Posted by News Express | 3 November 2021 | 622 times
No fewer than 28 inmates have reportedly died at Abagena Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camp located in the outskirts of Makurdi town.
The Manager of the Camp, Mr. Iliagh Terhile, who made this known on Tuesday while speaking to newsmen in the camp, said the deaths which occurred between 2018 and 2021 were made up of 20 adults and eight children.
He lamented that the IDPs were tired of residing in the camps and want to return to their ancestral homes if supported and adequate security provided in their communities by the Federal Government.
Terhile appealed to the Federal Government to pay special attention to the ordeal of IDPs in Benue state “because they are also Nigerians”.
He also called for the establishment of a police post in the camp to guarantee the security of the inmates.
He recalled the last attack on the camp and the host community by armed herdsmen during which seven people were killed few months back.
The camp manager lamented that they no longer sleep with their two eyes closed. He said, “the security of the camp is not guaranteed. We want government to provide security outfit close to the camp so that they will be able to respond to any emergency or eventualities. I sleep here in the camp but we have not been sleeping with our two eyes closed.
“When armed herdsmen attacked this area some months back, and some of our IDPs were killed, some had to flee but after a while they returned to camp because they had nothing to eat out there,” he added.
Asked if there were plans to close the camp, he said “the issue of camp closure is a complex one. The security of the IDPs is not guaranteed now if they return to their ancestral homes. If they must return, security measures must be put in place at their various communities. They also have to be helped and supported with finance and seedlings or else people will take to criminality.”
The camp manager who acknowledged that the burden of catering for the IDPs had gone beyond the capacity of the state government said, “our common challenge is also food supply.
“The population can’t even access their farmlands and some of them are from Nasarawa state. The major challenge is for have them return to their ancestral homes to continue with their lives.
“Unfortunately, during farming seasons, some tried going back to their farms but armed herdsmen attacked them as well as feasted on their produce at the end of the farming season,” he said.
While soliciting for better healthcare services for the IDPs, the Manager said, “On the issue of deaths in the Abagena IDPs camp, we have recorded about 28 deaths which includes 20 adults and eight children between 2018 and now.
“Though I cannot tell the number of new births in the camp since 2008 when the camp was established but about 30 women are currently nursing new born babies and some others are pregnant,” he concluded.
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