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Benue Catholic priest weeps over plight of IDPs

A Catholic priest, Very Rev. Fr. John Attah of Justice, Development and Peace under the Otukpo Catholic Diocese in Benue state could not hold back…

A Catholic priest, Very Rev. Fr. John Attah of Justice, Development and Peace under the Otukpo Catholic Diocese in Benue state could not hold back his tears at the weekend when he beheld the plight of the internally displaced persons from the crisis involving the Agatu people.
Father Attah told newsmen in Otukpo that the plight of those who have deserted their various homes as a result of the crisis between them and Fulani herders to take refuge at different places, including the Ochi’ Idoma square in Otukpo is pathetic.
“I shed tears when I saw old women running from their ancestral homes seeking refuge. It’s pathetic,” he said.
The clergy explained that the problem of the displaced people was even further compounded by the lack of coordination and poor camp management among humanitarian workers.
He noted that though the officials of the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA)  had paid on the spot assessment of the crisis with provision of some mattresses, mats, guinea corn and maize, the situation still requires further attention from National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and good spirited individuals.
Father Attah put the figure of the displaced persons at 7,000, adding that majority of the people in the camps are women, children, elderly men as well as expectant mothers.
Meanwhile, a non-governmental organisation known as Young Alhaji Foundation (YAF) has donated items worth millions of Naira to the Agatu Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) taking refuge at the Ochi’ Idoma palace in Otukpo, Benue state.
Daily Trust reports that renewed crisis between the Fulani cattle breeders and Agatu natives which erupted in the past two weeks has caused the displacement of thousands of families even as several people have been allegedly killed.
Presenting relief materials to over 2000 IDPs in Otukpo at the weekend, initiator of YAF, Alhaji Abubakar Usman popularly referred to as “Young Alhaji” said the gesture was meant to ameliorate the sufferings of the displaced people.
He sympathised with the displaced who were mainly women and children that deserted their villages at the wake of the deadly attacks on them by the unknown gunmen who repeatedly within the past one week unleashed terror in the riverine communities of the Idoma Agatu speaking people.
Usman urged the displaced people not to loose trust in God who alone is working to bring to an end the unfortunate fate that had be felled them and forced them out of their homes and familiar trade of fishing and farming to earn a living.
The items donated included, vegetable cooking oil, Palm oil, noodles, rice, toiletries, detergents and many other food condiments as well as sanitary wares.

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