Nearly two million internally displaced persons in Borno state are expected to return home by next year, as the government plans to close all IDP camps by May 29, 2017.
Governor Kashim Shettima made this known Friday in Maiduguri, while disclosing that the reconstruction works in the communities destroyed by the Boko Haram insurgents were close to completion.
“We have reconstructed Bama by 25 per cent; my target is to reach 50 per cent by the end of this year and 75 per cent by first quarter of 2017,” Shettima said.
He further said there was need for the government to address the increasing challenges facing various IDP camps in the state. Shettima said he was worried about reports of early marriage, prostitution, drug abuse among other related vices in camp.
“I want to close down all IDP camps latest May 29, 2017, because the IDP camps are becoming a huge problem on their own.
“If we allow the entrenchment of these IDP camps, they are pregnant with loads of challenges of early child marriage, prostitution, drug abuse, gangsterism.
“And we will be confronted with huge social challenges of an entitlement complex of people feeling that they are entitled to be catered for.
“So in as much as we observe the Kampala convention, we will not compel anybody to return to their communities.
“We know our people better than any other persons and it is not for somebody seating in Abuja, Paris, London, US and any other places to dictate to us on how we should live our lives.
“Our people in spite of their poverty, still have some pride left in them, a lot of them will rather go back to their communities and eat the guinea corn and millet than to eat your rice and chicken in the IDP camps.
“This is why we want to restore the dignity of our people by rebuilding their homes, rebuilding their schools, engaging them in gender empowerment initiatives so as to enable them return back to their homes, ” Shettima said.
According to him, “by December we are taking back all the people of Kaga Local Government Area.”