Borno State Governor Babagana Umara Zulum has said that proper handling of the over 50,000 repentant terrorists currently in rehabilitation camps in the state would encourage others still in the forests to lay down their arms and surrender for the return of peace and development in Borno and other parts of the Northeast ravaged by the lingering insurgency.
Zulum stated this yesterday while inaugurating committee on repatriation of Borno citizens living as refugees in Chad, Niger and Cameroon and another committee for the management of repentant insurgents.
The governor said the committee would also manage the repentant insurgents particularly, how they are to come out of the bush, their rehabilitation and reintegration into the society.
He explained that already the federal government had constituted similar committee on repatriation of victims of insurgency taking refuge in neighbouring countries.
He said the federal committee is headed by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and would collaborate with that of Borno for synergy.
The governor, however, noted that there was currently a challenge of lack of space to accommodate surrendering insurgents as all the three camps provided for them had been filled to capacity.
He said government had discussed with Theatre Commander of Operation Hadin Kai, Maj. Gen. Christopher Musa on the need to have bigger camps.
While reiterating the commitment of the state to fund the activities of the committee, Zulum said the committee should also look for other source of funding from public and private organisations.
He said a few months ago, the state secured 15 million Euros as support from Germany and was being managed by United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), but said henceforth, the committee would be involved in management of the fund.
The co-chairman, Mr Kaka Shehu, who thanked the governor for the confidence reposed in them, assured the government and people of Borno of their commitment to deliver.
Shehu said the committee would work in close synergy with its federal government counterpart for maximum result.
Zulum also inaugurated a committee for the resettlement of residents of Mairari and Gudumbali, the headquarters of Guzamala local government area.
The governor who noted that Gudumbali, the headquarters of Guzamala is the only remaining local government headquarters in Borno whose residents are yet to return since its recovery from insurgents, also swore in the commissioner for women affairs and social development, Hajiya Zuwaira Gambo who was absent during the last swearing-in of the newly appointed commissioners.
Gudumbali, once serving as the headquarters of the Boko Haram terrorists when they took over 20 local government areas of the state, remains without any infrastructures or civil authorities due to lack of human existence in the area.
The governor, while inaugurating the committee urged them to provide all necessary facilities to facilitate safe return of the indigenes to their homes in order to bring governance, development and security closer to them.
He also assured of plans to reconstruct Kukawa-Gudumbali-Damasak road to restore trades in northern part of Borno State.