Taraba state has an estimated 5000 persons who have been displaced as a result of insurgency in the North East, ethno-religious and communal clashes in the Southern and Central zones of the state.
This was disclosed by the Permanent Secretary, Taraba State Emergency Management Agency (TASEMA), Mr. Nuvalga Dan Habu, when he had audience with Taravoices, at the SSG’s office on Thursday 3rd March, 2016.
It could be recalled that during an unexpected visit to IDP camps in Taraba sometime ago by the National Human Rights Commission, NHRC, there were fears that the IDPs were not being taken care of by the host state.
But the SEMA boss debunked such claim saying it was not as if the state government was not aware of the presence of the IDPs, but that it did not do enough for them.
According to him, “the reason could not be far-fetched because the present administration assumed power at a more difficult time. Virtually nothing was left for government to even think of taking care of IDPs”.
‘’We inherited an empty treasury and therefore, nothing much could be done for them”. It’s not as if we didn’t know. “We were aware that they were there, but if we don’t have money, what could we do for them?’’, he asked rhetorically.
Also, the TASEMA boss who also oversees the General Services Department of the SSG’s office, revealed that the government had a way of identifying IDPs in the state through periodic visits and the cooperation of IDPs in the various camps who are well organized and took notice of the arrival of new IDPs which they registered and notified SEMA.
The Permanent Secretary also listed the IDP camps in the state as:
- Mile six,
- Abuja Phase 2,
- Sabon Gari,
- Wukari and
- Gassol, among others.
He also attributed insurgency and communal clashes as factors responsible for the displacement of persons in the state.
While speaking on the present situation of IDPs and government’s efforts at re-settling them, he said that government had taken a ‘bold step’ and was not sleeping on its oars.
‘If you are following, you would notice that just recently some village heads and local chiefs were suspended as a result of their activities and role in denying the IDPs their homes when they returned, by selling them to other people. So government is taking a bold step which I am sure sooner or later, the whole thing would be a thing of the past’.
Adding that,‘recently, we went to Wukari and Ibi and saw how people were returning, and we are taking steps to ensure that some people that were displaced in Nasarawa and Benue return to the state. The present government has done adequately enough to ensure that peace and tranquility prevails in the state’, he concluded.