The governments of Borno State in Northeast Nigeria and Cameroon’s Far North Region are to commence joint repatriation of displaced persons camping in the border town of Minawao.
This was disclosed on Monday, Aug. 23, in Maiduguri, capital of Borno, by Midjiyawa Bakari, Governor of the Far North Region, who is also Executive Secretary of the Lake Chad Basin Commission’s Governors’ Forum.
Bakari is in Borno with a 19-member delegation, including representatives of international NGOs, for a two-day technical review meeting on the operations of the Governors’ Forum.
He said the association is committed to bilateral cooperation with Borno State in ensuring the “restoration of peace and civil authority in displaced communities devastated by insurgents in the Lake Chad region”.
“The main object of our working visit comes as a follow-up to the resolutions of the last session of the Forum of Governors of the Member States of the Lake Chad Basin Commission, which took place from the 4th to the 5th of October 2021, in Yaounde [Cameroon],” Bakari said.
“During this forum meeting, I solemnly took the engagement to follow up in each member state, region and province of the Basin of Lake Chad, and putting in place priority actions of our Territorial Actions Plans (TAPS) that were presented to our development partners, validated and sanctioned in the Final Communiqué.”
He said his ongoing tour of the member states would allow him and the forum to see the reality and challenges on the ground “so that together we can know our strengths and weaknesses”.
Since the security and humanitarian problems are international, he argued, the strategies introduced to combat them must also be international.
“It is not a secret to anyone here that the Far North Region of Cameroon and the State of Borno in the Federal Republic of Nigeria share certain common preoccupations, whether in the humanitarian, security or socio-economic domains. The present working visit will give us the occasion to present the Transborder Security Context and the Perspectives of the Synergy of operations,” he said.
The two-day technical review meeting, which Borno state deputy governor Usman Kadafur is chairing, focuses on promoting transborder cooperation in managing former insurgents.
Bakari said the meeting will also deliberate on “the problem of transitional justice and the procedure of the repatriation of ex-fighters of Boko Haram after executing their prison terms.”
The group is reviewing other issues, such as the situation of Nigerian refugees in the Far North Region, the process of repatriation, as well as challenges faced by women victims of the insurgency and their role in peacebuilding.
Borno state governor Babagana Zulum pledged that his administration would continue to support the alliance to find a lasting solution to the crisis.
“Since the displacement of thousands of innocent people living on the shores of Lake Chad, Borno people taking refuge in Cameroon, Niger and Chad Republic are treated in good manners,” he said.
Zulum recalled that when refugees were when repatriated to Banki in the Bama Local Government Area, “the Cameroonian Government through your good office as Governor and Far-North Region had assisted us with over 100 vehicles, with food and non-food items which helped in the stabilisation and restoration of their means of livelihood”.
He noted that the crisis in the region is so enormous that solving it requires a lot of resources, as he called on others to lend support.
Governor Zulum said he hopes “the technical review meeting would usher a new course for strengthening our internal reintegration, enhance border security and reopen markets for sustainable development”.
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