Communities sceptical of Boko Haram returnees

The Lake Chad Basin communities have showed reluctance to the idea of welcoming Boko Haram fighter back without proper screening and complete disarmament.
The communities stated this in a United Nation Development Programme (UNDP) report presented at the just concluded Lake Chad Basin Governors Forum held in Maiduguri.
The communities’ reaction was based on a perception of reintegration as a reward rather than a punishment for the damage inflicted by the fighter on the communities.
“Many feel that a condition for a reintegration process must be that victims and communities are first adequately supported before reintegration of former fighters.
“If reintegration were to work the need for screening and complete disarmament of former fighters by the government must be stressed coupled with community involvement from the very beginning of the process,” it stated
The report also noted that the return of the Internally Displaced Persons put additional pressure on the communities, often resulting in conflict over housing and land.
The report also noted that security was still one of the foremost concerns of communities across the lake Chad Basin countries.
It therefore called for more troops and security forces that are better equipped and trained to completely end the insurgency
It also called for more equipment and training for vigilante groups on which many communities rely for their security, seeing them as complementary to armed forces and formal security actors.
The report, also noted an inherent tension between the continued need for security and the limitations thus imposed on agricultural activity, hampering early recovery.
The communities in the report also lamented the restriction of access to source of livelihood such as agriculture and other means due to counter insurgency operations and displacement management efforts.
They cited restriction on fishing in Lake Chad and on movement outside villages in Nigeria for security reasons, or set up of IDP camps on arable lands in Cameroon and Niger.
The community in the report noted the negative effects on economic activity of market and border closure and lack of infrastructure such as roads bridges with limited access to electricity.
The report noted that limited access to capital was a key challenge for communities in resuscitating the local economy.
The report also noted that negative impact of climate change on farming and access to water, drug trafficking (with complicity by security agencies) and a resulting drug epidemic.
It also expressed concern on the absence of or unequal access to government services, including justice and the role education can play in both preventing, but also promoting radicalization.
“Migration and displacement are seen as fuelling competition around already limited resources, a perception that is amplified by the feeling that the international community mainly cater for IDPs and refugees, leaving the host communities behind.”

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