BY YERWA EXPRESS NEWS | DEVELOPING STORIES, SEPTEMBER 24, 2017
Internally Displaced Persons of Bama local government, one of the worst hit communities in Borno, are set to return home by foot tomorrow.
This was a resolve of an emergency meeting held in Maiduguri late hours of Saturday, September 23 by its sons and daughters under the aegis of Bama Initiative.
Earlier, the association has formed a committee led by former chairman of Nigerian Labour Congress, Comrade Shettima Zannah, to assess the situation back in the local government, including the state of IDP camps and ongoing reconstruction works.
The report submitted to the secretariat of the association by the committee on September 21 noted that ‘reconstruction works have reached a level that can guarantee return of IDPs’.
In a widely circulated release to its people, the association on Saturday September 23 called on IDPs both in camps and host communities to embark on the journey by foot tomorrow.
‘It has been resolved that all sons and daughters of Bama that are affected by the crisis of house rent and IDPs that are in a government recognised camps should come out and relocate to Bama tomorrow by 9:00am so as to occupy the houses that were already constructed by the state government’, Grema Shehu, announcing the resolve of the association, said.
Kyari noted that the association observes that the ‘fear of insecurity will keep us for yet another unknown number of years’, adding that the association is ready to provide its complimentary role in the fight against the Boko Haram insurgency.
However, what the statement did not mention is whether it has informed the government of Borno state of its plans.
It is however clear that the association is fed up with staying too long without any given time for return.
The journey set for tomorrow seems to be an independent resolve of the sons and daughters of the local government.
If it is aware, the state government is yet to make any statement regarding the development and neither do relevant security outfits.
However, Lt. General Tukur Buratai, the Chief of Army Staff has previously in August said that some local governments in Borno including Bama are safe for return of IDPs, noting that ‘I wonder why the IDPs are still living in camps of Maiduguri metropolis’.
Kashim Shettima, governor of Borno has said that he was going to close down camps in Borno May 2017 as some of the IDPs are not willing to return to their homes but about five months on, the camps are still remain.
According to Kampala Convention, the Borno state government has said time and again, ‘we cannot force an IDP to go back.
‘So, the Borno State Government and its humanitarian agency are therefore complying with the convention on voluntary return of the people’, Hon. Usman Zannah, Commissioner for Local Government and Emirate affairs said in during the Nigerian Union of Journalists combined press week on August 12, further adding that, about 350,000 IDPs refused to return.
It therefore remains to be seen what the government’s response will be with this development.
Stay tuned for more details…