The Benue State Government has lamented the failure of the Federal Government to provide adequate support to the state as it is being overwhelmed by violence, killings and attacks, by suspected Fulani herdsmen in addition to the consequential humanitarian crisis.
This was disclosed at the weekend by the Executive Secretary, Benue State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), Dr. Emmanuel Shior, who accused the Federal Government of abandoning the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and Cameroonian refugees domiciled in the state.
Shior while speaking during a press briefing on the humanitarian situation in Benue State in Abuja, regretted that the state seems to have been excluded from the N10 billion, which the federal government promised through Vice President Yemi Osinbajo to give to states affected by insurgency and herdsmen attacks in 2019.
He said no single money has been given to Benue State despite the devastation to its economy by the Farmers-Herders conflict and accompanying burden of catering for the IDPs and refugees.
Shior added that in addition to IDPs, the state government is also grappling with that challenge of Cameroonian refugees who are in Ikyogen settlement in Kwande LGA and numbering about 6,000.
“Nigerian government has not done enough in managing the refugees, the federal government only comes in through NEMA to provide relief intervention in the area of food, but the IDPs have other needs and the Benue state government is shouldering that almost alone apart from support from international and local humanitarian actors,” he lamented.
“You will l recall sometime last year, the Federal Government through visited Benue State and made a promise of about N10 billion for states that were affected by Fulani herdsmen attacks. Benue State Government had a share in this money, we had been expecting that part of the money be given to Benue State for the reconstruction of homes, schools, markets and all that were destroyed.
“But, up to this point that i speak with you that money has not come, that has also posted a big challenge, because such heavy burden is not supposed to be shouldered by state government alone, federal government has to take responsibility to be in the lead.”
Shior added that even in the area of security, not much is being done. According to him, the Operation Whirlstroke by the Nigerian military is not enough, which is why the attackers are still around.
“There is need for federal government to do more in terms of security, there is need to strengthen security efforts, there is to include other security outfit like the police and perhaps to strengthen the local vigilante to support the military in addressing the challenge,” he stressed.
The SEMA Executive Secretary noted that as a result of the burden placed on the State Government, other areas of governance that are supposed to impact positively on the citizens suffer, because a lot of money is being channelled towards Provision of food items to IDOs and refugees.
“We are appealing to federal government to come in and do a lot more,” he urged.
He appreciated other local and international agencies such as International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), CORAFID, and UNHRC amongst others for their humanitarian support to the state despite federal government’s laxity in that regard.