The Catholic Church and the Federal Government of Nigeria have initiated a partnership through which they will take care of thousands of Nigerians displaced by Boko Haram. Most of these are now living as refugees in various camps of Cameroon. The newly re-elected President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBCN), Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama has disclosed the development in Abuja.
The collaboration is the result of a request for assistance made by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Cameroon to their Nigerian counterparts.
During the opening Mass of the first 2015 CBCN Plenary, Archbishop Kaigama drew attention to the plight of displaced Nigerians living in Cameroon. The Archbishop told the Nigerian Federal President, Goodluck Jonathan that the Church needed assistance from the Government to fulfill the request from Cameroon. In response to the request, President Jonathan who was in attendance, promised that the Government would assist its citizens through the Bishops’ Conference.
Archbishop Kaigama has now disclosed that as promised, President Jonathan’s Government has released 50 Million Naira (about US$ 250, 000) to the Bishops’ Conference. The funds are ultimately destined for refugees in Cameroon. The Archbishop also added that as members of the Bishops’ Conference, they had also added 10 Million Naira (about US$ 10,000) to the money from the Government.
Archbishop Kaigama further disclosed that a delegation of the CBCN, led by the Bishop Chairman of the Catholic Caritas Foundation of Nigeria (CCFN), Bishop Lucius Ugorji have already left for Cameroon. The Nigerian Caritas will work with the Cameroon Bishops’ Conference to address the plight of Nigerian refugees. Others in Bishop Ugorji’s delegation include Bishops Oliver Dashe Doeme of Maiduguri; Stephen Dami Manza of Yola; Fr. Evaristus Bassey the CCFN Executive Secretary; Fr. Chris Anyanwu, national Director of Social Communications as well as two lay representatives. Some Government officials were also expected to be part of the team.
The President of the Nigerian Bishops’ Conference has also reminded the lay-faithful in Nigeria of their obligation to support displaced Nigerians who have been affected by the Boko Haram insurgency. Some of those internally displaced are now living in camps within Nigeria.