by Opeoluwa Quadri
Contrary to statemnts by the Borno state governor, Kashim Shetima late last year on the plan to close all IDP camps in the state by May 29 of this year, the National Emergency Management Agency said that the planned closure is no longer feasible.
Mr. Muhammad Kanar, the NEMA North East Coordinator stated this on Sunday while speaking with newsmen in Maiduguri.
He however said that IDPs whose communities had been liberated were free to return home voluntarily.
“Actually, Gov. Kashim Shettima arrived at the May 29 date for closure of all campa based on his conviction that things will go on as they started from last year.
“It was Shettima’s hope and the hope of every disaster management expert for the camps to close early so people can return to their normal life,” he said.
Mr Kanar said that Governor Shettima was motivated by the gallant efforts of troops in liberating many communities in a short period.
“Stakeholders were amazed by the speed our gallant soldiers achieved a lot within few weeks in the fight against insurgency.
“They were able to recapture all the 22 Local Government Areas from the Boko Haram and liberated so many communities within and outside the areas.
“These gave hope and focus that by May 29, government will be able to return IDPs back home.”
According to him, recent developments had almost made it impossible to achieve that hope.
“But now it seems that closing the camps is not possible by the set date. We have to re-plan again.
“By May 29, any IDP wishing to go back to his place can go, so long as the place is safe enough,” he said.
Kanar said that the hope of returning all IDPs back home was not totally lost.
“up till today the hope is still there, if we can get the place safe, secured those willing to go back can still return.
“Right now we have satellite camps in all liberated LGAs, where IDPs living in Maiduguri can stay pending when they can move to their communities.
“If you do not want to stay in Maiduguri, you can go there, Many houses have been rehabilitated and normalcy restored in many LGA headquarters,” he said.