Insecurity: Benue records 18,000 IDPs in April

ABOUT 18,000 people have been displaced since the beginning of April following recent attacks on some communities in Benue State.

The Executive Secretary of the Benue State Emergency and Management Agency (SEMA) Emmanuel Shior, made this known on Tuesday, April 25, during the distribution of relief materials to some Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the state.

According to Shior, Benue has continued to be under siege for a long time, adding that recent killings in the state have added to the burden of taking care of the IDPs.

He stressed that 8,000 people are currently camped in Adoka of Otukpo Local Government Area, while another 10,000 people are taking refuge in Ugbokpo, headquarters of Apa LGA.

Shior appealed to the Federal Government through the National Emergency Management Agency, the National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons and other partners to further help in lessening the state’s burden.

“They should do more to increase their support. Federal Government should do more to support the state to put in place plans to return the IDPs as they are tired of staying in camps and in the host communities for over five years. Public spirited individuals should also help us.”

Items distributed include 3500 bags of rice, 800 bags of beans (100kg),10000 cartons of indomie,1800 bags of garri, 600 bags of salt, 600 cartons of Maggie and 10000 tubers of yams.

The ICIR reports that about 5,138 people were killed and 18 local government areas attacked by suspected herdsmen under Governor Samuel Ortom’s administration as of March 13, according to figures released by SEMA.

The ICIR also reported that the Presidency and Benue State governor Samuel Ortom traded blames over the killings in the state.

The Presidency, in a statement released on Wednesday, April 19, by the Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to the President, Garba Shehu, labelled Ortom ‘incompetent’ as a result of the lingering insecurity in the state.

Shehu, in the statement, said President Muhammadu Buhari should not be held responsible for the attacks on Benue people.

He explained that the Buhari administration had taken several steps to tackle the killings in Benue, noting that more results would have been achieved if Ortom had cooperated.



    However, Ortom, while reacting to the statement, said the Presidency’s attempts to twist events and history in Benue is “unfortunate and reprehensible”.

    He also described Buhari as a failure, noting that he was not able to secure the country.

    According to Ortom, Buhari endorses the killings in Benue State.

    “Shehu Garba’s infantile statement on the security situation in Benue State has once again confirmed our position that the killings, mass murder in Benue has the full endorsement of the Buhari government. It also goes to confirm that the presidential spokesman does not only speak for Buhari but for some terrorist groups too,” he said.

    Usman Mustapha is a solution journalist with International Centre for Investigative Reporting. You can easily reach him via: [email protected]. He tweets @UsmanMustapha_M

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