Francis Sardauna in Katsina
The Katsina State Governor, Aminu Bello Masari, has said 13,500 people displaced by terrorists from their ancestral homes in Shinfida community of Jibia Local Government Area of Katsina State are currently taking refuge in Niger Republic.
He added that although some of the internally displaced persons (IDPs) have started returning to the communities, while many are still refugees in neighbouring communities in Niger Republic.
Masari, who disclosed this on Sunday while in an audience with the Governor of Ekiti State and All Progressives Congress’ (APC) presidential aspirant, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, and delegates at the Government House, Katsina, said the affected persons have lost their means of livelihood.
He told Fayemi, who was in the state to solicit the support of the delegates ahead of the party’s presidential primary, that the critical and urgent need of the state is the rehabilitation of the rural economy of the most affected victims.
Governor Masari lamented that residents of the state, particularly those living in 13 local governments that bordered Rugu forest which covers Katsina, Zamfara and Kaduna States, had suffered severe attacks and killings by the terrorists.
He, however, said the state government was spending over N100 million on the rehabilitation of the Shinfida community and restoring peace and normalcy, adding that the hoodlums had completely ransacked the community.
Masari noted that the state government in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) will prioritise the education of the banditry-orphaned children and widows across the frontline local governments of the state.
He reiterated that his government and the UNDP would ensure compulsory and free education of each orphan from primary to secondary level, while providing the widows financial support to start local business that will make them self-reliant.
He said: “We have completed a census of all women who lost their husbands. We have the list of all the orphans, widows and the destroyed houses. We already started work with UNDP who are coming in to help in some of the areas particularly education of the orphans.
“Currently, we are spending over N100 million to rehabilitate Shinfida village which was sacked and burnt by bandits that forced 13,500 people to move to Niger Republic. I have to suspend everything and meet the political leadership of those communities.
“We have sent food to them, and we have started bringing them back. The military are back in Shinfida. When the Shinfida people left, the bandits burnt the village and vandalized everything.
“Critical to us is the security and rehabilitation of those villages and communities, restoring their economic way of life and providing basic education.”