Tambuwal Visits IDPs in Niger Republic

By Onuminya Innocent

Sokoto State Governor, Aminu Tambuwal, has visited the internal displaced persons (IDPs) from the state in Niger Republic.

Tambuwal assured the victims of his government commitment for them to return home.

He stated that the usual high-powered regional committee of the states of Niger Republic (Dosso, Maradi and Tahoua) and those of North-west Nigeria which have border with Niger Republic-Sokoto, Kebbi, Zamfara and Katsina-would soon convene one of its regular meetings to find lasting solutions to the perennial problem of insecurity that has displaced some Nigerians to Niger Republic.

A statement issued by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Muhammad Bello, quoted Tambuwal as saying that Sokoto State Government will soon dispatch ten trucks of relief materials worth millions of naira, comprising food, clothes and other items to the IDP camps at Dan Dadji Makaou, Shadakori and Garin Kaka villages in Maradi State, Niger Republic, where Sokoto State indigenes, as a result of banditary, are being sheltered with the cooperation of the government of Niger Republic by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) and some non-governmental organisations.

At the end of the visit to the IDP camps, Tambuwal and his delegation, comprising heads of the Nigerian security agencies in the state and stakeholders, including some traditional rulers of the beleaguered Eastern parts of the state, had a preparatory meeting with his host, the Governor of Maradi State, Hon Zakari Oumarou; some representatives of the security outfits in Niger Republic and a cross section of stakeholders.

The Sokoto State governor disclosed the planned bilateral talks earlier during his visit to the Dan Dadji Makaou IDP camp, where he said: “We will meet and discuss with our counterparts here to ensure that this spate of insecurity is rolled back by God’s grace.”

Although a date for the bilateral security meeting has not been announced, Tambuwal said its primary objective would be to deepen cooperation between the Nigerien states of Dosso, Maradi and Tahoua and the four North-western states of Nigeria that have displaced persons in the Niger Republic state.

According to him, the governments of the

Nigerian states that have displaced persons in Maradi in collaboration with the federal government will work together to ensure the restoration of peace in their affected areas and Nigeria in general.

While expressing appreciation to President Muhammadu Buhari and his Nigerien counterpart, President Muhammad Bazoum, for the efforts made to shelter the victims of banditry in Maradi, Tambuwal also indicated that the security meeting would fashion out how the displaced persons would be returned to their homes once it is feasible to do so.

“We thank God Almighty for making it possible for us to be here today at these IDP camps in Maradi region of Niger Republic where you are hosting our brothers and sisters.

“It is unfortunate that this has happened. It wasn’t our desire, but we are working hard with our government, the Federal Republic of Nigeria, under the leadership of President Buhari to re-establish peace in all of the affected areas, not only in Sokoto State but in the entire country

“On this note, let me extend the felicitations of President Buhari to the President of Niger Republic, President Bazoum, for the hospitality and courtesies extended to our citizens that have had reasons, unfortunately, to leave their comfort zones and be here at these IDP camps

“We thank the governor of Maradi, the great people of this region, and particularly Garin Kaka and other host communities.

“We must also thank all of the donor agencies that have been supportive of the refugees that are here. We assure you that we are working hand in hand with the government of Niger Republic. By the grace of God, soon these citizens of ours will be taken back to their respective homes in Nigeria,” he stated.

He appealed and cautioned the displaced persons, who have been described as law-abiding by the Nigerien authorities, to sustain their good conduct, urging them to dutifully “continue to respect the laws of Niger Republic and all of the laws of your host communities.”

Earlier in his remarks, the Governor of Maradi region of the Niger Republic, Oumarou, thanked the governor for the visit, saying since the incident happened, he has always been in touch with Tambuwal on how to find a lasting solution to the situation.

Oumarou said the number of refugees from Sokoto and other Nigerian states affected by banditry being reported in international media is being exaggerated. He added that the actual figure would be released after a census that is being conducted.

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