Sadiya Umar Farouq, Minister of Humanitarian Affairs

By M. Peter – Jos

Not less than 3,000 people were returned to their homes as two out of 12 Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs camps were closed in Barkin Ladi local government area of Plateau State ahead of the Christmas celebrations.

The management committee chairman of the area, Barrister Ezekiel Mandyau said the exercise of retuning the displaced persons would continue until everyone is relocated from the camps to their ancestral homes.

He urged the people to know that there is no gain in violence hence rather than fight one another, they should come together to fight poverty and ignorance which is the common enemy facing the people.

Mandyau who spoke with some journalists when he visited the police headquarters in Jos in continuation of the plans to returned displaced persons, reiterated the State government’s commitment in restoring lasting peace as called for support from citizens to ensure the State is returned to the path of peace.

His words, “We have 12 IDP camps, we have about 34 villages that are spread in all these camps, you will recall that IDPs have been there for over a year now. The government of Plateau state had made a commitment to return them to their various ancestral homes. Barely two months now that we have been in office, we felt that they have really overstayed in the camps and every concerted effort must be made to get them back home.

“We got to the camps, discussed with them and they all came to the decision that they want to get back home. While we acknowledge that we are facilitating their return home, not really that they are going to any home that has been built for them, not really that they are going back to any farm they had farmed but we think that it is better they are home now that there is relative peace.

“Government is committed, you can see I am here at the Police headquarters to ensure we beef up security, government is doing so much and is committed to doing more to ensure that the IDP camps have the conducive atmosphere to start life all over again.”

Speaking further, he added, “We have closed two camps out of the 12; we have in the pipeline to close the remaining 10 before Christmas all things being equal. I personally went to one of the affected areas with the IDP and they were welcome by those who are on ground; we think that this time around, it is going to endure.”

“Everybody across board has seen and come to the conclusion that one year after, no one can say he really achieved anything so whatever might have motivated the attacks, the conclusion is that no one has achieved anything and so we are appealing to the people to appreciate their common destiny that they are affected across board by common challenges.”

“We have this thing that we push among the people that we should think about how to put our hands together to fight poverty and ignorance not one another; these are things that are common to all so we need concerted efforts to achieve that.”

Giving the figure of those returned to their homes, he stated, “The people returned would not be less than 3,000 because they are made up of different communities in those camps. The people are appreciating the fact that the youths are coming up, some are attending schools and graduating and keep talking about the need for employment.

“We now know that they can be no employment anywhere except to get them engaged, they cannot be engaged outside where they are so if they must be engaged where they are, they must understand and accept the fact that they have to create the atmosphere that will be conducive for people to come over and do businesses that will help them.

“They must create the atmosphere that when they are empowered with whatever skills, they will be able to live there and practice those skills and make a living out of it. We have come to the conclusion that peace is not an option, peace is something that we must embrace and I think that is where we are; I trust we will get all the IDP camps closed before the year runs out.”