Over 10,000 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), who are non-Yobe indigenes currently taking refuge at the Kukareta town outskirts of Damaturu, the Yobe state capital, have opted to permanently reside in the state, Channels reports.
Speaking through the village head of Kukareta of Damaturu Local Government Area Lawan Babagana, the IDPs are of the opinion that the Boko Haram insurgents are still operating in some communities within their ancestral homes hence, they have opted to stay in Yobe state permanently.
Kukareta town has for the past four years witnessed unprecedented visitors displaced by the Boko Haram insurgents.
Over 18, 000 households have within the period been hosted by the Kukareta community and the Yobe state government.
However, with the relative peace being enjoyed in most of the northeast states bedevilled by the Boko Haram insurgents, the population of IDPs in the community is said to have reduced from over 18,000 to about 10,261 households.
Babagana who spoke to Channels said that the IDPs have continued to receive news of pockets of attack within their ancestral homes, hence, there is no need to return as their safety is not guaranteed.
He said the facilities initially provided by the state government, Non-Governmental Organisations among other philanthropists such as; schools, healthcare facilities and water supply, are still functional hence their stay in the community will not in any way over-stretch the existing facilities.
He also stated that he had taken the matter to the Yobe state government through the Damaturu Local Government as well as the Damaturu Emirate Council as the Ministry of Lands and Survey has been assigned to take stock of the land requirements for their settlement.
Secretary to the Yobe state Government, Baba Malam-Wali also addressing the issue, said the government has been adequately briefed on the desire and requirements of the IDPs and according to him, efforts are being made to hasten their settlements.
Borno State Governor, Kashim Shettima, recently said his government had placed priority on the reconstruction of communities destroyed by Boko Haram insurgents, to facilitate the return of IDPs to their towns and villages.
Shettima said the state has nearly two million displaced persons in IDP camps and that this is becoming a huge problem to the government, therefore the need to close them down by May 29, 2017, latest.
He added that IDP camps are pregnant with loads of challenges of early child marriage, prostitution, drug abuse, gangsterism among others and could entrench further if allowed by the government.
Nigeria currently has about 3.3 million persons displaced – the highest number in Africa, a report by the Internal Displaced Monitoring Centre (IDMC) and the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) revealed.
The report by the agencies also revealed 470,500 individuals were displaced in 2013 alone. On a global scale, Nigeria is only ranked behind Syria with 6.5 million IDPs and Colombia with 5.7 million IDPs.
The report explains the unprecedented rise in IDPs in Nigeria is as a result of increased number of Boko Haram attacks, heavy-handed counter-insurgency operations, and ongoing inter-communal violence.