Gov. Kashim Shettima of Borno on Wednesday said all Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps in the state wold be shut in 2017.
Shettima announced this at a plenary on Mitigating the Impact of Crisis and Conflict at the 22nd Nigerian Economic Summit in Abuja.
He said the IDPs camps were fraught with lots of challenges.
He added that “my target is May 29, 2017; I want to close down all the camps in Maiduguri in order to restore the dignity of our people.
“We will not stampede or intimidate people to go back to terrains not well secured. The local government headquarters would put up security architecture that would secure those places.
“The IDPs we have right now in Maiduguri, Biu and other places are full of challenges – issues of early child marriages, child prostitution, drug abuse and gangsterism.
“If we allow these things to continue, the challenges will become unmanageable in a few years to come.”
The governor, who said that inequality and extreme poverty were responsible for the insurgency in the state, added that “you cannot divorce insurgency from poverty. We must evolve holistic programmes to create jobs.
“We have come up with programmes of addressing the grievances of the people and bridging the gap in trust between the leadership and the people.”
Shettima then reiterated the state government’s determination to turn the crisis to opportunities to build a better state.
He noted that one of the issues the state government had addressed was education,
saying “education is a great treasure and the administration is determined to change the face
“The destruction in the state are enormous; people are quoting 20,000 as the number of people
killed, but believe me more than 100,000 people have been killed.
“Our IDPs are all over the state. We have hundreds and thousands of orphans and widows, if we don’t take care of them, believe me they will take care of us in the next 10 to 15 years.”
In addition, he said, rebuilding the state was beyond physical construction, adding that the state had built stabilisation factors by focusing on gender empowerment.
“We want to pursue the issue of girl-child education and rebuilding all the communities; we are also focusing on women empowerment.”
The governor also said that the state had been investing in peace in the midst of crisis by concentrating on agriculture through the procurement of farming implements.
“We engage the youth and create jobs so as to reduce vices; agriculture happens to be the best
platform for engaging them.”
He, however, said the state government was determined to address the needs of the IDPs, adding that the population of IDPs in Maiduguri alone grew from 1.2 million to nearly three million.
“There are more to it than the IDPs camps. What can we do to restore the dignity of our people? What can we do to become merchants of hope for a better tomorrow?,” he asked.
He, however, emphasised that there could never be peace and tranquility if the core causes of the crisis were not tackled.