Borno state governor, Alhaji Kashim Shettima has promised that all Internally Displaced Person (IDP) camps in the state would be closed down by May 29, 2017.
The governor made the promise while speaking to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday, November 25 in the state capital, Maiduguri.According to the governor, his government had placed priority on the reconstruction of communities destroyed by Boko Haram insurgents, to facilitate the return of IDPs to their towns and villages.
His words: “We have reconstructed Bama by 25 per cent; my target is to reach 50 per cent by the end of this year and 75 per cent by first quarter of 2017.
“I want to close down all IDP camps latest May 29, 2017, because the IDP camps are becoming a huge problem on their own.
“If we allow the entrenchment of these IDP camps, they are pregnant with loads of challenges of early child marriage, prostitution, drug abuse, gangsterism.
“And we will be confronted with huge social challenges of an entitlement complex of people feeling that they are entitled to be catered for.
“So in as much as we observe the Kampala convention, we will not compel anybody to return to their communities.
“We know our people better than any other persons and it is not for somebody seating in Abuja, Paris, London, US and any other places to dictate to us on how we should live our lives.
“Our people in spite of their poverty, still have some pride left in them, a lot of them will rather go back to their communities and eat the guinea corn and millet than to eat your rice and chicken in the IDP camps.
“This is why we want to restore the dignity of our people by rebuilding their homes, rebuilding their schools, engaging them in gender empowerment initiatives so as to enable them return back to their homes.”
The governor stated that with time, Nigerians would appreciate the modest accomplishment of the state towards the resettlement of the IDPs.
There are currently 2 million displaced persons in the state due to the campaign of terror embarked upon by Islamist group, Boko Haram for almost a decade.
Meanwhile, the federal government will commence an education advocacy program for school-aged children displaced in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states.
The competition is open to all school-aged children (8 -18 years old) currently receiving various forms of education in IDP camps in the three states.