Today, the pressure group Plateau Youth G-17 Peace and Progressive Forum made passionate appeal on the FG and Government of Plateau State to give swift attention to the humanitarian conditions of the Internally Displaced Persons in Plateau State who are going through untold hardships in the various camps across the State.
This call was made today during a Press Conference by the group held at Mc Hez Yingi, Jos Plateau State.
Below is the excerpt of the Press Conference;
Press Conference on the Plight of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Plateau State, held on 9th November 2018 by the Plateau Youth G17 Peace and Progressive Forum
Gentlemen of the Press
We address you today on the pertinent issues that the Federal and State Government need to give immediate attention to in Plateau state.
You are all aware of the persistent killings of innocent persons mostly women, children, and the elderly over the years particularly the massacre that took place in June, 2018 at Barkin Ladi, as well as incessant attacks and gruesome murders in Riyom, Bassa, Bokkos and part of Mangu LGC of Plateau State.
It is also a known fact that the agony of victims of the June attacks as well as others by herdsmen terror groups in Gashish, Ropp, Barkin Ladi and Riyom in addition to Bassa, Bokkos and Mangu Local Government Areas are still fresh in their minds having been neglected at the various IDP camps with little or no attention from Government.
It is also on record that Plateau State has well over 20,000 people mostly children and women in 7 IDPs camps across the State. The living conditions of the IDPs has been horrible and continues to deteriorate by the day due to the negligence and disregard by government. Reliable information has it that women are being molested and sexually harassed in the camp before they could access daily meal for their children. Most of the children are now out of school with little or no hope of any form of education. Rural agriculture has been severely disrupted as farmlands are being destroyed and harvest is low within the axis because many can no longer go to their farms for fear of being attacked or killed by herdsmen. These citizens have lost everything and now live on handouts in IDP camps.
Gentlemen of the Press, we are addressing you today as important partners and gatekeepers of society’s conscience, to help in holding both Federal and Plateau State Government accountable as well as remind them of their pledge and promises towards assisting these IDPs by rehabilitating, reintegrating and relocating them back to their ancestral homes before the end of 2018.
In the words of Vice President Yemi Osibanjo at the Plateau State Government House Little Rayfield, during his visit on the 25th June 2018, occasioned by the massacre in Barkin Ladi, he said and I quote:
“NEMA (National Emergency Management Agency) is here with me and they will be ensuring that relief materials are provided in the various areas where they are required. The DG of NEMA will ensure that is done. We’ve also talked about the N10billion fund which the government approved mainly for the rehabilitation of farms and farming communities…
…The fund is to enable farmers who have not been able to farm or who have lost farmlands, to be rehabilitated. We will provide inputs and whatever assistance is required so that they can go back to their farms. We are going to make that available here”.
It will interest the general public to know that since the pronouncement and promise of the federal government by the Vice President five months ago, NO action has been taken.
As it is now, most of the IDPs have no accommodation and have to squat in make shift rooms or uncompleted buildings with no social amenities. Worrisome also is the fact that we are approaching the cold harmattan season with the festivities and holidays around the corner. It is most disheartening for one to imagine these innocent citizens, who have lost everything being continually forgotten to the point of celebrating the Christmas in the cold because of the criminal neglect by government.
We want to appreciate the US government for supporting some None Governmental Organizations (NGO’s) with millions of naira through Plateau Peace Building Agency to aid in reintegration of displaced persons. We wish to call on the Plateau Peace Building Agency to urgently swing into action and ensure the transparent utilization of the said donor funds in accordance with the well intentioned mandate of the US government.
We therefore want to seize the opportunity to put across the following prayers:
Government should take to heart, it’s constitutional responsibility of protecting the lives and property of citizens and act accordingly without fear or favor.
Appropriate machinery be immediately put in place to reconstruct the destroyed homes, schools and others amenities within the communities, just like it is the case with similar communities in the North East of Nigeria.
Ensure holistic relocation and integration of displaced persons
Urgent review of the State’s security architecture to incorporate and strengthen the States Operation Rainbow neighborhood security arrangement so as to encourage citizens participation and collaboration in providing security for their communities. This, we believe is the surest way to forestall future occurrence.
Government rather than blame the victims and criminalize them due to their frustration and anger which often results in reprisal attacks, ensure the arrest and transparent prosecution of the criminal elements killing innocent citizens and their masterminds.
The Plateau State government should erect/construct a befitting memorial arcade at mass burial sites in memory of the victims.
The Federal Government should, as a matter of urgency, fulfill its promises to the people.
We at this juncture, call on all lovers of peace and humanity, to be our brothers keeper and contribute in making the lives of our fellow citizens better and manageable, especially at this festive season, as they struggle to get their lives back together again.
Dachung Musa Bagos
Plateau Youth G 17 Peace & Progressive Forum
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