The internally displaced persons (IDPs) taking refuge in eight camps across some of the LGEA Primary Schools in Jalingo the Taraba State capital on Saturday cried out that they were dying of hunger and wished to go back to their ancestral homes.
The displaced persons were sacked three weeks ago following series of attacks in Muribai, Jenibanbu, and Yelwa, in Ardo Kola and Jalingo local governments, respectively, by herdsmen.
The attacks, which lasted unbated for four days rendered more than 21,000 people homeless.
The spokesperson of the IDPs in Taraba, Kini Nomiri, said they were hungry and needed to go back to their homes and continue with farming which is principally their occupation.
He stressed that rather than supply food stuff for them, the officials of NEMA recently came with trailers to move the food Items meant for Taraba IDPs to Borno, adding that the action led to a heavy protest by the hungry IDPs.
Nomiri appreciated the Taraba State government for its efforts in trying to make sure that they were comfortable, saying the state government alone cannot handle the situation on ground.
He wondered why what was meant to be a temporal arrangement would become a permanent one viewing unseriousness on the side of the Federal government.
“Our people are hungry. There is no food, and we heard romours that some trailers were moving relief materials from the store so we went there to verify and the drivers told us that they were moving the items to Borno,” he said.
“We told them that we are in serious hunger and the items should be shared to us that was why we protested and up till now the trailers are still there.”
“The state Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) and the Taraba State government are doing their best but the Federal government and NEMA are not trying we are hungry. If we continue to be hungry the only way out is to resist because we are not slaves,” he stated.
Duna Gembo Bala, the director of relief and rehabilitation of Taraba Dtate EmergencyManagement Agency (SEMA) told BusinessDay that the issue of taking care of the IDPs was meant to be the responsibility of the federal government. He said the state government, NGOs and well-meaning individuals on their part was only to complement their efforts.
Bala who said the agency was overwhelmed with the offensive growing number of IDPs in the state expressed shock over the transfer of relief materials ment for Taraba to Borno adding that it was the first of it’s kind.
“Taraba state is disturbed about the overgrowing population of IDPs in the state. For just Fulani and Kona crisis alone we have over 21,700 IDPs in camp, we have about eight camps presently within Jalingo the state capital.
“The issue of taking care of IDPs is not left to government alone, but in Taraba it appears as if only the state government is taking care of IDPs. In fact, the way SEMA is established is just to complement the federal government through the National Emergency Management Agency NEMA, but for now the population of IDPs has overwhelmed the state. The financial capability of Taraba state cannot take care of the IDPs we need federal government intervention in Taraba state which is not fourth coming.
He said they received the news of IDPs protesting with shock, pointing out that they had never experienced transfer of relief materials from one state to another.