By Amos Aar
THE Executive Secretary, Benue State Emergency Management Agency (BSEMA), Dr Emmanuel Shior, has announced that the agency has extended the monthly distribution of food items to the to the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Otukpo local government area of the state.
Dr Shior who stated this Tuesday while briefing Journalists during the routine monthly flag-off of food distribution to IDPs in Benue State said, BSEMA has also sustained the distribution of items to the IDPs in Apa local which commenced last year as result of attacks by suspected Fulani herdsmen militia which displaced people from some communities in Apa and Otukpo LGAs.
The items distributed for the month of May, 2023 according to Shior include thousands of bags of beans, rice, garri, cartos of indomie, tubbers of yam and etcetera.
Responding to a question on the outcry by IDPs living in an unofficial camp along Uni-Agric road, Makurdi that BSEMA has not recognized them, Dr Shior advised the IDPs to allow Government have control over where they stay.
He disclosed BSEMA has made efforts severally to take the IDPs out of the place but the efforts proved abortive even as the IDPs were using a facility of the federal housing authority as their unofficial camp.
“People are free to gather wherever they can. But they should also allow Government to take control of preparing places for them to stay.
“When we prepare camps as a humanitarian agency of Government, we take instructions from the Governor to establish camps. There is also security arrangement in place for safety. Of course, it’s one of the most essential requirements.
“We have said many times that the people who have gathered at the location you are talking about have been persuaded. There are a few among them that we can actually say they are IDPs. The rest of the people you see in that IDP camp are mechanized IDPs because they are there in the day time and at night they withdraw and go back to their homes especially the young people you see there. That practice is not good.
“We went there many times with other development partners to persuade them to leave. The governor provided vehicles and some forms of assistance to take them out of that place. That facility belongs to the federal housing authority and they can come their anytime to use that place. So, the insistence by some of them to stay there to use that place is something that must be discouraged”, the BSEMA boss explained.