The Governor of Benue State, Samuel Ortom, said he had information that the Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, would order the withdrawal of policemen attached to the eight camps where victims of herdsmen attacks in the state were taking refuge.
Ortom said this on Wednesday in a chat with journalists in Makurdi.
Our source, who visited three out of the eight IDP camps on Thursday, observed palpable apprehension among the displaced persons.
Ortom had on Wednesday told journalists that, “I received information that policemen in the IDP camps were withdrawn on the directive of the Inspector-General of Police and I have no control over them.”
The governor said he would visit the camps, starting from next week, to address the displaced persons on the need for them to seek alternative places to take refuge.
“I will be going to the camps to visit them to tell them to find alternatives because there is no point in keeping them.
“The N200m that (Governor Nyesom) Wike promised is in the account; I will use the money to mobilise them and whatever we get at the State Emergency Management Agency will be distributed to them.”
When our source visited three of the eight camps located in the Makurdi and Guma local government areas on Thursday, the IDPs expressed apprehension over the news.
However, policemen were found in the camps at Abegana camp in Makurdi, RCM Primary School and Humanitarian Refugees camps all in Daudu, when our source visited on Thursday.
The chairman of the IDPs at Abegana camp, Philip Usatse, stated that though the report of the withdrawal of policemen had filtered into the camp, he was not sure the development would affect the camp.
But an elderly person at a refugee camp at the RCM Primary School, Daudu, Pa Ortese, said, “We were told that the policemen deployed in this camp are expected to leave the camp and you know that if such a thing happens, we are not safe.”
At the humanitarian refugee camp in Daudu, Mrs Dooshima Joel, who spoke through an interpreter, said the report of the withdrawal was brought to them on Wednesday.
“We have been living in fear since then; we cannot go back to our communities because the Fulani are still there,” she said.
The camp commandant at the Daudu camps, Omirigbe Angela, confirmed to newsmen that they were informed of the withdrawal of policemen.
“It is true, we were told yesterday (Wednesday) that the policemen deployed in the two camps in Daudu here would be withdrawn today (Thursday) but as you can see they are still here,” he said.
Efforts to get the reaction of the spokesman for the state police command, DSP Moses Yamu, failed as he did not pick the call.