The Benue State government says it has commenced moves to return thousands of Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs, to their ancestral homes.
The IDPs, who were displaced from their ancestral homes by herdsmen, have been staying in refugee camps in the state for nearly six years.
Benue State governor, Rev Fr. Hyacinth Alia, announced plans to return the IDPs to their homes during an event organised to commemorate his first 100 days in office, in Makurdi on Wednesday.
Alia disclosed that his administration is currently carrying out a survey for resettlement of displaced persons.
The governor noted that even though the IDPs are still staying in camps, they now go to their ancestral homes to farm, a situation which he said was not possible in the past.
He said, “Returning the displaced people to their ancestral homes is a process. It involves very many other critical stakeholders.
“Already we have carried along all these stakeholders in all the processes we are following.
“We have three stages. We are done with the first stage which is dialogue. The second stage is almost completed too. Once this is done, we shall lead our people, holding their hands straight back to occupy their homesteads.”
Alia, who also used the occasion to highlight some of his achievements in office within the period, said although his administration met a near collapsed system, it is on course to make the state better.
He listed the payment of four months salaries and pensions, provision of fertilizer to farmers at a subsidized rate, flag-off of the construction of 16 roads in different locations within Makurdi and sanitization of workers payroll which has saved the state of over N1 billion, as some of his achievements in office so far.
The governor added that his administration, within the period, has also put a stop to illegal and multiple taxation.
He added that his administration has paid the 2023 Medical Residency Training Fund, MRTF, at a revised rate, increased the allowances of National Youth Service Corps, NYSC, members serving in the state and implemented the new retirement age for teachers in the state, in addition to installing streetlights in Makurdi metropolis.
Alia further disclosed that his administration has began the process of training 10,000 youths in Information and Communication Technology, ICT, in addition to other empowerment schemes aimed at cushioning the effects of subsidy removal on citizens.