Nigeria’s Minister for Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Betta Edu, has performed the ground-breaking ceremony for the construction of Renewed Hope shelter for the poor and Internally Displaced Persons at Tatyo and Kyo communities in Makurdi North Local Government Area of Benue State.
She performed the groundbreaking alongside the State Governor, Hyacinth Alia, with a promise to work with the state government to ensure that the IDPs returned to their ancestral homes.
The Nation reported that this was made known in a statement issued on Friday, by the Minister’s Special Adviser of Media and Publicity, Rasheed Olanrewaju Zubair.
Speaking at the event, Edu said the project was in fulfilment of President Bola Tinubu’s promise to reduce humanitarian crises and poverty challenges in Nigeria.
She said: “The president assured Benue People that if he was voted into power, he would provide security and resettle them back to their ancestral homes where some have been out for over 10 years following the Herdsmen-farmers conflict.”
The minister commended Governor Alia for ensuring that peace returned to Tatyo and Tyo communities, as well as other communities which have been engulfed by violence since 2012 resulting in the displacement of hundreds of thousands from their homes.
Notably, since 2011, over 12,000 people have lost their lives in that alone, and thousands more were rendered homeless due to attacks by suspected armed herders in the Markudi North Local government area of the state.
The Renewed Hope shelter, which has a learning centre, health centre, and market, according to Dr. Edu will be built by the community members in clusters under the supervision of the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation in partnership with the Benue State Government.
She expressed sadness over the IDPs’ experience these past years and pledged that “for these wonderful people that have come from the IDP camps, the journey back to your ancestral homes has begun, “this is the beginning of a journey to return home.”
“As we drove down here, I felt pain. I felt lots of pain. I saw deserted communities, and I saw the “food basket of the Nation” reduced to want and anguish. President Tinubu says hope is finally back in Benue; we need everyone to go back to the farms so we can have food security!
The minister stressed that Benue was key in the food security agenda of the President’s Eight Point Agenda.
She said: “Part of President Tinubu’s eight-point agenda is food security and Benue is the Food Basket of the Nation, this state is therefore, key to him in terms of achieving food security hence peace and tranquillity of Benue, as well as the welfare of the people, are uppermost in his mind.
“You cannot reduce the hope of a nation, the food basket of a nation, the food security stronghold of Nigeria to want, pain and anguish. Mr. President has sent me here to give the message of renewed hope to the people of Benue. I can tell you for sure that hope is here. Hope is here.”
Earlier, Governor Alia lamented the suffering the displaced indigenes of the state had been through, saying their plight was quite heart-rending.
According to the Governor, they’ve been longing to get back home and do what they know how to do best, which is farming. We have been working with the youths, security, and faith-based organizations among others to ensure that the displaced persons get on their feet again and possibly return to their ancestral homes.
The Governor commended Dr Edu for her passion and empathy for vulnerable persons in the state and promised to work with the federal government to ensure that the IDPs return to their ancestral homes.
The Benue state’s number one citizen applauded President Tinubu for fulfilling his campaign promise to the IDPs by providing Renewed Hope Shelters to them.
It was a most reassuring experience as thousands of displaced persons danced for joy. It was the first time in 10 years that widows, women, men, and children were stepping their feet back in their ancestral land.