IDPs will soon return to their homes, says Buhari
PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari yesterday assured that the return of persons displaced by the Boko Haram insurgency to their homes and communities in the troubled North East would begin in earnest next year.
Addressing a delegation from the International Rescue Committee (IRC) led by former British Foreign Minister, Mr. David Miliband, Buhari said that his administration would do all within its powers to facilitate the quick return and resettlement of over two million internally displaced persons in their towns and villages.
He told Miliband, a former member of the British parliament, and his delegation that the Federal Government would welcome support of the IRC and other local and international non-governmental organizations for the rehabilitation of the internally displaced persons.
“In 2016, the return of the IDPs will start in earnest. They will return to their communities to meet destroyed schools and other infrastructure, which have to be rebuilt.
“With agriculture being moribund in the region in the last two years without cropping, hunger is already manifest. We will welcome all the help we can get to assist the returnees,” President Buhari said.
Responding to a request by Miliband for the Federal Government’s priorities as to the nature of assistance required for the IDPs, the President said there was an urgent need for support in the areas of agricultural inputs, health, nutrition, water and sanitation.
Buhari urged the IRC and other international agencies to work with the Presidential Committee on the North-East and the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) which, he said, were already doing a lot to cater for the IDPs and restore some basic infrastructure in communities affected by terrorism and insurgency.
Miliband assured Buhari that the IRC would intensify its ongoing work in Nigeria, through which it has assisted over 350,000 displaced persons, mainly in Adamawa and Borno states.
He called for increased security presence in recovered towns and territories, saying that most prospective returnees still fear for their safety on their return home.
Meanwhile, six members of a family, mostly women and children, have been identified as victims of the November 28 reported abduction by Boko Haram at Borno remote community of Bam-Buratai, south of Maiduguri, the state capital.
Suspected Boko Haram gunmen attacked Bam-Buratai, near the home of the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen Tukur Buratai in Biu Local Government on November 28, killing some residents.
Reports also claimed scores of girls were kidnapped by the insurgents who invaded the community at about 10pm, shooting sporadically.
However, the Borno State government in quick reaction constituted a seven-member fact-finding committee to unearth the abduction claim as widely reported in the media within three days.
The committee led by member representing Biu State Constituency in the Borno House of Assembly, Aliyu Kachalla, said it ascertained the family members of one of the villagers, named Pidigum Mohammed Pindar as those abducted.