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Shettima’s Shelter for Displaced Residents

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IMAGE: Kashim Shettima, Governor of Borno State »


Several people in Borno State have been made homeless by the Boko Haram militants, but they are not abandoned to their fate. The state Governor, Kashim Shettima continues to give them succour through provision of housing and other needs, reports Michael Olugbode

Almost everyone in Borno State is living at the mercy of the outlawed Boko Haram insurgents. Indeed, the residents of Borno know that their homes could be taken away from them by the sect without them able to bat an eyelid.

Yes, many have been forced to relocate to neighbouring countries where they are not contemplating taken up new nationalities, because there is no more a place to call home and there is no more land to yield its riches to them. They have been deprived of their God giving rights of a home and a land by those that claimed to be fighting for God and have given headache and heartache to their God-given governor.

The insurgents’ recent attacks have sent everyone in Gwoza, Damboa and Bama out of their homes to refugee camps where they can only thank God that they are still alive.

The attacks on Damboa and Gwoza was said to have forced over 20,000 residents that included women, children, some of whom are widows and orphans, as well as thousands of old and young men to flee their ancestral homes, abandoning their sources of livelihood, healthcare and education to take refuge in Biu within Borno State and camps located in neighbouring states.

Majority of these displaced Borno citizens are presently taking refuge at relief camps in Mubi, Madagali and Guyuk, all in Adamawa State as well as in Gombe town, the capital of Gombe State where they are reduced to sleeping at camps and depending on others, with this the Borno State governor who has been made to be in permanent sorrows by the insurgents have another thing on his list of sorrows and worries.

The governor is compelled to put government machineries once back into motion just after he had to send food and other relief materials to Banki, a border town with Cameroon ravaged by hunger and starvation as a result of insurgency and closure of Camerounian border with Nigeria due to Ebola virus.

The governor during his brief absence from the state had initially responded by setting up a committee under the leadership of the state Deputy Governor, Alhaji Zannah Mustapha.
For a start, Mustapha had set up camp in Biu for refugees with relief materials provided to the displaced persons, even in faraway Adamawa and Gombe States.

Even with the support of the host governors including that of Bauchi to the displaced persons, Shettima wanted assurance that they would be well taken care of and had to undertake a visit last week to the camps set up for his priced citizens , accompanied by Senator Mohammed Ali Ndume, representing Southern Borno, which covers the affected communities of Damboa and Gwoza.

The governor took a visit to the camps spending three days on his journey as the terrain has become so difficult and inaccessible from Maiduguri.

At the camps, the governor could not control his emotions at the sight of children whose parents had been killed, women who had been turned widows, old men and women who though weak and vulnerable citizens were not spared by the attackers, who compelled them to vacate their homeland.

Governor Shettima who applauded what he described as overwhelming brotherhood displayed by governments and people of Gombe and Adamawa States, said the people of Borno would remain indebted to both states for love and compassion shown to the displaced victims. He gave the victims an assurance that the state government was in support of the frantic efforts being made by the federal government to free Gwoza and its people, noting that efforts are being put to overcome the security challenges confronting Borno in its entirety.

During the three days tour he was also at the palace of the Emir of Mubi in Adamawa State where the Emir, Alhaji Abubakar Isa Ahmadu told him that over

7000 persons displaced from Gwoza were taking refuge in Mubi while more people were still crossing over on daily basis.
While in Biu to see the displaced persons, the whole exercise was turned into a political drama with the people of the town coming out in their thousands to show solidarity with the governor and perhaps tell him they understand his pains.

He was welcomed and surrounded all the way from the entry into the town to the camps for the displaced persons at the extreme of the town.

The governor equally used the opportunities of his visits to assess the treatment to his people and interact with them. He told them that the government was willing to bring succour back to them, he announced the approval of immediate reconstruction works in Damboa in order to rebuild hundreds of homes destroyed by the insurgents in the matter of weeks so that victims would quickly return to normal life especially since the military was in full control of their town as over 95% of structure in all the communities in Damboa was razed down by insurgents during the siege on the area.

Apart from reconstruction of communities, Shettima announced government's release of 250,000 naira to families for each of their loved one killed in Gwoza and Damboa as a palliative, even though he noted that no amount of money can make up for a single life that is lost. The Governor equally announced cash support to each of the living victims of the attacks as a mean of quick and swift healing of their wounds. He said government would not stop to accommodate, feed them and provide them with drugs and other basic needs to make them comfortable while at the camp.

He however called on the displaced persons and other citizens of the state to rededicate their time to offering prayers to God to support the military and civilian volunteers in their patriotic efforts to free Borno of insurgents and for God to protect other citizens that might be trapped in Gwoza following its occupation by insurgents.

He said he was extremely traumatised and concerned about the safety of those that are possibly still trapped in Gwoza, stating that he was very optimistic that God would protect the remaining citizens as he did in freeing the internally displaced persons.

He condoled with the families of those who lost their loved ones and commiserated with the leadership and people of Gwoza and Damboa over the unfortunate attacks, reaffirming that his administration was very much focused to continue to work with the federal security forces, civilian volunteers and communities to reclaim peace in all parts of Borno with a view to laying a solid foundation for accelerated recovery, growth and sustainable development of citizens and institutions of government.

Article Credit: Thisdaylive

Updated 4 Years ago

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