The internally displaced persons, IDPs, from Konduga Local Government Area of Borno State on Monday commenced their journey back to liberated communities, two years after they were forced to flee by Boko Haram insurgents.
They were officially allowed to leave their respective camps by the Borno state governor, Kashim Shettima.
Mr. Shettima addressed the displaced persons on the outskirts of Maiduguri, the state capital, before they were conveyed in buses to the liberated town.
He commended their patience and urged them to continue to persevere as arrangements had been made on how to ship relief materials to them.
The displaced persons said they were excited about going home but still feared an uncertain future.
One of the female returnees, Zainab Muhammed, said she was joyous to be on her way home many months after she was chased out by B0ko Haram insurgents.
“We have spent two years now in Maiduguri IDP camp” the 30 years old mother of four said. “Boko Haram insurgents invaded our community and we had to flee. All the eight of us that were in my house were lucky to escape the attack.
Ms. Maimuna said she was not sure of the condition she would meet her abandoned home.
“We have to accept whatever remains of our homes because we have no choice. We have been promised food and other reliefs when we return home; and we hope government will not forget about us”, she said.
She said she still feared for her security and that of her kids whom she left in Maiduguri until she is sure Konduga is safe for them.
Baari Mustapha, another displaced resident of Konduga, said he was happy to return home but feared some returnees may face severe hunger.
“We have converged here since morning waiting for the arrival of the governor to give the official order that we go home. But sadly we are all going back empty handed.
“We plead with our leaders to have pity on the poor ones going back to their homes; because we are today as naked as a new born baby.
“Food is the most important issue that must be provided to the returnees especially the women and children; if not there will be serious hunger and starvation in the communities.
“We want government and donor agencies to come to our aide with more food supply that may take care of us for at least a month or two since the crop planting season has elapsed.”
Governor Shettima announced to the returnees that while government would provide some food, 50 hectares of land is being cleared and would be shared among the returnees to enable them carry out dry season irrigation farming.
Maiduguri has in the past three years played host to IDPs housed in 21 camps within and outside the state capital. Some displaced persons also live within the host communities.