Gabriel Ternenge is an internally displaced person (IDP) in Benue state. Ternenge escaped death by a whisker, but his two-year-old son, mother and brother were not so lucky as they were killed by Fulani herdsmen who attacked his village in Ukum local government area. This is one of the many stories of IDPs in Benue state.
There have been at least one hundred militant attacks in twelve local government areas of Benue state since August 2015, with over 300 deaths and five communities completely burnt.
With hundreds of IDPs scattered around different parts of Benue, it became difficult for the state government to cater for the needs of these people alone.
As part of interventions in Nigeria, the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) started the Daudu Shelter Project for IDPs with support from the Benue state government and a coalition of Non-Governmental Organisations in Benue State (BENGONET) to provide accommodation for these vulnerable Nigerians.
Speaking at the commissioning ceremony in Guma local government, on Friday, November 18, 2016, UNHCR representative to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Angele Dikongue-Atangana said the event makes good the promise to provide roofs on the heads of some displaced households.
Atangana disclosed that the UNHCR had recently conducted a Peace Project in Benue state which includes a research into the impacts of the conflicts, provision of relief materials worth over 20 million, psychosocial support and livelihood support of N10,000 targeting 120 vulnerable households.
She said: "The Guma Shelter was conceived as the pilot project which will be replicated in parts of the northeast to accommodate some of the thousands of vulnerable IDPs households in the region; especially the aged population, widows and handicapped who sleep in open around residences and other public places even as we abode in the comfort of our homes."
The UNHCR representative urged the government to consider modifying and replicating this project in other parts of Benue state as well as ensure its sustainability.
In his remarks, the Benue state governor, Samuel Ortom who was represented by his deputy, Benson Abounu expressed gratitude to the UNHCR and the entire UN System for their intervention in the state.
He insisted that the state government will not make land reservations for grazing as majority of her indigens are farmers.
He pledged the readiness of the state to partner with the UNHCR to carry out projects that would benefit the state and Nigeria at large.
Non-food items provided by the UNHCR include 400 small sized mattresses, 400 wooden plank beds, 400 blankets, 200 sets of cooking pots, 200 charcoal stoves, 400 buckets, 200 jerry cans and 200 powered lanterns among others.
Highlights of the event were the official commissioning and handing over of the project to the Benue state government and cultural dance presentation by the cultural troupe.