Boko Haram: We will not force IDPs to return home – Shettima

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The Borno State Government has no plans to force Internally Displaced Persons whose communities had been liberated by the military from Boko Haram to return back home, Governor Kashim Shettima has said.

Kashim-Shettima

The governor made the statement on Monday while speaking with newsmen shortly after performing the two rakaat Eid prayers in Konduga, headquarters of Konduga Local Government Area.

Shettima said: “I want to say without any fear of contradiction that government has no plan to force any persons back home to his or her community.

“We will not compel individuals to go back to their place.”

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Shettima was accompanied by the Director-General of the National Orientation Agency, Dr. Garba Abari, and other top government officials to the prayer.

He said rather than compel the IDPs to return home, government would give them the freedom to either choose to return home or stay where they are.

He stressed: “We have not compelled anyone to go back to Konduga, Mafa or Dikwa because peace does not require propaganda; peace manifests, it shows itself where it evolves and people respond to it by going to peaceful places.

“Some IDPs have even started returning to their communities months ago without our knowledge.

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“Through local information gathering mechanism, they got to know that peace had returned to their communities and they responded by going back in groups.”

The governor said he decided to observe the Eld prayer in Konduga to showcase the gradual return of peace in the state.

Shettima also stated: “Our performing Eid prayer in Konduga is significant as we want to show the world that as painful as it is, the process of enthronement of peace has begun in the state.

“We came to share this moment with the people and to also reassure them that we would not have allowed them to return to Konduga if it was classified unsafe; this is why we are here with them.”

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Shettima expressed optimism that in the nearest future, the state would overcome its current security challenges.

“In the coming weeks and months, we shall have an enduring peace all over the state,” the governor said, and commended the military for its efforts in tackling the insurgents.

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