By Ikome Christie-Noella Eposi
The Minister of Territorial Administration (MINAT), Paul Atanga Nji has inaugurated the new South West branch of the centre for the coordination of emergency humanitarian assistance in Buea. This took place on Wednesday, June 5, 2019. While launching the centre, Minister Paul Atanga Nji said it was an opportunity to better coordinate humanitarian aid with all partners involved.
The centre is responsible for coordinating all actions related to providing assistance to victims of the crisis in the North West and South West regions, especially internally displaced persons, the injured, lame, handicap, orphans, victims of destruction of property, host communities, Cameroonian refugees and ensuring a synergy of actions by the various stakeholders identified at the central and regional level, organisation of meetings and coordinating the activities on the field.
The government of Cameroon since the launch of the emergency humanitarian assistance plan in the North West and South West regions has donated assorted goods to internally displaced persons in the North West and South West regions as well as those out of the two regions.
“The Cameroon government since the creation of the emergency humanitarian relief commission has distributed aid to at least one hundred and four thousand internally displaced persons of the one hundred and fifty two thousand registered internally displaced persons in the country”, MINAT boss revealed.
Nonetheless, it should be noted that the efforts to provide humanitarian assistance has not solely been that of the government. Many non-governmental organisations, including Churches and foreign bodies have also in one way or another provided material, financial, spiritual and moral support to some IDP’s affected by the on-going crisis in the two Anglophone regions of Cameroon.
The number of internally displaced person is however disputed by many local as well as international non-governmental organisations that put the numbers at over half a million.
Explaining the importance of the coordination centre for the humanitarian activities, Minister Paul Atanga Nji said the centre will help local and foreign partners offering humanitarian activities to displaced Cameroonians better coordinate with the government and also to work within laid down rules.
He called on NGOs to be independent, yet transparent with their activities while working closely with administrative officials. “Those local NGOs working with foreign partners must go and register so the government can know exactly who they are and who they are representing both at the level of the region, division, and sub division”, the Minister said.
The Minister also highlighted the fact that every day many separatist fighters lay down their weapons, as can be seen in the calm that is gradually returning to the once vibrant South West region.
The centre for the coordination of emergency humanitarian assistance in the North West and South West regions will be guided by the Minister of Territorial Administration, closely followed by other ministries including; ministry of external relations, defence, public health, agriculture, livestock fisheries and animal husbandry, communication, secondary education, basic education, social affairs, women empowerment and the family, secretary of state in-charge of defence, general delegation of national security and the directorate for external research.
The coordination centres will be run by personnel of the civil protection from the ministry of territorial administration, civil administrators, and forces of law and order who would guide non-governmental organisations involved in helping internally displaced persons so that they can carry out their activities safely.