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Every entrepreneur’s journey starts from a point; Love Vera Ekoume’s is no different. A happy mother of four children with over fifteen years of marital bliss, and also the last child in her family, Love says her most ardent desire is to show women and young people what they can do as entrepreneurs.

She holds a DESS in applied taxation and a Master’s degree in business law. She is also certified in the digitization of archives and in Record Management. She is an international trainer in this field and a consultant for several certification companies. She worked in a legal and tax consulting firm until 2013 when she resigned to create her company in legal advice and tax.

She has been the President of the Cameroon Women Entrepreneurs Network since June 2019. Also, she succeeded in building a strong network for women entrepreneurs and setting up a guarantee fund to allow them to access finance without any obligation to bring guarantors. In addition, she campaigned for women’s development and empowerment, which earned her the position of Vice-President of a coalition of women’s associations. She is also a member of the Women’s Entrepreneurship Commission of the Groupement Inter-Patronal Du Cameroun (GICAM). She has won the 1000 African entrepreneurs, and Women in Africa competitions respectively.

Naija Diaspora Magazine Media Chat with Love Vera Ekoume

What was your key driving force in becoming an entrepreneur?

I often dream of a different life; beautiful, and of independence, and above all, to present myself as a model for my children and others. And by observing my surroundings, I had understood very early that I could only be so if I did things differently. And to be different, I had just understood that you had to work for yourself, start from scratch and build your own life according to your aspirations. My most ardent desire is to show women and young people that they can honestly get whatever they want if they work to achieve their dreams. Besides, I don’t dream; I act according to my thoughts.

You resigned in 2013 to create your own company, which originally was into legal advice and tax, but you switched to archive management. What really motivated you to do that, and what can you say about the profession?

In reality, my academic course was a diploma in taxation, so nothing predisposed me to any documentary management. When I created my business, the objective was to offer services relating to what I had learned in school. But whenever I entered companies to prospect, I was always struck by the document disorder I saw. And to the question of how they managed their business properly by mastering information and data, the answer I received from the people I questioned was that “we had a big problem with our archives, classification problems, storage and research.” I then perceived it as a real niche and decided to train in archiving. But I can reassure you that these two professions are complementary.

What have you enjoyed most about starting your own company?

What interested me the most in becoming an entrepreneur was that I understood that it is not easy and that we learn continuously in the battle of everyday life. We celebrate the little victories that led us to success. I just want to specify that I still do my classes and hope to be among the big businesswomen in Cameroon. It’s difficult, but we will get there.

What challenges did you have to overcome at the beginning as CEO of your company?

My first challenge was to repay the money my mom had lent me to start my business. We had to find a market and provide service quickly. And since when you passionately desire something, even nature agrees so that everything goes in your favor, I quickly found support in the tax follow-up of a company. In three months, I repaid the million my mum lent me with interest.

How has being a mother, an entrepreneur and president of the Cameroon Women Entrepreneur affected your family ties?

Sometimes my absences disturb my children, especially when I travel for long stays. My husband is also often disturbed, but I confess to having the grace that he understands the importance of these trips. For my children, I talk to them a lot and explain to them why I have to travel often. Even if they are often disappointed, they finally understand and support me. To overcome this, I make it a point of honor to talk to them in a video every evening (long live digital), so everyone tells me about their day, and I, too, tell them about my challenges and successes.

What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?

Boldness, hard work, and resilience.

What is your greatest fear, and how do you manage fear?

I just want to say that I’m not afraid of anything. But I admit that only one thing prevents me from sleeping; it’s when I think my mother, who has always supported me and followed me in all my decisions, is not proud of me. I want to see her smile at me, saying, “Congratulations, my daughter, you made it.”

Who has been your greatest inspiration?

