By Amos Aar
A Non-Governmental Organisation, Victims Support Fund (VSF), through the Benue State Government, has commenced distribution of relief materials to Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in seven local government areas in Benue State with Konshisha and Oju taking the first turn on Friday, 27th May, 2022.
Addressing newsmen at Gungul and Gbinde communities in Konshisha LGA invaded by the Nigerian Army in May 2021, State VFS Project Coordinator, Ms Mndepawe Jonah Kwaghe, said the intervention programme targeted six thousand (6,000) households in seven local government areas of the state namely, Konshisha, Oju, Ado, Apa, Kwande, Gwer-West, Logo and Guma.
According to Kwaghe, Friday’s distribution covered the months of April and May, adding that it will continue every month till September 2022 being a period of six months.
Representative of the Executive Secretary, Benue State Emergency Management Agency, Mr Alexander Chia, who assisted in the presentation of gifts to the victims on behalf of the state government appreciated VFS for the kind gesture.
On her part, the Executive Director, Gender and Environmental Risk Reduction Initiative, Mrs Elizabeth Jeiyol, expressed joy that her organisation was partnering VSF for the second time in the intervention programme. The first time, according to her, was in 2020 during Covid-19 period. She said apart from food items, the beneficiaries are also going to receive healthcare and economic empowerment. Mrs Jeiyol appreciated the Chairman of VFS, Gen. T. Y Danjuma (rtd.) for the support, the Benue State Government and other implementing partners.
Narrating their experiences about displacement, Konshisha IDPs who are living in the host communities said survival has been very difficult in terms of food, accommodation, clothing and children’s education since the invasion.
Speaking on behalf of the IDPs, Isaac Buruku, a retired Assistant Bishop of Anglican Diocese and a 55-year old father of 10 said he has been surviving with his family by gifts from his spiritual sons and daughters from abroad, lamenting that a house he built for N5.7m at Gungul was burnt completely without anything picked from it.
Other IDPs/beneficiaries at Gungul and Gbinde including Mama Nancy Adi, Tyokighir Amande, Sarah Gwajime and Aku Buruku told National Record that they did not have money to build new houses and so they resorted to living in deplorable thatched houses roughly made to accommodate them. They were grateful that the items donated to them by VFS would give them a great deal of respite.
Each benefiting household got two 5kg bags of rice, one 5kg bag of beans, one 5kg bag of soyabeans, 1 5kg bag of garri, two bottles of palm oil (1litre), two bottles of vegetable oil (1litre), 4 sachets of 400 grams sugar, 4 sachets of 500 grams salt, two packs of Maggi and hygiene kits.