Ogbu Sunday, Abakaliki
Dr. Ken Nwabueze Executive Secretary Ebonyi State Emergency Management Agency, has decried the rising number of Internally Displaced Persons(IDPs) in the state.
The SEMA boss, who disclosed this to Unity Times in Abakaliki, stated that due to inter state and inter communal boundary dispute in the state, the number of IDPs was increasing tremendously.
He further added that over twelve communities were affected, while calling for more intervention from the federal government to complement the effort to the Ebonyi State government so as to rehabilitate the IDPs.
“The state government has done quite a lot to improve the welfare of IDPs in the state and that is a statement of fact. The state government has done so much in making sure that these IDPs were helped, because we have quite a large number of IDPs in Ebonyi State.
“We have IDPs at Nidiegu Okpitumo, Azuofiedda and Enyigba, Echialieke, Ekpaomaka,Ochienyim, just to mention a few. I think the state has intervened and done a lot in almost all of these communities I have mentioned.
“Starting from Azuofiedda, the state government provided us with about N30 million naira, which was used to buy relief materials, and also some rehabilitation materials. They were also given some cash. Each family got one hundred thousand naira. That is outside the relief materials.
“At Mkpumaekwokwuko, the state government gave money to them cash. In Enyigba, Ekpaomaka, Echialieke, Origi Edda, and the rest of the places, the state government provided us with cash and food items which were given to them.
“The state government has done well to make sure their situation is enhanced. With also help from federal government, we have provided them with relief and rehabilitation materials.
“We have provided them with roofing sheets, cements, nails and lots more. These materials are majorly for reconstruction of their houses. Our own is to make sure that these materials are judiciously and equitably distributed to the Internally Displaced Persons(IDPs).
“The target is the actual victims, and we have gone extra miles to make sure that is done. We do not just handover materials to the stakeholders; we go down to the grassroots and to those areas affected to make sure that these things is delivered to the actual victims.
“We believe these people are in need of these things. They need to reconstruct their houses. If they choose to sell it after it has been delivered to them as individuals they are on their own.
“I must be frank with you. There was a time I made up my mind that I was going to visit every place affected. At the end of the day, I counted about twelve communities in different parts of Ebonyi state that has had communal crisis.
“In one of those communities, about six seven villages were affected. The crisis in Ebonyi State is so much that the government alone can handle. If I tell you that state government has reached every singular IDPs, I may not be sincere because the IDPs in Ebonyi State is so huge because the place affected are too many.
“I must tell you that I have been to Igbeagu in Izzi local government area myself on several occasions. The number villages affected in Igbeagu is so many, that I know that what I took to them did not reach all the villages affected.
“I have actually reached the federal government. Before you came in, I was just going through one of the documents sent to Abuja. I can remember, we have done assessment of all the places. That of Igbeagu was one of the risky areas to be accessed.
“We were picking fresh bullets in the villages affected. And immediately we stepped out those people attacked. My team and those from Abuja narrowly escaped it.So, we have written to the federal government. But the federal government has intervened in one or two cases.
“Places like Azuoffia Edda, we wrote them and the federal government intervened through National Commission For Refugees, Migrants and IDPs. They intervened. They brought us materials twice.
“They did not only bring relief materials, they also brought rehabilitation materials. And what they brought runs into tens of millions and we took it to them on two occasions.
“They have also intervened in Ochenyim in 2015. As of the new places affected, we have conducted assessment and the report submitted, hoping that they will intervened”, he stated.