Contrary to the Federal Government’s claim, the Nigerian Red Cross Society says Ogun residents who fled the country for Benin Republic in the wake of killings by Fulani herdsmen have yet to return.
The Executive Secretary of the Society, Mr Oluwole Aboyade, who said this, described as unfortunate that the government was playing politics with human lives.
“They are not at the villages, they are in Benin Republic. The government envoy that visited the place should come and meet us and tell us that they didn’t see anybody there.
“The government should stop playing politics with human lives,” he said.
Persecondnews recalls that some residents of Yewa area of the state fled to Benin Republic following attacks by herdsmen who invaded their villages and killed several people including farmers.
The displaced persons are from Agbon-Ojodu, Moro, Asa, Ibeku and other villages.
The Nigerian Ministry of Foreign Affairs had said the Nigerian Embassy officials, who visited the communities where the people were taking shelter, were informed that they had returned to their communities in Nigeria.
The Director of Consular Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Bolaji Akinremi, had said:“Our mission visited the villages mentioned and met with rulers, but was told that those who came as a result of the crisis had returned after a few days.
“No Nigerian refugee was found in Benin Republic. In line with the various media reports and the reported National Assembly directive for NEMA to bring them back home, the MFA will be willing to support as appropriate.”
But Aboyade said the refugees were still in Benin as at March 13 as his team was in the country to distribute relief materials to them.
“It is just unfortunate that the government knows the truth but is trying to play politics with the human lives. Anybody can go to Benin Republic, we have been there to give them (displaced Ogun people) clothes, and other essentials.
“We have been to the palace of the king of Egelu in Benin Republic. We met with the councilors of Iganna in Benin Republic. These are the people who accommodated the refugees.
“Our Nigerian citizens are there sleeping in mosques, public areas and other places. They were displaced by Fulani herdsmen and there is no food for them and all their means of livelihood have been lost but in Benin Republic
“They gave them food for a limited period of time thinking that the Nigerian government will come to their aid.
“But now that the government is not coming to their aid, the displaced people have no option that to go to the farms in Benin Republic for labour jobs.
“Nobody is at the villages back home; where will they go? Their houses have been razed by the Fulani herdsmen. Their means of livelihood have been destroyed,” Aboyade was quoted as saying.
He added:”The Fulani herdsmen killed a number of the villagers, so how will those alive go back? “