The Benue State Government has warned that the growing population of able bodied men in the numerous Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps across the state posed a looming security threat to the nations as they are potential recruits by Boko Haram and other criminal groups who have fled from Zamfara, Katisna and Kano States following the recent onslaught by security operatives.
The Executive Secretary, Benue State Emergency Management Agency(SEMA), Dr Emmanuel Shior, had while alerting the Federal Government and the International community of this possible danger seek quick intervention to avert it.
Speaking, he disclosed that the clashes between Fulani herdsmen and crop farmers in the state over the years beginning from January 2018, has left on their trail millions of displaced residents.
He noted that with over 1.597 million Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs, in over eight camps and host communities, the state deserved more attention from the federal government.
Shior further stated that the situation in the state was similar to what is happening in the North East and therefore equally deserve to be accorded serious attention.
‘Regrettably, the Federal Government has not supported the humanitarian and developmental crisis in the state. The Minister of humanitarian Affairs and the President have abandoned the state and are only interested in the IDPs in the North East. Otherwise, we are talking of millions of IDPs in the state and the Federal Government is not taking any action to address it. So other Nigerians should just perish and leave only the North East. It this the agenda of Fulanisation that people are talking about?,’ he said.
‘Otherwise, why would the federal government, why would the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development not listen to the fact that the Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, himself has complained about the teaming number of IDPs in the state. Why is the federal government not listen to SEMA on the plight of the state IDPs?
‘The population of IDPs in the state portents a huge security problem. If nothing is done about it, they are vulnerable to be used by anybody to commit crime in the form of terrorism and Boko Haram. This is because they are hungry, their source of livelihood has been destroyed, they don’t have anything, they are waiting for anybody that brings handouts to them and can do anything to survive.
‘We have intelligent reports that now that telecommunications has been shut down in places like Zamfara and Katsina States, the criminals, bandits, and Boko Haram are migrating towards this place, and are now in neighbouring Nasarawa State, very close to Benue State where these IDPs camps are located.
‘You now see that the possibility of them infiltrating these camps and recruiting these able-bodied youths and when that happens, it will no longer be a Benue State problem alone, as they will carryout destruction beyond the state and country.’
The Executive Secretary challenged those doubting the population of IDPs in the state to embark on a visit to the state to verify the figures.
‘I want to use this opportunity to challenge those who have not yet visit Benue State and those who cannot even visit the places where the IDPs are, who stay in Abuja and elsewhere to come here, I am willing, available and ready to take them to the field for verification.’
According to records obtained from the Benue State Emergency Management Agency, SEMA, in the official and unofficial facilities or camps we have records of inmates who moved into the safe haven in 2019, 2020 and 2021.
A breakdown of the 2019 record of IDPs showed that Abagena camp has 8,210 IDPs while the Abagena host community is home to 7,691 inmates. Daudu Camp 1 (UNHCR Shelter) has 5,451 IDPs, Daudu ll has 20,172 while Gbajimba camp is home to 29,500 inmates.
Others are Anyiin camp with 7,466 inmates, Ugba camp with 3,080, Abeda camp with 2,668 while Abeda host community has 22,948 IDPs.
Agan camp has 4,798 inmates while the host community is home to 5,517 IDPs.
Agatu is home to 65,347 IDPs, Angwan Ochonu has 4,951 IDPs, Anyiin community has 65,496 IDPs, Daudu community is home to 43,344 inmates, FHA camp has 4,353 IDPs, and Gbajimba community is home to 28,875 IDPs.
Gwer West has 60,243 IDPs, Ichwa 9,587, Kwande 9,465, LDEA NASME 23,151, LGEA Tyodugh has 5,672 IDPs, NEPA Qtrs 8,008, Ogiri Ajene 9,506, Okpokwu 4,080, Tionsha 20,500 and Ugba community is home to 8,651.
The total number of IDPs living in official and unofficial camps and host communities since 2019 is 483,692.
The number of those displaced as a result of herdsmen attacks as updated in June 2020 is 75,811 and a breakdown of the figure indicated that Mbakunu (Kwande) is home to 2,951 IDPs, Mbaper (Kwande) is hosting 1,602 IDPs, Iyon (Kwande) has 489 inmates and Jato Aka/Nyihemba (Kwande) has 37,675 IDPs.
Others are Ogere (Obi) 17, 858, Torkula (Guma) 817, Agasha (Guma) 1,502, Kaseyo (Guma) 652, Ikponko (Guma) 712 and Uikpam (Guma) is home to 11,554 IDPs.
These figures, updated in December 2020 as a result of sustained attacks by armed herders in more communities, indicated that more communities in Guma like Uleva community is host to 13,855 IDPs, Iye community is hosting 16,578 displaced persons and Tse Akenyi community has 22,873 IDPs.
Logo has Iorja community hosting 14,000 IDPs, Tse Akpam community 11,369 and Igbatim community with 16,541 inmates.
In Makurdi, there are 18,000 IDPs in Imande Akpu community while Tse Chagu community is playing host to 6,000 IDPs.
The total number of persons displaced in 2020 as a result of sustained attacks on Benue communities by suspected herdsmen militia is 205, 027.
The statistics of displacement as a result of further attacks on several communities in Benue in 2021 showed that Guma LGA, Uikpam IDP camp is home to 27,222 persons, Yogbo community hosts 19,911 persons, Udei community hosts 20,932, Ortese community harbors 17, 654, Umenger has 19,277 while Yelwata community is host to 17,00 IDPs.
In Gwer West, Naka community harbors 23,070 IDPs, Aondoana community has 15,171 while Tyoughtee community has 19,888 IDPs.
In Makurdi, there are 16,865 IDPs in Atson community and 11,987 in Anter community. Logo is harboring 13,065 in Tse Agure while 1,765 IDPs are in Tse Akau Akpor community.
Konshisha, where a military operation recently took place to recover the weapons of the soldiers slain by bandits, has 5,958 IDPs in Gungul community. Agidi community is home to 1,143 IDPs, Aku community has 3,852, Adoka community has 702, Bonta 2,250, Gbinde community 1,548, Tse Anyon 1,512 and Guleya Community is home to 2,142 IDPs.
In Oju LGA, Ukpute community is host to 1,954 IDPs while Agatu LGA has 10,981 IDPs in Okokolo community, 21,098 in Obagaji, 10,400 in Aila, 12,091 in Odugbeho and 11,850 are harbored in Oweto communities.
The total figure of people displaced in Benue communities in 2021 alone is put at 311,288, bringing the overall number of IDPs in Benue to a grand total of 1,957,007.