Farmers/herders crisis: Group makes case for plight of IDPs in Benue
Youths from Benue State, under the auspices of Tiv Youth Council Worldwide, has expressed worry over the plight of thousands of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in various camps in Benue and Taraba States following crises between herdsmen and farmers in recent times.
President of the Council, Mr Mike Msuaan, in a statement, on Sunday in Abuja, chided the Tiv socio-cultural organisation, Mdzough U Tiv for failure to act or speak out on the deplorable condition IDPs in the state.
Msuaan, said it was unfortunate that the Engr. Edward Ujege led Mdzough u Tiv has now abandoned its mandate of protecting the interest of the Tiv nation and taking up the responsibility of defending poor governance by attacking perceived enemies.
He said: “These people are sleeping in pitiable conditions. As a matter of fact, they have been left to chance and fate. The future of a generation of Tiv children who have become orphans and whose parents cannot send them to schools should be of paramount concern to Engr. Ujege and the Mdzough u Tiv.
“The plight of IDPs, need organizations like Mdzough u Tiv to meet appropriate authorities, Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO) and other international bodies to assist in reconstructing, rehabilitating and rebuilding these villages and communities for resettlement of these IDPs,” he said.
He frowned at the attempt by Mdzough u Tiv to undermine the duties of Minister of Special Duties, Senator George Akume, wondering why the Mdzough u Tiv has been silent and almost non-existent in the wake of enormous challenges facing the Tiv Nation.
The group remind the Ujege led Mdzough u Tiv of the existence of hundreds of thousands of Tiv people who have had their communities ravaged and their livelihood entirely destroyed.
He said: “We find it very disturbing and we think the high-level insecurity in Sankera which is almost grounding commercial activities in the region should worry any sincere leader of a socio-cultural body such as Mdzough u Tiv.
“We have watched the grave silence of Engr Edward Ujege on this issue. He has not deemed it fit to put up any peacebuilding and crisis management initiative to solve this crisis or any other communal clashes within Tiv land only to find his voice now because Sen George Akume is involved.
“We expected that the organization will explore every avenue to settle whatever differences between HRM, the Tor Tiv and Sen. Akume for the good of the Tiv Nation.
“We expected that after years of decrying the inability of the Tivs being represented at the Federal Executive Council, the opportunity of having Sen George Akume, a Tiv man as minister would have excited the Tiv people and the Mdzough u Tiv.
“Several Tiv villages, settlements and markets have been taken away and given Jukun names. Our people in Taraba through agrarian in nature cannot farm; they have been rendered homeless and are killed both in their farms, at home and on the roads.
“Sometime last year, pensioners protested the non-payment of their entitlements running into 16 to 25 months. It was a pitiable sight to see these senior citizens spend nights in the cold beside the Benue government house.
“Engr Edward Ujege and Mdzough u Tiv claimed ignorance. Mdzough u Tiv did not think this deserved an open letter to the Governor of Benue State. There have been protracted non-payment of salaries and gratuities with a backlog of arrears of salaries.
“We feel strongly that the development of the state is of utmost importance to every citizen of the state. Elsewhere socio-cultural organization like Mdzough u Tiv go extra-mile to lobby for development projects for their state or communities,” Msuaan said.