Borno State Governor, Babagana Umara Zulum has spent two days in Diffa and Bosso provinces of neighboring Niger Republic, from where he led some Nigerian refugees on Thursday, to undertake clearance exercise in Malam-Fatori, headquarters of Abadam Local Government Area in northern Borno.
Malam-Fatori, located in the fringes of Lake Chad, was violently occupied by Boko Haram for about six years before the military took control. Residents have been taking refuge in Diffa, and Bosso, which is about five kilometers from Malam-Fatori.
Zulum travelled to Niger on Tuesday evening and passed the night at Diffa. He was received by the Governor of Diffa Province, Issa Lameen with the leaders discussing how to effectively collaborate on planned repatriation of refugees from Borno. Both Governors on Wednesday, moved to Bosso which is closer to Malam-Fatori. From that Wednesday to Thursday, Zulum led refugees to tour different parts of Malam-Fatori for clearance exercise, essentially assessing safety of the town for resettlement, after more than six years of taking refuge in Niger Republic.
Zulum’s visit was the latest of more than five previous visits, for assessments and reconstruction of homes and public services destroyed by Boko Haram during their violent occupation. He had also in July, 2021, inaugurated a committee to work out modalities for reconstruction and resettlement, same way communities in Baga, Banki among others, were rebuilt and resettled.
Governor Zulum explained that safe relocation of civilian population to Malam-Fatori will hopefully commence by end of November 2021, after which Government will explore the possibility of returning people to Abadam town, which was also occupied by insurgents.
Zulum expressed appreciation to the President of Niger Republic, Muhammadu Bazoum, the Governor of Diffa Province, Issa Lameen and humanitarian officials for their tremendous support to refugees from Borno who lived in Niger since 2014 when they fled from insurgent attacks on their communities in northern parts of Borno.
Zulum shares N28.3m to 3,911 families
During his two days stay in Niger Republic, Governor Zulum supervised the distribution of N28.3m to 3,911 families taking refuge in Bosso.
Of the 3,911 total beneficiaries, 2,150 of them were female heads of households, while the remaining 1,761 were male heads of households.
Each of the female beneficiaries received a wrapper and N5,000 cash, while the male beneficiaries received N10,000 each.
The social support is part of a sustained humanitarian intervention for families who lost means of livelihoods.
Zulum has been raising concern that such interventions are not sustainable the long run, hence the need for safe and dignified resettlements so that refugees and internally displaced persons can have access to a sustainable means of livelihood rather than unsustainable reliance on aids.