B/Haram: Returnees’ farmlands littered with landmines – Army

Seeks UN’s assistance on clearance detectors

The Brigade Commander, 21 Armoured Brigade, Brig.- Gen G.B Audu has said, while Bama town and its environs were largely safe for the returnee IDPs to come back and resettle, they were still faced with the challenges of farmlands littered with landmines by Boko Haram insurgents.

He said the scenario makes farming in the area very difficult for the returnees, explaining that the troops have been very supportive in providing support for the unaccompanied children to school as well as free medical healthcare to the community.

The Commander painted the situation to the United Nations Deputy Secretary General, Hajiya Amina Mohammed yesterday when she visited Bama briefly in company of Governor Kashim Shettima of Borno state to assess the rebuilding of the liberated Bama town which was once overran by Boko Haram insurgents.

The Brigade Commander who was represented by the Brigade’s Chief of Staff , Col. A.A Adekeye, called on the United Nations Deputy Secretary General to impress on the body to fasttrack the clearance operations of landmines in farmlands to enable the displaced people quickly return to their farms.

Also briefing the United Nations Deputy Secretary General, Borno state Commissioner for Reconstruction, Rehabilitation and Resettlement of Boko Haram victims, Prof Babagana Umara Zulum said the state government had so far reconstructed 11,000 private homes, 170 classrooms and other school buildings in 11schools, township electrification and rehabilitation of 10 boreholes in Bama.

Hajiya Mohammed who visited different places in Bama, including IDPs camp, Community Clinic for the Acute Management of Malnutrition, schools and other on-going rebuilding projects in the town, said she was in Bama to assess gaps in humanitarian needs, and reconstruction efforts recorded by government so she could report back to the UN in order to identify areas of intervention.

In one of the schools, governor Shettima ordered the release of 250 bags of rice and 50 bags of beans to enable pupils start benefiting from daily meal per student to boost nutrition and encourage good learning outcomes. He also ordered for the release of free uniforms to all the 4,503 pupils while he directed all teachers under the primary education in Bama to return in order to increase the number of teachers in IDPs schools.

Hajiya Mohammed arrived Maiduguri on Wednesday with Kashim Shettima using helicopter in company of Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed and Nigerian (Country) Representative of Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Dr. Mairo Mandara on board the helicopter provided by the UN Humanitarian Air Services.

They were received by the Chairman of Bama Local Government, Alhaji Baba Shehu Gulumba at the Bama Stadium where the chopper landed.

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