By Gbenga Akingbule.
Borno State Governor, Prof. Babagana Zulum has on Monday ordered a 27 Member Relocation Committee to carry out thorough excavation and clean sweeping of mines planted by suspected Boko Haram fighters in Mallm Fatori, a border town between Nigeria and Niger Republic.
Zulum also charged the Committee to ensure the reconstruction of all destroyed infrastructure before relocating any willing Nigerian refugee in Niger Republic and IDPs in parts of Borno State.
Many residents in Mallm Fatori , Abadam Local Government Area of the state had during heat of Boko Haram invasion fled to towns and villages in Niger Republic and towns in Nigeria including Maiduguri, the Borno State Capital.
Governor Zulum gave the order at the Council Chambers of the Government House Maiduguri during the inauguration of the committee where he charged them to swing into action.
According the governor , the Police , Civilian JTF and hunters should return to Mallam Fatori to strengthen security in and around the area before the commencement of relocation of displaced persons slated for 27th November 2021.
” The town has to be excavated and be scanned properly with a view to ridding it off any IEDs planted by the Boko Haram insurgents ” Zulum said .
The Governor added that the provision of potable Water for human and animal consumption, provision of health care facilities as well as educational facilities among others are key to returning the displaced persons with dignity.
Prof. Zulum revealed that his administration will continue to yield to the yearnings and aspirations of his citizens, saying ” the government has relocated willing IDPs to their ancesteral homes to continue with their livelihood”
Zulum explained that committe was set up against the backdrop of the ” relative peace enjoyed in many parts of the state as a result of the successes recorded by gallant troops in the fight against insurgents in the state . This enabled us to return willing IDPs to their ancestral homes. ”
Governor Zulum aslo assured that he will continue support the security agencies in the state with a view to ensuring full restoration of peace in the state .
The committee which has representatives of security and relief agencies amongst others is saddled with the responsibility of commencing the rehabilitation and construction work in Mallam Fatori.
Other terms of reference according to the Governor is ” to ensure security and safety of returnees on transit to Mallam Fatori in collaboration with the Nigeria Army , to put in place all requirements that will ensure safety of lives and properties on return , to facilitate the establishment of civil authorities on ground .
” To identify IDPs willing to return to Mallam Fatori and other communities in the Abadam Local Government Area, to provide food and none food items and means of livelihoods to the returning communities on short , medium and long term measures especially the issues of irrigation farming along the shores of Lake Chad ” the Governor said .
The Theatre Commander (TC) Joint Task Force North East Operation Operation Hadin Kai , Maj. General Christopher Musa who was present at the occasion assured Governor of continued partnership.
” It is our commitment and our desire that we have all IDPs that are willing to return go back to their respective localities; that in a way shows that peace is back to Borno State. We will give you all the support that is required. ” Maj. Gen Musa said .
Chairman and Co – Chairman of the committee, Commissioner of Agriculture and Engr Bukar Talba and Commissioner Reconstruction Rehabilitation and Resettlement Engr Mustapha Gubio respectively
lauded the Governor for the confidence repose in the committee and asured that they will deliver on the term of reference given to them.