Borno State Governor, Professor Babagana Zulum, yesterday, Thursday, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, submitted his technical working group’s report to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
The technical working group was set up by the Presidential Committee on Repatriation, Return and Resettlement of displaced persons in the North-East, which Osinbajo chairs.
President Muhammadu Buhari had, in February, 2022, inaugurated the committee and appointed the Vice President as Chairman and Borno’s Governor Zulum as Vice Chairman.
The Vice President had on March 7, 2022, convened the committee’s inaugural meeting at the Villa, during which a number of resolutions were adopted, among which was to establish three technical working groups for effective coordination.
The technical working groups were on developing a “roadmap for the restoration of peace and development in the North-East”, on “Repatriation, return and resettlement of displaced persons and restoration of livelihood” and on “Strengthening existing programmes for repentant Boko Haram members”.
On March 15, Governor Zulum chaired inaugural meeting of the working group and charged members to be dedicated and put in their best towards supporting successful repatriation of over 190,000 Nigerian refugees in neighbouring countries eager to return home.
The working group met for weeks before producing a workplan which Zulum submitted to the VP.
The technical working group comprised representatives from office of Vice President, Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states’ Governments.
It also comprised of representatives of National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management, Attorney General’s Office, North-East Development Commission, Nigerian Army, Nigerian Police, as well as the Nigerian Correctional Service.
Responding to State House journalists after the report’s submission, Governor Zulum disclosed that so far about 50,000 Nigerians from the North-East who were refugees in Cameroon, Chad and Niger Republic had been repatriated.
“This afternoon, we presented the report to the vice president with a view to ensuring that the repatriation exercise from Cameroon will continue immediately while the repatriation of Nigerians that are living in the Republic of Niger and the Republic of Chad will resume very soon.
“Within the last few years, we have repatriated no fewer than 50,000 people but we still have more than 200,000.’’
He expressed optimism that indigenes of Borno and other states in the North-East who were willing to return would be re-established.
The Governor said that the security situation in the region had improved as he hoped that the president would make the needed approvals for the repartitions.
“So, what we are looking now is to see how we can repatriate indigenes of Borno State that are living in Niger especially those that are from Malumfatori, Abadam Local Government Area, that are willing to come back.
“While we have those from Gwoza Local Government Area, Bama Local Government Area mainly those leaving from Cameroon; they are also willing to come.
“We also have indigenes of Kukawa and Marte Local Government Areas that are living in Chad.
“So, I think the vice president will do the needful to ensure that the president gives immediate approval in terms of funding and other logistics required for the re-establishment of these communities in Borno State; the security situation has greatly improved’’, he added.