By Bukar Bolori
Despite attacks on his convoy by Boko Haram during a resettlement exercise few days ago, Borno State Governor, Prof. Babagana Zulum is going ahead with resettlement plan in six towns of the state which was deserted by residents at the peak of ongoing crisis in the state.
A statement by the spokesman of the governor, Mallam Isa Gusau on Tuesday said the governor has inaugurated two committees to complete ongoing reconstruction works and facilitate the full restoration of civil authority comprising Policemen, Civilian JTF, Local Government officials, and Magistrate courts in six towns located in Marte and Gwoza local government areas of the state.
The statement said the two committees, which have security officials amongst members, are to undertake resettlement at Marte in northern Borno as well as Ngoshe, Kirawa, Hambagda, Ashigashiya and Warabe in Gwoza local government area of southern Borno, but after all safety measures and essential public services are put in place.
The committee on Marte is chaired by Borno’s Commissioner for Reconstruction, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (RRR), Engr. Mustapha Gubio, while the committee on Gwoza is chaired by Commissioner for Housing and Energy, Engr. Saleh Vungas. Members of the two committees also include representatives of communities and humanitarian actors.
The statement read: “The committees are to continue with rehabilitation and reconstruction work in Marte and Kirawa/Ngoshe, to undertake palliative repairs of Marte and Ngoshe/Kirawa roads in collaboration with the men of the Nigerian Army, to put in place all requirements that will ensure safety of lives and properties of returnees, to facilitate the establishment of civil authorities on ground, to identify IDPs willing to return home, and to address any other matter that is incidental to the smooth return and safety of lives and properties of the returnees.” Zulum said at the Government House, venue of the inauguration.
The Governor was said to have explained that Borno’s resettlement drive is aimed at helping citizens pick up the pieces of their lives and move on, after many years of displacement.
The Governor assured that Government will help the returnees to engage in agricultural and other economic activities that will make them self-reliant and be meaningful members of the State.
Zulum also decried the high level of poverty in Borno, particularly within the IDPs, which he said the insurgents took advantage of, to recruit a lot of able bodied youths in the State.
Governor Zulum, who said he was very mindful of the security situation in the State, however asked the committees to carry out their duties with all sense of responsibility.
He said: “We should not be in haste. We should not force anyone to return. There is an increasing demand from the IDPs to return home, don’t force anyone.” ‘
Responding on behalf of both committees, Engr. Gubio, the RRR Commissioner, assured they would all put in their best in discharging the assignment.
In a similar development, Zulum has commended Baga committee for setting a good precedent. He also commended the Nigerian Military for supporting the resettlement drive.
The Governor directed the committee to liase with the Nigerian military to see the possibilities of returning people to Mairari and Kareto.