Michael Olugbode in Maiduguri
Borno State Governor, Prof. Babagana Umara, has said plans are already in place to resettle citizens who fled the state to Cameroon in the next two months.
The governor made this pledge while addressing about 60,000 refugees from the state in Cameroon last Tuesday.
Umara, according to a statement by his spokesman, Mallam Isa Gusau, had travelled by flight from Maiduguri into Marwa International Airport in Cameroon to meet with the refugees where he assured them of the resettlement plan the state government has in place for them.
The Borno State governor was received by Governor Mijinyawa Bakare of Cameroon’s Far North state alongside top officials of the host government at the airport.
Umara while addressing the refugees, consoled them and announced plans for immediate building of resettlement houses in Banki, Bama town, Pulka, Gwoza and Darajamal within the next two months for the purpose of resettling refugees yearning for return there.
He expressed gratitude to the Cameroonian Government and citizens of host communities for their empathy towards Nigerians from Borno State who took refuge since 2013 and 2014 when insurgents took sovereign control of about 20 local government areas of the state.
The statement said the governor is expected o travel to some border communities in Borno State through Cameroon to meet more persons displaced by the insurgency.
He had embarked on the trip in the company of the Chairman of the Borno State Emergency Management Agency (BOSEMA), a member of the state House of Assembly and two commissioners.
ßThe United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR which managed the Minawao camp visited by the governor while in Cameroon had in May this year put the number of Nigerian refugees in Cameroon at 86,000, with many of them believed to be from Borno State.
But during his visit, officials at the camp told him that many of the refugees have voluntary returned to Nigeria, and as such, reducing the earlier figure to about 50,000.
Minawao, where the camp accommodating the Nigerian refugees is located, is about 95 kilometres away from Marwa, capital of Cameroon far North region.