Humanitarian Crisis Rocks Ichwa Benue IDPs: FG Calls For Urgent Help From UN Agencies
The federal government has requested all development partners and donor agencies to immediately deploy and intervene in the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Benue. Dr Betta Edu, the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, made the request on Thursday in Makurdi during the distribution of relief materials to Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), Ichwa Camp.
Edu said the appeal had become imperative because of the immense sufferings being faced by IDPs in Benue State.
She said the Federal Government would officially write to the headquarters of the development partners and donor agencies within and outside the country on the need for immediate intervention in the Benue humanitarian crisis. situated within the North Bank axis of Makurdi She visited the company of the state governor, Reverend Father Hyacinth Alia. The Minister who said it would be impossible for the burden of the 14,000 IDPs in Ichiwa and millions of others in several other IDP camps located across the three senatorial districts of the state to be shouldered alone by both state and the federal government describing the situation she met at on ground as unacceptable and requiring immediate concerted effort to redeem.
Dr. Edu assured the IDPs of President Tinubu’s unwavering determination to find lasting solutions to their plight, noting that if urgent and immediate actions were not taken, the situation could degenerate into unmitigated humanitarian crises. “I feel so heavy in my heart, and I will have sleepless nights about what I have seen here until we find solutions. A house hold of 6 living in a small shanty that can’t even accommodate the width of my arm, made of light tapoline, when it rains mothers and children are out there in the rain, etc “We are here to build low-cost houses (two sites at the same time) for the displaced persons.
It should be a matter of emergency for all agencies and all stakeholders in humanitarian responses to urgently deploy to Benue to help remedy the situation because the condition I see here is unacceptable, “she said. Speaking further, the Minister said: “The federal government of Nigeria, requests, as a matter of urgency, for all international partners, donors agencies including the UN and indeed everyone in the humanitarian space to deploy to Benue State; the situation is an emergency ” “Let me re-emphasize that the humanitarian situation in Benue is devastating, their people must be resettled properly in their ancestral homes, the government cannot do it alone, all hands must be on deck, Benue needs humanitarian support and must be treated so urgently.
“On our part, the government is providing shelters for them and several other interventions including water, sanitation, and hygiene programs as well as educational learning programs. We can not allow this number of children to be unschooled. “In this spot where I stand alone, we have over 14000 women children, the aged, their families, and households sleeping in their unbearable tiny space,” Dr. Edu announced that the federal government in partnership with the state government would intervene to ameliorate the people’s suffering but maintained that ” we can’t do it alone because what we have here is a monumental humanitarian crisis hence we need all our development partners to put their foot on the ground in Benue”
The Minister expressed the fear that Gender Based violence and other forms of violence against women could be rife at the camp. “With young girls everywhere in the camps who know the level of all sorts of violence they are facing? This is why there is an urgent need for intervention, “she stressed. She urged parents in the IDPs camps to ensure that their children are protected and the go-to school assuring that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu would do all in his power to resettle them in their ancestral homes.
Also speaking, Governor Alia commended the President for fulfilling the promise he made to the people of Benue by committing to the resettlement of the IDPs in their ancestral homes. Alia said the interventions of the Minister during her two-day visit were heartwarming, pointing out that “this is was what the people of Benue have been yearning for” The Governor described Dr. Edu as a perfect match for her ministry and a great asset to Tinubu’s government. He expressed delight that the people were beginning to receive the democratic dividends promised them by the President during his electioneering campaign. The governor was optimistic that the next visit of the Minister to Benue State would be to commission some of the humanitarian projects of the federal government in the state. High points of the Minister’s visit include the donation of relief materials comprising of food and non-food items to the IDPs.
Rasheed Olanrewaju Zubair (ANIPR),Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to Honourable Minister, MHAPA 10/11/2023