Rose Ejembi, Makurdi
The International Human Rights Commission, (IHRC), has called on the Nigerian government to stop playing politics with the plight of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Benue State and ensure they return to their ancestral homes without further delays.
President of the Organization which is also, an affiliate of the United Nations (UN) Ambassador Bonsaid Housaid made the call on Monday night at the presentation of ‘Order of Pride of Africa/Nelson Mandela Award for Long Walk to Freedom conferred on Governor Samuel Ortom’ held at the Banquet Hall of Benue State Government House in Makurdi.
Housaid said his team had earlier went round sites of the burial of 73 persons who were allegedly killed by herdsmen in Makurdi, the grave site of the Mbalom 19 where two priests and 17 parishioners were buried in Ayati, Gwer local government area as well as the IDP camp in Abagana.
He frowned at the ugly situation of the inmates lamenting that a situation where the inmates are living without good food, clothing, water and security was not good at all.
“It is our duty to get the right feedback. The IDPs told us that they want to go back home. It is the responsibility of the Federal government to send them back home and to stop playing politics.
“We want to commend the Governor for his strides in the area of humanitarian services and issues. This award is meant to spur him to do more. He is the right man for this award”, Amb. Housaid said.
Also speaking, IHRC Coordinator for Africa, Mr. Innocent Akuhe said the Organization is amongst the six internationally recognized organizations that promote human rights activism, adding that IHRC the most respected in African content because it is the pride of the continent.
Akuhe noted that Governor Ortom has demonstrated firmness and rare courage in his stance against the invasion of Benue and killing of his people, a concept of the late Nelson Mandela of standing with the people to deserve the award.
“We are not merchants and this is not a commercial award. It was not lobbied or influenced. He was found fit as a freedom fighter who put his life and that of his wife on the line for the people. With this award, he has become an envoy of the UN”, the African coordinator maintained.
Responding, Governor Samuel Ortom dedicated the award to those who lost their lives in the struggle to stop the invaders from capturing the land, even as called on the Federal Government to help resettle the IDPs.
“I want to comment the media, all Nigerians especially the Socio cultural groups, Afenifere, Middle Belt Forum, Ohaneze Nd’Igbo and other religious bodies who stood with us to ensure that the invaders did not take us as slaves in our fatherland. I appreciate the IHRC for this wonderful gesture and pledge our readiness to partner with them to promote peace not only in Benue, Nigeria but other parts of the country”, Ortom enthused.