Hasty closure of Borno IDP camps - Punch Newspapers
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Published 12 January 2022 AN avowal by the Borno State Governor, Babagana Zulum, last October that his administration would close all Internally Displaced Persons camps located within Maiduguri by December 31, 2021, seems to be generating concern in many quarters.Published 10 January 2022 About 10,000 returnee Internally Displaced Persons have been given various agricultural produce to kick-start farming in their resettled communities across the 25 Local Government Areas of the state as a way of providing food and economic security to them after spending so many years depending on handouts from donors in the camps.Published 10 January 2022 The Chief of Defence Staff, Lucky Irabor, has said the security threats being experienced in the country will soon become history.Published 10 January 2022 Interim coach, Austin Eguavoen favours the 4-3-3 formation and hopes to make the Super Eagles play more from the wings at the AFCON in Cameroon.
The anxiety is understandable considering the unrelenting activities of Boko Haram/ISWAP Islamic terrorists, who have been killing, maiming victims, and destroying property amid the military’s continued counter-insurgency operations.The facts on the ground call for caution to avoid sending the traumatised victims into fresh horror.Speaking to The PUNCH on Monday in Maiduguri, the chairman Borno Agric Village, Amb.The IDPs are victims of a dysfunctional, failed society, whose fate now rides on the risky action the Zulum administration is contemplating.He said, “I would like to specially commend members of the armed forces, especially the veterans who laid the foundation on which we are building upon to bring peace and security to every part of the country.They deserve maximum protection from state actors who swore to espouse quality governance and protect lives and property.“When the state government announced that NGOs should stop giving food aid to returning communities, we in agric village immediately mobilised and reached out to agencies and donors on the how to make these vulnerable people secured in terms of food.Zulum, during his interaction with journalists at the State House, Abuja, after a closed-door meeting with the President, Major-General Muhammadu Buhari (retd), claimed the decision to close IDP camps was informed by “the recent improvement in the security situation in the state.And he is also good at supporting the attack.
” He said the state government decided to close the camps for the displaced persons to return to their ancestral homes.“To the glory of God, we were able to distribute 13 trucks of cassava tubers to one thousand farmers, beans, okro, onions, maize and rice seedlings to eight thousand villagers including widows and young adults.” In his goodwill message, the Chief of Army staff, Lt Gen Faruk Yahaya, noted that the Celebration, is organised annually in recognition of our fallen heroes; gallant men and women, who paid the supreme price in the defence of peace, unity and prosperity of our dear nation, Nigeria and the world at large.He said that arrangements had also been concluded for the safe return of persons displaced and taking refuge in neighbouring Niger Republic and Cameroon, in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs.That is a weighty decision because it involves lives.He said animals like cows, chicks, fingerlings were also distributed to two hundred and fifty persons to boost their socioeconomic life in the communities.However, the reality on the ground does not bear out the governor’s assertion of safety.Islamic terrorism, which started at full throttle in 2009, still thrives in many parts of the North-East states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa.We pleaded with them to assist the poor rural dwellers to resettle in their communities since the government ordered the stoppage of food distribution to them.Collins also edges Sanusi in terms of competition experience.
For the past 12 years, Borno has been the epicentre with over 100,000 lives lost to the brutal insurgency.In the past few years, banditry has conflated with violent Islamist terrorism to aggravate an already chaotic situation..Reputed hitherto as a realist, Zulum appears to have joined the bandwagon of top officials living in denial in a nod to politics.This is sad.Experience teaches that the war against insurgency should be separated from politics; living in denial as the Buhari regime does is also self-defeating.Kenneth Omeruo An AFCON winner in 2013 and a member of the 2019 squad, Leganes defender Omeruo is the ideal partner for Troost-Ekong, following the absence of the injured Leon Balogun.
Recently, the United Nations Children Emergency Fund decried the serial mass abduction of children in 2021, classifying Nigeria, Somalia, Congo, Chad, Cameroon, and Niger Republic as the countries with the highest established cases of child abduction.Yet, Buhari, his senior officials and security chiefs continue to prematurely claim success against a resilient, adaptable enemy.Indeed, many of the IDPs are shocked at the governor’s hasty intention to return them to their unsafe abodes.Zulum and other governors in the war-ravaged zones in the North-East should be reminded that governments globally confront terrorism through rigorous, sustained efforts with resolute support from the people.It is never conquered through random, ill-conceived action or refutation of reality.Read Also.
IDPs should not be returned to their homes until the federal and state governments, in collaboration with aid agencies, can reasonably certify that they have been cleared of terrorists and adequate security and social services are put in place.While announcing the end of the 20-year-old war against the Taliban in Afghanistan last year, United States President, Joe Biden, noted that the August date was not an arbitrary deadline for the US troops’ pullout, but was designed to save American lives.The governor should take a cue from this concern for lives and quickly too.IDPs need long-lasting care to resettle after prolonged displacement to heal from psychological and physical trauma.The jihadist insurgency in the North-East has not ended and it is uncharitable to pretend otherwise.
The imprints of Boko Haram are still all too visible.Just in December in Borno, and just hours before Buhari’s visit to the state, the Islamic State of West Africa Province, a factional terrorist group, launched rockets on areas near the Maiduguri Airport, where the President was scheduled to address troops.This audacious act had previously been enacted in several parts of the state, including Malam Fatori in Abadam Local Government Area; one of the two LGAs where Zulum insisted that IDPs should return to.Why the hasty return in this atmosphere of insecurity? It smacks of dangerous politicking.In truth, the war is far from being over.
Attempts to whitewash this reality to suit political sentiments are needless, and unworkable.Human misery is involved.It is distasteful to hinge the closure on exaggerated notions of security improvement.At another interaction with stakeholders, Zulum identified the horrible state of the IDP camps and challenges such as drug abuse, prostitution, and gender-based violence, increased risk of epidemics like COVID-19, cholera, and meningitis as a part of the reasons for the camps’ closure.This is totally incomprehensible.
It is the duty of the state to protect the people and safeguard their property.If the camps are in a deplorable state, the buck stops at the governor’s table to complement efforts of the international aid agencies working to provide the victims with a meaningful existence.The government should not set the stage for another disaster by exposing the IDPs to attacks by bloodthirsty insurgents.In Kenya, like in other countries battling social crises, efforts are constantly being made to ensure that IDPs enjoy enhanced protection under a national policy.This is what is expected in Borno and not a hurried return of IDPs to feign victory over terrorists.
The authorities should not be lulled into complacency; surrendering members of the terror groups are minions and not the real fighters committed to the violent ideology of Salafist jihadism.Zulum should reconsider this precipitate action.Copyright PUNCH.All rights reserved.This material, and other digital content on this website, may not be reproduced, published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or in part without prior express written permission from PUNCH.
Returnee IDPs get seeds to kick start farming in BornoAbout 10,000 returnee IDPs have been given various agricultural products to kickstart farming activities in their resettled communities across the 25 LGAs as a way of providing food
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