Borno State Governor, Professor Babagana Umara Zulum, said his administration will continue to guaranty physical security that would allow citizens to pursue their legitimate livelihoods in safety.
Zulum said that his administration closed the Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps to ‘clean up’ the places and give the people a sense of dignity as well as purpose.
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The governor, who stated this in his New Year message to the people of the state, said: “In 2021, we took a number of steps to improve and strengthen security by supporting our forces including the vigilantes with tools, equipment and resources to discharge their duties well.
“We must be very clear that there can be no livelihoods without lives.
“The results of our proactive measures are beginning to show as we recorded fewer attacks and the security forces did marvellously well in protecting us.
“We are not yet where we would like to be but we are certainly making progress in the right direction.
“Consequently, I am committed to ensuring more support for our security forces and the indefatigable local vigilantes that are helping us.”
Zulum disclosed that part of his strategy for strengthening resilience is the bold step that “we took in closing down the internally displaced persons’ camps in Borno State as a whole.”
He added, “Although we have explained in detail the reasons behind the action, for the sake of clarity. We closed the IDP camps to clean up the places and give our people dignity as well as purpose.
“Living in IDP camp is not what we are used to, or what we like as a people.
“Therefore, we believe that a safe life of dignity is a right for all the citizens of Borno and indeed Nigeria.”
The governor explained that the IDP camps were becoming slums where all kinds of vices were happening including prostitution, drugs and thuggery in some cases.
“No responsible leadership will allow people to live an undignified life under its watch,” he stressed.
Zulum said that the idea of the IDP camp was and remains an interim measure to provide safety, especially during the peak of the insurgency. Consequently, the camps were not meant to continue forever.
He said, “The question of closure of the camp was not a matter of if but when. Efficient managers would agree that there is no better time than now to get things done.
“As part of the closure, we continue to learn lessons, adapt our strategy and make necessary changes as we go along.
“The worst option would be to do nothing. We are not prepared to do nothing. Rather we are ready to do whatever it takes to restore the dignity of our people.
“Keeping the camp open endlessly is not sustainable. This is because it becomes difficult to plan effectively for the dignified economic and social development of the people.
“The IDP camps would also eventually become too expensive to run with a possibility of causing far more harm than good.
“In 2022, we will continue to open up our rural communities by working on selected roads and making lives better in our local government areas.
“I am convinced that better life in rural communities will translate to improvement in security and well-being of our people. What is good for the state capital is good for the remotest community of Borno.”