The Benue State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) has said there were no plans yet to shut down the Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs camps in the state.
SEMA’s Executive Secretary, Emmanuel Shior, in an interview with newsmen in Makurdi said the idea to close the camps and send the people home would, at least, be put on hold between now and January next year.
Shior said the decision was considered from the humanitarian point of view because the displaced people had no home or farms to return to, adding that the agency will begin to distribute assorted relief materials to IDPs in the state preparatory to Christmas celebrations at its headquarters in Makurdi.
He said that though, the commander of the Operations Whirl Stroke, (OPWS), General Adeyemi Yekini, had approached Governor Samuel Ortom requesting the closure of IDP camps in the state, the request was considered inappropriate due to enormous humanitarian challenges confronting the state.
“The governor invited General Yekini and other stakeholders including civil society organisations, domestic and international NGOs to a state security meeting to also consider the request and at the meeting, it was advised that camps should remain opened pending when certain things are put in place because you don’t just close camps because you think that security has improved in some places.
“From the humanitarians perspective, you have to put certain measures in place before you can ask them to go back.”