BY NDAHI MARAMA, Maiduguri
THE Victims Support Fund (VSF) assessment team to Borno state, was to “comprehensively assess” the security situation and accessibilities in the border areas of Gambouru and Ngala towns, before the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Cameroon could be repatriated and resettled in any camps, its Executive Secretary, Prof. Sunday Ocheche has said.
Ocheche disclosed this Thursday at Fotoko, Cameroon, when the VSF five-member team visited fleeing residents of Gambouru and Ngala at three resettlement areas of Mura, Amchide and Fotoko districts. The administrative officer of Fotokol, Mamoudou Umaru Sarki also said that over 12, 000 Nigerian residents are taking refuge in the camps with 225 households to be repatriated to Nigeria.
Prof. Ocheche however noted that the displaced persons in Cameroon, could not be relocated and repatriated, until the security “situation and accessibilities” identified by the VSF team, are addressed by the military and Borno state government.
His words: “There are many factors that must be considered before determining whether to set up a camp or not. There is no question that there are many Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) along the 135 kilometre road to Gambouru.
“We have just crossed the border to Cameroon and quite a number of Nigerians there are anxious to return.”
On the security situation, he said: “The security situation in Gambouru looks from a layman’s perspective to be okay. The military has done a good job of clearing the place; but you can see, it is a ghost town.
“There is not a single structure, not a single thing standing in Gambouru. Everything has been razed down. The crises of reconstructing Gambouru is a major one; and when people are going to come back to Gambouru, it is not just to return to a camp or tent; they want to return to a normal life.
And these are all issues that this assessment team wanted to take into consideration.”
He however noted that in the interim, for the number of people outside the country that may want to come back, will be assessed based on the security situations and accessibilities in affected border areas of Borno state.