…state government cry for help to cater for over one million IDPs
By Peter Duru, Makurdi
Indications have emerged that over 107,130 children have been sacked from Benue communities by armed herders in the year 2021 alone.
The children are currently taking refuge in various Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs, camps and IDPs host communities located in six Local Government Areas, LGAs, of the state.
According to official records obtained from the State Emergency Management Agency, SEMA, in Makurdi, the children were classified into two categories including those that fall within the ages of zero to five years and those of six to 17 years.
The records indicated that a total of 42,885 of the children fall within the ages of zero to five years while the figure of those between the ages of five to 17 years stood at 64,245.
A further breakdown of the records indicated that Uikpam camp, Yogbo, Udei, Ortese Umenger and Yelwata communities in Guma LGA of the state are home to 49,751 of the children.
Naka, Aondoana and Tyoughtee communities in Gwer West LGA are playing host to 24,293 of the children while a total of 10,031 of the children are taking refuge in Atson and Anter communities in Makurdi LGA.
Also, Tse Agure and Tse Akau Akpor communities in Logo LGA have a total of 4,434 displaced children while communities like Okokolo, Obagaji, Aila, Odugbeho and Oweto is playing host to a total of 16,811 of the children sacked from their homes by the armed herdsmen.
Meanwhile, the aforementioned figures are aside the 1,052 children displaced in Ukpute community in Oju LGA and the 8,366 displaced in six communities of Gungul, Agidi, Aku, Adoka, Bonta, Gbinde Tse Anyon and Guleya in Konshisha LGA as a result of the recent crisis and consequent military operation in the communities.
Speaking on the fate of the children, the Executive Secretary of Benue SEMA, Dr Emmanuel Shior said the state government was doing its best to provide minimum comfort for their stress, “but I must confess to you that the state government has been overwhelmed and overstretched.
“With over one million IDPs at the moment, Benue state is carrying a burden that is beyond its capacity considering the lean resources available to the government.
“We are appealing to good spirited individuals and organizations including the local and international community to look into our plight and come to our rescue because the IDPs situation is beyond us,” he added.