Authorities in Borno State, Northeast Nigeria, are making progress with the reconstruction and rehabilitation activities in Mallam Fatori, one of the farthest Nigerian towns near Lake Chad and the border with the Niger Republic.
The strategic border town which serves as the headquarters of Abadam Local Government is located about three kilometres from neighbouring Bosso in southeastern Niger and 33 km from the Chadian section of Lake Chad.
Babagana Zulum, the Governor of Borno State, alongside other state officials have visited Mallam Fatori to assess the situation on the ground and progress in the preparation for next month’s resettlement of displaced people back to the town.
HumAngle in August reported an attack launched by ISWAP towards Nigerian and Nigerien troops, and Borno State resettlement officials at the military base situated one kilometre from the main town.
In another incident, military helicopters were dispatched to conduct air patrol after ISWAP insurgents were sighted in gun trucks.
The relocation team in Mallam Fatori are working to make the area habitable after years of desertion by locals.
The process includes the rehabilitation of damaged facilities and critical infrastructure, to facilitate the relocation and resettlement of displaced persons and refugees.
In July, Governor Zulum visited the town to assess the security situation and level of damages to homes, livelihoods, and infrastructure. The Governor also visited Niger, where he met President Mohamed Bazoum to discuss the return of refugees to Borno State.
More than 100,000 people who fled violence in Abadam are said to be living as refugees in the Bosso and Diffa regions of Niger.
The government has already relocated some displaced locals of Abadam from Maiduguri, the state capital, to Damasak town which borders Abadam.
Last year, the authorities announced its plan to resettle nearly 300,000 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and refugees from Maiduguri Metropolitan Council to communities such as Damasak, Banki, Kauwuri, Ajiri, New Marte, Baga, Ngoshe, Kirawa, Kukawa, Mairari, and Mallam Fatori. Others were Wulgo, Koine, Gajibo, Warabe, Logmani, Sandiya, Dalwa, and Malari.
HumAngle understands that the resettlement is going ahead despite the concerns from certain quarters about the security situation in the area. Local officials are confident of reopening the town.
This conversion is probably influenced by the relatively calm being experienced in the nearby town in Bosso and the presence of hundreds of Nigerian soldiers in Mallam Fatori.
The water level around the Lake has also increased and flooded the rear axis of the town, providing a buffer against activities of militants based on Islands in Lake Chad.
Mallam Fatori is about 17 kilometres from the location of the recent airstrikes on ISWAP targets by the Nigerian Air Force on Wednesday, Oct. 20, following intelligence of about 20 boats gathering on an island in Mallam Fatori kessa axis.
Although resettlement is vital to enable displaced persons to rebuild their lives and livelihoods, security and development are essential to protect residents and facilitate the activities of non-governmental and development partners.
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