My greatest inspiration has always been my father. It’s fun because he has never been an entrepreneur but rather an employee who is very proud of being. Only, every time he had his salary, we knew it because he always said, “I am rich as a prince.” It was fun because I saw his joy, but I also knew we were not rich. So, I wanted to be happy like him, not just at the end of the month, but daily in my life. Also, my father taught me that work is a treasure and that depending on people has never been an oasis; he taught me always to seek comfort and excellence. He spoke of philosophy, and I saw how concentrated he was in his actions. I saw him participate in contests, I heard him talk about the company he would create after retiring, and I listened to him talk about his desire to write books, but unfortunately, death Mangled it before he realized all of this. So, I told myself that I would have to do it like him, if not better than him, so that he would be proud of me. Besides, my business bears his name because “AB” is the name his brothers had given him. I just want to tell my dad that I love him very much.

What advice would you give to women entrepreneurs In Cameroon and Africa at large?

The advice I could give to women entrepreneurs in Cameroon is to know how to combine professional life and family life because we are witnessing more and more tearing of families in the name of women’s empowerment. I just want everyone to know that no female entrepreneur, even if she had all the success in the world, would sleep easy knowing her offspring was counted among the social problems. Let everyone remember that the family, particularly our children, is what we hold most dear. It is imperative we know how to work relentlessly both for the success of our businesses and for the development of our offspring because these are the children who will have to continue to carry the torch of our success when we lay down our arms either because of old age or because of death.

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‘I just sit and hope’: A Sierra Leonean mother’s refugee story



Standing in the drizzle outside the Tunis office of the International Organization for Migration, Saffiatu Mansaray is staring down at her swollen stomach.

On the other side of the alley, her husband works alongside other undocumented people, building a plastic-covered wooden shelter for refugees whose stay in Tunis is continuing with no end in sight.

The couple have come to Tunisia from Sierra Leone and are hoping to get to Europe. But the longer they remain stuck here, the more anxious Saffiatu, 32, is growing about her pregnancy.

“I am seven months gone,” she says, one hand resting protectively on her belly. “I have been here since February.”

Before embarking on a journey she knew could be lethal, she left two children in Sierra Leone’s capital, Freetown, with an aunt. The memory is still fresh in her mind.

Saffiatu and her husband have found other difficulties in Tunisia. They were living in the port city of Sfax until a couple of months ago when the police came for them. She’s not sure when that was exactly.

“The police catch us and take us to the desert,” she says. “They will come again.”

That was the second time Saffiatu found herself on the Tunisian-Algerian border after crossing from Sierra Leone, which she left with her husband in November.

This time, she, her husband and the others who were herded onto a bus by the Tunisian security services in Sfax found themselves alone and vulnerable to gangs of “bad boys” she says operate in the forest near Tunisia’s northern border with Algeria. These gangs prey on refugees, asylum seekers and migrants, stealing their phones and any money or valuables they have with them.

“We walked back by foot [from the Algerian border]. Some people die. Some people get sick,” she says with a passive shrug. She describes how the group was later intercepted on their journey by the police before being returned to the border. “I got sick,” she says. “I had pains all over, under my stomach. This was three weeks ago. It was cold.”

Saffiatu’s parents still live in Freetown. Her father, who is 70, is too frail to work in construction any longer. Saffiatu says she would like to send money back, but with no work available to her or her husband in Tunis and a baby on the way, there is none to spare. “I sit over there and beg. Every day I beg. I will tell them, ‘Mon ami, ca va?’ [‘How are you, my friend?’] Some people give me one dinar, some two dinars [33 or 65 United States cents]. So for the day, I survive.”

On the other side of the alley, a rough shelter is beginning to take shape. The wood has been salvaged from construction sites and repurposed pallets and is being wrapped in thick black plastic that those living in the cold alley have pooled their meagre resources to buy.

“If God grants me the wish, I will continue to Europe. There is no work for any of us here,” Saffiatu says. “Up until now, I see no doctor, no nurse, nothing. I just sit and hope.”

This article is the first of a five-part series of portraits of refugees from different countries, with diverse backgrounds, bound by shared fears and hopes as they enter 2024.


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How Nigerian Embassy In Chad Donates Relief Materials To Baga Sola Refugee Camp To Mark 63rd Independence Anniversary



The Embassy of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in the Republic of Chad, has donated relief materials worth millions of naira to Dar Salam Refugee Camp Baga-Sola, Republic of Chad, to mark the occasion of Nigeria’s 63rd Independence Anniversary.

