Ortom cries out, says Benue govt overwhelmed by over one million IDPs
By Peter Duru – Makurdi
No fewer than 17 persons have been reportedly killed by suspected armed herdsmen militia in a coordinated attack on Tse Ukor, Tse Gborigyo and Tse Uhembe communities all in Mbayer-Yandev Council Ward of Guma Local Government Area, LGA, of Benue state.
The attack on the said communities which occurred late Friday and the early hours of Saturday also left many injured and hospitalized.
In his account of the incident, former Speaker of the Benue State House of Assembly, Mr. Dave Iorhemba who is an indigene of Yogbo, Mbayer-Yandev Council Ward told newsmen yesterday at Tse Uikpam, Guma LGA that the attacks on the communities were mindless and unprovoked.
According to him “in the last couple of weeks, there have been series of attacks in some particular areas like Tse – Ukor where scores were killed and at Tse – Gborigyo where 7 people were killed and several others injured and taken to the hospital for treatment.
“For now the number of persons we have counted that were killed between Friday and today is up to 17 and some are badly injured and are receiving treatment in the hospital.
“We want to thank Governor Ortom who has assisted in the payment of the medical bills of those who were injured.”
Lamenting the looming food scarcity and overbearing humanitarian crisis in the state, the former Speaker said, “there is a huge, huge humanitarian crisis and food security challenge in the state as I can see because once the farmers cannot go back and do their farming activities and they cannot go back to their ancestral homes, the food crisis is imminent.
“There is no food anywhere apart from the foodstuff that Government stockpiled and are distributing to the IDPs. There is no other food anywhere. If the government is distributing foodstuff, does it end there? The people must participate in farming activities to produce food massively which we used to do in Benue state until herdsmen starting sacking our people from the ancestral homes,” he said.
Meanwhile, Governor Samuel Ortom has appealed to the federal government, local and international donors, NGOs, and spirited individuals to assist the state government to provide support to close to one million Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs, in the state.
The Governor who made the appeal Saturday at the Tse Uikpam IDPs camp Guma LGA where he celebrated his 60th. birthday with over 27,000 IDPs lamented that the state had been overwhelmed by IDPs and the state government lacked the resources to cater for their needs.
The Governor said it was becoming difficult for him to sleep because of the situation stressing that the development compelled him to halt most of the activities by individuals, groups, and friends to accord him an elaborate birthday celebration.
“How can I have any kind of celebration without my people who are trapped in the IDPs camps? That is why I have come here to celebrate and identity with you and also plead with the federal government to fulfill its promise of resettling the IDPs in their ancestral homes.
“These are people sacked from their homes by marauding herdsmen who are still attacking and killing our people raping our women and maiming our people. But I know for sure that someday there will be judgment for them.
“As the Governor of the state, I also see myself as an IDP. I am directly and indirectly affected and I pray every day to God for justice which will surely be served some day,” the Governor said.
Efforts to reach the State Police Public Relations Officer, Deputy Superintendent, DSP, Catherine Anene failed as the call put to her phone was not responded to.