By Faith Igbudu
Benue State Governor, Rev. Fr Hyacinth Alia, has disclosed that his government will work with only verifiable data in the management of every sector in the state.
The Governor made this disclosure on Thursday at a 3-day training session for humanitarian workers in Makurdi, who are to embark on data collection of the Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs, in the state.
Governor Alia, who was represented by his Deputy, Barr. Sam Ode, while declaring open the training said: “Going forward, the benchmark you are going to set by the collection and collation of data of our IDPs will become a standard by which other sectors of our socio-economic life and our well-being will be anchored”.
He thanked IOM and UNHCR for partnering with the state on the huge assignment of gathering verifiable data of the state’s IDPs and pledged the support of the state government towards the exercise and future collaborations.
Earlier, the Governor received the team of international partners at the Benue State Government House, led by the Chief of Missions, International Organization for Migrants (IOM), Laurent De Boeck and the Country Representative, UNHCR/ECOWAS, Dr. Chansa Kapaya, he reiterated the state government’s position to prioritise resettlement of IDPs using the data that will be generated.
In his remarks, Ag. Executive Secretary, Benue State Emergency Management Agency, SEMA, Sir, James Iorpuu, said that the absence of verifiable data for Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs, has made it difficult to plan for them.
He said from a layman’s analysis, close to 90 percent of the IDPs are living in different camps.
He said the difficulty in ascertaining the true number of IDPs is the reason the Benue State Government through SEMA in collaboration with IOM and UNHCR for the training of about 50 persons to begin data collection of IDPs in the state.
He described the data gathering exercise as the beginning of a new Benue, especially in the management of IDPs in the state.
“When I came into office, there was no record of those displaced persons in Benue State. It was difficult for me as a person to plan how to reach out to them.
I took a tour round the camps and discovered that almost 90 percent of the displaced persons were outside living in the host communities,” he said.
He assured that with the exercise, the actual number of IDPs in the state will be known soonest.”
Speaking, the Chief of Missions, IOM, Laurent De Boeck noted that the essence of the data gathering is to collaborate with the state government in proffering sustainable, immediate, medium and long term solutions to the IDPs situation in the state.
Similarly, Country Representative, UNHCR/ECOWAS, Dr. Chansa Kapaya, stated the importance of the training and said the state has over the past years grappled with displacement, chiefly from farmers/herders clashes, stressing that an updated understanding of IDPs number, demographics, vulnerabilities, socio-economic dynamics and displacement trends are necessary for collective action on protection and solutions.