by Usman Alabi
Adamawa government says it will close all Internally Displaced Persons, IDP camps in the state in January 2017.
This was made known by the Deputy Governor, Martins Babale on Wednesday in Yola while he was speaking to newsmen on the outcome of the State Security Council meeting.
He said the administration was not happy with the continuous existence of IDPs in the camps across the state.
“We will take steps, including encouraging them to settle in villages; we will collaborate with all stakeholders to make sure that between now and January 30th, everyone has left the camps,” Babale said.
The deputy governor said the continuous stay of the IDPs in the camps when all parts of the state affected by the insurgency had been won back is not good publicity for the state.
You recall that the Borno State government on its part had declared that by May 29 2017, all IDP camps in the state would be close.
This development is welcome especially given the defeat of the terrorists by the Nigerian army and the retaking of their enclaves in the Sambisa forest. It is important that all the states affected by the insurgency began to consider closing down the IDP camps in their state so as to encourage the movement of the people back to their villages and communities once affected by insurgency.
However, even with this laudable intention of the states concerned to close down the camps, it is also important that they have a comprehensive plan to facilitate the movement or return of these people back to their communities. Most of these communities have been completely destroyed and those returning to them have virtually no means of livelihood. Hence the state governmet of the states involved should consider empowering the returning IDPs in the various economic activities that they so desired.
For those that are interested in going back to farming, they should be given seedlings and soft loan with little or no interest to encourage their start up, so also those that are interested in other economic activities. It is also important that the state and federal government work hand in hand to ensure security of lives and properties in these communities to forestall any return of insurgencies in the affected communities.
The crux of the matter is that even as the state government is planning on closing the IDP camps, they should also put into consideration the restoration of the trust people have in government, and do everything possible to exorcise the sordid experience of the insurgency that claimed the lives of many from the minds of these people.