Some residents of Benue State have narrated the pitiable plights of the Internally Displaced Persons in the Benue South Senatorial District of the state.
Speaking with SaharaReporters, one of them, Green Idoho, explained that the state government might have succeeded in shielding the IDPs from herdsmen attack but not from the natural causes of death such as hunger and sicknesses.
Idoho, who recently paid a visit to the IDP camps in Ado Local Government Area, said the people are exposed to nightmarish conditions, as they live in huts built with sacks and torn mosquito nets.
He also stated that some of the IDPs sleep on bare floors, sacks, and drink water from ‘pits’ thereby worsening their state of health.
He further said the hunger in the camp had caused a lot of malnutrition possibilities especially among children in the camps.
He explained that the limited medical personnel affected IDPs’ ability to have access to quality health services.
According to him, the COVID-19 lock-down worsened the predicament of the people as the few volunteers who were occasionally providing for them, have dropped drastically.
Idoho said, “About seven years ago, herders struck with their perennial tools; guns and machetes, shooting, burning and butchering at sight, sparing no gender or age bracket.
“There was a great loss; the dead were buried in tears, the survivors were traced and brought together.
“Seven years later, these survivors, who are now Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs, are still feeding at the mercies of meagre volunteers and sleeping in what words can’t depict.
“This is the plight of the abandoned Agatu IDPs in Benue South Senatorial District (Zone C) who have been wallowing in negligence, poverty, hunger and hardship for years, and most recently the Ado IDPs.
“It would be recalled that in 2014, the Idoma-speaking community of Agatu in Benue State became a killing theatre – with over 2000 persons killed with tens of thousands displaced in the Agatu attacks and massacres which began in late 2014 and heightened late February 2016 and continued for several days into March.
“The deceased persons were given a mass burial amidst the statewide mourning, while the hundreds displaced were camped at a place now known as Agatu IDPs’ camp away from the reach of the predating killer herdsmen.
”Many years later, the Benue State Government succeeded in shielding the IDPs from the double-edged swords of the killer herdsmen but certainly not from the more painful swords of natural killers like hunger, poverty and other conditions of hardship.
“In fact, they have been abandoned; a visit to the IDPs camps will attest to this — the nightmarish conditions they are exposed to; they live in huts build with sacks and worn mosquito nets. Sleep on bare floors and sacks, and drink water from ‘pits’ and feed and clothes solely on the mercies of volunteers.
“Regrettably, like the Agatu IDPs, the Ado IDPs have also been abandoned. Since the unfortunate incident, no NGO or Federal government agency has reached out to the genocide-torn and war-ridden victims who feed from hand to mouth and are living in poor health conditions.
“Also disturbing is the fact that the Benue South IDPs have been completely forgotten. The media reports have focused more on the plights of the IDPs in camps close to Makurdi, the state capital, without amplifying the plights of those in the Southern flank of the state and other parts of the state.
“Worst still, most of the NGOs and philanthropists and even Federal government agencies who come to the state to donate relief materials to Benue IDPs, only give such succour to those in camps close to Makurdi forgetting to reach out to the Benue South.
“The harsh conditions have the great possibility of leading to the outbreak of killer diseases like diarrhoea, cholera, dysentery, typhoid, polio, malaria in IDPs camps across Zone C (Benue South). Also, hunger has caused a lot of malnutrition possibilities especially among children in the camps. Women and children are the worst hit by the diseases.”
He revealed that there were plans by the Ochetoha’K’Idoma Youth Wing led by Comrade Gideon Obande to organise the Idoma Young Professional Roundtable on Sunday, July 25, at Afri Hotel, Abuja.
The roundtable with the theme, “The Audacity of Hope”, will among other things discuss the issues of IDPs in Benue South, Idoma Governorship in Benue State, Economic potentials of Zone C, the new media as a veritable tool of emancipation and elimination social vices through the effective agro scheme.