Borno State Governor Professor Babagana Umara Zulum justified the reasons for the closure of internally displaced persons (IDPs) camps in Maiduguri, claiming that the IDP camps were becoming a slum where all kinds of vices were happening, including prostitution, drug addiction and violence in some cases.
The governor noted that no responsible leadership would allow people to live an undignified life under his watch.
This was contained in a New Year’s message delivered to citizens of Borno state on Saturday in Maiduguri, the state capital.
The governor added that the idea of an internally displaced persons camp was and remains an interim measure to provide security, especially during the height of the insurgency, therefore saying the camps were not meant to last forever. .
He said the issue of closing the camps was not a question of if, but when.
He said effective managers would agree that there is no better time than now to get things done.
“As part of the closure, we continue to learn lessons, adapt our strategy and make the necessary changes as we go. The worst option would be to do nothing. We are not ready to do nothing. Rather, we are prepared to do whatever it takes to restore the dignity of our people.
“Our dear Borno people, on this important occasion to mark the start of the New Year, it is important to share information with you as part of our responsibility to you.
“Clear and regular communication provides an opportunity to make everyone aware of the direction of leadership so that citizens, partners and friends of Borno State have a good understanding of what we have done, what we are doing. let’s do and the direction we plan to take in the important responsibility of rebuilding our economy, rebuilding lives and livelihoods as a whole.
“We have to be very clear that there can be no lifeless livelihood. We continue to work tirelessly on security issues to ensure physical security that would allow citizens to safely pursue their legitimate livelihoods. In 2021, we took a number of steps to improve and strengthen security by supporting our forces, including the militia, with tools, equipment and resources to do their jobs well.
“The results of our proactive measures are starting to show as we have recorded fewer attacks and the security forces have been doing wonderfully well in protecting us. We are not yet where we would like to be, but we are certainly moving in the right direction. Therefore, I pledge to provide more support to our security forces and to the tireless local vigilantes who help us, ”said the governor.
He noted that part of the government’s strategy to build resilience was the bold step it took to close camps for internally displaced people in Borno State as a whole.
“We closed the camps for internally displaced people to clean up the area and give our people dignity and purpose. Living in a camp for internally displaced people is not what we are used to, or what we like as a people. Therefore, we believe that a safe and dignified life is a right for all citizens of Borno, and even Nigeria.
“The IDP camps were becoming a slum where all kinds of vices were happening, including prostitution, drugs and brutality in some cases. No responsible leadership will allow people to live an unworthy life under its watch.
“Keeping the camp open indefinitely is not sustainable. Indeed, it becomes difficult to effectively plan an economic and social development worthy of the population. Camps for internally displaced people would also eventually become too expensive to run with the potential to cause far more harm than good.
“Take for example, there are many potential difficulties that one would expect if we chose the option of converting the camps into permanent structures for the population. If we are successful in building permanent structures, we have to make sure that people have access to land, because many of our people are farmers.
“We have followed best practices from around the world in the process of closing the camps. We will continue to listen to all well-meaning citizens, partners and friends who have ideas and suggestions to improve our efforts in this process.
“It is important to stress that the closure of the camps is not a political decision. It is a pragmatic action. Our administration puts the people of Borno first in every decision. Our employees remain the centerpiece of our strategy.
“We are aware that there would be temporary inconveniences for people who move. That is why we are proposing various palliative measures to strengthen their initial installation and their stability in the new location.
“In our plans, we have taken short, medium and long term measures to help our people return to their places of origin where we can guarantee safety. We know the comeback strategy would like to have issues that we need to fix or things that we need to change. We will not abandon our people as we continue to work for the good of all, ”said Zulum.