19 tests for migrants and travellers.

The portal also provides updated information on authorized entry points and key places for travellers and migrants, such as consulates, migrant care and health centres, airports, border crossings points and ports. This information can be explored through an interactive map.

The platform, funded by the IOM Development Fund, is also accessible to vulnerable migrants who may be stranded or are at risk of receiving misinformation on migration.

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, South America has been one of the most impacted regions worldwide. According to the World Health Organization figures, as of 8 July 2021 there were 33,475,765 COVID-19 cumulative cases in the region, which represents 89 per cent of the total cases in Latin America, and 18 per cent of all infections recorded globally.

READ  Six refugees among 137 killed in Niger’s recent attack

Countries such as Brazil, Peru, Colombia and Ecuador all experienced severe outbreaks. For example, Brazil currently reports the third highest number of cumulative cases (18,855,015) and second highest death toll (526,892) globally.

“Open South America will facilitate orderly, regular and responsible migration in South America amid the uncertain times of COVID-19 and after the pandemic,” said Minister Ana Laura Cachaza, General Director of Consular Affairs of the Government of Argentina.

“Migrants’ access to up-to-date information through innovative online tools is essential considering the changing migration dynamic in the region due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Marcelo Pisani, IOM Regional Director for South America.

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29,000 Nigerians, Ghanaians, Somalians, other Africans migrated through the Mediterranean Sea to Europe in 2021 —IOM

The International Organisation for Migration has said that 29,000 individuals including Nigerians, Ghanaians, Somalians and other Africans have emigrated to Europe through the Mediterranean Sea this year.

About 13,000 were arrested by the coast guards and returned home while 761 migrants were said to have perished in the sea.

Disclosing this to journalists in Abuja on Friday, the Chief of Mission, IOM Nigeria, Mr Franz Celestin, said less than five per cent of migrants usually made it to Europe, adding that the vast majority stay in Africa.

He further said that a lot of migrants were trafficked within the Economic Community of West African States, adding that Mali was the number one destination point for trafficked Nigerian women.

Responding to questions on the number of people who have undertaken the perilous trip to Europe through the Mediterranean, the IOM Chief said, “A combination of unemployment and underemployment is pushing people to migrate.

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“In this year, 29,000 migrants from Sub-Sahara Africa have migrated to Europe through the Mediterranean. About 13,000 were intercepted by the coastguard while 761 died.”

International Organisation of Migration (

Celestin stressed the importance of tackling human trafficking which he said grossed about $150 billion annually.

“Traffickers make a lot of money and they would continue to do it until a coordinated response is evolved to stop them. We are collaborating with Interpol in this respect; we are connected to the Interpol i/247 database. We connected the MIDAS to the Interpol database where we pass the information on traffickers to the Interpol,” he stated.

Celestin explained that the IOM has been involved in the biometric registration of children in the North-East, noting that the agency has registered no fewer than 17,053 children in 18 different internally displaced person camps between 2019 and May 2021 in Borno State.

The agency chief also disclosed that IOM was involved in the G7 Famine Prevention and Humanitarian Compact for North-East.

READ  39 migrants die as boats sink off Tunisia's coast

 

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