By Christiana Ekpa
The House of Representatives yesterday asked the Federal Government to immediately intervene in the plight of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) across Benue, Nasarawa,Taraba and other States, using the N10 billion provided by the President for the reconstruction and resettlement of communities ravaged by herdsmen attacks.
The House als demanded that the money which Vice President Yemi Osinbajo made mention of in Benue on May 18, 2018 should be utilized to return the IDPs to their homes or resettle them, reconstruct damaged communities and provide educational, health and other required facilities.
It’s requested the Defence Ministry and Army to immediately deploy more personnel and equipment including, Surveillance and Intelligence gathering technology to operation Whirl Stroke Operatives in Benue State to enable them tackle the resurgence of attacks by suspected herdsmen and mandated the House Committees on Defence and Army to ensure compliance.
It mandated the Committees on Defence and Army to immediately conduct an investigation into the prevailing circumstances and conditions of Operation Whirl Stroke and other military operations operatives across the country with a view to identifying any constraints deterring them from carrying out their mandate of protecting the lives and property of Nigerian people and report back in four weeks
The Lower Chamber also authorised the House Committees on Police Affairs and Justice to investigate the allegation that the Police is unwilling to support the Benue State Government in the enforcement of the Anti-open Grazing law and the constitutional implication and position in that regard and report back in four weeks.
It further asked the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) to immediately provide relief materials such as food items, clothing, building materials, temporary shelter and health intervention to the affected community in IDPs in Benue, Nasarawa, Taraba and other States and mandated Committees on Emergency and Disaster Preparedness and Internally Displaced Persons to ensure compliance.
The House equally mandated the House Committees on Emergency and Disaster Preparedness and Appropriation to prevail on the Budget Office and NEMA to ensure adequate extra allocation is provided in any impending supplementary budget and in NEMA 2022 budget to enable it provide monthly comprehensive intervention to IDP camps across all 36 States of the Federation.
The House reached these resolutions at plenary when it adopted a motion of urgent Public importance on: “Resurgence of Wanton Killing of Innocent Nigerians in Benue State by suspected herdsmen”, sponsored by Mark Gbillah (PDP, Benue).
Moving the motion, Gbillah expressed shock at the brutal murder of 17 innocent Nigerians by suspected herdsmen in Gwer-West Local Government of Benue State last Sunday and the recent apparent resurgence in the murder of helpless people by suspected herdsmen in Gwer-West, Guma, Makurdi and Agatu Local Government Areas where over 70 people have been murdered in the last three weeks with over 24 people murdered in Gwer-west alone.
He expressed concern about the seeming inability of Operation Whirl stroke operatives stationed in Gwer-West and other security agencies in the area to counter the current guerilla tactics of the attackers, immediately respond to distress caIIs by the victims, proactively prevent the attacks and identify or apprehend even one of the murderers in the last three weeks.
The lawmaker was: “Worried at the thousands of IDPs who have fled their homes as a result of these attacks and are currently seeking refuge in very unsanitary and uncovered schools and locations in different parts of the state without any means of sustenance, shelter or protection and at the mercy of inclement weather and Iikelihood of further attacks by the suspected herdsmen.
“Also worried at the increasing number of IDPs these attacks have created in addition to the hundreds of thousands of IDPs already existing across Benue. Nasarawa and Taraba (other) States who for several years have been unable to return to their homes and neither have they been resettled but are languishing in inhuman conditions with increasing cases of loss of lives from malnourishment and diseases which have enhanced maternal and infant mortality in circumstances where children have been born for over five years without access to education or proper medical care”.