Arrangements to return 1.86 million Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and refugees to 19 communities in Borno State have started in earnest.
According to Governor Babagana Zulum, 300,000 refugees will be repatriated from Cameroon and Niger Republic, where they have been for five years due to Boko Haram activities.
Zulum disclosed this yesterday while receiving the Deputy Humanitarian Coordinator for the United Nations, Alexander Kishara, at Government House, Maiduguri.
One important thing the returnees need, he added, is to reduce donor fatigue.
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“The humanitarian needs are to provide an enabling environment for IDPs and refugees to restore their means of livelihood,” he said.
Displaced persons will return to 19 communities, including Damasak, Banki, Kauwuri, Ajiri, New Marte, Baga, Ngoshe, Kirawa, Kukawa, Mairari and Mallam Fatori on the shores of Lake Chad.
Others are Wulgo, Koine, Gajibo, Warabe, Logmani, Sandiya, Dalwa and Malari.
Said he, “It is better to spell out the intention of the state government, so that the Return Task Force (RTF) can effectively work with the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) and Ministry of Reconstruction, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (MRRR).”
He noted that the state government targeted IDPs from Kauwuri and Ajiri in Konduga and Mafa councils for return this week.
“The other issue is the resettlement of displaced persons in Maiduguri metropolis and Jere council and environs. The state government wanted to engage and plan for the return of IDPs and refugees to their ancestral homes.”
Zulum, therefore, urged the RTF to discuss the issue of Kauwuri and Ajiri, as the IDPs were pressurising the government.
“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 return of refugees and IDPs to the remaining 17 communities,” the governor said.
In his response, Kishara said that the return of IDPs and refugees to Borno would be done according to applicable laws.
“As humanitarians, we are here to support the state government by working together,” he assured.