Humanitarian Crisis: Declare Emergency In Benue, Group Urges FG


BEVERLY HILLS, March 09, (THEWILL) - A non-governmental organisation (NGO), Initiatives for Sustainable Environment and Community Development (ISECODEV), weekend called for the declaration of emergency in Benue State because of the humanitarian crisis caused by the incessant farmers/fulani herdsmen clashes.

ISECODEV also called on the Benue State Government, the Federal Government and the international community to intervene in the growing humanitarian crisis in the State, which it alleged is the result of the incessant attacks on Benue farmers by Fulani herdsmen/militia.

The civil society group in a statement signed by its Executive Director, Richard Agwa, therefore called on Governor Gabriel Suswam of Benue State to take the issue of the welfare of the internally displaced Benue indigenes seriously.

The statement said; "Yesterday, March 7, 2014, the Fulani herdsmen/militia invaded a Tiv settlement in Daudu, Gbajimba Local Government Area located along Makurdi-Abuja federal highway.

"The crisis, which ensued for hours caused the blockage of the federal highway rendering motorists and travellers stranded in the process.

The locals took to their heels in thousands with no particular destination in mind.

"As a result, there are so many IDPs around Makurdi town in search of food and shelter.

Also, there was another security breach in Jato-Aka, Kwande Local Government Area of the state.

" The group therefore urged the state government to bring succor to the displaced people and other victims of the crisis by immediately arranging vehicles to evacuate the rest of the people in Daudu who could not trek for kilometres to Makurdi to a safe place.

It also suggested that camps should be set up and managed by the state government in collaboration with the civil society in some designated primary schools, since the primary schools in the state have been on strike for the past one year, where water, food and medicals can be provided for the people.

"Temporary clinics should be set up in these camps with adequate medical personnel to cater for the medical needs of the internally displaced persons," the group also suggested.

It added that seecurity personnel should be mobilised around these camps against any external aggression.

According to the group, "The Benue State Emergency Management Agency (BESEMA) should be mobilised to take care of the welfare of these internally displaced persons.

"Relief materials that were donated to victims of the floods of 2012, which are still in custody of the state government, should be distributed to the IDPs.

" Maintaining that the primary responsibility of a responsive government is to protect and provide for the welfare of the citizenry, the group said it has become very clear that the Benue State Government is overwhelmed by the security challenges in the state.

It therefore called on the Federal Government to declare a state of emergency in Benue State.

"We had suggested in a letter addressed to Mr.
President and the NSA on February 28, 2014 that the Federal Government should set up a committee to dialogue with representatives of the Benue farmers and those of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) in order to find a lasting solution to the lingering crisis which has claimed several lives and property worth millions of Naira destroyed.

We still urge Mr.
President to give this letter priority attention," the group said.

It however called on all the aggrieved parties in the violence to cease-fire and give peace a chance so as to enable negotiations to be commenced by the stakeholders, stressing that "Fulani and the Tiv people have been living together for centuries with no hostilities towards each other.

" It also called on all elected state governors in the country to always stay in their various states to tackle security challenges that may arise instead of seeking refuge in Abuja,.