The National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons (NCFRMI) Southwest Zone has just unveiled singer Nikki Laoye as one of their Celebrity Voices, who would help bring to the forefront the activities of the NCFRMI as well as the plight of refugees and other persons of concern.
The Commission, which is an establishment under the Presidency (Federal Government of Nigeria), revealed this new development at their Town Hall meeting organized in Lagos over the weekend, with the Community of Refugees in Lagos State.
Held in conjunction with the Lions Club International & presided by the SouthWest Zonal head - Mrs Magaret Ukegbu, the meeting was a forum of interaction with the refugees to determine their needs and discuss their challenges of integrating into the Nigerian society as well as present them with donations of materials, food stuffs, multivitamins and clothing materials.
Read more + Pictures after the cut
It was also an opportunity for the Southwest Zone of the NCFRMI to introduce Nikki Laoye officially to all present at the meeting. Nikki Laoye, who is also a humanitarian/Founder of Angel 4 Life Foundation, which provides developmental & educational support for visually impaired & physically challenged youths, spoke on her new role - " I am honored to have been given this opportunity to serve and help my brothers and sisters. It's no fault of theirs that they had to come & settle here in Nigeria as Wars, Unrest & other unavoidable circumstances in their countries have displaced them. It's our duty as caring Nigerians to make them feel at home and provide them with the necessary assistance to get them back on their feet again. And I would definitely help to drive this campaign to the best of my ability"
The refugees, numbering over 100 in attendance at the meeting, were from Mali, Chad, Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo and the Central African Republic. With representatives speaking for each different country, the refugees indicated that they have major struggles in the area of accommodation and would also require grants to start off businesses in Nigeria and send their children to school, as many of their children have had to drop out of school due to the non-payment of school fees.
The President of the Ikate-Elegushi LIONs club, Lion Olori Aderonke Elegushi, who spoke on behalf of all the LIONs clubs (Simon, Ruby, Park View and New Festac Lions Clubs) acknowledged their needs and encouraged them to be law-abiding people while in the country. She also emphasized that the NCFRMI has ensured that every registered refugee has a right to take up employment and become whatever they want to become in society regardless of their background.
She earned a resounding applause from the refugees as she spoke to them in fluent French, their major language.
The Voice of the Commission in the Southwest, Nikki Laoye also addressed the refugees, admonishing them with words of encouragement and prayers whilst reassuring them that the Commission has taken note of all their concerns and that she will also help to create more awareness of their plight to the society at large.
The high point of the event was the distribution of the food, drugs and clothing materials provided by the LIONs Clubs and Nikki Laoye, which were received with much enthusiasm and excitement. In their response, the refugees expressed appreciation at the innovation by the NCFRMI and Lions Clubs and requested that such an event should not be a one-time affair, but should be continual, in order to enable the refugees properly integrate into the society and interact freely with their Nigerian counterparts.