AHEAD Benue Youth Summit billed to hold this week, a coalition of Benue youths have advised President Muhammadu Buhari not to politicize the rehabilitation of displaced persons across the country since they are all Nigerians.
The coalition equally demanded to know why billions of naira is being spent to house those displaced by Boko Haram in Borno State while nothing is being done for the over 500,000 displaced persons in Benue state.
The youths in a press release signed by Comrades Shima Atoka, Abel Magaji and Ogwuche Imoha, on behalf of Tiv Youth Forum, Idoma Youth Forum and Igede Youth Forum respectively, in Makurdi at the weekend, wondered why such preference should be allowed to take place, as it does not support the welfare of Benue farmers who were chased from their ancestral homes years back by Fulani pastoralists.
“It defies reason and the government of Muhammed Buhari has to convince Benue State that it is still part of the country.
“What crime have we Benue people committed that we won’t be considered as citizens of this country?
“There are refugees in Borno and Benue states and the government of Muhammadu Buhari has chosen to respond to the needs of refugees in Borno while those in Benue are being chased out of their ancestral homes.
“While those displaced by Boko Haram have been given billions of naira to take possession of brand-new homes with all modern amenities that make life meaningful, nothing is given to the citizens in the IDP camps of Benue state. We take strong umbrage at this nauseating double standard.
“The classical case of Governor Zulum of Borno state and Samuel Ortom of Benue State must be used to accentuate the contrasting dynamics of statecraft. While Zulum is building for insurgents, Ortom is looking for funds to feed displaced citizens who have been abandoned by the Federal Government.
“And the ‘crime’ of Benue citizens is that they have refused to give up their ancestral lands to Fulani herdsmen and their cows. And because President Buhari is Fulani, there is no place for peace in the Benue Valley.
“Refugee camps have been turned into permanent homes to the extent that classrooms are being built there. In Borno state, modern buildings are put in place to house those displaced by Boko Haram.
“The funds being used in Borno to erect structures for refugees are coming from the federal till. Meanwhile, the camps in Benue are not conducive and it does not bother the Buhari government,” the coalition lamented.
They, therefore, urged President Buhari to ensure the fulfillment of the promise he made in 2018 through the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo to rehabilitate the affected communities and individuals affected by the herders’ invasions.