Rose Ejembi, Makurdi
The Benue State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) has said that thousands of those who were displaced by the Fulani incursions into the state in 2018 have still remained in Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps because their villages are still not safe for them to return to.
Executive Secretary of the Agency, Emmanuel Shior disclosed this to newsmen on Thursday while distributing food and non food items to designated IDP camps across the state.
While noting that most of the villages affected by the Fulani invasion are still not safe for the villagers to return to, the SEMA boss said some IDPs who made efforts to return home in the past couldn’t stay because they were either chased away by the herdsmen or killed.
“Government has continued to appeal to the president to address the issue of insecurity in rural areas. Some places are still not safe. Sometimes, when the IDPs try to return home, they are chased away by the herdsmen or even killed.”
He posited further that the resettlement homes that was promised by the federal government through Vice President Yemi Osinbajo to assist those who were affected by the invasion was yet to be built.
“We are yet to see the infrastructures the federal government promised to build in the state. The Vice President promised that the federal would build resettlement homes but up till now, we haven’t seen anything. Even the N10 billion promise to help resettle the victims is yet to be redeemed.”
Shior appealed to the President Muhammadu Buhari led federal government to fulfill its promise of building resettlement homes for the IDPs to enable the. Return to their ancestral homes as soon as possible.
He said the state government would continue to do its best to provide for the basic needs of the IDPs in designated camps in Logo, Guma, Makurdi, Gwer West and Kwande Local Government areas of the state.
Asked about the claim that eight persons have died as a result of hunger in Mbawa IDPS camp in Guma local government area, Shior said he was not aware of such development as the state government had only recently started giving attention to that camp.
He said since the Mbawa camp wasn’t one of the designated camps, the state government had initially asked the IDPs in that camp to move to the Abagana camp for proper accreditation and attention but they refused.
“We have only recently started giving attention to the Mbawa IDP camp and so, I wouldn’t know what happened there before we came in. The Mbawa IDP camp is relatively new there as they were elsewhere before now. Government had asked them to move but they refused. Now the governor has directed that SEMA should attend to them.”