Since January this year, over 170 people from Guma Logo and parts of Makurdi local government areas of Benue state who were displaced from their ancestral homes have been taking refuge in nine camps across the state.
Just as in any normal set up in a community, the IDPs have deviced ways of making their living condition better while in the camps.
For instance in the Abagena Camp in Makurdi and the one in Daudu in Guma local government areas there are make shift barber shops and semi provision markets set up by some IDPs to cater for the needs of their colleagues.
A barbing shop owner, James Fakerga explained while he ventured into barbing business in the camp thus “as I arrived the camp and have nothing to do, I saw plenty people and many people were looking for where to barb their hair and because I am into this business before, I decided to help myself and the IDPs. I used the little money I got from the farm produce I sold before this crisis started to buy this smàll generator popularly called, I pass my neighbour, fuel and a clipper and manage to put this roof and a bench where my customers will sit , so for now that is where we are.
“Although back in the village I was not operating a barbing shop I was purely into rice, maize and ground nut farming, but because we ran for our dear lives and left our harvest crops behind and all have been taken over by our attackers, we have no choice but to start a new life here in the camp because man must survive”
Another business man, Abraham Adagu, who owns a phone charging shop, said as a family man he cannot fold his arms to watch his wife and child cry for something and he can not afford it.
“All these things you are seeing here were given to me by philanthropists, I am from Kasseyo Keana road and you know that was the place these herdsmen were coming to attack us from Nassarawa side because we are living close to them. We ran for our lives and came to the camp with nothing, so I started devising on ways to put food on the table of my family because I don’t want to rely on government, if my child cry for biscuit I don’t need to wait for government, I need to be able to at least give her mother N10 to buy biscuit for him.
“So instead of begging for money I beg for this generator and the charging table you are seen here. l bought fuel and start the charging business because we don’t even have light here, even though normal price for charging phones is N50 per phone, l am collecting as low as N20 and above because many people here don’t have money but they need to put calls across to their relatives to send money or food stuff to them here because the quantity of food shared in the camp can’t go round some families,” he said.
Aondoaver Kuza also has a barbing shop and thanked God for sparing their lives, saying life in the camp is not easy but he is trying to put in his best.
He explained that “as we are here even if they are sharing food we the young men they will not give us According to them the food is meant for couples so for me to come here and die of hunger, I decided to start the barbing business I was doing when I was in the village and this has been very helpful.”
Aondowase Sha, is an 8-year- old boy who was seen selling palm oil at the camp and according to him, he was holding brief for his parents who have gone to the market to purchase some food items.
A provision market introduced by Francis Igbiankyor was a beehive of activities as people were seen purchasing various items from the shop. According to the shop owner when they arrived at the camp, they found it difficult to get things like garri ,maggi onion and other little things like biscuit ‘so I decided to think outside the box that is why I open this shop to help those in need of these items and myself too.
Though the victims have always received food stuff including food and non food items, soup has always been an issue. It was against this background that Victoria Agagu took it upon herself to go into the business of frying ice fish to help her family and other people who need the delicacy on daily basis.
“ When we came to the camp here three months ago,I discovered that soup was always a challenge to many families and as you can see we came from different places and there is no land here in the camp where one would say he or she plant a small garden of okro, spinach, garden eggs etc, so I decided to engage in the business of ice fish with the little money I had.
“As I am frying, any person that have N50 can buy, I am selling it both on cash and credit basis because not everybody can have money at the same time,especially here that everybody is sitting without doing anything. I sold to them because we are here by God’s design and we need to help ourselves”
Away from the business matters, education is not left out too as the Catholic Diocese of Makurdi in collaboration with the IDPs have organised interventiotion schools in Abagena camp and the primary arm was in session.
In an interview with Juliana Igbe a JSS 2 student in the camp she commended the Catholic Bishop of Makurdi Diocese, His Lordship Most Reverend Wilfred Anagbe for coming to the aid of the down trodden especially most of who have no hope of going back to school again.
“We really appreciate the Bishop for this initiative, had it been we were left like that our world would have gone down and nobody would have thought of going back to school again. For me, I thought this is was the end to my education career, but with this, the Bishop has raised our hope again, only God will bless him for us.
Explaining how the schools operates, the Principal of the school, Boniface Wachur, said the classes are being run from Monday to Friday to enure that the children that are living in the camp are not left out in pursuing their education career.
Despite all the seeming better life being experienced by the IDPs in various camps returning home they unanimously said is the best thing that would happen to them, saying there is no place like home.