By Faith Igbudu
Benue State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) has certified safe the proposed camp for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) at Ukor-Ukpiam in Guma Local Government Area and has began relocating them.
Executive Secretary of SEMA, Dr Emmanuel Shior, disclosed this at a meeting held recently at the newly constructed camp to formally inform the concerned persons of the state government’s approval for the establishment of the camp.
According to him, “the Benue State government has approved the establishment of the Ukor-Ukpiam IDPs camp to accommodate the persons of concern in this locality.”
Most importantly, the governor has directed the deployment of security agencies – SWAT, a new police unit to guard the persons of concerns.
“We are working together with Livestock Guards who are parading the bushes to ensure it is safe. We are also working and connecting with the soldiers in their unit in Ikyoo, so with these efforts, we want to assure all our noble partners, ActionAid, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), Queen of Culture, the Red Cross and all our volunteers that this place is safe,” he noted.
Dr Shior noted that the decision to locate a camp at Ukor-Ukpiam will help decongest the IDPs in Daudu who are in the primary school to allow school children attend to their education, as well as properly situate the ones at the Federal University of Agriculture Makurdi road.
He called on the IDPs who are to use the camp, to disregard the rumours making round that the place is unsafe, saying that such tales are coming from criminal minds who are not displaced but want to continue to cash in on the misfortune of the IDPs and keep benefiting from the handouts given in the camps. He said they should rather help sensitise others on the need to relocate to an official camp where they can access proper help.
The E.S also appreciated Governor Samuel Ortom as well as other partners of the agency that have continually come to the rescue, in taking care of the IDPs in the state.
In a remark, Manager for Humanitarian and Resilience, ActionAid Nigeria, David Habba, who facilitated in the construction of the camp, appreciated the good working relationship with the agency and urged the state government not to relent in supporting the IDPs in a humane and dignified manner.
State Programme Manager, MSF, Prosper Ndumaroro, on behalf of his organisation assured the agency that they are willing to sustain the working relationship. He said, the ultimate intention of their aid, is that the IDPs return to their ancestral homes and resume their normal life.
On her part, Queen of Culture and Tourism, Queen Torkwase Wuaperah informed the IDPs that her foundation, Quenya Foundation, will move in swiftly to teach persons of interest, entrepreneur skills in baking, soap making and other arts. She admonished the IDPs to use the facilities provided with utmost care and caution.
In a vote of thanks, Camp Chairman, Stephen Hembaor, on behalf of the displaced persons expressed appreciation to the governor and the agency for the care shown them.