*Buhari doesn’t need to visit crisis area – Presidency
*Peace is returning – Council boss

By Levinus Nwabughiogu,  Peter Duru  and Abiodun Alade

The representative of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to Nigeria and Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Mrs. Angele Dikongue Atangana, says the attacks  in Agatu local government area of Benue State by suspected  militia  left the area in total  ruin.

Atangana, led on the tour of the area by Ezekiel Adaji, the Deputy Chairman, House of Representatives  Committee on Internally Displaced Persons, Refugees and North East Development Initiative, also described the damage as unimaginable.

The UN representative, who stated that the plight of Agatu people deserved national and international attention, stressed that it would be difficult for the affected people to rebuild their communities without external help.

“In my 20 years of working as a humanitarian, I have never seen such a level of destruction. If steps are not taken, the crisis can affect the country as a whole,” she said.

agatu3She noted that the damage to Agatu  was similar to what was happening in the North-East, and assured that her agency would aid in the rehabilitation of the displaced persons.

Addressing the Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs, at the Ugbokpo camp,  Atangana disclosed that the UN body  had donated non-food items worth over N20 million to the IDPs, stating that the items were  with the State Emergency Management Agency, SEMA, in Makurdi.

Meanwhile, the Presidency has dismissed the calls for President Muhammadu Buhari to visit Agatu, saying he needed not  to be physically present to do his job.

The President spoke through the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, during a session with Osasu Igbinedion on “The Osasu Show,” aired on  the African Independent Television, AIT.

In any case, Adesina reminded Nigerians that the Presidency had issued a statement on Agatu killings detailing the position of  Buhari.

Also, yesterday, the Chairman of  Agatu Local Government Area, Mr Joseph Ngbede, claimed that normalcy had  returned to the area.

Ngbede, who spoke to Sunday Vanguard on  phone, said  residents  were returning home.

“I don’t stay in Makurdi. I am in Agatu. I can say there are no more attacks and the people are returning home,” he said.

He said that, although  the suspected Fulani attackers  come from neighbouring Nasarawa State, he is not aware of the owner of the cows.

Last week, a  meeting of Benue socio-cultural groups and religious leaders  had flayed Buhari, army, and  police chiefs, as well as  Governor Samuel Ortom for failing to visit Agatu and other besieged Benue communities after the attacks.

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