By Peter Duru
Indications emerged Tuesday that over 41 inmates at the Abagena Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs, camp in the outskirts of Makurdi town lost their lives since the camp was opened in 2018.
The camp which is one of the 22 official and unofficial camps housing persons displaced by herdsmen crisis in the state also recorded 69 new births within the same period.
Benue State Emergency Management Agency, SEMA, official who doubles as the Camp Manager, Mr. James Iorkyaa who made the disclosure at the camp said 8,210 IDPs were currently taking refuge in the camp.
Iorkyaa explained that majority of the dead were aged and elderly who got into the camp at the heat of the crisis in 2018.
The Camp Manager observed that the IDPs had become eager to return to their ancestral homes but regretted that the hope of their return may be hanging in the balance if nothing was done to stop the recent influx of herdsmen into Guma Local Government Area, LGA of the state.
The herdsmen are now coming more and more into most of the villages in Guma LGA with their cattle in their numbers in search of greener pasture as a result of the dry season.
“They have not attacked anybody but farms are being destroyed. Some of the areas they have occupied includes Torkula, Umenger, Kasiyor communities and the recent one is Uvii council ward.”
“That is why we are not in support of the plan by the federal government to withdraw troops of Operation Whirl Stroke from Benue. We advise that before the withdrawal government should ensure that the people are resettled in their ancestral homes in secured environment.”