December 17, 2019

IHCR decries condition of 480,000 Benue IDPs

IHRC urges INEC to sustain success recorded in Edo election

Appeals to FG to quickly resettle them

By Peter Duru – Makurdia

The International Human Rights Commission, IHRC, has appealed to the Federal Government to quickly take steps to resettle the over 480,000 persons displaced by the herdsmen crisis in Benue state who are currently taking refuge in official and unofficial Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs camps scattered across the state.

The High Commissioner of IHRC, Ambassador Haissam Bou-Said made the appealed yesterday while conferring on Governor Samuel Ortom the “Pride of Africa and Mandela Medal for Long Walk to Freedom” award in Makurdi.

Ambassador Bou-Said cautioned that the IDPs had become vulnerable and exposed to greater danger owing to their continuous stay in the camps and appealed to the federal government to quickly take steps to help them return home.

READ ALSO: IHRC honours Ortom with “Pride of Africa and Mandela Medal for Long Walk to Freedom”

He said his delegation had visited three sites including the mass grave in Genabe where 73 victims of the 2018 New Year’s Day killings were buried, Ayati Pilgrimage ground where two Catholic Priests and 17 parishioners killed in Mbalom were buried including the Abagena IDPs camp in the outskirts of Makurdi town.

“At the IDPs camp, we saw that the displaced persons are in need and in pains though we gathered that the Governor is taking care of them with support from other organizations but they need to be helped to return back to their ancestral homes.

“That responsibility, however, is not that of state government. It is the responsibility of the federal government. In that regard as I go back I will communicate what I saw and witnessed in the state to the office of the Secretary-General of the United Nations for necessary action,” Ambassador Bou-Said stated.

He explained that “Governor Ortom was nominated for the award without his prior knowledge after intensive scrutiny and was adjudged to lead a selfless life in defense of his people and also committed to humanitarian issues.”

According to him, “the award which is the most prestigious award for humanitarian activism by the United Nations would spur the governor to do more for the people.”

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Receiving the medal Governor Ortom dedicated it to those who lost their lives in the struggle to prevent the invaders from overrunning state and those displaced in the crisis.

He expressed appreciation to all those who stood by him and people of the state during the struggle especially the media, Middle Belt Forum, Ohaneze Ndigbo, South-South Forum, Afenifere and all Nigerians of goodwill.

Wife of the Governor, Dr. Eunice Ortom was equally honoured for standing by her husband while the Speaker of the Benue State Assembly, Mr. Titus Uba bagged the award for making legislations that protected the rights of the people.