By Sunday Ogli
BENUE state government has appealed to the federal government to fulfill its promise of resettling those displaced as a result of attacks by suspected herdsmen in the state.
Recall that the Vice President Yemi Osinbanjo, during his visit to the state in May 15, 2018, to access the condition of the internally displaced persons, the IDPs said the federal government would build some units of houses in Guma, Agatu and Logo Local Government Areas to resettle the IDPs.
However, seven months after the visit, Executive Secretary of the Benue SEMA Emmanuel Shior during a chat with newsmen in Makurdi yesterday, disclosed that nothing has been done by the federal government for the IDPs majority of whom are still living in the camps.
Shior said the governor of Benue state, Samuel Ortom, after the visit of the Vice President even took the DG of National Emergency Management Agency NEMA who visited in connection with the resettlement project to Gbajimba and donated a large parcel of land for the purpose.
He said though the Commander of Operation Whirl Stroke OPWS, Major General Adeyemi Yekini had approached the governor to close down camps for the IDPs to return home, stakeholders kicked against the suggestion since there were huge humanitarian issues that needed to be tackled before they could return home.
According to him, stakeholder during the state security council meeting argued that the camp could not just be closed down because there was perceived security presence in the affected communities.
“Most of the IDPs in the camps don’t have homes, their homes, farms and other property were destroyed so if you close a camp because you think there is relative peace where will the IDPs return to. We must have to address those challenges before closing down the camps.
“For instance, federal government visited Benue through the Vice President Osinbanjo and promised to construct housing units as part of the resettlement plan and since then we have not heard from them.
“The housing units were supposed to be constructed in three local governments, namely Guma, Logo and Agatu. The governor of Benue state even took the DG of NEMA who visited in this regard to Gbajimba and he (governor Ortom) donated a large parcel of land for that purpose. But nothing has been done so, we told the Commander that the housing units for the IDPs have to be put in place too,” Shior add.