It was a day of joy as over 2000 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) of Guzamala extraction living in Bakassi IDP Camp in Maiduguri today Tuesday 19 June 2018 commenced movement to return to their original homeland in Guzamala Local Government Area of Borno state.
The IDPs numbering about 2,043 individuals, making up 378 households constitute the first batch of IDPs who willingly expressed the desire to return to their communities to resettle and resume their traditional occupation of farming and fishing, as well as other socio-economic activities.
Speaking during the flag off of the movement at the Bakassi IDP Camp, the Theatre Commander Operation Lafiya Dole, Major General Rogers Nicholas, stated that the earnest desire of the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Yusuf Buratai has been to ensure that IDPs who are willing, return home to begin a normal life. He noted that the modalities to return the IDPs home was jointly worked out by the Theatre Command, the Borno State Government and the Guzamala Local Authorities. General Nicholas added that the military has reinforced security in the locality and that the traditional farm clearing ( sharandaji) to declare the farming season open has been earlier conducted in Gudumbali.
He assured the returnee IDPs of adequate protection while they resettle, adding, that Operation Last Hold has been inaugurated in the theatre to operationally cover the locality and other communities.
The Theatre Commander also urged well meaning Nigerians and Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs) to support returnee IDPs with farming implements and other relief materials to enable them settle back quickly into their respective communities.
In his remarks, the Speaker Borno State House of Assembly, Right Honourable Abdulkareem Lawn commended the military and other security agencies for creating an enabling security environment for the safe return of the IDPs.
The Commissioner for Reconstruction, Rehabilitation and Resettlement to the Borno State Government, Professor Babagana Umara, stated while addressing the returnee IDPs that their resolve to return home is a welcome development that will fast track their socio-economic well-being. He assured them of the support of the Borno State Government as they return home.
Other dignitaries who graced the event were the Speaker Borno state House of Assembly, Chairman Guzamala Local Government, Honourable Lawan Umara Zanna, representative of the Commander Operation Last Hold, Brig Gen Victor Offiong, representative of the General Officer Commanding 7 Division, Brig Gen Gbemiga Adeshina, the District Head of Guzamala Alhaji Zanna Arjinoma and Heads of Security Agencies in Borno State.