The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has provided food and non-food items to Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Benue State. The donations took place on Tuesday at the Abagana IDP camp in Makurdi.
Professor Emmanuel Osodeke, the National President of ASUU, expressed that the purpose of their visit to the IDP camp was to extend kindness to the IDPs in Benue. He emphasised that ASUU’s intent was to demonstrate compassion and support for marginalized individuals, especially during a period of economic hardship marked by challenges like fuel subsidy removal.
“The purpose of our visit today is to show the kindness of ASUU, the kindness that ASUU has been fighting for the upliftment of the masses.
“One of it is what we are doing throughout the country. As we are here in Abagana camp, ASUU is also in Niger, Gombe, and other places, giving this to those who are marginalised, especially at this time of excruciating poverty, time our people are suffering from fuel subsidy removal and a time when people at the camp have nothing to eat.
“That is why we have come with a total number of 1,246 bags of assorted food items including rice, beans, groundnut oil and other ingredients. We have also brought cartons of sanitary towels for the use of women in the camp,” he said.
While acknowledging the state government’s assistance and care for the IDPs, Professor Osodeke urged the Federal Government to enhance security in communities nationwide as this would facilitate the safe return of displaced persons to their homes. He also called on the government to rebuild vandalized homes.
“We are encouraging the Federal Government to clear the communities of every security impediment so that the IDPs can go back to their ancestral homes. Government should provide security and rebuild some of the homes destroyed by the vandals. This place is not your home and we pray that this will happen soon,” he said.
The union’s donation included 1,246 bags of assorted food items such as rice, beans, and groundnut oil. Additionally, cartons of sanitary towels were provided for the benefit of women in the camp.
Former ASUU National Welfare Officer, Professor Stella-Maris Okey, expressed concern over the poor conditions faced by the IDPs, particularly pregnant women and children. She criticized the situation and called on the government to intervene urgently, as the circumstances were unfavorable for sustainable living.
“It’s so sad, in a country that has so much money. We know what our leaders and senators are taking home. What stops the government from providing security for them to go back? Staying here, we are encouraging people to mass reproduce.
“Looking at the number of children, pregnant young ladies in the camp, it is so unfortunate that a country referred to as the giant of Africa has this kind of serious challenges. So I am calling on the Federal Government to come to the aid of the suffering masses and assist us,” she added.
James Iorpuu, the Executive Secretary of the State Emergency and Management Agency, commended ASUU for their benevolent act despite facing financial challenges themselves.
Camp Manager, Festus Adzende, and Woman Leader, Esther Oota expressed appreciation to ASUU for remembering the IDPs in their time of need. They expressed gratitude for the support provided by the union.