IDP Camp

Michael Olugbode

Displaced persons living in internally displaced persons camps and within the host communities of Maiduguri have expressed their unwillingness to return to their homelands until the state is free of insurgents.

Some of them who spoke to journalists in Maiduguri on Wednesday said it would be suicidal to go back to their lonely homelands now even as the military continues to claim that the insurgents have been degraded.

One of them, Abba Idrissa, said: “I will only go back to my home in Gwoza when Sambisa Forest is in the hands of the military for anything less would be foolish as the insurgents can launch devastating attacks on any town if this is not achieved.”

He said though there have been calls from government for IDPs to return home “it would be foolish to heed such advice as the government would not be there when the insurgents come back to attack us.”

He asked: “Where were the government and its agencies when the insurgents attacked us in the past, killing many of our relatives and forcing us to flee from our homelands.”

He lamented that those who thought peace had returned and left for their towns, have started coming back when they noticed during their sleep at night that they were opened to attacks from the insurgents, adding that “some of them are coming back owing to continuous attacks in the villages across the state.”

One Mallam Mohammed Shehu who fled to Maiduguri at the peak of the crisis when his town Baga was attacked but returned after appeals to go back from government, said: “I went back home thinking I can continue with my fishing business but narrowly escaped being killed by the insurgents few days ago and could not but run back to Maiduguri.”