iCentre for food Technology and Research (CEPTER), Benue State University, has commenced training for 230 Cameroonian refugees at the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) settlement, Anyake, Kwande local government area of Benue State in Food Nutrition, Hygiene, Processing and Preservation.
Declaring the training open, the vice chancellor of the institution, Prof Msugh Kembe, who was represented by the project manager, CEPTER, Dr Barnabas Ikyo, explained that the decision of the centre to carry out the training at the refugee settlement was to ensure proper handling of their food from the time of planting, harvesting and consumption.
“We are here basically to complement the efforts of the government and UNHCR who have set up these camps and are providing for the refugees by teaching them how to prepare and eat balance diet, how to processed and preserved the little food they have into different products to enhanced their standard of living.
“Out of 3,000 refugees, the centre has registered 230, to undergo training in Food Nutrition, Safety, Hygiene, Preservation, processing and Food Waste Management, we are going to teach them that, apart from Akpu, cassava can also be processed into other different products, so that many of them can earn a living afterwards and also know what to eat.”
In an interview, the chairman of the settlement, Peter Kecho, who lamented the initial hostility by the host community, said through the intervention of the Benue State government they are now living a normal life
“We want to thank the Benue State government for wading into the hostility of the community which has now calm down the situation, before now, some refugees were beaten by the host community, but now we have a sigh of relieve, we are now living a normal life.
“Our major problem here is the absence of health and educational facilities, we don’t have any of the two here, and there are over 1,000 children of school age here and all of them are out of school.”
He disclosed that 18 persons have already lost their lives due to absence and poor health facility in the camp.
He appealed to the government of Nigeria to provide mosquito nets for refugees who he said are dying of malaria due to mosquito bites.