Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), from Baga in Borno state, are eager to return home if given the security nod to do so, Alhaji Habib Kekeno, Chairman, Kukawa Local Government, has said.
“The IDPs want to go and build their town; they are only waiting to be allowed to do so,” Kekeno told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Maiduguri on Sunday.
He said that he was prepared to lead the people home “after a very long stay outside their natural environments”.
Kekeno said that relocating the IDPs back home, most of whom are fishermen and farmers, would resuscitate commercial activities that were crippled by the insurgency.
“I have advised the people to be a little patient; I am confident that as soon as the threat of the insurgency is totally over, government will speed up the reopening of the Monguno – Kauwa, Baga Doro – Kauwa and Kukawa roads for commercial activities to return to the area.
“The communities have been liberated and the people are anxious to be part of the rebuilding processes.
“You will recall that the state government rcently directed its civil servant in 10 liberated areas to return to their respective Local Government Areas.
“Normalcy has also been restored in Baga and we are fully prepared to go back.
“It is hard to believe that Baga, which used to be a lively trading centre with 200,000 residents, comprising Nigerians and the nationals of neighbouring countries, is now in ruins.
“The town used to be a meeting point for merchants, who deal in cattle, leather goods and trade in produce like fish and other foodstuffs; but it has degenerated into rubbles with thousands rendered homeless and jobless
“Currently, I operate from Monguno as directed by Governor Shettima, but nothing will stop me from relocating to my ancestral home in Kukawa, even if I will be the first to do so, if security agencies permit,” he said.
He said that he would open a temporary satellite office at the Teachers’ Village IDPs camp currently hosting displaced persons from Kukawa, to ensure regular and constant touch with the needs of the people.
“Children in the camp, who are from Kukawa, will immediately be enrolled into the makeshift schools at the camp.
“Their future is very important to me because without education, we will be inviting crisis worse than Boko Haram in future,” Kekeno said.