Benue State governor, Samuel Ortom, has decried the condition and welfare of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the state.
He said it has become his cause of worry as he could no longer sleep with his eyes closed over the IDPs losing their homes due to the attacks by suspected herdsmen.
Governor Ortom made this known during a tour of four IDPs camps at Abagana, R.C.M Daudu, Shelter Daudu and Gbajimba.
“We are here to show our solidarity to the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and assure you that we cannot sleep with our eyes closed, even as we have continued to work in the manner that peace would be restored in attacked communities, so that you people can go back your ancestral homes.
“I cannot sleep in Government House because I think about how you people are faring. I think about how over 12,000 of you in just one camp are coping outside your homes.
“God should strengthen the President. We appreciate his efforts but we are appealing that exercise Ayem-A-Kpatuma should be upgraded to an operation that would ensure that those who have been sacked by Fulani herdsmen can go back to their ancestral homes,” he said.
Earlier during the tour, the Executive Secretary State Emergency Management Agency, SEMA, Mr Emmanuel Shior gave statistics of the population of the four camps at 34,019, 12,262, 11,782 and 24,019 respectively, making the total number of IDPs 82,562 comprising of the elderly, physically challenged, nursing mothers, pregnant women and children.
Shior stated that the state government, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), Faith-based organizations (FBOs) and spirited individuals had been very supportive to the upkeep of IDPs and maintenance of camps, stating that more is needed as there were new entrants into some of the camps today.
“We sincerely and heartily appreciate his excellency, Gov Samuel Ortom, NGOs, FBOs and all spirited individuals who have been supportive in the upkeep of the IDPs and the running of the camps in the areas of health, emergency education,sanitation and security.
“Regardless of the various supports, going back home remains the ultimate for the IDPs.Whatever is done will not be enough because even today we had new arrivals. We appreciate the Federal Government for the support of the National Emergency and Management Agency (NEMA). NEMA was here once and we hope that more intervention from the Federal Government would be had,” Mr Shior said.
Rev. Tom Igya during an exhortation, encouraged the people (IDPs) not to give up on God, as no one can find help outside God, reading from the Bible in the book of Second Kings 6:27 – “And he said, If the LORD do not help thee, whence shall I help thee, out of the barnfloor, or out of the winepress?”