The Senate has called upon the Federal Government to take urgent action to rehabilitate over 1.5 million residents of Benue who have been displaced by bandits. In addition to the resettlement plea, the legislature has emphasized the importance of fulfilling the N10 billion promise made to the people of Benue for the reconstruction of their communities.
This resolution follows the adoption of a motion sponsored by Senator Zam Tartenger (APC-Benue) during Thursday’s plenary session. The motion highlighted the necessity of relocating displaced individuals from Gwer-West, Makurdi, and Guma local government areas back to their ancestral homes, aiming to prevent an impending humanitarian crisis in the state.
Senator Tartenger, in his lead debate, brought attention to the dire situation faced by farmers in the mentioned local government areas over the past seven years. Bandits, posing as herders, have forced farmers to flee their homes, seeking refuge in camps under challenging conditions.
The Senate acknowledged that catering to the massive population of displaced persons was beyond the financial capacity of the state government. The motion revealed statistics from the Benue State Emergency Management Agency, indicating that as of September 2022, the number of internally displaced persons in Benue State had reached 1,597,000.
Expressing concern for the well-being of the displaced population, Senator Tartenger revealed that “between January and October 2022, 560 children living in the Internally Displaced Persons camps were malnourished.”
The Senate’s resolution urges the Chief of Defense Staff to oversee the swift return of all displaced persons to their ancestral homes, providing a sustainable security corridor in flashpoints within the affected communities. Furthermore, it directs the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management to supply medical, food, and other relief materials to the displaced persons.
As Nigeria grapples with the challenges posed by displacement and security, the Senate’s call for immediate action underscores the pressing need for coordinated efforts to address the humanitarian crisis in Benue.