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Catholic Diocese of Makurdi in Nigeria Reaches Out to Displaced Children with Scholarships

Bishop Wilfred Anagbe with some beneficiaries of the scholarship. Credit: The Catholic Star Newspaper/Facebook

The Catholic Diocese of Makurdi in Nigeria has reached out to some vulnerable children in Benue State with a six-year full scholarship.

A Friday, January 14 Facebook report by the Catholic Star Newspaper of the Catholic Diocese of Makurdi indicates that the scholarship is expected to benefit “50 children of internally displaced persons in Benue State.”

“The 50 beneficiaries are the first batch of ‘Train an IDP Child’ special fundraising appeal launched by the Resource and Planning Commission of Makurdi Diocese in September 2021 to raise a billion naira from the pool of free will donations of at least one thousand naira from one million donors for intervention in the social services institutions of the Catholic Diocese of Makurdi,” the leadership of the Nigerian Diocese says in the report. 

“The beneficiaries were selected based on their performance in the examination which was conducted at the various IDP camps in Makurdi Diocese,” the Catholic Diocese says, and adds, “The beneficiaries have been sent to five Catholic schools in Makurdi Diocese, each taking 10 students,” 

The five Catholic schools include Mount St. Michael's, Aliade, Mount Saint Gabriel's, Holy Child Secondary School, Makurdi, Mount La Salle College, Naka and Our Lady of Mount Carmel College, Makurdi. 

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“The 50 students were received by the principals of the five schools on January 12, 2022 after a five-day orientation exercise at Holy Child Secondary School, Makurdi, where Bishop Wilfred Anagbe addressed and presented the scholarship award letters to them,” the January 14 report indicates.

In Benue state, sustained attacks by jihadists masquerading as herdsmen have forced many children out of school as they continue to live with their parents in squalid IDP camps, which lack basic educational facilities, the leadership of Makudi Diocese says.

Last year, the Catholic peace and charity foundation, Denis Hurley Peace Institute (DHPI), decried the continued silence on the growing crisis in the Eastern and Southern regions of Nigeria with reports indicating that over 800,000 people have already been displaced in one State of the region that is ravished by armed herdsmen.

“Thousands who have been rendered homeless in Benue State located in Central Nigeria are still trapped in IDP camps,” DHPI Director, Johan Viljoen said 30 June 2021.

Last October, the  Catholic pontifical and charity foundation, Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), presented a report by various state and non-state actors detailing the murders, displacements of people and destruction of property in various Nigerian States experiencing persecution. 

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The report indicated that in Benue State alone, there are over one million Internally Displaced People (IDPs).

In the January 14 report, Bishop Anagbe is quoted as saying that the gesture of the Diocese offering scholarships to the children is to “avert the social turmoil that awaits the State in the next decade from a generation of children who have not gone to class or skills acquisition centres.”