The Borno State Governor, Professor Babagana Umara-Zulum has visited Diffa, Niger Republic, with the aim of putting modalities in place towards the safe and dignified repatriation of the refugees to resettlement communities in Borno State.
During the visit, the Governor met about 120 thousand refugees, who mostly hailed from local government areas in the northern part of Borno state.
The refugees, made up of men, women and children, fled their homes, in hundreds of communities attacked by Boko Haram insurgents since 2014.
It was reported that majority of the refugees trekked distances to enter the neighbouring country in search of safety.
It will be recalled that about three weeks ago, Professor Zulum hosted a high level meeting in Abuja, which had in attendance, officials from Nigeria’s Federal Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development; the National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons and the National Emergency management agency to discuss repatriation of Borno citizens from Cameroon, Niger and Chad.
Following the meeting, Governor Zulum travelled to Bosso, Garin Wanzam and Tumur, all in Diffa Province, to meet the refugees. The host Governor of Diffa, Isa Lameen, led Governor Zulum during the visit, accompanied by the Speaker, Borno State Assembly, Abdulkarim Lawan, who is from the northern part of Borno State.
A statement by the Gombe State Government said Governor Zulum traveled to Diffa from Malam-Fatori, the headquarters of Abadam Local Government in Northern Borno, which had been a stronghold of Boko Haram insurgents, until the military recently recaptured it.
The visit to Malam-fatori is the first by a civilian in more than five years.
While addressing top officials, Professor Zulum expressed his gratitude to the government of Diffa province, the Federal Government of Niger and the host communities in the country for being hospitable to the Borno citizens.
The Borno State Governor was particularly thankful to his host, Mr. Lameen of Diffa province, for his empathy and compassion towards Nigerian refugees from Borno State.