The Borno State Governor, Kashim Shettima, has said that all Internally Displaced Person (IDPs) camps in the state would be closed down by May 29, 2017.
Shettima, who made the announcement while speaking with newsmen on Friday in Maiduguri, said that the state has nearly two million displaced persons.
He informed that the government had placed priority on reconstruction of communities destroyed by Boko Haram insurgents, to facilitate return of IDPs to their towns and villages.
The Governor said the continuous staying of people in the camps across the state is gradually becoming a burden on the government, hence, the need to relocate them back to their various communities.
“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.
“But we know our people better than any other person, and it is not for somebody sitting 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 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, ” Shettima said.
The governor believed that with time, Nigerians would appreciate modest accomplishment of the state towards the resettlement of the IDPs.
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