Emergency Assistance Initiatives Launched as IDP Numbers Reach 548,751 in Benue, Niger, and Plateau States
The year 2023 has seen a concerning surge in the estimated count of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) within Benue, Niger, and Plateau states, reaching approximately 548,751 individuals. This alarming statistic has been compiled from various reports originating from local and international organizations, spotlighting the dire situation faced by these displaced populations.
Responding to this crisis, the Federal Government has initiated immediate measures through the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), setting in motion the distribution of crucial relief resources under the Special National Economic Livelihood Emergency Intervention.
Although certain regions of Nigeria have witnessed a decrease in security threats and attacks, a significant portion of the population remains forcibly displaced due to ongoing unrest perpetuated by criminal elements, banditry, and other factors.
In the year 2022, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) documented a staggering 3.6 million people displaced across Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Taraba, and Yobe states. This distressing trend continued in 2023, with thousands more being uprooted by violent incidents in Benue, Niger, and Plateau states.
As of July 2023, the Gideon and Funmi Para-Mallam Peace Foundation’s report reveals that Plateau State is hosting an estimated 18,751 internally displaced individuals. Tragically, these victims hail from eight local government areas and have encountered immense hardships, including the loss of lives and livelihoods, all rooted in the long-standing farmer-herder conflict that has plagued the state.
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Similarly, Benue State has seen around 230,000 IDPs housed in various camps as of recent data provided by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) on July 20, 2023. Spread across 16 local government areas, these displaced persons represent a diverse range of ethnic backgrounds, with the majority being women and children. The prolonged tensions between herders and farmers remain a key driver of displacement in the state.
The report from OCHA also highlights Niger State’s plight, indicating an estimated 300,000 IDPs by July 2023. Emerging from 12 local government areas, including Shiroro, Munya, Rafi, Mariga, Kontagora, and Lapai, these individuals have suffered significantly due to violent incidents, resulting in the loss of over 1,500 lives. The disturbances have been attributed to various armed groups, such as bandits and Boko Haram, underscoring the complex challenges faced by the state.
Ezekiel Manzo, the spokesperson for NEMA, underscored the government’s commitment to addressing these crises and offering support to those in need. He highlighted a range of interventions, including the distribution of relief items under the Special National Economic Livelihood Emergency Intervention program. This initiative seeks to provide aid and assistance to households affected by the 2022 flood, with the distribution currently underway in Taraba, Bauchi, and Gombe states. Plans are in motion to expand this program to encompass all 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory.
The relief materials being provided encompass essential food and non-food items, as well as livelihood support tools and seedlings, designed to bolster the resilience and well-being of the affected communities. NEMA has also collaborated with State Emergency Management Agencies to identify and verify beneficiaries, ensuring the targeted delivery of aid.
In the face of these profound challenges, the commitment of governmental and humanitarian bodies to alleviating the hardships faced by IDPs is paramount. By implementing comprehensive interventions and support systems, authorities aim to bring relief to these affected populations and work toward restoring stability and security in the affected regions.