Tinubu okays repatriation of Nigerians in Chad, Cameroon, Niger

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By Mathew Dadiya

Borno State governor, Babagana Zulum on Tuesday said he received President Bola Tinubu’s backing to resume the repatriation of Nigerian refugees living in Chad, Niger and Cameroon.

The exercise began under the previous administration of President Muhammedu Buhari but was stalled due to the election period and rainy season.

Zulum said this to State House Correspondents after meeting with President Bola Tinubu at the Aso Rock Presidential Villa Abuja.

The governor stated that over the past six to seven years, at least 100,000 people have already been repatriated through official channels, with potentially more unofficial returns.

The governor also hailed President Bola Tinubu for backing the resuscitation of the South-Chad Irrigation Project in the state.

He said he plans to consult the National Commission for Refugees and National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and other stakeholders before providing a figure on the remaining refugees requiring repatriation by this administration.

He noted that the project has enormous potential to produce enough food to meet the demands of all of Northern Nigeria, if not the entire nation.

According to him, the project was stopped as a result of insecurity in the Northeast region.

Speaking about what he discussed with President Tinubu, he said, “We spoke about the Lake Chad Basin. Now that we are having relative peace in Borno state, there’s a need for the government to ensure the reestablishment of the South Chad irrigation project.

“The South-Chad irrigation project has tremendous potential to produce food to cater for the needs of the entire Northern Nigeria and even the whole country. As a result of insecurity in the region, the irrigation scheme has not functioned very well for the last decade or more.

“I spoke with Mr. President and the President will look into the possibility of establishing a very strong security outfit in the Lake Chad Basin so that people shall have access to the agricultural lands.

“Again, we spoke about reestablishing the Yauri Irrigation scheme also in Northern Borno State.

“So I think this information is very important since the country is looking forward to ensuring food security but in terms of quantity and quality.

“Inshallah, when these two irrigation projects are reestablished, I believe the issue of food security will be addressed not only in Borno state, but also in Nigeria.”

The governor said he also discussed the issue of the take of the federal College of Education Gwoza.

“You will recall that the previous administration had established some federal institutions but unfortunately, not all of them have taken off.

“The federal government decided to stagger the takeover of these institutions.

“However, I wrote to Mr. President on the need for the takeoff of the federal College of Education Gwoza, a few months ago.

“I’m pleased to notify you that the President has given approval for the immediate takeoff of the federal College of Education Gwoza.

“That is something that is very important and very dear to the entire people of Borno State,” Zulum stated.