I ’ll not force any IDP out of camp —Shettima

Governor Kashim Shettima has said it is not his intention or that of government to force any internally displaced person (IDP) back home without their consent.

The governor emphasised that his government was a democratic one fully in tune with the letters of the “Kampala declaration” which was out to protect the human rights of IDPs or even refugees.

He made the remarks on Thursday, while receiving some members of the Dennis Refugee Council (DRC), who flew into Bama on a solidarity visit to compare notes on how they could assist to ensure that the ruins of Bama would be transformed to habitable places once again.

He said as a responsible government,  he would not stand by and watch vices such as prostitution, drug abuse, gangsterism and others to flourish in camps when the lives of the IDPs could be made much more useful when they were in their homes and could return to their primary roles before the insurgency.

The governor said Bama was the second largest town in Borno State, in terms of land mass and population, which was why he believed that 90 per cent of his people would return home if the public and private buildings were repaired.

The governor informed the six-member delegation of the DRC, led by the Country Director in Nigeria, Shah Liton, that it was his wish that all IDPs were moved to their homes before May 29, 2017, adding that stakeholders and partners were free to participate in the programme to assist  them to achieve success.

During an interactive session, the governor said hospitals,  homes, schools and water sanitation were some of his priorities in terms of needs, with a view to changing the narrative of Bama, which was completely devastated by the criminal elements, Boko Haram.

Shettima advised the humanitarian group to bring whatever they could to back the ongoing rehabilitation, including support and assistance to sweep their farms of mines and IEDs, which might be a major debilitating factor against those who might want to go into serious farming, but no cash because of transparency issues.

“We have seen serious destructions here in Bama, we also know that as people prepare to return, they will be concerned about going back to their means of livelihood, one of which is their farms. We will offer to bring specialists to remove mines planted in those farms to make it possible for people to use the farms,” the Denish group told Shettima.

The governor identified needs in areas of reconstruction of schools, intervention on Agriculture to create jobs and gender empowerment with particular interest in education and economic empowerment of women.