Benue govt unveils N500m business plans for IDPs empowerment

The Benue Investment and Property Company, BIPC, on Wednesday, unveiled a 500 million dollars business model to empower Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs, in Benue and reintegrate them back to their various communities.

Its Managing Director, Dr Raymond Asemakaha, disclosed this in Makurdi when he received a delegation from the United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees, UNHCR.

Asemakaha explained that the company planned to support IDPs through the model by making them self-reliant and by allocating 15 per cent or micro- employment opportunities to them for their sustainability.


The managing director expressed hope that BIPC would get N500 million grant from the United Nations (UN) to expand their businesses for effective accommodation of the IDPs.

He also said that when effectively implemented, the business model would see 45 per cent of the displaced persons self-reliant.

He said those to be considered for the micro- employment opportunities would be between the ages of 18 to 45 years.

“Benue has about 1.5 million IDPs and 12,000 refugees. We want them to have a happy life. We want them to stay on their own and feel that they can pay their bills without running to UN on monthly basis.

“It is important that we partner to ensure that we have this model. We are not necessarily looking for your cash. We are looking for our businesses to expand to provide micro-employments to them.

“We intend to have 30 businesses, and for every business that we are doing we will incorporate 15 per cent of them who are between the ages of 18 to 45 years.

“At the end of the day, we will be able to successfully take about 45 per cent of IDPs, that is more than 600,000 of them going by the current figures you have.

”That is the model that we are presenting to you today”, he said


Responding, Mr Arjiun Jain, the UNHCR Country Representative, said that any agreement would be signed with the state government and not a company.


Jain said the situation of the IDPs was terrible, adding that after six years, IDPs should not be sleeping in makeshift houses where their homes were the size of their mattresses.

He said they were in the state to look for paradigm shift where the IDPs no longer depend on handouts but get solutions that would enable them feel like equal citizens of their country again.

“These are Nigerians in Nigeria in the Food Basket state that are going hungry every day. It seems very strange that this is happening not for six days, six months but for more than six years.

“I can say very openly that some of the camps that I saw are probably the worst I have seen. After six years, people should not be living in makeshift tents.

”After six years, they should not be living in homes that are the size of their mattresses when they can’t stand up straight in their rooms.

“We are here to look for a paradigm shift where we don’t give handouts but look at solutions where they can feel as equal citizens and have access basic to amenities”, he said.

He added that the UNHCR was curious to see the model and urged the BIPC management to provide it with all the details for effective understanding.

Earlier, Irene Omondi, UNHCR-Sub Office Head, Ogoja covering Cross Rivers, Taraba and Benue, said it was indeed glad that solutions to the humanitarian crises in the state could be found.

Omondi expressed UNHCR’s readiness to partner with relevant authorities to assist to build the capacity of those displaced for their self- reliance and human dignity.


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