The Benue State Government on Wednesday called on the Federal Government to ensure the return of internally displaced persons to their ancestral homes.
The Executive Secretary of the State Emergency Management Agency, Dr Emmanuel Shior, made the call during the distribution of food items to the displaced persons in various camps across the state.
He noted that over 1.5 million people were in the various designated camps across the state.
Dr Shior further mentioned that the return of the internally displaced persons to their ancestral homes would avert a situation whereby some of them could be vulnerable and recruited into terrorist groups.
He maintained that the humanitarian crisis occasioned by frequent attacks on Benue villages by herders was colossal and devastating. He expressed disgust that the federal government was yet to extend enough palliative to the state as it was done in the North-East region.
He said, ”The IDPs have been with us for the past three years and there is a need to return them to their communities but some people for their parochial reasons are accusing Governor Ortom of being behind the killing which is not true. We don’t play politics with lives. The humanitarian crisis of IDPs is a big burden for the state. We spend hundreds of millions of naira every month to procure food items and other needs.
Dr Shior continued, “The Federal Government has not shown enough care and I am not playing politics about this, as we all know, the number of displaced persons is increasing by the day, we have over 1.5 million people in the eight camps the state officially opened and several camps are scattered in Naka, Agatu, Gbanjimba and host of others. In Kwande, there are over 2,000 refugees from Cameroon”.
The SEMA boss said that based on the governor’s directive, the activities of the agency would continue to be transparent, intimating that with this round of distribution, food items would be taken across to the teeming IDPs in various camps including; Abagana, Udei, Gbajimba, Ortese, Anyiin, Naka town, Agagbe, Aondoana as well as Tse-Yandev.