The Federal Government on Thursday said that it has directed the National Emergency Management Authority (NEMA) to rebuild villages in Benue State and other Middle Belt States, affected by herdsmen attacks, in a manner that the villages will not be far from one another.
It said the measure was to ensure better protection of the people as the current security in the country is not enough to protect every village in the region from incessant attacks and killings by suspected Fulani herdsmen.
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Audu Ogbeh, stated this during a town hall meeting on farmers’ herders’ clashes convened by the Ministry of Information and Culture in Abuja on Thursday.
Others at the meeting were the Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan-Ali; the Minister of Interior, Abdulrahman Dambazau, and the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed.
On the N10 billion President Muhammadu Buhari approved for the rehabilitation of states devastated by herdsmen, the agriculture minister said the money would be used “to rebuild the devastated villages as all the Internally Displaced Persons in Benue State wanted to return home as quickly as possible.”
He added, “I was with the Vice-President, Yemi Osinbajo, in Benue State on Tuesday and the money announced is not only for Benue, which is apparently facing this crisis.
“The crisis in the IDP camps is very severe. Lots of women and children want to return home, but there are no homes. So, the idea is to rehabilitate the homes as quickly as possible to let them return home.”
On ensuring the protection of the people, he said, “Two, NEMA is redesigning the settlements in the villages to bring more communities together so that people don’t live too far apart. Otherwise, we don’t have enough security to guard every settlement. Unless you have units of 10 or 11 soldiers to guard each village, there is no way that the current security network can cover the needs of villagers who may be attacked in the afternoon or night. That was one of the things we studied on Tuesday.
“Three, we have to do everything we can to end these pastoral movements, slowly and in the large scale later. We have 415 reserves. Some have been encroached upon while others are still there. We have to provide water and grass, and protect the herdsmen from cattle rustlers, who are also Fulani.”
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