From: Timothy Olanrewaju, Maiduguri

Governor Kashim Shettima of Borno State has said that the military operations around the former stronghold of Boko Haram insurgents in the state might delay plans to relocate many Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) from camps and resettle them in their various communities.

The governor, who said the state government had planned to relocate the IDPs from the camp before  May 29 to ensure the IDPs observe the Muslim fasting season in their communities, however, said that the plans was no longer visible for now, regretting the postponement of the resettlement.

Bama is located at the fringe of Sambisa forest, Boko Haram major operational base recently declared to have been captured by the military.

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“Our goal was for our people to be able to return to Bama before this Ramadan. Unfortunately, this is not feasible because the military is still carrying out operations in some areas around the Sambisa as part of mop up exercise in the yet-to-be concluded fight against Boko Haram,” Shettima said yesterday in Bama, Borno second largest town while commissioning 12 public infrstructure rebuit by the state government with support from Victims Support Fund.

“We will continue to work with security agencies to review situations. Our number one priority is the security and safety of our people. We will not allow any IDP return to any community that we are not has regained 100% safety. When IDPs return to their communities, they would still need to go to their farms, markets and to travel for economic and social purposes. We must be sure that farms are safe and routes are safe before we allow our people to return,” he maintained.

He said government will continue with its aggressive reconstruction works even while it reviews the security situation in most parts of the state. “We will not wait till eternity,” he declared, expressing optimism that the entire Borno will be save soon. He said the state government was not concentrating on rebuilding of Bama alone but started with Kaga and currently undergoing reconstruction and rebuilding in about 14 local government destroyed by Boko Haram.

Chairman of Victims Support Fund (VSF), Gen. Theophilus Danjuma (rtd), represented by his Vice Chairman, Alhaji Tijjani Tumsah, said the fund decided to make intervention in Bama because the fund was impressed that while it provided N250m for reconstruction of 24 projects in Dikwa last year, the Borno State Government used the same funds to rebuild not only the 24 projects but added 16 others.