Most of the displaced persons staying at Bakassi camp have expressed their willingness to return home and engage in farming activities to make ends meet rather than relying on meager aid supplies. They, however, expressed concern about the future of their children, who are studying in higher institutions in Maiduguri without hostel facilities.
The state government recently announced its plan to close down all IDP camps by the end of this year following the return of peace to many areas occupied by the Boko Haram insurgents.
On Saturday the state Governor, Babagana Zulum visited the Bakassi Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) where he informed the occupants that the camp would be closed and they would be given the necessary assistance to relocate.
The government had in May closed the Mohammed Goni College of Islamic and Legal Studies IDPs camp for full academic activities to restart.
Displaced families from Marte, Gwoza, Monguno and Guzamala Local Government Areas have been living in Bakassi camp for seven years due to insurgency. Most of their hometowns were deserted with many being completely destroyed by the insurgents and the weather.
The Women leader of the displaced persons from Gwoza LGA in Bakassi camp, Hauwa Amadu welcomes the government’s decision to support the displaced persons to return home and commended the governor for having the welfare of vulnerable families at heart.
She said most of the displaced families are actually living in the camp after exhausting all options and that the effort to resettle them permanently will increase their chances of becoming more self-sufficient.
“We have no option but to stay in this camp for seven years now because our villages have been completely destroyed by the insurgents and left empty,” she said.
She said apart from Gwoza, Pulka, Izge and a few other towns, majority of the villages under Gwoza LGA have been deserted, which explains why people from Amagda, Guduf, Kuranabasa, Wala, Dure and Gasha live in other communities.
She said the plan by state authorities to send a number of displaced persons from Gwoza LGA living in Maiduguri to Limankara is a step in the right direction as long as there is adequate accommodation and security.
“The major problem we are likely to face is that most of our children who are in higher institutions like Ramat Polytechnic will have nowhere to live and will be forced to join their parents and abandon schooling. Others in secondary schools may also follow suit and drop out if there are no schools in places where we are going to be resettled,” she said.
She called on the governor to ensure that adequate houses and learning facilities are provided before people are resettled in any location.
“One of the displaced men who died some years back in this camp left behind three wives and 30 children who are still struggling to survive. Many others have lost their breadwinners and any further attempt to move them to other locations without planning might knock them off balance,” she said.
Similarly, the women leader of displaced persons from Guzamala LGA in Bakassi camp, Hajja Gumsu said her hometown, Gudumbali, the headquarters of her LGA as well as adjoining settlements are inaccessible and pleaded with the government to provide some form of shelter for the displaced persons before closing the Bakassi camp. She said most displaced families are prepared to resettle in safe places and secure the basic needs of life.
Also, the Chairman of displaced persons from Monguno LGA in the camp, Alhaji Abatcha Baichu said that he is willing to return home with his two wives and 27 children but that his house in Monguno town has been destroyed. He said he needs a roof over his head to survive in Monguno just like many displaced people and called on the governor to come to the aid of vulnerable families.
He said there are 9,845 displaced persons from his LGA in the Bakassi camp waiting for the governor’s instruction to relocate to other places.
A senior officer with the National Emergency Management Agency has said the total population of functional IDP camps in Borno State is 245 made up of 190,591 households which consist of 831,321 individuals.
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