On Friday, the Nigerian Red Cross Society debunks the Federal Government’s claim that Ogun refugees are no longer in the Benin Republic, affirming that the displaced victims of herdsmen attack are still in francophone West African country.
Oluwole Aboyade, Ogun State Executive Branch Secretary of the Red Cross Society, made this affirmation while speaking to newsmen in a recent interview.
Following the herders-farmer crisis, some residents of the Yewa area in Ogun state reportedly fled their villages to seek refuge in the Benin Republic.
The persons displaced hails from Agbon-Ojodu, Moro, ASA, Ibeku, and other villages of the Yewa local government area in Ogun state.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the Nigerian Embassy officials, who visited the communities where the people sought refuge, were told they had returned to their communities in Nigeria.
Bolaji Akinremi, Director of Consular Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 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. So, no Nigerian refugee was found in the 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.”
However, speaking with newsmen, the Red Cross official cried that the government is playing politics with people’s lives.
Aboyade said his team, who are in the Benin Republic to distribute relief items to the Ogun refugees, still found them displaced in the francophone country when filing this report.
He said, “It is just unfortunate that the government knows the truth but is trying to play politics with the human lives. Anybody can go to the 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 the Benin Republic. We met with the councilors of Iganna in the Benin Republic. These are the people who accommodated the refugees.
“Our Nigerian citizens are there sleeping in mosques, public areas, and other places. Fulani herdsmen displaced them, and there is no food for them, and all their means of livelihood have been lost, but in the 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 other than to go to the Benin Republic farms for labor 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. The Fulani herdsmen killed a number of the villagers, so how will those alive go back? They are not at the villages; they are in the 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.”
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