UPDATE: IDPs In Benue Hit Over 1.5 Million, Ortom Overstretched, IDPs cry out

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An inmate in one of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) centres in Benue State, Mr Bemshima Peter is unhappy with the increasing numbers of IDPs which is now estimated to be over 1.5 million people living in various camps in the State.

Peter who was dislodged from his community by insurgents known to be killer Fulani herders said the increasing number has overstretched the government and life has become unbearable.

“We don’t get help from anywhere. The government is overstretched and we are dying of hunger and diseases. Our girls have resorted to prostitution to survive”, Peter told our correspondent on Friday.

The inmate who spoke out of frustration said children are dying on an almost daily basis and nobody cares.

Aside from losing many relations, the middle-aged Peter, said he also lost his means of livelihood. Although grateful to God for sparing his life, he is pained that IDPs are abandoned to live like refugees in their own country.

The story of the children in the camp is not different. Their education is not only truncated but their future bleak. No fewer than 1,176 of them were in primary school while 684 older ones were in secondary school. They are all out of school, Governor Samuel Ortom had earlier stated in one of his broadcasts.

Ortom had said the state is currently facing the worst humanitarian crisis in recent times with over 1.5 million IDPs, arising from ceaseless attacks on communities in the state by armed herdsmen.

He had called on the federal government to live up to its responsibilities by supporting the state to cater for the needs of the IDPs.

Ortom had lamented that the Benue State government had been overwhelmed and unable to cope with the situation and urgently needed help to cater for the needs of the IDPs.


Also, in a chat with our correspondent, another internally displaced person, Mrs Erdoo Tersor - a nursing Mother in one of the camps, narrated their plight. She listed the challenges, including lack of accommodation, security, toilet facilities and above all, health care.

According to Tersor, six IDPs died in their camp recently because they had no access to health care facilities, while more than 25 women delivered their babies without any medical attention. Three of the babies reportedly died during delivery.

Tersor said the IDPs would have a sense of belonging only when the federal government provided them with the necessary amenities.

“As of now, I do not think we are Nigerians. We will become Nigerians when the government and other good people make us feel like Nigerians”, she lamented.


From Lens Publications here.