The National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA, has said the planned closure of Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs, camps in Borno by May 29 was no longer feasible.
Muhammad Kanar, the NEMA North-East Coordinator, stated on this Sunday while speaking with journalists in Maiduguri.
Mr. Kanar said that IDPs whose communities had been liberated were, however, free to return home voluntarily.
“Actually, Governor Kashim Shettima arrived at the May 29 date for closure of all IDP camps based on his conviction that things will go on as they started from last year.
“It was Shettima’s hope and the hope of every disaster management expert for the camps to close early so people can return to their normal life,” he said.
Mr. Kanar said that the governor was motivated by the gallant efforts of the military in liberating many communities in a short period.
“Stakeholders were amazed by the speed our gallant soldiers achieved a lot within a few weeks in the fight against insurgency.
“They were able to recapture all the 22 Local Government Areas from the Boko Haram and liberated so many communities within and outside the areas.
“These gave hope and focus that by May 29 government will be able to return IDPs back home.”
He said that recent developments had almost made it impossible for the hope to be achieved.
“But now it seems that closing the camps is not possible by the set date. We have to re-plan again.
“By May 29, any IDP wishing to go back to his place can go, so long as the place is safe enough,” he said.
Mr. Kanar said that the hope of returning all IDPs back home was not totally lost.
“Up till today the hope is still there, if we can get the place safe, secured those willing to go back can still return.
“Right now, we have satellite camps in all liberated LGAs, where IDPs living in Maiduguri can stay pending when they can move to their communities.
“If you do not want to stay in Maiduguri, you can go there. Many houses have been rehabilitated and normalcy restored in many LGA headquarters,” he said.