The Ghana Refugees Board says it gave registered Liberian refugees at the Buduburam refugees’ camp in the Central Region $400 each to enable them to relocate from the camp as far back as 2012.
The Executive Secretary of the board, Tetteh Padi said this in a Citi News interview following the decision by the government of Ghana to demolish the camp.
Mr. Tetteh Padi says there are currently only 400 registered refugees who would be assisted to leave the camp due to the impending demolition.
“We have only a little over 400 recognized refugees who are Liberians in the Budumburam camp. We are responsible for these, and so we are making arrangements to relocate them to some of our refugee camps. We will assist them as long as they opt to be relocated.”
“For the rest of them, at the end of 2012, the secession clause was invoked, which meant that the Liberians ceased to be refugees. Some of them opted to voluntarily go back, others decided to stay, which meant that they were well and able to cater for themselves.”
“They were also given work permits, and some cash grants, $400 per adult, and Liberian passports for free. The resident permit of 50% each was paid by the Ghana government and the UNHCR. It is renewed for them for free. They were also given a year subscription to the National Health Insurance.”
The Buduburam Camp became the home of Liberian refugees after it was opened by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in 1990.
It was initially home to some 12,000 refugees.
It also houses refugees from Sierra Leone who fled their country’s civil war between 1991 and 2002.
Following the decommissioning of the camp in 2005 and several reports of the camp becoming a hideout for criminals and other vices, authorities took a decision to demolish structures at the camp.
Liberian refugees and other residents at the camp were consequently given up to September 30, 2021, to relocate but on the expiration of the deadline, they say they have no money to find new homes.
But according to the board, it has done enough to ensure that they are comfortable and integrated into society.
“They were asked to go and rent decent accommodation with the $400 that was given to them as the owners of the land will come for them. They however remained there because no one drove them out all this while,” Tetteh Padi added.