Benue IDP Camps

Benue IDP Camps Experience Incidences of Sexual Violence Against Children

A safety assessment conducted by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) within certain Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps in Benue State has brought to light instances of sexual violence targeting children residing in these camps.

The audit revealed cases of sexual harassment and abuse. This information was disclosed over the weekend during UNICEF interventions focusing on Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV), Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS) for thousands of IDPs, particularly children, and their caretakers in three camps located in Guma Local Government Area of the state.

UNICEF, in partnership with local organizations such as JASPI Health and Gender Development Initiative and Benue Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Agency (BERWASSA), distributed materials addressing these concerns to the IDPs.

The collaborative effort aims to provide support and assistance to those affected by sexual violence, emphasizing the importance of addressing these issues within the context of the IDP camps in Benue State.


The appeal is directed towards the state government, donor partners, and stakeholders to intensify their efforts in addressing the challenges of sexual and gender-based violence within the state’s IDP camps.

Victor Atuchukwu, the Child Protection Specialist from UNICEF’s Enugu Field Office, emphasized this call during an assessment at the Ortese camp.

He underscored one of UNICEF’s primary responsibilities, which is to ensure the protection of children and women in any location and at any time.

Atuchukwu explained that the intervention specifically targets the prevention and response to sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) within the IDP camps. For the initial phase, three IDP camps in Guma Local Government Area—Ortese, Uikpam, and Mbawa—have been selected as beneficiaries of this initiative.

The focus is on enhancing measures to safeguard the vulnerable population from instances of SGBV.

Additionally, Atuchukwu highlighted that UNICEF conducted a safety audit in August 2023 to assess the safety and protection conditions for women, children, and girls in the IDP camps. The audit revealed instances of violence against children, specifically in terms of sexual harassment and abuse.

In an effort to ensure the enduring protection and prevention of violence against children, UNICEF implemented a strategy to garner community support for the program. Through this approach, they actively engaged community members, camp chairmen, camp managers, and government officials to discuss the findings derived from the safety audit.

This collaborative dialogue aims to foster a sense of ownership and participation from all stakeholders in addressing the identified challenges and enhancing the safety of vulnerable populations in the IDP camps.

“Since August up until now, our collaboration with the local partner, JASPI, has been instrumental in implementing this intervention. One noteworthy achievement of the program is the active involvement and ownership demonstrated by the communities.

Presently, we have the support of BERWASA, Doctors Without Borders Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), and the community actively participating, positioning us to achieve a sustainable resolution,” remarked Atuchukwu.

The Executive Director of JASPI Health and Gender Development Initiative, Doosuurshater Agbata, elaborated on the initiatives conducted in the three camps.

They have conducted training and awareness programs on Gender-Based Violence (GBV), Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV), as well as Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS).

Agbata mentioned that they provided training for 43 social workers, comprising 22 individuals from the camps and 21 social workers.

The training covered response and protection measures for MHPSS, GBV, SGBV, and parenting, aiming to equip individuals with the necessary skills to address and mitigate these issues within the camp settings.


Peter Ritdung Wakkias is a Nigerian blogger and programmer, known for being the CEO of and He holds a Higher National Diploma in Computer Science from Isa Mustapha Agwai 1 Polytechnic Lafia. Based in Lafia, Nasarawa State.

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