By Peter Duru
Makurdi – ActionAid Nigeria has donated N3million worth of relief materials to persons displaced by herdsmen crisis in Benue state currently taking refuge at the Abagena Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs, camp in the outskirts of Makurdi, the state capital.
Making the donation directly to the IDPs in the camp, ActionAid Nigeria Country Director, Mrs. Ene Obi, represented by the State Programme Coordinator, Mr. Godwin Agia said the gesture was the organization’s modest contribution to provide succor to the displaced persons.
Mrs. Obi said, “We are here to identify with the marginalized and excluded in the society, ActionAid Nigeria as an organization is actually concerned about ending poverty. ActionAid Nigeria as an organization is also concerned about women, children and people with disability. And based on this cardinal objectives, we are here in Abagena IDPs camp to identity with this group of IDPs who have been here since January due to the security situation in Benue state.
“We are here to support them, improve their livelihoods in terms of humanitarian response. We had identified some of their needs including food, beddings and others and that is what we have brought to the camp.
“We are extending support to groups of women, children and the handicapped we have deemed it necessary to actually support their welfare. That is why our organization is here today to see how we can impact the lives of the vulnerable in the society which basically is targeted at ending poverty in Nigeria.
“So in this intervention we brought about 380 mattresses, 350 bags of rice, 436 packs of sanitary pads, 341 packs of diapers for babies, five sets of baby bath, five cartons of baby food, 436 packs of bar soaps for washing and personal hygiene use and we also brought 15 sets of chairs for use by officials of the State Emergency Management Agency, SEMA, in the camp.
Continuing, Mrs. Obi said, “We discovered that SEMA officials are in dire need of chairs in their waiting lounge. So they need the support to enable the officials properly coordinate the camp. Everything you see here is worth almost N3million.
“And for the beneficiaries, the women and children, based on our country strategic objectives for this particular year, we want to see a society where poverty is actually eliminated.
“We want social Justice to end poverty, and so with that we have actually come up with this strategy to ensure humanitarian respond to the plight of IDPs in this camp.
“I must also point out that these items are all donated and given by ActionAid Nigeria. Funds were pulled out from the purse of the organization to ensure that we affect the lives of the less privileged and beneficiaries. It is in fact an organizational effort to ensure that we affect and impact the less privileged in the society.
“And to ensure that the materials get directly to the beneficiaries, we are not handing them over to SEMA or camp coordinators to distribute. We are actually doing direct beneficiaries distribution. We want to document the people who are collecting these materials. We had earlier done the documentation of beneficiaries and as we give out we mark the names and we are not distributing by proxy.”
In her speech, the Director Child, Benue state Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development, Mrs. Ann Yaji, represented by the Assistant Director Child Development, Mrs. Mwuese Tule commended the efforts of ActionAid Nigeria and appealed to other public spirited individuals and organizations to emulate them.
She said, “with this intervention, we can all see how euphoric the beneficiaries are. Governor Samuel Ortom, through the Ministry has been extending support to the IDPs, to make them feel happy and also give them a sense of belonging.
“But we all know that the intervention from the State government can never be enough, that is why this intervention from ActionAid Nigeria is timely.
“We would also want to appeal to the Federal Government to come to the aid of the IDPs and more importantly the federal government has to ensure that the displaced persons return to their ancestral homes because the life in camp is no doubt difficult and no matter the support we give them, they all earnestly desire to return home.”
On his part, the Camp Manager, James Iorkyaa, commended ActionAid Nigeria for extending support to the vulnerable women and children noting that the relief materials would go a long way to ameliorate the sufferings of the beneficiaries.
Iorkyaa said, “when officials of the organization came earlier to do the documentation we never thought they would come back, but they are here today to clear our doubts that they meant business and are serious with issues of providing succor to less privileged women and child. We deeply appreciate the gesture.”
One of the beneficiaries and mother of newly born triplets, Mrs. Monica Tarkoso who was moved to tears as she received the relief materials thanked ActionAid Nigeria for their care and show of love.