The Ambassador of Nigeria to the Republic of Chad, Ambassador Lami Sauda Remawa-Ahmed and the Nigerian delegation, visited Dar Salam refugee camp Baga-Sola to make the donations on Thursday 5th October 2023.

According to the Ambassador, the Nigerian government will continue to work with and support the government of Chad in all its efforts towards hosting refugees displaced by insecurity in the Lake Chad, including providing relief materials, making them self-reliant and restoring their dignity by ensuring their return home.

“I am most delighted to have this opportunity to visit the Dar Salam Refugee Camp in Baga-Sola and address you on the severe humanitarian challenge we are collectively facing, with respect to the displacement of our people living in the Lake Chad Region, due to insurgency and widespread terrorist activities in the region. The refugee issue is a global challenge requiring a multipronged approach to resolve.

“We come to you in the spirit of Nigeria’s 63rd Independence anniversary, with a message of hope. We, the Nigerian Embassy in N’djamena, Chad are reaching out to you this day as part of the activities marking Nigeria’s liberation from colonial rule some 63 years ago on the 1st of October 1960,” she said.

“Let me leave you with some words of encouragement from the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Nigeria, His Excellency President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, on the occasion of Nigeria’s 63rd Independence. The President acknowledges the hardships many Nigerians face and has reaffirmed his concerns for the plight of the poor masses. Mr. President stated, and I quote, “To endure, our home must be constructed on safe and pleasant ground. This new administration has instituted some reforms which may be painful, but is what greatness and the future require as we must now carry the costs of reaching a future Nigeria where the abundance and fruits of the nation are fairly shared among all.” He reiterated his vow to Nigerians, to “serve the people with all conscientiousness as one who will not erect our national home on a foundation of mud. A Nigeria where hunger, poverty and hardship are pushed into the shadows of an ever fading past”. Ambassador Remawa-Ahmed conveyed President Tinubu’s reaffirmation of according the highest priority to the safety and security of Nigerians, and his acknowledgment and commendation of the sacrifices of the military forces.

“The Nigerian Government is working tirelessly in collaboration with the Republic of Chad, other neighboring countries, UNHCR, CNARR and other regional and national agencies, to improve your quality of life and facilitate your resettlement back home.

“Today, we come with a little token to assist in addressing some of your basic needs, which include food items and essential supplies. It is hoped that these relief materials will provide you with some immediate succor while all hands remain on deck to reach a lasting solution to the challenge at hand.”

The Ambassador commended the government of Chad for accommodating a large number of refugees of different nationalities within the Chadian territory.

She said: “Chad, is currently hosting about 1.1 million forcibly displaced persons in its territory. This act shows the Chadian Government’s magnanimity in its policy of accepting and catering for refugees from neighboring countries despite the huge financial, logistic and social strain this large number of refugees pose to the Country.” 

Amongst the refugees accommodated in Chad, are about 14,000 Nigerians displaced from their local communities due to insecurity in the Northeastern part of the country. These Nigerian refugees and a host of others from different neighbouring countries have over the years, been accommodated and catered for by the Chadian government and people.”

“The Federal Republic of Nigeria most sincerely appreciates the Government of Chad and our Chadian brothers and sisters, for their good neighborliness and unwavering support to Nigeria as we work hand in hand to address this menace of insurgency and insecurity, as well as the resulting humanitarian challenge of displaced persons.”

Remawa-Ahmed extolled the efforts of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the Chadian National Commission for the Reception and Reintegration of Refugees and Returnees (CNARR). Both organizations are dedicated to saving lives, protecting the rights of the defenseless, and building a better future for those forced to flee their homes due to conflict and persecution.

She stressed that the efforts of the organizations in Chad to support refugees fleeing violence in neighboring countries are remarkable.

“We appreciate your efforts and reiterate the willingness of the Nigerian government to work with you to ameliorate the suffering of these refugees and find a lasting solution to their plight with a view to their relocation and resettlement to their communities of origin.”

