Tiv farmers at the Internally Displaced Person Camps around Obi and Awe Local Government Areas of Nasarawa State have decried the state government’s neglect of their plights since they arrived at the camps in December last year after herdsmen launched an attack on their communities.
The PUNCH reported that a crisis erupted on December 17, 2021, when unknown gunmen killed a herdsman on Chabo community road in Obi LGA. The herdsmen suspected the Tiv farmers in the area of killing one of them, which led to unrest, causing many to be displaced.
The communities affected are Chabo, Daar, Tse-Udugh, Kyor-Chiha, Ayaakeke, Usula, Hagher, Joor, Tyungu, Ugba, Angwan and Ayaba.
When our correspondent visited the IDP camps at the Central Primary School in Awe LGA and at the Pilot Science Primary School in Keana LGA on Wednesday, about 4,000 IDPs comprising women and children were seen on the school premises, which have now been converted into an emergency IDP camp.
Some women and children were seen sitting helplessly, and others were begging motorists and commuters plying the road for money to feed.
A spokesperson for the IDPs at the Central Primary School in Awe LGA, Joseph Amuwa, told our correspondent that due to the absence of security personnel around the camp, some of the IDPs had lost their lives since they arrived at the camp in December following steady attacks by herdsmen who invade the camp mostly at midnights.
Amuwa described their condition as dehumanising and appealed to the Nasarawa state government to intervene by providing them with adequate security and relief materials.
He said, “The situation here is very pathetic. We are being treated as if we are not citizens of the state. No one is showing care for us apart from the leaders of our tribal unions. Women and children sleep on bare floors in classrooms, and the stress we are passing through affects our health.
“Many women have given birth to their babies on bare floors in the classrooms. You can imagine the nursing mothers’ situation with their newborn babies. The people you are seeing here now are not the exact number of IDPs in the camps because others have gone out to look for food as help has not been coming.
“To the best of my knowledge, the IDPs are about 4,000 in camps around Obi and Awe LGAs. We really need the help of the Nasarawa state government and other good-spirited individuals at this trying time”.
When our correspondent spoke with the Village Head of the Gidan Buhu community in the area, Dennis Shigba, he explained that after the attacks in December last year, some of the IDPs attempted to go back to their ancestral homes to commence work on their farmlands but were attacked by the herdsmen who chased after them with guns, adding that they narrowly escaped and returned to the camps.
“We are really passing through a difficult time. The herdsmen are determined to frustrate our efforts to return home. Over 20 persons, mostly children, have lost their lives in some of the camps since the crisis broke out due to the consumption of unhygienic foods and lack of health care services”, Shigba said.
When our correspondent visited the IDP camp at the Pilot Science Primary School in Keana LGA, there were over 2,100 IDPs taking refuge in classrooms.
The camp administrator, Dennis Iornya, told our correspondent that they had been abandoned to their fate as life had become unbearable for them, especially with the rainy season about to fully set in.
He added that since they arrived in the camp, over 22 IDPs had died while most children were suffering from kwashiorkor and stunted growths.
Two of the nursing mothers interviewed at the camp in Keana LGA, Mercy Chahur and Adasho Deborah, told our correspondent that they watched helplessly when their children fell sick and died one after the other due to the lack of medical facilities in the area.
When contacted to respond to the ugly situation, Executive Secretary, Nasarawa State Emergency Management Agency, Zakari Allumaga, said the state government would deploy a team of personnel to carry out a headcount of the IDPs to provide them with adequate security and relief materials.3