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Governor wants Nigerian refugees in Niger to be repatriated to Malam Fatori by May

6 April 2023
Reading time: 3 minutes

Borno State governor Babagana Umara Zulum wants Nigerian refugees in Niger to be repatriated to Malam Fatori – a town on the shores of Lake Chad and a former stronghold of the Jamā’at Ahl as-Sunnah lid-Da’way Wa’l-Jihād (JAS) – by May.

He visited the town on Tuesday, April 4, to assess clearance operations and to show his support for the soldiers of the 68 Battalion, who were mainly responsible for taking back control of the town from the JAS, more commonly referred to as Boko Haram.

Malam Fatori, the headquarters of the Abadam Local Government Area, was violently taken over by the JAS in 2014. Residents fled to Niger, taking refuge in Bosso, Tumur and Diffa.

Zulum said: “My main objective here in Malam Fatori is to see for myself the clearance exercise and discuss how we can return our people.

“We want our people to return next month so that normal farming and business activities can resume in this part of the state, insha’Allah. We will give all the necessary support to the military to ensure this objective is achieved, insha’Allah. We call on our people to be resilient and give maximum cooperation to the security operatives working to restore normalcy.”

He said armoured personnel carriers (APCs), patrol vehicles and other security equipment would be given to the soldiers to increase their effectiveness and strengthen the military’s capacity in the fight against insurgents.

Zulum was received by the commanding officer of 68 Battalion, Colonel A Onyeukwu. The governor commended the soldiers for their bravery and professionalism in discharging their duties and ousting the insurgents.

Babagana Bulama Zander, originally from Malam Fatori, told RNI that refugees in Niger were extremely excited that Zulum had pledged to resettle them in their hometown.

“We have asked that all the necessary measures be taken to ensure that vital infrastructures, such as hospitals, schools, water facilities, markets and houses, are reconstructed and renovated.

“Also, the government needs to reopen important roads and routes so that normal business activities and trading can take place with neighbouring countries and in towns, such as Monguno, Damasak, Baga and Kukawa, among others.”

Zander said he hoped the government would beef up security to ensure the protection of the lives and properties of the refugees when they returned to Malam Fatori.

“We want to continue farming, fishing and trading in peace without any fear or threat of attack from Boko Haram insurgents.”

Refugee Abukar Mane Yawo said: “We really appreciate the efforts of the Borno State government to rebuild our destroyed homes, hospitals, schools and markets so that we can be repatriated and resettled in our hometown.

“We hope the government will help us to revive our means of livelihood, such as fishing, trading and irrigation and seasonal farming, all of which were the main occupations of the people of Malam Fatori before we were displaced. We also want the government to drill and install more boreholes to address the water scarcity issue.”



About the author

Ronel Gloria