Benue herdsmen crisis: Over 200 displaced in Okpokwu LGA attack ― SEMA boss
The recent attack on Igama hamlet in Okpokwu Local Government Area, LGA, of Benue state by suspected armed herders displaced at least 200 people.
It should be remembered that the Igama community was recently attacked by suspected armed herdsmen, resulting in the deaths of approximately 16 people and the displacement of numerous more, while many others were injured.
Dr. Emmanuel Shior, Executive Secretary of Benue State Emergency Management Agency, SEMA, made this known over the weekend while flagging off the monthly distribution of food and non-food items to Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs, in official and unofficial camps across the state, lamented that the attack had added to the burden of the state government.
Dr. Shior urged the Federal Government and international donors to pay attention to the state’s huge humanitarian catastrophe and to do everything possible to ensure the safe return of the over two million IDPs to their ancestral homes.
He said: “It is not our wish to keep the IDPs in the camps forever as a government that is responsive and responsible. But it requires the support of the Federal Government which is in charge of security agencies to assist the state government to achieve this by ensuring that the communities are secured enough for them to return. “Since that is yet to be done, we have taken it as a responsibility to provide food and other support to the IDPs. We will continue to provide food to them on a monthly basis. That is why we are here today and because we cannot abandon our people and allow them to die in hunger despite the indifference of the Federal Government.”
The Executive Secretary stated that the camps had registered close to 80 newborns in the last six months and that the government, in partnership with well-meaning agencies, was doing everything possible to guarantee that the newborns were well cared for.
“We have roughly 70 plus to 80 childbirths that have been recorded between January and now,” he said.
He listed 3000 bags of 25kg rice, 1000 bags of guinea corn, 1000 bags of maize, cartons of noodles, and 1000 bags of garri and beans for distribution to IDPs.
According to him, “our intention is to extend this month’s distribution to Okpokwu, recall that there were recent attacks in Okpokwu LGA, so we have displaced persons there too. We will be assisting around 200 people who have been displaced in that community.
“I am particularly drawing the attention of the international community and the Federal Government to the need to support the Benue state government in taking care of the IDPs because the burden is too much and overwhelming.”