By Sunday Ogli, Makurdi
BENUE ethnic leaders, under the aegis of Mdzough U Tiv, Ochetoha K’Idoma and Omi Ny’ Igede have criticized the indifference and lack of support of the federal government to the plight of over 280,000 persons displaced by herdsmen crisis in the state.
The leaders regretted that despite the magnitude of sufferings and anguish the victims of the crisis have been subjected to over the last 11 months, the federal government through its agency, the National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA, have failed to extend support to the Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs.
The leaders who spoke yesterday when they visited the Daudu IDPs camp in Guma Local Government Area to donate relief materials to the victims expressed shock when they learnt that NEMA only visited the state once in January since the crisis broke out.
Leader of the group and President of Mdzough U Tiv, Chief Edward Ujege, also appealed to the federal government to fulfill its pledge to rebuild the destroyed homes and communities of the victims to ease their eventual return back home.
According to Chief Ujege, “we no doubt commend the efforts of the military Operation Whirl Stroke to restore peace in the state, but more needs to be done.
“The destroyed communities and homes of the people which the federal government promised to rebuild is yet to be accomplished, that is one of the reasons why the people are still trapped in the camps because they have no homes to return to.”
On his part, the National President of Ochetoha K’Idoma, Chief Amali Adoya Amali said the people of the state were determined in their resolve to ensure the implementation and enforcement of the open grazing prohibition law and urged any group doing business in the state to respect the law.
“It is only by so doing that we will enjoy the benefits of the law, and there would be peaceful coexistence amongst the people,” Amali said.
Receiving the items on behalf of the State Emergency Management Agency, SEMA the camp coordinator, Miss Angela Omirigbe assured that it would be judiciously distributed among the IDPs.
Omirigbe appealed to public spirited individuals and organizations to extend more support to the displaced persons in the camp whose figure recently increased from the initial 24,000 to over 40,000 following the closure and relocation of some camps in adjoining communities.
Also speaking, Chairman of the camp, Philip Umase who lauded the leadership of the three ethnic groups for remembering them in their time of need lamented that they were tired of staying in the came and appealed to the federal government to fulfill it pledge of rebuilding their destroyed homes to enable them return to their communities.
Among items donated to the camp were 20 bags of rice, 10 bags of Semolina, two cartons of groundnut oil, one carton of Maggi and a carton of soap.