The Benue Commissioner for Water Resources and Environment, Joseph Utsev, has said that relief materials loaded in vehicles, which sparked protests in a Makurdi IDPs camp, were not diverted.
“The materials were not being diverted as erroneously assumed by the IDPs; we were merely moving them from one camp to another,” Mr. Utsev told the News Agency of Nigeria on Sunday in Makurdi.
The commissioner said that the clarification became necessary following reports alleging that camp officials had diverted relief materials.
“What actually happened on that day was that we were taking some relief materials from International market camp, Makurdi to Agan camp.
“When the IDPs noticed that, they insisted that the materials should not be taken anywhere. I addressed them and calmed the situation and, thereafter, called the Deputy Governor, who was the Chairman of the IDPs camps committee.
“The Deputy Governor advised that the materials be returned for peace to reign. I promptly obeyed.
“The drivers were then directed to return the materials to the warehouse. There was no diversion at all.
“A report quoting me as expressing shock over the diversion was in error because I was part of those taking the relief materials to the Agan camp and could not have turned round to say I was shocked by a diversion that did not take place.”
NAN, however, quotes Bonniface Ortese, Executive Secretary, Benue State Emergency Management Agency, SEMA, as saying that hoodlums had invaded the IDPs camps, prompting their closure two weeks ago.
Mr. Ortese, meanwhile, has been suspended from office. No reason was given for the suspension which was announced on Friday.