World Bulletin / News Desk
The returnees are mainly internally displaced persons (IDPs) from Guzamala local government of Borno state who had been quartered at the Bakassi camp in state capital Maiduguri.
“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,” army spokesman Onyema Nwachukwu said in a statement, following a ceremony flagging off their resettlement.
Nwachukwu said modalities for their return had been worked out by the army and the local authorities, while security has been beefed up to help the returnees commence their socioeconomic activities in their communities.
“Well meaning Nigerians and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are urged to support returnee IDPs with farming implements and other relief materials to enable them settle back quickly into their respective communities,” said army commander Rogers Nicholas as quoted in the statement.
Despite government's claim of victory over the militants, analysts have warned that most remote villages remain unsafe and cautioned against forcing IDPs to return to their ancestral communities.
Various estimates -- including UN’s -- say the Boko Haram crisis has claimed over 20,000 lives and displaced at least 2.5 million people across the three states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe that were mostly hit by the violence, with millions of others affected by the insurgency or in need of humanitarian help.