At least 100,000 Nigerians displaced to Niger, Chad, and Cameroon, by terrorism in the Northeast, were returned to their homes in the past seven years.

The Borno State Governor, Prof Babagana Zulum, disclosed this to State House correspondents after closed-door talks with President Bola Tinubu at the Aso Rock Villa, Abuja, on Tuesday

Zulum, who said he discussed plans to resume the repatriation of Nigerians in the neighbouring countries, announced that the President has approved the immediate take-off of the Federal College of Education, Gwoza.

He explained, “We talked about the issue of repatriation of Nigerians living in the Republic of Chad, Niger and Cameroon. We started repatriating them during the last administration, but because of the election period and rainy season, we stopped the repatriation exercise.

“Again, Mr. President has given me his commitment that the Government of Nigeria will resume the repatriation exercise. So far, so good. Within the last six to seven years, not less than 100,000 people were repatriated.

“This is the official figure; the unofficial figures might be more than this. But I want to inform you that we still have remnants of people living in Chad, Niger and Cameroon. I need to discuss with the National Commission for Refugees as well as NEMA and other organizations before coming out with a figure.

“But the most important thing that I want to tell you is that we have started the repatriation. This administration is committed to ensuring that all our refugees living in our neighbouring countries are repatriated before the end of this administration, inshallah.”

On the Federal College of Education in Gwoza, Zulum cited President Tinubu’s approval for the staggered take-off of six universities on October 18, 2023, after the Federal Executive Council meeting that day.

The Buhari administration had approved the establishment of no fewer than 75 universities, encompassing federal, state, and private institutions.

However, the Federal Government lacked the funds and qualified staffing to kick start all institutions at once as they are capital intensive, the Education Minister, Prof. Tahir Mamman, disclosed at the time.

But Zulum said, “I wrote to Mr. President on the need for the take-off 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 take-off of the Federal College of Education, Gwoza.

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

The governor also revealed plans to resuscitate two fallow irrigation projects in the state— South Chad Irrigation Project and the Yauri Irrigation Scheme—saying he suggested the establishment of a vibrant security outfit around the South Chad Basin area.

“Secondly, we spoke about the Lake Chad Basin. Now that we are having relative peace in Borno State, there is a need for the government to ensure re-establishment of the South Chad Irrigation Project.

“South Chad Irrigation Project has tremendous potential to produce food to cater for the needs of the entire northern Nigeria, or I can say even the entire country. But as a result of insecurity in the region, the irrigation scheme is not functioning very well for the last decade or more than a decade. I spoke with Mr. President and he 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. I think this is very important since the country is looking to ensure food security 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,” he noted.