Chairman of the North East Development Commission ( NEDC), Major General Paul Tarfa ( RTD) has said resettling the internally Displaced Persons ( IDPs) back to their original communities is top on the agenda of the commission.
General Tarfa spoke in Maiduguri at the weekend when he led other members of the commission on assessment tour of the various IDPs camps, temporary sites provided by the Borno state government for the takeoff of the Commission and some of the mega Schools built for the over 54, 000 Boko Haram orphans by the administration of Governor Kashim Shettima.
Speaking to newsmen after being conducted round the IDPs camps by the Borno state Governor- Elect , Professor Babagana Umara Zulum, the NEDC Chairman said their visit marks the beginning of rebuilding northeast , adding that resettling the IDPs back to their original communities will be the priority of the Commission.
He said:” What has been helding us for the past years has brought us down considerably. We went round the city, we saw the hardship, we saw the dilapidated situation of our people. We saw what we came for and what we saw is very pitiful. We have seen also the marvelous works that has been done by the governor and his team.
“We have to find lasting solution, both temporary, middle and long term. We have to find means of putting all these unfortunate boys and girls running helplessly hungry in a kind of jobs to do , enroll others to school. With the state government already doing very good thing trying to get as many of them to schools to get them occupied, we need the support and cooperation of everyone. We shall seek the support of international community so that they can also support in the rebuilding process, and at the end we hope to a achieve peace and stability in the Northeast,” the NEDC Boss added.
Earlier conducting members of the commission round Arabic Teacher’s village IDPs camp , the Borno state Governor – Elect , Professor Babagana Umara Zulum, who expressed sadness over the poor living condition of the IDPs in the camp , lamented that Borno alone with its megre resources can’t handle the predicament of the IDPs alone, noting that solving the numerous challenges brought to Borno by the Boko Haram insurgency is tantamount to solving the problem of the entire country.
He lamented that over 10,000 school aged children in the camp who were temporary placed in the camp in the last four months are out of school including over 40,000 of them in other camps in Maiduguri. The incoming governor of Borno state said since the IDPs fled to the camps in Maiduguri last four months following Boko Haram resurgence in their communities in northern Borno , neither the world food programme or the National Emergency Management Agency ( NEMA ) nor the international partners has come to their aid.
” We have over 500, 000 IDPs in the state and the humanitarian disaster in Borno is so huge that the state government alone can’t handle. Everyone should rally round the state to find a lasting solution to the humanitarian crisis. If you solve the problem of Borno state, you solve the problem of the whole nation. Looking at the strength of Borno state, it becomes obvious that no any state government can do this alone,” Professor Zulum said.
Speaking while hosting the Chairman and members of the commission at his Council chambers, Governor Kashim Shettima urged them to synergise with the incoming government of Borno state and government of other northeastern states to form a common front to confront the challenges.
Shettima who welcomed the birth of the NEDC Act describing it as more than a welcome development to the people of the northeast, noted that northeast has come to an era of hope for a better tomorrow. He said based on the peace building assessment conducted by the World Bank and validated by the presidency and European union, destruction worth $9 billion were recorded in the Boko Haram insurgency in northeast, out of which $6.7 is accounted by Borno where 5,335 classrooms in 512 primary schools, 38 secondary schools and two tertiary institutions were destroyed by the Boko Haram terrorists among many others.
” I wish to once again congratulate you. To whom much is given, much is expected. There is a lot of expectation from the government and people of the northeast from the NEDC . I will urge you sir, the chairman and your team to adopt a holistic approach towards addressing challenges of the insurgency. You should pay much attention to midterm and long term solutions in as much as the immediate humanitarian challenges are great.” Shettima said.
The Chairman and members of the Commission were also at the Shehu of Borno’s palace where the Shehu , Alhaji Abubakar Ibn Umar Garbai Elkanemi took turn to point over 59 of his district heads out to list challenges facing their districts to the NEDC Team.
*Photo: Gen Tarfa (L) with NEDC Managing Director, Alhaji Mohammed Goni Alkali.