As long as there are internally displaced persons dotting Nigeria, all Nigerians could be considered as living in an Internally Displaced Persons’ camp, said Peter Obi, presidential candidate of Labour Party (LP).
Mr Obi made the assertion on Sunday at the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camp in Abagana, Makurdi, where he celebrated Christmas with the destitutes.
Speaking with the IDPs, Mr Obi said that their plight would not continue, adding that they should have hope that they would soon go back to their ancestral homes.
“What you are passing through is what Nigeria is passing through.
“As long as you remain here in the camp, Nigeria is not doing well. It is my desire that you will leave this camp and continue to do what you know best to do, which is farming.
“As long as you remain in IDP camp, Nigeria is in IDP,” he said.
Under President Muhammadu Buhari, Nigeria has witnessed proliferation of IDPs camps as displaced persons flee from insurgents and bandits who continue to sack villages and communities, especially in the North-East and North-Central.
Benue has had its unfair share of invasion by bandits alleged to be herdsmen on expansionist mission.
Mr Obi expressed joy at celebrating Christmas with the displaced persons, saying that he was unhappy to see fellow Nigerians camped against their wishes in IDP camps.
“I cannot celebrate while you are in camps hence the decision to celebrate with you,” he said.
Earlier, Dr Emmanuel Shior, the Executive Secretary of the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), said that Mr Obi was the only presidential candidate that visited and celebrated Christmas with the IDPs.
Mr Shior said that the state has 12 officially recognised IDPs camps and seven unofficial camps hosting thousands of displaced persons.
He said that Mr Obi had visited to encourage and give hope to the over 10,000 IDPs in Abagana IDPs camp, stating that he donated N3 million to them.