President of the Senate, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, on Sunday celebrated the 2018 Children’s Day with children at the Abegena Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camp in Benue state.
He said the visit was important to tell the people of Benue that they are not alone in their moment of trial.
“Benue State, in particular, has suffered terribly as a result of these senseless and murderous activities,” Saraki said. “It was therefore important to come here in solidarity with the people of this state, to say: we stand with you, we are one.”
He said that the Senate has been gravely concerned about the situation for several months now the reason it sent an Ad-hoc Committee on Security to Benue immediately after one of the major atrocities, earlier this year.
He said: “Our interventions culminated in the briefing by Service Chiefs last week; and we remain committed to ensuring security in this state in particular. Our efforts towards supporting effective solutions to the deteriorating security of the nation as a whole, shall be unrelenting.
“The condition of children caught in conflicts, many of whom we see here today, is particularly challenging, but the nation must never resign itself to living with this problem. This cannot become the new normal.
“Beyond millions of children in the North East who have missed out on education and vital social support for many years, there are others being deprived daily of parental care, development and security in many parts of the country. The fate of the Nigerian child today should spur all leaders into action, to bring an end to conflicts that make victims of the most vulnerable among us.
“We need to rediscover the vision that emplaces the young as the centre piece of national development and all endeavours. A nation that does not invest in its young by protecting it, investing in its health and education and skills and hope –or building economy that should make it productive – is doomed.
“Conflicts that make women and children prime targets, sap the national energy needed to resolve them. Every adult who is confined to IDP camps represents a waste of productive resource, and resources spent on running the camps are regretfully diverted from vital investments in human capital and infrastructure.
“Internally displaced persons are taken out of productive circles and activities, and they risk becoming permanently dependent. Rebuilding lives and communities become more challenging and costly the longer the conflicts last and occupy more space in our lives.
“I appeal to us all to use this National Children’s Day to intensify efforts at finding lasting solutions to conflicts which give rise to camps such as this one. I strongly believe we can find these solutions; and that military and police presence and activities and IDP camps are not the only solutions we need,” he said.
On his part, the Governor of Benue State, Samuel Ortom, thanked Saraki for the visit and the the National Assembly for approving more funding for security agencies.
Ortom also thanked President Muhammadu Buhari, for approving a full military operation in the state which has so far brought relative calm and peace to troubled areas.