Saturday, 11 July 2015

#UK-based NGO puts smiles on faces of #Benue IDPs

Life could not have been any better for Terlumun Agber, as a successful farmer who had everything going well for him, his young nuclear family and extended relations until tragedy struck some months ago.

They were living happily, all their needs were being met with the proceeds from the blooming farm produce sold at local markets around the rural environs of Nasarawa State where the family resided.

Agber’s three kids were enrolled in the best school in the neighbourhood and his wife was the envy of other women in the community as he adequately provided for the basic things that make for a comfortable home.

But, things took turn for the worst after suspected Fulani herdsmen raided his community, killed and maimed several people as well as razed down buildings and farms produce.

In a twinkle of an eye, the stable and comfortable world of Agber who lost a child, his farmland, and his home and food barns during the raid came crumbling down. He struggled very hard, trekking several kilometers with the rest members of his family to safety.

Finally, they found a temporary dwelling place at a refugee camp in Wende, Logo local government area of Benue State alongside over 1000 others Internally Displaced People (IDPs) as a result of same farmers-herders clashes in various location of the neighbouring Benue and Nasarawa states.

Needless to say, things were no longer rosy for the Agbers and those with similar fate brought together until mild relief came their way recently with the donation of relief materials by Christian Aid Nigeria in conjunction with Jireh Doo Foundation to cushion the effect of the hardship being experienced in the IDP camp.

“Things are really bad here in the camp. No food, no water, no toilets. In fact, we are suffering here. The politicians were coming to donate things to us before the elections but as soon as elections were over, we don’t see them anymore. They have abandoned us to our fate,” Agber said.

Incidentally, the camp which also houses displaced people from Taraba and Adamawa states is in dire need of attention as the people seem to have been abandoned by government.

While donating relief materials to the camp, Christian Aid Country Representative Charles Useh, noted that the gesture was targeted at reaching Tiv farmers who were displaced from their communities by Fulani cattle breeders in Benue State.

He commended the United Kingdom and Ireland for providing the funds for the relief materials, adding that Christian Aid has been in Benue since 2007 and that the items donated were meant to reduce poverty and not to eradicate it.

The items donated include cartons of soap, sanitary pad, children’s slippers, pants for children and women, cartons of water care, blankets, bags of beans, plastic cups, children’s wears and wrappers for women.

National Coordinator of Jireh Doo Foundation, Josephine Habba, told reporters  that proper assessment had been done on the IDPs and that every household had been given some relief materials to help alleviate their sufferings.

She stated that the USAID Market had agreed to train the displaced people in different trades so that they can cater for themselves in the long run.

While describing the population in Wende as overwhelming, Habba lamented that the IDPs had to resort to open defecation because there were no toilets in the camp.

Habba also commended Christian Aid for its support, saying the organisation had already provided a budget for the building of toilets in the camp, while on her own part she had decided to sink a well there.

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