Speaking further at the outreach, the Ambassador acknowledged the efforts of the Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC) under the leadership of the Executive Secretary, Ambassador Mamman Nuhu, and the MNJTF, for their tireless efforts in addressing the security and socio-economic challenges of the region. The LCBC, which comprises 6 countries: Cameroon, Niger, Nigeria, Chad, Central African Republic and Libya, is mandated to manage the waters of the Lake Chad and other transboundary water resources, in a sustainable and equitable way, as well as promote regional integration and safeguarding peace and security in the Lake Chad Basin.

“Every good team is only as good as its leadership. Suffice to say that today’s humanitarian outreach is possible because of the overwhelming support of the Force Commander Multi-National Joint Task Force – Major General Ibrahim Sallau Ali. I want to extend my unreserved appreciation and gratitude for your admirable leadership of the MNJTF and your generosity and support in making this event possible. Your support has been key in enabling us provide some succor to our fellow brothers and sisters most in need of our assistance.”

The soft-spoken Ambassador also appreciated the donors of the relief materials.

“I wish to recognize and appreciate our donors who contributed generously to providing these relief materials today. Marketing Concepts International (MCI) – Nigeria, Homes and Gardens – Nigeria, the Defense section and my beloved officers and staff of the Embassy of Nigeria in N’Djamena, Chad, my personal assistant, family members and friends” she concluded.

Reacting to the relief materials, several Nigerians in the Dar es Salam Refugee Camp, praised the Nigerian delegation and government for the honour of the visit, the humanitarian assistance and the message of hope, while pleading to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu for more effort to return them to their homes in Nigeria.

MNJTF – Force Commander, Major General Ali, commended the Ambassador and her staff for the impactful initiative.

“We are very happy with her for this gesture because it is also going to assist us in our operations in trying to ensure that we bring an end to terrorism and insurgency in the Lake Chad region. The initiative may not solve all their problems, but it will certainly show our displaced brothers and sisters that the authorities in Nigeria are very concerned about them. It will also renew their hope, as Her Excellency has promised to take their message back home to Nigeria for sustained and lasting solutions to terrorism, insurgency and the Refugee crisis.”


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Nigerians Hail Traditional Ruler Over Empowerment In Chad



His Royal Majesty Eze Prince Nnamdi Uhuaba has been commended for his humanitarian exercise among Nigerians in the Republic of Chad.

As a Nigerian, he has promoted peace and co-existence beyond his domains in the neighboring Republic of Chad.

Prince Nnamdi Uhuaba, who hails from Abia state, was chosen by the members of the Igbo Community meeting and crowned as the Eze Igbo Gburu Gburu in Chad and Eze Aha-Mba 1 of the Igbo Community in Chad, by the Sultan of N’Djamena Chad, His Majesty Muhamad Muhamad Kachallah Kasser, who is an official of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Speaking in the press, Chief Collins Onuoha, the spokesperson of the Igbo Community in Chad, expressed his appreciation for the humane actions of the traditional ruler. He stated that the ruler’s efforts have brought unity among the Nigerians in his community, Chadians, and other immigrants residing in the country.

According to Onuoha, HRM has been a great help to Nigerians living in Chad. He has formed cordial relationships with the Chadian authorities to ensure that Nigerians are not harassed. As a result, Nigerians are able to work and conduct their businesses without any hindrance. His installation as the ruler has been widely praised by Nigerians residing in the country.

“He’s a person who cares about the happiness of everyone around him irrespective of their background. He responds to issues that matter and is loved by his community, especially the Chadians. The government has commended him for his empowering gestures and he was crowned by the Sultan to the joy of everyone in Chad. Mention his name to any Hausa or Yoruba person in the market, and they will tell you more about him.”

Usman Malik, a Nigerian business merchant in Chad, believes he deserves recognition from the Nigerian government for his representation of Nigerians as traditional ruler.

“He’s greatly admired for his non-tribalistic approach and efforts towards peace and stability. He’s also known for his philanthropic acts in providing aid and putting smiles on people’s faces.”

Part of his humanitarians gestures were during the embattled COVID-19 that took millions of lives and the recent flood that ravage lives and properties.


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