President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the release of N10 billion for the reconstruction and rehabilitation of communities affected by herdsmen crisis in Benue and other parts of the country.
Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo stated this Tuesday while addressing displaced victims of herdsmen crisis at Abagena Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs, camp on the outskirt of Makurdi, the Benue state capital.
Osinbajo said the President had identified that three things must be done to address the challenge which, according to him, included provision of security to the attacked community, restoration of destroyed communities and farmlands to enable the victims return to the farms and ensure that children returned to school.
He said “The President has given me the responsibility of ensuring the implementation of this task. At the Food Security Council, the President approved N10 billion to rebuild and reconstruct communities in Benue and other states affected by the crisis.
“We intend to commence that work as soon as possible so that you, the displaced persons, can return to your communities to rebuild your lives and families.
“My people say ‘when a king’s home is destroyed, it would be better when rebuilt’, that is what will happen to you the victims of the crisis.
“I must state that we are not by this doing you any favour, it is your rights as Nigerians and it is our responsibility to do it.
“I want to assure you that your sufferings have come to an end, this is going to be the beginning of the good God has for you. You weeping has come to an end.”
Earlier, Governor Samuel Ortom had appealed to the federal government to take decisive steps to ensure that the IDPs returned to their homes by providing enough security in the affected communities.
He said: “The last four months have not been palatable for the IDPs, the last time I visited the camps, all the mothers, fathers and children were eager to have security in order to go back home to continue with their farming activities to cater for their families.
“It has been traumatic; in the last four months, about 70 new born were recorded in this camp alone and it has not been easy raising these babies in the camp apart from other challenges.”
Also speaking, Mr. Emmanuel Shior, the Executive Secretary of the State Emergency Management Agency, SEMA, said over 34,986 displaced persons were taking refuge in the camp, adding that of this number, 16,583 were children.
In his speech, the chairman of the camp, Mr. Philip Ushatse, lamented that the state and country were facing a looming food crisis as a result of the crisis.
“The rains have set in and Benue people are still in IDPs camps when we are supposed to be in the farms, the food basket has been shattered, we have no place to go and farm and we certainly do not know how we are going to cope with our families.”
“We appeal to the federal government to assist our state address this challenge and also ensure that the Open Grazing Prohibition Law which we the people enacted for the safety and protection of the farmers and herders is fully enforced,” he said.