Insecurity: “We’re not returning to Nigeria”, say 50,000 Sokoto residents taking refuge in Niger Republic

More than 50,000 residents of 17 communities in Sabon-Birni local government area of Sokoto State who relocated to Niger Republic two weeks ago following incessant bandits’ attacks have refused all entreaties for them to return home.

The villagers, who are currently taking refuge at Tudun-Sunnah village, Gidan Runji LGA in Maradi State of Niger Republic, insisted that their former villages were not safe as there was still insecurity there.

The State’s Commissioner for careers and security architecture, Col. Garba Moyi (rtd), said the State government had been making efforts to see that the residents returned to their villages in Nigeria but that “they were adamant, alleging that there was still insecurity in their former villages”.

The member representing Sabon Birni North constituency at the Sokoto State House of Assembly, Aminu Al-Mustapha Boza, who raised the alarm on the pathetic situation of the IDPs in Maradi, blamed Gov. Aminu Tambuwal for abandoning his people to their fate.

However, Governor Tambuwal, speaking through his media aide, explained that providing security was a prerogative of the president and directed him to call the Minister of Police Affairs, the Chairman Senate Committee on Defence, Sen. Aliyu Wamakko, Senator Ibrahim Gobir and the Chief of Army Staff over the security situation in his area, to which the lawmaker responded that he was not the “Chief Security Officer” of the state.

Painting a picture of the sorry situation of the condition of the IDPs camp, the lawmaker described the condition of the refugees as pathetic because they were staying in an open place with no toilets, food or drugs.

However, the State Commissioner later said that the condition of the IDPs in Maradi had improved. He said Sokoto State Government was concerned about the welfare of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), noting that the state government has expended so much on IDPs in the area of relief materials and provision of medicare.

The Director-General, Sokoto State Emergency Management Agency, (SEMA), while describing the present condition of the IDPs from the state in Maradi, Niger republic as stable, however dismissed claims by the state legislator representing Sabon-Birni local Government honourable Aminu Boza as baseless and said they were aimed at tarnishing the image of the governor.

Meanwhile, Governor Tambuwal had stressed the need for more equipment, personnel and joint decisive steps to be taken by the security forces in the country to roll back the current deplorable security situation.

Governor Tambuwal made this observation when he received the new General Commanding Officer 8th Division of the Nigerian Army in Sokoto, Major General Uwem Bassey.

He further urged the Chief of Army Staff to come to the rescue of Sokoto state, which needed very urgent intervention as bandits’ attacks were becoming alarming in the State.

Also, following the prevailing insecurity in the state, occasioned by armed banditry that led to the daily loss of lives and property, hindering free movement of people, goods and services, Governor Tambuwal has signed an Executive Order to contain the situation.

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