Babagana Zulum, Borno State Governor, has issued a stark warning that the Boko Haram crisis, if not contained, could have dire consequences for Nigeria. Zulum said this during a meeting with the reconstituted management board of the North-East Development Commission (NEDC) in Maiduguri. He laid emphasis on the importance of addressing the continuous existence of internally displaced persons (IDP) camps in Borno Local Government Areas, calling it a potential time bomb. According to the International Organization for Migration, as of June 2022, a total of 2,197,824 Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) were identified in 452,219 households.
While North West, North Central and others are speaking about banditry, kidnapping, and others, the governor said that the issue bedevilling his region is Boko Haram and ISWAP. He said it is better for the government to control it, not for the sake of Borno State. He also said that the government has to stop the younger ones from being recruited into Boko Haram and ISWAP. Otherwise, in the near future, the entire Nigeria will be wiped off the map.
About 3.5m people were displaced in 2012 in the state.
The governor also raised concerns about the conditions in IDP camps, including increased prostitution, unplanned procreation, and drug abuse, which have worsened the plight of the people. He called for the intervention of the North East Development Commission to work with the state government in closing these camps and helping residents regain their means of livelihood. Zulum said that in the year 2012, about 3.5 million people were displaced. The government returned many people to their homes but still, over one million people are living in IDP camps
Consequently, that is increasing prostitution in IDP camps as well as increasing procreation without care in the IDP camps. There is also drug abuse in the IDP camps, he said. It is because of this that the governor called for the intervention of the NEDC. “We want you to partner with the state government for us to close these IDP camps so that people can earn their means of livelihood by themselves,” he said. He said that on the assumption of duty, he promised the people of Borno State that he would close all official camps that are inside Maiduguri Metropolitan Council. Now, he has done so “with the help of Almighty Allah.”
A flag off of the tree-planting campaign in Borno State.
Meanwhile, Governor Zulum had flagged off the 2023 tree-planting campaign in September 2023, with 1.2m trees expected to be planted across the state. The exercise, which was conducted at the premises of the State University Teaching Hospital in Borno, aims at curbing desertification and other environmental problems. The year’s campaign in Borno State has the theme: “Trees for resettlement,” which aligns with a broader theme of the United Nations, which is “Let’s green our city.”
As he delivered his address, Zulum advocated the use of gas cookers and wood-efficient stoves as against the mass use of firewood from felling of trees. He said that if felling is left unchecked, the whole of Borno State may become a desert one day. He also revealed that the state has lost more than 80 percent of its vegetation in the state to insurgency. “All the trees around our village communities have been cleared for security reasons and some were cleared for firewood”, Zulum said.
Borno had targeted planting 10m trees in 2024.
Furthermore, he added that beyond Borno, the issue of climate change and desert encroachment has been a great concern to the entire people of the northern states, noting the urgent need to arrest the menace of climate change in our state by planting trees. He announced that the Borno State government was targeting the planting of 10 million trees in 2024. He explained that of the 10 million trees, each of the 27 local governments will raise 200,000 trees to make up 5.4 million trees while the state government will raise about five million trees.
Displacement Tracking Matrix: Website