Michael Olugbode in Maiduguri
The Borno State Government is to commence phase resettlement of people back to Bama as over 11,000 privately owned houses have been rebuilt in the town completely levelled by Boko Haram at the peak of insurgency in the North-east.
The first phase of the resettlement would commence on Monday, April 2, 2018 with military and security personnel alongside local hunters and members of the youth vigilante assigned to escort internally displaced persons (IDPs) now living in Maiduguri back to the town.
Briefing journalists in Maiduguri yesterday, the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Alhaji Jidda Shuwa, said the resettlement which is in 10 phases, is expected to be concluded before May 29, 2018, noting that in line with Geneva Convention, no one would be forced to relocate back to Bama.
Shuwa, who said the decision to relocate the IDPs back to Bama was taken onÂ March 15, 2018, explained: â€œTo further underscore the commitment of the state government towards the effective implementation of the security councilâ€™s decision. Governor Kashim Shettima found it expedient to hold a high-level consultative meeting yesterday (Monday) with the Shehu of Bama, Alhaji Kyari Ibn Umar El-Kanemi, the Chairman and council members of Bama Local Government Area, as well as members of the emirate council and other high-calibre stakeholders.
â€œHe intimated then on the resolution of the state security council and solicited for their cooperation and understanding in achieving objectives behind the move.â€
He promised that â€œadequate arrangements and sufficient preparations are being put in place to guarantee seamless return and hitch-free resettlement of the IDPs.
Â â€œA special template is being designed to capture the essential personal data of all prospective returnees for the purpose of easy identification and security clearance.
â€œTo re-establish and sustain the continuous presence of civil order among the returnees, all relevant federal institutions are hereby urged to also relocate to Bama, as their services are not just integral part of the peopleâ€™s daily lives but critical block in the overall security architecture required to maintain law and order guarantee the civil duties of the returnees.â€
He revealed that the Borno State Government has committed billions of naira, despite the meagre resources, to the reconstruction of virtually all institutional structures and most of the private residential buildings callously destroyed by insurgents in Bama town.