Over 63,000 taking refuge in Plateau State

With the rise of insurgency in the north eastern part of Nigeria, and the recent unrest between the Eggons and the Fulanis in neighbouring Nassarawa state, the daily influx of displaced persons into Plateau State is on the rise and the number kept multiplying quietly. If nothing is done now we might be faced with an epidemic in the nearest future. Most local governments areas in the state are not prepared to deal with the situation at hand, as the number of displaced people keeps rising; with each crisis in the North East, more and more people are now finding Plateau State a safe place to start a new life.
The State Emergency Management Agency SEMA put the figure of displaced persons at over 63,000, and the number keeps increasing with each passing day people from the north east keep coming down to Plateau State for refuge.
The Executive Secretary of SEMA in Plateau State, Alhassan Barde informed PLATEAU NEWS that the recent flooding in of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the state began in February this year, most of whom are women and children from Adamawa,Borno,Taraba and Nasarawa states.
At the moment he said the IDPs are camped in about 11 out of the 17 LGAs, with Qua’an-Pan having the highest number of IDPs, 18,000 at the moment because of its proximity to the crisis prone communities in Nasarawa State.
PLATEAU NEWS visited Pandam and Aningo villages in Qua’an Pan LGA both of which are situated on the bother between Plateau and Nasarawa states, the villages were burdened with a large number of displaced persons who are in dire need of immediate assistance, most were erecting temporary tent made of hay as shelter, there is serious shortage of food in the camp which in turn is causing a rise on prices of food stuff in the village.
The Village head of Aningo Baba Muhammadu Asheleku was ill, but manage to talk from his room with a translator, saying “we received some support during the first crisis in Nasarawa State but for this recent one, no one has come to our rescue. We are pleading to the government and well meaning individuals to help us in any way they can”.
Madam Toedat lost all her belongings when her village was torched by the raiders. She said “my children are crying of hunger, I don’t know how we are going to survive without our farm produce, we left behind rice, beans, guinea corn, soy beans and yet to be harvested maize which were all eaten up by Fulani cattle.
Akee Matthew, a graduate of Taraba State Polytechnic, on his part, appealed to well meaning Nigerians to come to their aid not only with relief materials, but opportunities that will improve their means of livelihood.
The camp is crowded with people unsure of their next move as most cannot go back to their villages. Mr Amos Beeyit who is now living with relations in Namu told PLATEAU NEWS that “when I heard that situation is calm, I went back to my village to see if I can harvest what is left of my farm but met an empty field, the whole village is burnt to the ground, there is nothing left”.
SEMA Executive Secretary, Alhassan Barde said the Agency has taken the necessary steps and have identified places where IDPs are taking refuge, and where they came from; adding that the Agency has also visited the various local governments with medical/relief materials.
He went further to say that SEMA in collaboration with Local Government Emergency Management Agency, with offices in all the LGAs have since mapped out areas that needed help most and have commenced distribution of relief materials, “with NEMA North Central office located in Plateau State, we are privileged and have use that opportunity to do a lot, we have informed the federal government about our plight and the right steps have been taken to tackle the situation”, he said.
He further stated that they have appealed to the Nasarawa State government to join hands with its Plateau State counterpart to create temporary camps for the IDPs from Nasarawa State so that they can be evacuated out of the unpleasant condition they are faced with at the make shift camp they are presently residing to a place where there will be access to basic needs like medical supplies, security and food.

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