The United Nations, UN, Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator, Mathias Shemale has expressed concern over the humanitarian crisis in Benue state saying it is worse than the situation in Bornu state.
Shemale made the observation when he led a delegation on a courtesy call on Governor Hyacinth Alia in Makurdi, the Benue State capital.
The Resident Coordinator assured to provide immediate humanitarian needs for the Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs, in the state while also looking at ways of ensuring the return of the displaced persons to their ancestral homes.
He urged the state government to outline it’s development agenda for the United Nations to intervene, assuring that since the global organisation was good at conflict resolution, it could equally trace the root causes of the herder/farmer clashes and bring about lasting solutions to the crisis.
He said, “we have had a long experience with Benue State. We need to work together. We want to go with you and far too.
“All we ask you to do is to outline your priorities. Ours is to support the government for the betterment of her citizens. The starting point will be your priorities. The conditions in the IDPs camp is worse than in Borno. We will move towards solution.
“Nigeria has been chosen amongst 16 nations in the world where we are working to ensure the return of IDPS to their homes. We want to work towards durable solution.”
Responding, Governor Alia acknowledged the role of UN in working to make a better world, noting its effort in maintaining global peace, security and eradicating poverty through sustainable goals.
The Governor disclosed that the state was facing a humanitarian crisis with 34,000 households or an equivalent of over two million IDPs residing in camps and host communities in parts of the state.
He said the State was already working out a resettlement plan for the IDPs, and taking steps to tackle youth unemployment, hunger and child malnutrition and sued for the support of the global organisation.
The governor requested the UN to make Benue State as it’s hub, calling for more support from the organization in the areas of healthcare delivery and training of medical personnel’s in the state, provision of modern agriculture inputs and machineries to enable Benue return to the map as the food basket of the nation, as well as the empowerment of women in the state with relevant skills that would enable them become self-reliant.
He said: “We are faced with herders/farmers clashes as well as internal crisis, dilapidated healthcare facilities.
“Our resolve is to stem the tide and ensure IDPs are resettled and reintegrated into their homes. We are committed to finding solutions to the crisis and we look to UN for community policing and conflict resolution mechanism.
“We are working on a template and believe that the UN will help us improve in agricultural value chain to enhance prosperity and to boost the lives of the people.”