Borno State Governor, Professor Babagana Zulum, on Monday, unveiled the plans of his government to bring back home 1,860,000 Internally Displaced Persons and refugees, who fled the state in the last five years as a result of the series of attacks by insurgents in their villages and communities.
Over 300,000 refugees are to be repatriated from Cameroon and Niger, after fleeing their ancestral homes to escape Boko Haram attacks.
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According to Zulum, arrangements to ensure the safe return of the refugees to 19 communities in the state has begun. He also added that his government will ensure that the said communities are secured and that security of lives and property will be top priority.
The governor disclosed these plans while receiving the Deputy Humanitarian Coordinator for the United Nations, Alexander Kishara, at Government House, Maiduguri.
Governor Zulum explained that, there are important things that needed to be done for returnees; and top on that list is for the government to see to their well being and to reduce problems of donor fatigues.
“The humanitarian needs are to provide an enabling environment for IDPs and refugees restore their means of livelihoods,” he said.
Zulum stated that some of the 19 communities being readied for the return of the displaced persons include Damasak, Banki, Kauwuri, Ajiri, New Marte, Baga, Ngoshe, Kirawa, Kukawa, Mairari and Mallam Fatori, located on shores of Lake Chad.
The other eight communities that will receive the returnees comprise Wulgo, Koine, Gajibo, Warabe, Logmani, Sandiya, Dalwa and Malari in both northern and central Borno State.
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While discussing the plans for the return of IDPs, he said, “It is better to spell out the intention of the state government so that the Return Task Force (RTF) can effectively work with State’s Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) and Ministry of Reconstruction, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (MRRR).”
He noted that for now, the state government has targeted IDPs from Kauwuri and Ajiri in Konduga and Mafa Local Government Areas for their immediate return this week.
According to him, the other issue is the resettlement of displaced persons in Maiduguri metropolis and Jere council and their environs, adding that the state government wanted to engage and plan for the return of IDPs and refugees to their ancestral homes.
Zulum, therefore, urged the RTF members to discuss the issue of Kauwuri and Ajiri communities, as the IDPs are on the necks of government.
While announcing the return of IDPs, he said: “The Chairperson and Commissioner of SEMA and MRRR, Hajiya Yabawa Kolo and Mustapha Gubio and the Sustainable Development and Coordination Agency will release the timetable for the return of refugees and IDPs to remaining 17 communities.
In his response, Kishara said that the return of IDPs and refugees into Borno state; will be done according to applicable laws, the Borno State strategy, UN guiding principles of internal displacement and the African Union Convention.
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