MAIDUGURI, North-East, Nigeria – Borno State Governor, Babagana Zulum, on Saturday visited Diffa Province in Niger Republic where he met with 120,000 refugees, mostly from Local Government Areas in northern Borno for repatriation.
The refugees made up of men, women and children fled from hundreds of communities attacked by boko haram insurgents since 2014. Majority trekked distances to enter the neighboring country in search of safety.
The Governor’s visit to Niger Republic was in effort to set out modalities towards the safe and dignified repatriation of the refugees to resettlement communities in Borno.
About three weeks, Zulum had 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, Migrant and Internally Displaced Persons; and the National Emergency Management Agency to discuss repatriation of Borno citizens from Cameroon, Niger and Chad.
With that meeting in mind, Zulum travelled to Bosso, Garin Wanzam and Tumur, all in Diffa Province to meet the refugees.
Host governor of Diffa, Isa Lameen, led Zulum and his entourage including the Speaker of Borno state House of Assembly, Abdulkarim Lawan.
Zulum traveled to Diffa from Malam-Fatori, headquarters of Abadam LGA, a stronghold of boko haram insurgents until it was recently regained by the military.
The visit to Malam-fatori, the first time in more than five years by a civilian, happened the same Saturday the Governor entered Diffa Province in Niger Republic.
While addressing top officials, Zulum expressed his gratitude to Government of Diffa Province, the federal government of Niger and and the host communities in the country for being hospitable to Borno citizens.
He was particularly thankful to his host, Mr Lameen, for his empathy and compassion towards Nigerian refugees from Borno state.