By Faith Igbudu & Matthew Ajai-Kume
A humanitarian Non-Governmental Organisation, ActionAid Nigeria (AAN) is to provide relief materials to 2500 households that were affected during the military raid in Konshisha Local Government Area (LGA) of Benue State.
It would be recalled that one army officer and 10 soldiers on peacekeeping mission were recently ambushed and killed around Bonta village in Konshisha LGA by suspected armed bandits.
The military, following the attack, stormed the village and environs with helicopters and with the support of land troops, destroyed all houses and hideouts suspected to be housing the bandits in the area, a situation that led to displacement of people in the area.
The Country Director of AAN, Mrs Ene Obi, revealed this on Tuesday during a courtesy call on the Governor of Benue State, Samuel Ortom at the Benue People’s House, Makurdi.
Speaking during the visit, Mrs Obi explained that the organisation which is committed to rendering humanitarian assistance to victims of crisis and growing resilience in crisis situations has provided many interventions in the state and would provide relief intervention to those who were affected by recent military reprisal attack in Konshisha LGA.
She said that the organisation was interested in assisting women and children who are the most vulnerable in crisis situations, saying that their humanitarian intervention would reach about 2500 households that were affected by the attack in Konshisha.
“In January we were in the State, to provide humanitarian assistance to IDPs in Guma and Makurdi LGAs in the light of the second wave of COVID-19 with its attendant challenges especially as experienced by IDPs. Working with First Step Action for Children Initiative, ActionAid designed and implemented a support initiative that reached 1500 households with assistance to reduce the stress and shocks occasioned by
the virus, by providing cash assistance, lifesaving information, construction of IDP shelters at Ukpiam IDP camp, support of the North Bank and Gbajimba General Hospitals with PPEs, including infrared thermometers
“Today we are back in the State on the heels of a very sad emergency that has befallen our people. The chain of recent events in Konshisha Local Government Area are truly sad.
“In line with International laws, all stakeholders must work together to
ensure the protection of civilians especially women and children in times of conflict such as what happened in Konshisha. This a duty, a non-negotiable right that is owed to all citizens. We have conducted our due diligence and assessment in Konshisha and have been able to mobilise support from the STARTFund, a rapid response funding mechanism to support the most vulnerable families in the affected communities.
“On this intervention, we hope to reach 2500 households with
emergency food assistance, supply of non-food Items such as blankets, jerry cans, buckets, plates, cups, mosquitoe nets as well as dignity kits for women and girls.
“We would also be rehabilitating 8 broken down boreholes in the general area to address the issue of water scarcity. Our intervention is set to alleviate the suffering of the communities due to the impact of the crisis but also to support the communities in as the work recovery the incidence of crisis,” Mrs Obi said.
Mrs Obi who appealed to the governor of the state to provide mobility and security to enable them accomplish the assignment, called on all stakeholders to ensure the well-being of civilians, especially women and children during such eventualities.
Responding, Governor Samuel Ortom, appreciated the organisation, saying “the accounts of ActionAid Nigeria is very pronounced in Benue State in terms of reaching out to us to provide succour in several areas like HIV, IDPs, relief materials and support, to name a few, it is deeply appreciated.
He said the situation displaced persons in the state as a result of crisis was overwhelming and overstretching the finances of state saying.
“This situation is overstretching the little finances of the state, it’s security as well as it’s capacity since we never anticipated the situation.
“Your organisation stepping in is very handy and commendable and we are going to provide the necessary support especially in terms of transportation and security as you carry out your intervention Programme,” the governor said.