Yobe State needs about N20 billion to fix infrastructure damaged by the Boko Haram terrorist group, Ibrahim Geidam, governor of the state said on Thursday.
Mr. Geidam, who spoke to journalists at the presidential villa in Abuja after a closed-door meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari, said the reconstruction was necessary to enable internally displaced persons return to their homes.
He said though all the territories captured by the Boko Haram sect at the height of the insurgency have been liberated, about 3000 IDPs were still residing in camps across the North-east state.
The governor said he was at the presidential villa to brief the president on other measures being taken by the state to resettle the IDPs.
“Yobe State experienced the negative effects of insurgency for about two or three years, there were times when the Boko Haram terrorists occupied Gulani and Gujiba – two of our local government areas, before they were liberated.
“As I speak, we have about 3,000 IDPs who are still in our camp.
“By our estimates, actually, if the Federal Government spends anything from N10 to N20billion, the areas destroyed by Boko Haram will be reconstructed and people will go back to their homes and resume their normal lives.
“All the other people (affected by the insurgency) except these 3000 have returned to their homes; that is part of the reason why I came here to advise Mr. President on how best these people could be resettled,” he said.
Mr. Geidam said some communities “were completely destroyed” by the terrorists.
Asked about the President’s response to his request for support, Mr. Geidam said the visit was fruitful.
“Mr. President’s response was very positive, he promised that he would look into all those issues I raised,” he said.
Northern governors, had during the recent visit of United States Secretary of State, John Kerry, set a tentative May 29, 2017 target to close down all Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps in the North East, seeing that relative peace had returned to most of the troubled region.
Borno State Governor, Kashim Shettima, who also doubles as chairman of the Northern Governors Forum, gave an assurance that the governors would see to it that the displaced persons return to their homes by May 2017.
He spoke about the negative effects of insurgency, saying IDPs swelled up his state capital’s population from two million to three million.
“On the issue of resettlement, the bulk of IDPs are from Borno State; the population of Maiduguri swelled from two million to three million now.
“We are going to marshal whatever resources, with or without international support, to see that we restore the dignity of our people. We cannot wait for eternity for manna from the international community,” Mr. Shettima said.