By George Okoh In Makurdi
The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has disclosed that over 23,000 farmers who were either affected by the 2018 flood or the farmers/herders’ conflict in Benue State will benefit from its agricultural intervention fund.
This is even as the agency dispelled rumour that the scheme has been hijacked.
A Deputy Director from NEMA, Dr. Martins Ejike, who led the team to Benue while reacting to insinuations that the agency was being selective in picking those who should benefit from the intervention, insisted that the agency is not partisan in carrying out its project in the state.
He said the agency is currently undertaking enumeration of the farmers affected in the state.
Ejike said the agency is being guided by humanitarian principles in carrying out its duty in the state.
“We are being guided by humanitarian principles in carrying out our duty. We have not been mandated to give money but to distribute agricultural inputs such as Napsack sprayer and seedlings, among others in a basket,” he said.
The NEMA director, who disclosed that the agency was working with the state government in enumerating the beneficiaries, explained that so far, all the local government areas in the Benue South Senatorial District of the state had been covered while the team has now moved to the Benue North East Senatorial District.
Ejike, who is the supervisor in charge of the farmers/herders conflict, while addressing newsmen along with the supervisor in charge of flood, Mr. Eugene Nyelong, noted that the programme will address two major issues of the farmers/herders conflicts as well as farmers who were affected by the 2018 flood disaster.
“The issue of farmers list has long been resolved in Benue. When we came into Benue, we were given a list by NEMA. The list was generated sometime back but when we got here, we discovered that most of those whose names were in the list were either dead or have relocated.
“So, we re-strategised by trying to ensure that the actual people, the indigent farmers benefit from the project so that items that belong to Benue people should not be given to any other people.
“We are targeting 23,000 farmers in Benue and we are working conscientiously to make sure that the items that belong to Benue State are given to indigenes. The method we used in Otukpo was that if we take 10 farmers, they must consist of four males, four females and two youths to carry everyone along,” he said.