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‘They were becoming slums’ — Zulum speaks on shutdown of IDP camps

‘They were becoming slums’ — Zulum speaks on shutdown of IDP camps
January 01
17:56 2022

Babagana Zulum, Borno governor, says one of the reasons for shutting down camps for internally displaced persons (IDP) in Maiduguri is because they were being used for criminal activities.

Zulum said this on Saturday in his new year message.

The governor had announced in October that all IDP camps located within Maiduguri, the Borno capital, would be shut down by December 31, 2021.

Speaking on the development on Saturday, he said no responsible administration will tolerate such vices, adding that the camps were closed to protect the integrity of the IDPs.

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“We closed the IDP camps to clean up the places and give our people dignity as well as purpose. Living in IDP camp is not what we are used to, or what we like as a people. Therefore, we believe that a safe life of dignity is a right for all the citizens of Borno, and indeed Nigeria,” he said.

“The IDP camps were becoming a slum where all kinds of vices were happening, including prostitution, drugs and thuggery in some cases. No responsible leadership will allow people to live an undignified life under its watch.

“The idea of IDP camp was and remains an interim measure to provide safety especially during the peak of the insurgency. Consequently, the camps were not meant to continue forever.

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“The question of closure of the camp was not a matter of if but when. Efficient managers would agree that there is no better time than now to get things done.

“As part of the closure, we continue to learn lessons, adapt our strategy and make necessary changes as we go along.

“The worst option would be to do nothing. We are not prepared to do nothing. Rather we are ready to do whatever it takes to restore the dignity of our people.”

He added that leaving the camps running without a specific period for shutdown wouldn’t be sustainable, especially with the current structures in place.

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“Keeping the camp open endlessly is not sustainable. This is because it becomes difficult to plan effectively for the dignified economic and social development of the people,” he said.

“The IDP camps would also eventually become too expensive to run with a possibility of causing far more harm than good.

“Take for example, there are many potential difficulties one would expect if we chose the option of converting the camps to permanent structures for the people. If we succeed in building permanent structures, we need to ensure people have access to land, as many of our people are farmers.”

The governor congratulated Nigerians on the new year celebration and expressed appreciation to President Muhammadu Buhari, security agencies, traditional rulers, foreign partners, the private sector and other stakeholders for their support to the state.

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