Borno residents laud UN Secretary-General’s visit to Borno, call for more support

Residents of the commercial border town of Banki in Borno affected by insurgency have commended the concern shown by UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres with his visit to the state.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Banki, which is currently hosting over 50,000 returnees, has several UN organizations rendering humanitarian support under a regional stabilisation programme.

Some of the residents, who spoke to NAN in Banki, said though Guterres didn’t visit them as scheduled due to time factor, they were happy that the town was listed as one of the places to be visited.

“We are happy the UN authorities, led by the secretary-general, are in Borno to show solidarity with victims of insurgency, particularly our community of Banki.

“Though he couldn’t make it to Banki as scheduled, we believe that Governor Zulum who hosted him to a meeting in Maiduguri on behalf of Borno people, has conveyed our gratitude to UN for its interventions and the need for more support,” Tijjani Abubakar said.

Babagana Ali said UN interventions in Banki had improved the quality of life and needed to be increased as more people were returning.

“It is a big welcome development that Gutteres is in Borno to see for himself the situation of things.

“This visit is significant because it’s a sign of concern from the secretary-general that would hopefully be followed with more support,” Ali said.

Mustafa Bashir noted that many residents had recieved some capital support from UN and Borno government to start businesses.

“However, one of our major challenges is extortion by some bad eggs among border personnel frustrating smooth business activities at the border with Cameroon.

“Authorities in Nigeria and Cameroon need to look into this matter,” Ali said.

Amina Bulama and Hafsat Mohammad also expressed joy over the visit by Gutteres to Borno, pointing out that UN had done a lot in supporting their return.

“The interventions in area of health, particularly the challenge of malnutrition among children in the town, are commendable,” Bulama said.

NAN reports that while in Borno, the UN Secretary-General visited displaced persons camp and the UN-supported Interim Care Centre (ICC) in Maiduguri.

The centre serves as Disarmament, Deradicalization and Reintegration (DDR) for repentant insurgents as well as provides interim services to children, women and others affected by conflict in need of care and protection. (NAN)