Report: Parents marry off young daughters for foodstuff in Benue IDPs’ camp

Report: Parents marry off young daughters for foodstuff in Benue IDPs’ camp

- Some parents have resorted to giving out their under-aged daughters in marriage for food stuff in an IDPs’ camp in Benue state

- This is as hunger and diseases, especially diarrhoea and hernia are said to be rampant in the camp

- Both the federal and state governments are said to have abandoned the IDP's to their plight

A report by Leadership has detailed how some parents have resorted to giving out their under-aged daughters in marriage for food stuff in an Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs’) camp located in Daudu, Guma local government area of Benue state.

This is as hunger and diseases, especially diarrhoea and hernia are said to be rampant in the camp.

Already, eight persons have been confirmed dead from the hunger and ailments the camp.

The camp chairman, Geofrey Torgenga, confirmed the death toll on Wednesday, May 22, adding that all the victims died within five months. He disclosed that IDPs were living at the mercies of churches and non-governmental organisations (NGOs).

“The last time the state government supplied food items to the camp was on the eve of the presidential elections in February,” Torgenga stated.

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“Since we came to this camp a year and five months ago, we have not received any items whether food or non-food materials from the government both at the state and federal level. We are here at the mercy of churches and donor agencies,” he added.

Some men have taken advantage of the hunger in the camp by giving parents bread and garri to marry their under-aged girls. Torgenga admitted that a lot of parents had given out their girls, who fall within the age bracket of 10 and 14 years in marriage to men who can buy them garri and bread.

He said the neglect by both the federal and state governments is so pathetic that whole families of husbands, wives and children had to scavenge for food at public places on market days.

Other sources of raising income, the camp chairman observed was to fetch firewood from the fast depleting forest around the camp to sell, saying some IDPs had even taken to begging for alms.

He said that in the course of searching for food, a three year-old boy, Nani Iorkyaa, went missing in March and was yet to be found.

Torgenga further said that due to the deplorable state of the shelter for the IDPs, it was difficult for them to sleep at night, especially when it rains. Whenever it rains, he lamented that camp is always over-flooded forcing the IDPs to stand and carry their children until the situation gets better.

Edward Nyam, 65, from Mbagwen community said he came to the camp in January 2018 with his family and resorted to begging and doing menial jobs to survive.

Nyam said that since he came to the camp, the government came only once to give the IDPs food, but commended churches and donor agencies for always coming to their plights. The camp which has about 3,515 IDPs was established in January 2018.

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Meanwhile, Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue state on Monday, May 13, said workers in his state deserve to earn more than the new minimum wage of N30, 000.

He, however, said that he was constrained by scarce resources and that he was blocking all financial loopholes to ensure that the state meets up with its financial responsibility.

The governor stated this while finding questions from State House correspondents after meeting behind closed doors with President Muhammadu Buhari, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

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