An NGO, the Bama Initiative for Human Development Sunday, staged a peaceful protest in Maiduguri.
- The group’s Chairman, Alhaji Muhammad Hassan, said that the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) would want to return to their respective communities in Bama and continue their normal activities in view of the prevailing peace in the state.
- “We have been in Maiduguri for more than three years without meaningful means of livelihoods. The condition of our people is pathetic.
- “The elongation in the process of returning displaced persons to their homes is moving at a snail pace and exposed them to unbearable conditions.
- “We could no longer send our children to school; many have died of hunger and starvation. Most of us live in host communities and no one is supporting us.”
- He said that most of them were traumatised, coupled with serious neglect and poor living condition, adding that they are ready to trek back to Bama.
- The Police stopped the demonstrators from embarking on the trek and urged them to drop the idea because of safety.
- The Police Commissioner in the state, Damian Chukwu said that the group had not notified the command over their planned return to Bama.
- He advised the IDPs to dialogue with the state government and other stakeholders over their demand so that adequate preparations would be made.
- “The police have a duty to protect you and we will not allow you to gather people and expose them to danger in the name of home return.
- “Also, there is massive reconstruction and rehabilitation works going on in the town, executed by the Federal and State Government under the Bama Initiative.
- “We will not allow you to go because of your safety, you better go back and wait for the time when the government will permit your return to the town.”
- The Governor of Borno, Kashim Shettima urged the IDPs to cooperate with the government to fast-track the completion of rehabilitation projects in the town.
- “It is to the government’s advantage if IDPs return home because their return will lessen economic burden of supporting them as displaced persons.
- “The greatest wish of the governor is the safe and dignified return of all IDPs to their communities. Much as he wants the IDPs to return, he is also concerned about their safety.
- “We have to ensure that there is full return of civil security before IDPs can return.
- “The governor encourages safe and dignified return only after putting the right things in place.”
Omoleye Omoruyi… an apprentice web/game developer, novelist, sensitive to happenings in the world. Meet him @Lord_rickie on Twitter/Instagram