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Borno cites rapes, drug abuse, goes ahead with IDP camps’ closure

The Special Adviser on Public Relations, Media and Strategy to Borno State Governor, Isa Gusau, has said the government will close Internally Displaced Persons camps in the state because of growing complaints of rapes and other criminal activities.

Gusau, who spoke in an interview with our correspondent, said, “There are rising cases of rape among youths in the IDPs. There also issues of drugs and so many crimes and inhuman activities going on in these camps.

“The state government, after looking at the inherent dangers and consequences of these atrocities, decided that such camps be closed. It is for the good of the IDPs and the general populace.

“One thing that is certain is that all displaced persons will be resettled in particular locations. The government has built houses to resettle them.

“Though not all destroyed communities have been rebuilt, there are new settlements from which the IDPs will decide where they want to be resettled.”

A source in the humanitarian circle in Borno who is not permitted to speak to media said, “There are 28 official IDP camps spread across the state while several hundreds of host community camps still abound.”

He said the camps, with the exception of two, were still very active as more IDPs were still finding their way to the camps.

IDPs across camps in Maiduguri have reacted towards the state government’s determination to resettle them from the camps.

Some displaced persons have expressed fears over the state governor’s pronouncement that all IDP camps in the state would be closed by 31 December.

Bitrus Jarma, a 52-year-old displaced father of five stated, “We have not been told we will be leaving the camp by the end of the year. We have been in this camp for over seven years and I am from Gwoza LGA.

“We share border with Cameroon. Boko Haram are still operating in our village. I wonder where they will return us to.”

Bala Adamu, another IDP in Bakassi camp said, “Boko Haram still manage the only market in our village. Boko Haram collects taxes for fishing and farming from those that were returned last year.

“The houses built will not be enough for half of the households. Just last Friday, the chairman returned some IDPs to new Marte, but even this morning, some of them returned to Maiduguri, saying they could not stay there because the town was not safe.”

However, some of the IDPs have expressed optimism towards the imminent return to where they referred to as home.

Bukar Aliyu, a displaced person at the Teachers’ Village IDP camp Maiduguri, stated, “Our village has been rebuilt. I was given a house though not enough for my family of eight. I am still grateful because I can now return to the farm.

“I lived on handouts in the camp. It was a terrible experience. I can’t wait to return to my ancestral home.”

He added that their land was fertile and they didn’t depend on government for anything before they were displaced.

 Copyright PUNCH.

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