Presidential Committee on North East Initiative to Ensure Safe Return of Displaced Persons to Liberated Communities
Alkasim Abdulkadir, Abuja: The Presidential Committee on the Northeast Initiative (PCNI) has adopted proactive measures to accelerate the successful safe and voluntary resettlement of persons displaced by the insurgency in the northeast region.
The PCNI Vice Chairman, Mr. Tijjani Tumsah, disclosed this on July 12, in Maiduguri, Borno State. He also said that the Committee had organized a stakeholders’ forum to develop a draft strategic framework for the voluntary return of vulnerable persons. Tumsah said that the measure was imperative to facilitate a safe and sustainable return process, and to encourage early recovery for the returnees so that they can resume their normal lives.
Mr. Tumsah said, “We acknowledge the overwhelming desire of these people to return to their homes after being displaced for over five years, we also understand the need for the return to be phased while ensuring basic services continue to be provided to the people as condition for the return.
The Presidential Committee on North East Initiative (PCNI) recognizes the concern being raised by various stakeholders and the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs); this is in relation to emerging gaps in the return exercise as well as the need to mobilize resources to address the gaps. I therefore, wish to reassure you of the Federal Government’s commitment to take-up and support the quick resolution of many of the gaps that would be identified.
The PCNI is committed to work with all stakeholders as well as mobilize funding for of the critical requirements to make the continuing return of the IDPs a success.”
Tumsah commended the military, the Borno Government, the UN and other organisations for their interventions to facilitate safe return and address the humanitarian crisis in the region. Alhaji Babagana Umara, the Commissioner for Reconstruction, Rehabilitation and Resettlement, said that the state government had worked out modalities to encourage agricultural activities in resettled communities.
Umara noted that the measure was necessary to facilitate a smooth return exercise, enhance access to farmlands, encourage food production and provide alternative livelihoods to the returnees. He disclosed that the state government would distribute irrigation kits to 5, 000 resettled farming communities to enable them to engage in crop production and meet their food needs.
According to him, the government had concluded arrangements to resettle displaced persons in Marte, Abadam and Ngoshe liberated communities.
Umara added that the state government is working in collaboration with the military and humanitarian actors to ensure that the communities are safe and provide access to farmlands so that people could cultivate their lands and address the food shortage. “This is necessary,” he said, “because we do not have other alternatives; we are geared to provide access to land, shelter, school, clinics, water and sanitation in the communities”.
Also commenting, Alhaji Usman Zanna, the Commissioner for Local Government and Emirate Affairs, disclosed that the state government had so far distributed 100 tractors to 10 local government councils in the northern part of the state. Zanna explained that 10 tractors were provided to each of the councils to encourage agricultural activities.
He listed Guzamala, Gamboru-Ngala, Dikwa, Monguno, Damasak, Nganzai, Gubio and Kukawa as some of the benefitting communities. The commissioner also revealed that the state government in partnership with the World Bank would provide empowerment support to women and youth in the resettled to communities, to enable them to set up their businesses and become self-reliant.