Tension as IDPs Intercept Stolen Relief Materials in Benue

IDP Camp
An IDP camp in the North East

The plight of thousands of Internally Displaced Persons across the country was brought to the fore following allegations of theft of relief materials at the International Market Camp, Makurdi, on Tuesday.

It is understood that the protesting IDPs accused camp officials of colluding to divert relief materials after a truck, 2 Hilux vans, a bus and a saloon car were about to drive out of the camp.

Punch reports that the protesters overpowered the security guards at the camp, and blocked the camp entrance to prevent the vehicles from moving out with the materials.

This comes amid unrest over lack of food in the camps swelling with thousands displaced from the Benue floods.

One of the IDPs, Mr James Tarkende, said they had been left without food while the materials were being carted away to unknown destinations.

“When Gov Samuel Ortom and the Tor Tiv, Prof. James Ayatse, visited us, they told us that nobody should divert materials out of the camp that is why we are protesting,” he said.

“In this camp, only a few people sleep on mattresses, but we are not complaining. We are suffering, but because of the situation at hand, we understand with the government. But the camp officials have gone too far this time.

“This is not the first time they are doing this; most times, they do it in the night.”

Another IDP, Mrs. Judith Audu, corroborated Tarkende’s story, calling on the authorities to closely monitor activites in the camps as the officials were ‘treating them like slaves.’

Following the incident, the Commissioner for Water Resources and Environment in the state, Dr. Joseph Utsev, said that government would investigate the ‘shocking’ incident.

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