No less than thirty (30) Cameroonian refugee families through the assistance of Caritas Nigeria were apportioned farming spaces by the chiefs of Ekonganaku and Oban, farming communities in Akamkpa local government area of Cross River State.
With the coming of the new farming season, came challenges for land space, especially, for indigent families who had no land of their own to help them subsist, in the face of the biting challenges presented by the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19).
Noting their predicament, CARITAS Nigeria’s staff on the UNHCR’s project to provide protection and education assistance to Cameroonian refugees (PEACR) approached the chiefs in the small border town and negotiated with them to let the refugees use the land for one farming season.
Also, other families with ancestral lands that were serving no purpose at the time called on CARITAS to give them away to more refugees to grow food for their families and cope with the demands of the time.
The chiefs and families did not demand for money, either from CARITAS or the refugees.
“Last year, my family almost died, because we could not find anywhere to plant any food,” recounted Mama Mela Natalie. “We say before we die this year, make we meet CARITAS make dem for provide place for we to farm, get small chop. We thank the CARITA [s] and the elders dem for give we land for farm small so,” one of the ecstatic beneficiaries said in the local Cameroon dialect easily referred to ‘wes cos’.
“We thank CARITAS and the elders for helping us out with the land. It has made a lot of things easier. Do you know what this means? It means we can plant corn. After the corn is harvested, we can wait for the yam, while we plant other things like sweet potatoes and cassava and, then, vegetables. The soil is good for plenty crops. God bless all of you,” said Melanie Tattaw.