Senate has directed the inclusion of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Ebonyi state among the beneficiaries of the federal government grain distribution scheme under its special relief intervention plan.
It particularly urged the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) to “immediately intervene through the provision of relief materials to the victims of communal crises in various IDPs camps in the state.”
The Senate resolution was sequel to a motion, titled “The need to include Ebonyi state and other states’ IDPs in the federal government grain distribution scheme under the special relief intervention plan” by Sam Egwu (PDP, Ebonyi North) during plenary.
Egwu, while presenting the motion, noted that “the federal government, under the special relief plan, is distributing about 40, 000 metric tonnes of grains comprising rice, maize, sorghum and soya beans to about 1.8million IDPs in the North-east to address the food crisis resulting from insurgency in the region.”
He said the government had sometime, last year, directed the Nigeria Customs Service, NCS to distribute seized perishable items to IDPs in the North-east.
According to him, “the breakdown of food items distributed indicated that 144, 406 displaced persons, representing 24,066 households were enumerated in Yobe, while in Adamawa, a total of 17, 892 IDPs, representing 4, 656 households, have been enumerated.”
Egwu lamented that despite the monumental humanitarian crisis caused by the communal clashes in Ebonyi and other states, resulting in IDPs camps which were beyond the capacity of state government, “no federal government agency, including NEMA, has assisted the victims with relief materials.”
In his remarks, the Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, who presided over the plenary, directed the inclusion of IDPs in Ebonyi and Zamfara states among beneficiaries of the government’s grains distribution.
Speaking with journalists after plenary, Egwu said: “There has been internal crisis in Ebonyi State among communities bordering Cross River state, especially Ida, Ibagu, Ukudimo and Eyingba communities, all within my senatorial district.
“These crises are caused by boundary disputes and they have been on for some time, right from when I was the governor of the state. Each time there is crisis; there is always loss of lives of lives and properties, including women, children and adults. That is why we have a lot of internally displaced persons, IDPs in those crisis-ridden areas.”
Continuing, he said: “We have visited the IDPs camp and assisted them with food items to support them, and when I heard on radio and television that the President has approved some quantities of grains from the strategic grains reserve to be given to the IDPs in certain camps in some states, I feel it is necessary those in Ebonyi are also included.
“Like I said, IDPs are IDPs whether the ones occasioned by war, Boko Haram insurgency, herdsmen killings or communal clashes, that is why we call them internally displaced persons. If the government want to help them, it should cut across all states we have IDPs, instead of selected ones.”
He stressed that there were over 50, 000 IDPs in the state and that the state government “alone cannot address the issue even though it has been trying its best to make life meaningful for the victims.”