By Ikechukwu Okaforadi
The federal government yesterday said that available records indicate that the return rate of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in various IDP camps in the North Eastern region has hit 83 percent, describing it as an improvement on what it use to be in 2014.
The Vice President, Yemi Osibanjo, made this disclosure yesterday in Abuja, during the programme to launch the Inclusive Basic Service Delivery and Livelihood Empowerment Integrated Programme (IBSIP), during which he also revealed that the recent Operation Last Hold of the Nigerian Army has returned over thirty five thousand IDPs to their homes.
According to the Vice President, though there are still few cases of attacks in few communities in the north east, however, the federal government has substantially won the war against insurgents, which he said displaced over twenty million persons.
He said it is in realization of this that the government has moved into the next phase of post insurgency community in the north east, which he said involved rebuilding of destroyed infrastructures and empowerment of the humanitarian components of the region to enthrone sustainably successful economic community.
Speaking at the event, the Governor of Bauchi state, Mohammed Abubakar, commended the African Development Bank (AfDB) for putting up what he described as integrative and inclusive plan towards rebuilding north eastern region, just as he gave commendation to the Vice President for putting together what is known as Buhari Plan for the North East.
Earlier in his address of welcome, the Vice Chairman of Presidential Committee on North East Initiative (PCNI), Tijjani Tumsah, the PCNI collaboration with AfDB on the IBSIP is designed to aid the recovery of the north east region.
This he said is done by strengthening delivery of essential social services such as education, health care, nutrition, water, sanitation and hygiene, and economic recovery through skill acquisition, empowerment and market recovery programmes.
While pointing out that these plans are in complete alignment with the Buhari plan, Tumsah said as more people return to their homes, the provision of essential services and job creation in safe locations play a key role in ensuring that the returns are sustainable and that people can get the basic tools they need to begin to rebuild their lives.
Speaking also, the President of AfDB, Femi Adesina, represented by the Senior Director, Nigeria Country Department in Abuja, Ebrima Faal, said the AfDB is financing the Inclusive Basic Service Programme of which the five participating state governments of the north east are the borrowers.
To this end, he said the programme is a god example of effective partnership between the government of Nigeria and the development partners, adding that the Bank has remained a strong partner of the federal and state governments in their efforts to restore livelihoods in the north east.
Faal observed that the programme addresses the improvement of quality of life of the population of the north east Nigeria through the restoration of basic services, and ensuring equity by providing access to basic services for all.
“I can assure you that AfDB, in close collaboration with the World Bank, the Islamic Development Bank, the United Nations System and other Development Partners, is well prepared to support the implementation of the project”, he said.