The over 20,835 nursing mothers currently trapped in the Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs, camps in seven local government areas of Benue state have sent Save Our Souls, SOS, message to the federal government to help them return to their ancestral homes with their children.
The nursing mothers who were captured in the official records of the State Emergency Management Agency, SEMA, are among the over 483,692 IDPs displaced by herdsmen crisis in the state, currently taking refuge in 22 official and unofficial camps and host communities in parts of the state appealed to the federal government to fulfill its pledge of rebuilding their destroyed communities.
Some of the women who spoke to Vanguard in Abagena, Daudu and Gbjimba IDPs camps lamented that they were going through harrowing experiences with their babies and children in the camps and were eager to return home to live their normal lives if their homes were reconstructed.
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At the Abagena camp, Mrs. Aver Aoundover who is nursing an eight-month-old baby said she was tired of staying in the camp and would have returned home with her husband and three other children but they had no home to return to in Guma.
She said, “we are tired of living in the camp, the state government and public-spirited individuals have been doing their best by providing us means of sustenance but this is not the kind of life we want to live.
“We want to return home with our children and husbands but we do not have homes to return to because they were all destroyed by armed herdsmen. Our farms were also destroyed.
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“We know that the Benue state government is tired because we know that it is not easy to provide for us on a daily basis. And we also know that the state government is facing a lot of challenges and are currently overwhelmed by the IDPs situation in the state, that is why we are appealing to the federal government to come to our aid.
“All we are asking for is the reconstruction of our destroyed homes and any other assistance and support that we will return home with and carry on with our normal lives of farming and providing for our children.”
On her part, Nwandoo Igbakura who is nursing a two-month-old baby lamented that Benue IDPs who were chased out of their ancestral homes had been abandoned to their fate by the federal government.
“Even after they came and gave us hope that all will be well with us, that the federal government had approved money with which they will reconstruct of homes to enable us retuned home nothing has been done after one year.
“We even discovered that herdsmen are still in some of our communities and they patrol our villages at nights with the cattle. We are pleading with the federal government to come and save us from the trauma of living in IDPs camps by fulfilling their promise to help us return home.”
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