Kwande Local Government Area, located in Benue State, Nigeria, is renowned for its rich cultural heritage. The area’s economy primarily relies on agriculture, with crops like yam, cassava, rice, maize, millet, and groundnut being cultivated.
The Local Government plays a vital role to Nigeria’s agricultural sector. However, the Local Government lacks infrastructure, including road networks, healthcare facilities, and educational institutions. Most worrisomely, the Local Government is faced with Nigeria-Cameroon refugee crisis, banditry, and environmental pollution plaguing the area.
To address the challenges, Hon. Ugbor Terseer – Member representing Kwande/Ushongo Federal Constituency in a motion of urgent national importance, moved the House of Representatives to call for immediate national intervention.
Rep. Terseer Ugbor (APC, Benue) in the Motion, expressed concern that the discovery of gold, lithium, and other precious minerals in the area has worsened the security situation in the area. According to the lawmaker, the influx of illegal miners, both local and foreign, has caused daily security unrest, environmental pollution, and a potential food crisis as people abandon farmlands for mining sites.
Rep. Ugbor also noted the incessant violent attacks resulting from farmers-herders clashes. According to the lawmaker, the clashes have led to numerous casualties, injuries, and displacements, leaving the local population without farmlands and a means of livelihood for over a decade.
The motion also identified the potential economic benefits of the Nigerian-Cameroonian international border through Kwande Local Government but the lawmaker is worried that such economic potentials cannot be harnessed in view of the rush to own precious minerals, coupled with clashes between Cameroonian and Nigerian communities that have escalated tensions and added to the volatile security situation in the area.
The motion was unanimously adopted at plenary on Tuesday, 17th October, 2023 wherein the House of Representatives has urged the National Security Adviser (NSA) and other Security Agencies to review the security situation within the region and the Nigerian-Cameroonian border areas in Benue State.
The House also urged the Nigerian Immigration and Nigerian Customs Service to establish an international border post and necessary infrastructure to promote commerce and trade between the two countries.
Additionally, the House of Representatives directed the National Commission for Refugees, Migrants, and Internally Displaced Persons to address the Cameroonian refugee situation and the internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Nigeria. The objective is to explore options to either resettle them permanently within Nigeria or facilitate their return to their country – Cameroon.
As the situation in Kwande demands urgent intervention, it is hoped that the adoption of this motion by the House of Representatives will pave the way for necessary actions to address the Nigeria-Cameroon refugee crisis, banditry, and environmental pollution plaguing the region.