By Peter Duru – Makurdi
Benue state government have flagged off the distribution of essential food items, ahead of the Christmas celebrations, to over 1,597,000 Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs, in several official and unofficial camps located across the state.
Performing the exercise on Wednesday at the premises of the Benue State Emergency Management Agency, SEMA, in Makurdi on behalf of Governor Samuel Ortom, the Executive Secretary of the Agency, Dr. Emmanuel Shior lamented that the state government was struggle with the huge burden of providing for the IDPs.
He explained that a total of 4,800 bags of rice, about 3,000 cartoons of Noddles, 200 cans of five liters palm oil and 300 bags of salt would be distributed to the IDPs for now.
He disclosed that the IDPs would also receive intervention from an NGO, the Church of Christ of the Latter Days Saint who brought in bags of rice and garri for distribution in the various camps.
According to him, “we are taking the food intervention to the camps in Abagena, Daudu 1 and 3, Uikpam, Gbajimba and Anyiin including the newly created camp in Gbajimba opposite Government Science School, known as Gbajimba 2, Guma Local Government Area, LGA.
“We are also going to Ortese, Udei also in Guma LGA. We will reach Gwer West LGA where we have three camps in Naka, Aondona and Agagbe. We have also sent the food items to the camps in Kwande LGA.
“We hope that we will expand and reach out to other areas because we have IDPs in Agatu LGA and we have some of them that were recently displaced in part of Otukpo LGA as well.”
Explaining why the IDPs were still trapped in the camps, the Executive Secretary said, “the challenges that led them to the camps are still there. The challenge of insecurity, the challenge of attacks on the farming rural communities leading to the displacement over the over 1.597million IDPs as we have at the mement.
“So that challenge has not been addressed by the federal government. It is a challenge that Benue state government alone cannot address because it is a challenge of security.”
Dr. Shior noted that the agency, in a bid to keep proper record of the IDPs situation in the state had been working closely with organizations and critical stakeholders like the UNDP, UNHCR, the National Bureau of Statistics including domestic Non Governmental Organizations, NGOs, to continuously validate and update data of the IDPs in the state.