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Ogun refugees never left Benin Republic, Red Cross faults FG’s claim


Ogun Refugees in Benin Republic FG Red Cross

The Nigerian Red Cross Society on Friday countered the Federal Government’s claim that Ogun refugees have left Benin Republic.
Recall that some residents of the Yewa area of Ogun State were forced to flee their home after several herdsmen attacks and fled to the francophone West African country.

A recent statement by the Nigerian Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated that embassy officials, who visited the communities where the people were allegedly taking shelter, were informed that they had returned to their communities in Nigeria.

Earlier, an on-the-spot report by The Punch had previously countered the presidency’s comments as some of the Ogun refugees in Benin Republic narrated their ordeal.

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Reacting to the claims through its Ogun State Branch Secretary of the humanitarian group, Oluwole Aboyade, the Red Cross stated that the displaced Nigerians are still in the Benin Republic.

In an interview with The Punch on Friday, the Red Cross official accused the government of playing politics with the lives of the people.

“It is just unfortunate that the government knows the truth but is trying to play politics with the human lives. Anybody can go to Benin Republic, we have been there to give them (displaced Ogun people) clothes, and other essentials.

“We have been to the palace of the king of Egelu in Benin Republic. We met with the councilors of Iganna in Benin Republic. These are the people who accommodated the refugees.

“Our Nigerian citizens are there sleeping in mosques, public areas and other places. They were displaced by Fulani herdsmen and there is no food for them and all their means of livelihood have been lost but in Benin Republic, they gave them food for a limited period of time thinking that the Nigerian government will come to their aid. But now that the government is not coming to their aid, the displaced people have no option that to go to the farms in Benin Republic for labour jobs.

“Nobody is at the villages back home; where will they go? Their houses have been razed by the Fulani herdsmen. Their means of livelihood have been destroyed. The Fulani herdsmen killed a number of the villagers, so how will those alive go back? They are not at the villages, they are in Benin Republic. The government envoy that visited the place should come and meet us and tell us that they didn’t see anybody there. The government should stop playing politics with human lives,” he said.

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Aboyade further revealed that his team would pay another visit to the displaced Ogun residents in Benin Republic on Saturday to distribute relief items.