Residents of Maiduguri, Borno State capital in northeast Nigeria on Sunday, raised fresh concern over the reported attack on Babagana Umara Zulum’s convoy and his plans to return Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs, to their villages.
The concern was raised by some residents who felt that the governor was rather rushing the IDPs for some political reasons.
According to them, with what is still happening and the recent attack on his convoy when he visited the northern part of the state, it is enough to know that all is not well.
“Report had it on Saturday that it took the intervention of a quick reinforcement to salvage the situation. The military fought for nearly two hours to repel the insurgents who fiercely attacked the governor’s convoy, thereby forcing him to cut short a trip to the northern part of Malam Fatori where he was to go for an assessment of the security situation in the area,” Lawal Ahmadu, a resident of Maiduguri explained.
Governor Zulum had earlier during the visit to some parts of northern Borno pledged to return IDPs to home by the end of November 2021.
However, the attack on his convoy in the northern part of Malam Fatori in Abadam, indicated that much still needs to be done to liberate the area from ISWAP elements who continued to show resistance by showing their presence in that part of the state.
“There are too many of them (ISWAP) still occupying parts of Abadam,” Umar Haruna, an indigene of Abadam and a civil servant in Borno state told our correspondent in Maiduguri.
“This attack shows that it would be suicidal as we often say for the governor to return the IDPs by November 2021 as he constantly reminds them. I have over ten people living in my house. It is not that they do not want to go back but they know and we all know the situation on ground better than what the governor was being fed with,” he said.
Sanusi Liman, a politician in Borno State while reacting to the issue and recent attack on the governor’s convoy said, ” There is the need for the government, both at state and federal levels to begin to see this beyond the eyes of politics and do the needful. The lives of the common man cannot continue to be played with in these circumstances.”
A military source has said that, ” Troops have battled the insurgents for over an hour to bring the situation under control. Such a length of exchange of gunfire was not something to take lightly. It was a tough battle.”
John Amos, a resident of Maiduguri observed that, “with what happened, if truth be told, returning the Borno IDPs back home at this time could result in regrets.
Governor Babagana Umara Zulum had earlier this month promised to shut down all IDP camps across Maiduguri the Borno State capital and has shown determination to end the continued stay in the IDP camps by people fleeing insurgency in the state.
He reiterated his concern and determination last week when he visited Nigerian refugees in Bosso, Niger Republic but whether the attack on his convoy will change his plan is what the people of Borno State are waiting to know.
In the last 12 years of insurgency, about 350,000 people were estimated to have been killed. Also millions of people have been displaced according to United Nations Development Programme estimates.
Both the governor’s spokesman, Malam Isa Gusau and the Army Spokesman, Brigadier General Onyema Nwachukwu, however, could not comment on the development.