By Deji Elumoye
The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Army, Senator Ali Ndume, has hinted that military personnel are currently assisting state governments in the North-east to resettle Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) back to their ancestral homes.
Ndume also praised the Nigerian Army’s officers and other ranks serving in the North-east geo-political zone for their involvement in other civil activities such as teaching and hiring private teachers to teach hundreds of school children in the area.
He also disclosed during the weekend that his recent visit to his home state, Borno, has shown that the soldiers fighting the Boko Haram insurgents were able to assist the state government in resettling the displaced people.
He said: “In the course of my interaction, I discovered that the military has been supporting the state government’s bid to return the internally displaced persons to their ancestral homes. So far, the people of Kukawa, Kawuri, Ngoshe, are in the process of returning while some of them had returned already.
“Just last week, over 1,000 Kawuri people, along the Maiduguri-Bama Road, about 40 kilometers away from Maiduguri, returned to their town. Kawuri was where the insurgents massacred 85 people in one day sometime in February 2014.
“I was at Ngoshe with the Governor of Borno State and preparations were at the final stage for the return of the displaced persons on October 15. The government is also making efforts to return the people of four other communities at the various IDP’s camps by the end of the year.”
The former Senate Leader stressed that despite the difficult challenges confronting the military’s operation in Borno State, the soldiers deployed to fight the insurgents have been very wonderful saying specifically that “at Ngoshe for instance, the military personnel there apart from repelling the attacks from the insurgents, have mobilised resources to start rebuilding, through direct labour, houses that were destroyed by the Boko Haram fighters without knowing the owners of the houses they are rebuilding.”
He also mentioned the feat of an army officer who converted his personal cars to gun trucks to fight the insurgents.
His words: “In Gwoza, one Colonel Lamidi, a Yoruba man who has been there now for three years as the Battalion Commander, bought two golf cars and converted them to gun trucks due to lack of equipment to fight the insurgents. The same Colonel Lamidi has been going after the insurgents with the golf cars he converted to gun trucks.”
Ndume also mentioned Damboa town where about 24 soldiers were lost recently as a result of the ambush by the insurgents but was quick to add that the army had since deployed a battalion to the area “and since then the incidence of ambush has stopped.
“The soldiers are also engaging in civil activities. Some soldiers with diploma and degree certificates are now teaching school children whose parents have returned to some of the affected communities. They even hired 50 volunteers, who they are paying about N30, 000 per month from their salaries and allowances, to teach in some schools also.”