Victims of the recent attacks on rural communities in Daffo District of Bokkos Local Government in Plateau have accused the state government of neglecting those displaced.
Their spokesman, Mr Emmanuel Macham, in a statement on Sunday in Jos, accused government of abandoning the victims to their fate and “ignoring complaints that some are starving to death’’.
He said that 10,000 persons had been displaced by the violence that claimed several lives, adding that many others were still missing.
According to him, the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), who were first camped in COCIN Church, Bokkos, before being relocated to COCIN Church, Daffo, have been “thrown into the streets’’ after the camp was closed down on Friday.
“The camp was closed down on Friday because there was no food to maintain the IDPs.
“Some of the displaced persons sleep in Churches, while others stay in schools, markets, uncompleted buildings, or relations houses,’’ he said.
He alleged that no government official visited the IDPs camp before it was closed, adding that no assistance was received from NEMA or the Plateau State Emergency Agency.
Macham called on the Plateau government to build tents to assist the IDPs “instead of leaving them to wander around without shelter, food or water’’.
The spokesman, however, thanked Sen. Jerry Useni for donating N300,000 and 50 bags each, of maize and rice, to the IDPs.
According to him, Useni also set up a committee to verify the damage with a view to assist the victims to enable them return to normal lives.
The spokesman called on security agencies to assist the victims to return to their villages by protecting them from the attackers who, he said, had occupied the deserted villages.
He listed villages occupied by the suspected attackers to include Ganda, Hotom-Waren, Morok, Ngakudu and Josho.
“These five villages have very fertile land and the farmers want to go back to the farm, but they are afraid of what may happen to them because some people have been killed on their farms.
“We want to suggest that the security men should be stationed in the villages where the attacks are carried out and not in Daffo town that is relatively quiet,’’ he said.
Macham expressed optimism that the tension currently in the area would “go down’’ if people returned to their homes, and expressed fear of imminent starvation if the farmers were not assisted to return to the farms.
On the possible solution to the violence, Macham called for “serious and sincere dialogue between herdsmen and indigenes of the area’’.
“If government is committed to restoring lasting peace, it should set up a committee to investigate the immediate and remote causes of the violence so as to iron out the lingering issues,’’ he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), reports that hundreds of Daffo women, dressed in black, stormed Jos on Thursday, to protest the “horrible conditions of the IDPs camp’’.
The women, who held leaves and placards, marched through the state capital, moving from the House of Assembly to the Government House where they submitted petitions to Gov Simon Lalong, President Muhamadu Buhari and Speaker Peter Azi.
Their spokesperson, Mrs. Comfort malan, who signed the petition, said that the poor health conditions, hunger and depression in the camp were “already breeding suicidal tendencies among the adolescents’’.
She said that nine villages were affected by the violence, and called for urgent steps to forestall a humanitarian crisis in the area.
Contacted, Mr Yakubu Dati, the Commissioner for Information and Communication, rejected suggestions that government had abandoned the IDPs to their plight.
He said that Lalong had mobilised security agencies to restore peace and assist the IDPs to return to their homes, adding that a minute’s silence was observed at the last State Executive Council meeting, in honour of those who lost their lives in the Bokkos crisis.
Dati said that government had also provided succour to those affected through the Local Government Chairman and other officials of government.
On the closure of the IDPs camp, Dati explained that the goal was to encourage the people to return to their homes, saying that more security personnel were being mobilised to protect the villages against further attacks.