MUSA M. BUBA in this report, looks at how Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Yobe state were resettled with the camps closed down
Since the commencement of the insurgency in the Northeast, many people were killed others displaced and moved to IDPs camps or with the host communities.
It was in 2009 when the Northeast sub-region started to experience terror attacks and Yobe state witnessed its first attack in the state capital on November 4, 2011. Since then the insurgents has continued to launch attacks on government facilities such as schools, hospitals, worship centres, as well as on individuals and their private properties. Yunusari, Geidam, Gujba and Gulani, were the local government councils worst hit by the insurgency in Yobe. In fact, they were overrun for years especially Gujba and Gulani.
The main bridge linking the state to southern Borno state was blown off and economic activities were crippled.
IDPs voluntarily returned
These led many residents to flee to relatively peaceful areas while government had to establish some camps to accommodate the Internally Displaced Persons IDPs. With the gallantly fight by the military, the aforementioned local governments were recaptured, the state government reconstructed the blown off bridge, the road reconstructed and some of the IDPs voluntarily returned.
This is not unconnected with the support of the Ibrahim Gaidam led- administration in providing hilux patrol vehicles to the military and other securities agencies, apart from the regular logistics provided to ginger their fighting spirit.
In order to meet the needs of the IDPs, Yobe state government set up committee on Reconstruction, Resettlement and Rehabilitation of the displaced persons, headed by the Deputy Governor, Abubakar D. Aliyu, to make sure that all their needs are met at when due.
IDPs that opted to stay in Yobe
The IDPs who voluntarily returned in Gujba and Gulani local governments two years ago after return of relative peace, the government provided them with farming implements of 130 sets of Animal Traction which consist of oxen, agricultural implements and ox-driven carts totaling N49,650.000 for each beneficiary.
Also a good number of 10kg of cowpea, 8kg of sorghum, and millet respectively, 25kg of fertilizer and assorted vegetable seeds to about 33,000 farmers in the state especially the returning IDPs were provided
To provide good health to returning IDPs, the Yobe State Emergency Management Agency (YOSEMA) distributed drugs to twelve medical centres across the state especially those affected by the insurgency. The medicines were brought to the state by the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) with instruction that they should be shared to the downtrodden who passed through series of hazards as a prevalent terrorists attack occasioned by the Boko Haram.
Succour for IDPs
The IDPs who opted to permanently settle in Kukareta a community in the outskirt of Damaturu the state capital, the Yobe state government presented plots of land, assorted building materials and cash support to 307 of them.
It includes 50 x 100 plots and building materials like blocks, zinc, nails, timber, cement among others to the IDPs, which mark yet another milestone in the quest to assists and support the IDPs to build houses and settle in their new communities, apart from the N30,000 each, given to the 307 heads of households.
Yobe state government had also provided additional social amenities like health clinics, water supply facilities and schools to augment the existing ones at Kukareta and other returnee communities.
Last IDPs camp (Pompomari)
The camp was established in 2015 with 4,211 displaced persons from Ambiya Kura, Ambiya Bulabulin, Ambiya Tasha, Sharfuri and Turo Kura all in Gujba local government area.
The Permanent Secretary, State Emergency Management Agency, Musa Idi Jidawa, while closing the Pompomari IDP camp recently, said, state government has so far expended over N140 million since the administration took off, feeding and routine medical upkeep with special referrals to Specialists and Teaching hospitals in Damaturu and Maiduguri as well as, Neuro-Psychiatric hospital in Maiduguri.
Out of the 4,211 IDPs earlier camped, 2,897 IDPs voluntarily left to pursue their means of livelihood after the state government provided them with cash assistance, food items, transport fare and other incentives according to the Musa Idi Jidawa, the permanent secretary SEMA.
As at the time of the closure on 27th June, 2018 the camp had a population of 1,314 IDPs with 318 heads of household and 996 dependents.
The Yobe state government had acknowledged received of complimentary supports from federal government and UN agencies like NEMA, VSF, PINE, PCNI, UNICEF, UNHCR, UNFPA, and WFP, internal and local NGOs like ICRC, ACF, NRCS and SMYLE, among others.
What the Yobe state government prepared as return packages for the returning IDPs includes 743 bags of 50kg rice, 596 jerry cans of 25 litres vegetable oil, 541 cartons of tomato paste, 370 cartons of bathing soap, 1000 pieces of mosquitoes nets, 1,272 pieces of nylon mats, 60 bales of used clothes and cash assistance of N9,110,000.00 to be shared among the 318 heads of the households based on family size.
It is significant to mention that, the people of the Northeast have had the test of time that will continue to ring in the minds of generation to generations. Many Yobe residents have acknowledged the importance of peace in every society therefore all should contribute his/her quota to make sure that peace reign in our country.
With this development, Yobe state has shut down all the government established camps but still working toward improving means of livelihood of the returnees.