Edo State government and the Christian Association (CAN) are among the prominent Nigerians that are pushing for the eviction of over 3000 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) from the State to a less desirable areas in the northern part of Nigeria.
Governor Godwin Obaseki decision to swing the lead by brushing aside issues of human rights abuse of the IDPs, are far from settled.
In the leaked memo which emanated from the State Ministry and dated December 31, 2019 with a file number ED/MWSD/10401/1, said the assignment would be completed at “the stipulated period”.
The International Christian Centre in Ohogua Community in Ovia North East Local Government Area of the State houses IDPs mostly women and Children who fled from insurgency in some parts of Nigeria few years ago.
On Tuesday over 100 heavily security personnel accompanied some government Officials who were on a fact-finding mission to the Camp at Ohogua Community.
Some Christian faithful in the State have equally objected the plans to evict the IDPs due to safety concern. They described the alleged plan to relocate the IDPs as shameful when the ruminants of bandits still occupy a swath of territory in some parts of the Country.
A dependable source close to members of Edo State multi-agency Committee, said the Committee visited the Camp on Tuesday on a fact-finding mission to ascertain the possibility of relocating the IDP’s.
The presence of the over 100 armed security personnel who rode on a convoy of the delegation to the place, enraged and frightened the IDPs, according to the source.
The security personnel were drawn from the Nigeria police, Nigerian Army, Directorate of the State Security Service (DSS), Nigerian Immigration Service, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), officials of the State Ministry of Justice, stormed the Centre housing the IDP,s
A deputy Director of DSS working in the State and the State Chairman of CAN, Bishop Oriname Oyonnude, were present during the visit.
The Committee which relied on the strength of a purported letter from the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Social Development and Gender issues, Mrs Ehi J. Ibhodaghe, specifically requested the Coordinator of Centre, Pastor Solomon Folorunso to cooperate and grant access and give information and facilities at the Camp.
The delegation, according to the source, said the State Chairman of CAN, Bishop Oriname Oyonnude, who is allegedly acting on a script is hellbent on ensuring that this dehumanizing step is actualized by relocating the IDPs to their home State without recourse to the danger it will amount to.
The source further said that the call for involuntary return of the IDPs bemoaned the psychological toll of living with the threat of eviction.
A human right activist,in the state who preferred to be anonymous due to security concern, said a dangerous precedent has been set by the State.
He described the move as a human-rights obligations, adding that any Nigerian can stay in of the Country so long the individual does not constitute security threat.
The activist wondered why CAN Chairman, Bishop Oriname Oyonnude Kure could stand in the gap to betray fellow Christians and had to be in the forefront to allegedly spear head the campaign for the return of the IDPs as against the biblical saying ” we should love ourselves and be our brothers keeper”.
“The move is inhumane” and warning that it would lead to a homelessness considering the economic crisis.
“The Governor does not know how the IDPs are surviving. He does not care. The only school at the Camp was build by Comrade Oshiomhole.
He appealed to governors from the northern part of the Country to resist the action of the State government.
He urged the Governors to find out from their counterpart in Edo State why he (Governor Godwin Obaseki)/is not comfortable with their people in his State.
“Edo State government should put the plan on hold in view of the “widespread criticisms. We are one Nigeria”.
“You, 500 IDPs in an election is no joke. There may be a political undertone behind the move.
“There is no criminal record has been established against any IDP at the Camp to warrant any embarrassment and eviction.
“The next stage is profiling and take them to their States”, he said.
Recall that the home for the needy is a registered trustee with him the CAC
“Since the IDPs came, the IDPs have not committed any crime.
“The government has good plans towards you Children. We should be appreciative of what the government is doing”, he said angrily.
Recall that over 900 IDPs have been reunited voluntarily with their families over a decade ago insurgency began in Nigeria.
Efforts to reach the Coordinator of the Camp, Mr Solomon Folorunsho were rebuffed as he said to indisposed to speak to the Press.
Attempt to reach the Commissioner for Communication and Orientation, Mr Paul Ohonbamu for comments proved abortive as he was said to be away for official engagement as at the time of filing this report.