Dr. Betta Edu (1st R), Benue State Governor, Rev. Father Hyacinth Alia (2nd R) during the presentation of relief materials to the IDPs.
All humanitarian response agencies operating in Nigeria, including the United Nations (UN), European Unions (EU), and other development partners have been urged to urgently deploy their services to Benue State, North Central Nigeria, to combat the debilitating humanitarian situation there.
Nigeria’s Minister for Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Betta Edu, according to a press release dated November 10 by her Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Rasheed Olanrewaju Zubair made the call when she visited the Ichiwa Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camp situated within the North Bank axis of Makurdi.
The Minister who was accompanied by the governor of Benue state, Rev. Father Hyacinth Alia, 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 on the ground as unacceptable and requiring an immediate concerted effort to redeem.
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 household of 6 living in a small shanty that can’t even accommodate the width of my arm, made of light trampoline, 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.
Excited women at the Ichiwa IDP camp
“In this spot where I stand alone, we have over 1,4000 women children, the aged, their families, and households sleeping in their unbearable tiny space,”
Edu who made donation of relief materials comprising food and non-food items to the IDPs, announced that the Federal Government in partnership with the state 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 saying, “with young girls everywhere in the camps who knows 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 IDP camps to ensure that their children are protected and 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 expressing 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.