By Ndahi Marama – Maiduguri
Governor Babagana Zulum of Borno state has closed four Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps with the return of 11, 000 IDP households to six communities of the state.
The six communities affected by the over a decade Boko Haram insurgency; comprise Marte, Baga, Banki, Warabe, Kerenoa, Wulgo and Ngurosoye in four Councils.
Recall that, last year 2021, Zulum closed some IDP camps in Maiduguri metropolis including Bakassi which hosted thousands of IDPs from Gwoza, Guzamala, Maŕte, Monguno, Kukawa, Nganzai, Gubio, Mobbar, Damboa and other local government areas of the state.
Flagging off this year’s return of IDPs, yesterday (Thursday) at the Maiduguri Dalori II camp, the Governor disclosed that the four camps declared closed for the return of displaced persons are Dalori 1, Dalori II, Gubio Road and the Muna El-Badawi IDP camps.
According to the State’s Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) Director General, Yabawa Kolo, over 66,000 displaced persons are returned to their liberated communities.
“We can no longer keep the displaced persons in the various camps,” he said, as there is growing rates of prostitution, drugs abuse and un-care of babies.
He, therefore declared that life in the IDP camps is not sustainable to both the State Government and development partners in Maiduguri metropolis.
Zulum attributed the closures of camps to lack of funding, as four more are yet to be closed as the IDPs from six insurgency affected communities are to be returned next year.
He said that the only way to address the problems of insurgency, is for the state government overcome the root causes of terrorism in the Northeast.
According to him, the insurgency causes are increasing poverty, infrastructural deficits and climate change.
Besides, he added that the return of IDPs are in accordance with the Kampala Convention without any forceful return with dignity.
On Victims Support Fund (VSF) intervention of return, he said: “The organization has expended N1.7 billion to return IDP households to their liberated communities.
“VSF has contributed more than any other national governmental organisations to the people of Borno state,” noting that the Fund is the single largest donor so far in the state.
“There is no amount of words to convey our gratitude to VSF under the leadership of Gen. Theopholus Danjuma (rtd),” he said, praying that Danjuma and Prof. Nana Tanko live longer with good health and prosperity.
The Executive Director of VSF, Prof. Nana Tanko, said” “It was in this camp I confronted and saw face to face the reality of what the insurgency had done to the lives of our people.
“I saw many children, families and at the end of the threats, I broke down and cried,” noting that it was so painful to such a thing.
She said that VSF has a mandate to focus on restoring and helping the people to be resettled in their communities.
She lamented the over decade living experiences in camps, as one of the worst situations that anybody would want to be in.
Tanko, therefore congratulated all the IDP returnees to their respective communities safely with dignity and respect.