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Divergent Views Trail Borno’s IDPs Camps Closure

The closure of temporary settlements occupied by people displaced by insurgency in Maiduguri by the Borno State government is generating divergent views.

While some of the affected displaced families said the closure was hasty, given the fact that most of the towns destroyed by the insurgents have yet to be rebuilt, the authorities are of the view that the move will make displaced families self-reliant.

One of the displaced persons at Bakassi camp, Adam (real name withheld), said he has moved to another temporary house with his family in Gwoza town because his village, which was completely destroyed by the insurgents, has not been rebuilt.

He said, “Government should have built enough houses to resettle us before closing the camp. The N100,000 given to each family head was spent on transportation and nothing is left for us to engage in small businesses.”

Another man from Gudumbali said he too, had to look for a squatter settlement in Maiduguri because his town, which is the headquarters of Guzamala Local Government Area, is virtually in the hands of the insurgents.

The senator representing Borno South, Ali Ndume, who is from Gwoza, one of the towns displaced by insurgents, said it was high time displaced persons living in temporary settlements returned home and started a meaningful life.

He said, “The truth is that some of them are used to free food for six years; and some of the displaced persons are working while others are successful businessmen.”

He said social vices including drug abuse, gambling and prostitution are high in the camps and no one will like his child to grow there. The occupants might transmit undesirable character to the others.

“Every Gwoza man should go back home and engage in productive ventures and let me tell you this; there are displaced people who are only looking for N50,000 to return home not N100,000 as given by the government. If you have dignity, why will you stay in a camp for six years?

“They asked for means of transportation to return home because the transporters increased transport fares when they heard that displaced persons were given financial assistance of N100,000 each by the state. I sent two trailers each day to convey them home. Shortly after, the transporters met me and said I was ‘killing their business,’ so no one is stranded.’’

Meanwhile, Borno State authorities have said they are determined to shut down camps occupied by people displaced by insurgency in Maiduguri Metropolitan and Jere Local Government councils because some of the occupants are actually well-to-do and productive but relied on aid.

Meanwhile, Borno State authorities have said they are determined to shut down camps occupied by people displaced by insurgency in Maiduguri Metropolitan and Jere Local Government councils because some of the occupants are actually well-to-do and productive but relied on aid.

From findings, one of them has assets worth N20 million,” he said.

He said displaced families were given financial assistance to return home and rehabilitated areas and would be encouraged to engage in farming and other productive ventures.

He further said interest groups would not be allowed to take aid supplies to resettled areas in order to motivate the returnees to stand on their feet.

He said state emergency authorities and the military have been ordered to discipline any humanitarian group that refused to abide by the directive.

He said more houses would be built in 2022 for the resettlement of displaced persons.

“We were able to build new homes and rebuilt communities inside which, we have resettled our brothers and sisters at Auno in Konduga, Cross Kauwa in Kukawa, Shuwari in Jere and Ajiri in Mafa, among others. These resettlements made it possible for us to shut down three camps in Maiduguri, namely: BOCOLIS, NYSC and Farm Centre IDP Camps.

“Apart from those internally displaced, we were able to voluntarily repatriate our fellow citizens from more than 5,000 households who took refuge for seven years in Minawao, Cameroon. These citizens were safely resettled in 1,153 houses sited in Banki town of Bama Local Government Area.”

Similarly, Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Borno State, Hon. Ali Bukar Dalori, has said the resettlement of persons displaced by insurgency is a welcome development.

He said the financial assistance of N500 million given to the displaced families at the Bakassi camp, Maiduguri will help them return home safely, settle down and become self-reliant.

He called on opposition parties to lend a hand in improving the lives of the displaced population.

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