The Borno Government on Sunday announced its plan to return 50,000 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) back to their communities in five local government areas in February.
No fewer than 200,000 IDPs from 23 of the 27 local government areas of the state were currently staying in 22 camps in Maiduguri after the communities were sacked by the Boko Haram insurgents in 2014.
Malam Satomi Ahmad, the the Executive Chairman of the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), told reporters in Maiduguri that “we are returning IDPs from communities in five local government areas the state back to their homes in liberated areas.
“The communities are those located in Monguno, Gwoza, Askira-Uba, Mafa and Dikwa local government areas.’’
Ahmed said the movement of the IDPs would begin next week.
He noted that the exercise would involve about 10,000 IDPs from Gwoza, 8,000 from Monguno, 9,000 from Mafa and 500 from Askira among others.
He added that the government was also considering relocating the IDPs from Damboa Local Government Area back home.
“We are currently engaged in the formalities for the commencement of the exercise next week,” Ahmed said.
He explained that the state government had ordered large stock of food items to be carried along for the IDPs so they could begin new life.
“Government is in the process of buying large stock of food items for the IDPs because there was no farming activity in the last few years and they need food to survive when they return home.
“We plan to provide food stuff that will last them at least two months before they settle down to start economic activities to fend for themselves,” Ahmed said.
He said that the IDPs would be kept in camps, pending when their destroyed houses would be rebuilt.
“We are going to keep them in existing camps in their areas pending when some of them will be able to repair damages done to their homes.
“For those whose houses are habitable, we will encourage them to go back.’’
He said the state government would collaborate with security agencies to ensure that peace was sustained in the areas after their return.
“The police and other paramilitary organisations like the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NDSC) have already deployed their men to the areas to facilitate the return of civil authorities.
“More than 10,000 policemen and 5,000 NSCDC staff have been deployed from Abuja for this purpose, the NSCDC officers have already arrived, while the policemen are expected to arrive soon,” he said.