Herdsmen: Amosun, Odebiyi groan as Ogun residents become IDPs in Benin Republic
Former Governor of Ogun State and Senator Representing Ogun Central, Ibikunle Amosun, on Wednesday, joined Senator Tolu Odebiyi of Ogun West in calling for the relocation of Yewa indigenes who fled to Benin Republic as a result of the recent herdsmen attacks.
The two Senators made the plea at the floor of the Senate through a motion moved by Odebiyi and seconded by Amosun.
This is coming at a time the Ogun State Government is still insisting there was no Ogun indigene in any refugee camp in Benin Republic.
The media had earlier reported that scores of Ogun indigenes have turned refugees in the French-speaking country to avoid being killed by fiendish herdsmen; but the state government stressed that there was nothing like that.
Governor Dapo Abiodun held that it would have attracted diplomatic moves between Nigeria and the country hosting the refugees if the report was true.
The Chairman of Ogun State Peace Keeping Committee on Farmers/Herders Conflict, Hon. Kayode Oladele, said those relocating to Benin Republic were Egun and Ohori people, who he said are not actually original Yewa indigenes.
However, the Nigerian media reported on Tuesday, a video that confirmed the relocation of Ogun indigenes to the neighbouring country.
Moving a motion under Order 42 and 52, Sen. Odebiyi confirmed that many of his constituents had become refugees in Benin Republic.
He said the motion was in regards to the urgent need to intervene in the plight of communities displaced and forced to seek refuge in Benin Republic as a result of incessant attacks by bandits and suspected herdsmen in Ogun State.
According to him, “many of the attacks by suspected herdsmen in the area remain perennial owing to the near absence of police and other security personnel in the affected communities.
“Many Communities like Asa, Oho, Igbooro, Moro, Imeko, Agbon Ojodu were affected by the criminal activities of suspected herdsmen.
“Countless attacks by the criminal elements have caused many residents of the areas to desert and relocate to a refugee camp in Benin Republic in search of safety, with many of them in unfavourable conditions in the refugee camps. It may interest you to know that I visited some of these communities; all the women have left for the neighbouring country, Benin Republic and all living in unfavourable conditions.
“The state Government alone cannot be left with the onerous task of relocating these displaced citizens, hence the need for the Federal Government to effectively return the affected citizens back to their various communities.
“Further disturbed that, if the Benin Republic that is a neighbour to Nigeria could accommodate Nigerians in time of crisis, give them food and set up a refugee camp for them, Nigeria needs to positively step up on how we treat our citizens who are victims of an internally induced crisis.”
In his prayers, Odebiyi called on the Nigeria Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Border Communities Development Agency to undertake an on-the-spot assessment of the affected communities with a view to determining the extent of the problem and provide relief to the affected persons.
He also called on the concerned authorities to pursue and put in place the necessary mechanism for the relocation of the affected people and their communities, asking the police to provide police posts and ensure police presence in the communities to ensure security of lives and properties.
Seconding the motion, former Governor Amosun said the government should not be tired in making concerted efforts to ensure “we solve these security challenges we are presently having.”
Amosun stated that, “I want to just implore, according to the motion moved by Sen. Tolu Odebiyi, that we should do everything humanly possible to make sure those our citizens that have relocated (so I heard and I saw the video) to the Republic of Benin are brought back home; and we should get all necessary security apparatus in place for them to be comfortable to stay within.”
Meanwhile, the Senate has passed a resolution directing the concerned Federal Government agencies to take necessary actions towards relocating the displaced persons in Ogun.