The Benue State Government at the weekend raised an alarm over imminent food crisis unless the challenges of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in various camps across the state were urgently addressed.
Executive Secretary of State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), Dr. Emmanuel Shior, made the observation during an interactive session with newsmen in Makurdi.
Shior said it became necessary to sound the alarm as “most of the IDPs are farmers who have been chased out of their ancestral lands occasioned by herders attacks for over two years now.
“The herders are the reason why the IDPs are in camps and till date, there are still pockets of attacks around Torkula and Idyer in Guma, Moor in Kwande, as well as some communities in Agatu and Logo,” he said.
The SEMA boss said it was worrisome that the state has over 500,000 IDPs in eight designated camps across the state alongside others scattered in makeshift shelters in relatives homes while the state government continues to spend so much to fend for them.
He explained that, “we have spent billions of naira in taking care of the IDPs since 2018. We have eight official camps housing over 500,000 IDPs in those camps.”
He however added that Governor Samuel Ortom had put in place the IDPs disengagement plans to ensure the safe return of the IDPs to their homes, noting that with the high number of IDPs in the state, it would be difficult to just close down the camps, especially as there were still pockets of attacks and their deserted homes not safe for return.
Shior appealed to the federal government, international donor partners as well as well-meaning individuals and corporate organizations to come to the aid of the state in that regard, stressing the need for the federal government to release the N10billion that was promised to Benue among other states for the resettlement of the IDPs.