ABUJA (National Planning Commission Report)
A meeting organised by the National Planning Commission with development partners on the security challenges in the North-Eastern Region of Nigeria has advocated for a Multi – donor Trust Fund to address the challenges of insurgency in the region. Speaking on the purpose of the meeting, the Minister of National Planning, Abubakar Sulaiman (Dr) represented by the Acting Secretary to the Commission, Bassey Akpayung explained that it was organised to examine the current situation in the North-East Region, in order to fashion out ways to re-strategize and coordinate the efforts aimed at achieving better result and reaching out to more of the internally displaced persons in the region. The Planning Minister lamented that the activities in the North – Eastern part of the country are causing serious untold hardships to millions of people. Adding, insurgency seems to be recurring in this part of the country with the scope, scale and impact of the current intrusion as well as the dexterity of the perpetrators getting out of proportion compared to the previous ones. “The current insurgency, perpetuated by the Boko Haram sect was initially traced to the neighbourhood effects of the Arab Spring in North Africa,” he observed. He further described the effects of the insurgency in the North – East as quite pervasive and devastating with the local economy paralyzed, lives and property wasted in an unimaginable scale. He also explained that the Presidential Initiative for the North – East (PINE) is seeking to develop a framework to coalesce the efforts of Government towards revitalising the economy of North – Eastern Nigeria. He added that it aims to leverage on the activities of the States and Local Governments as well as development partners; noting that the initiative was expected to come up with a marshall plan for mobilising support for targeted intervention funds. Abubakar Sulaiman called for the deepening of interventions in the region and need to work in a better collaborative manner with stakeholders on the intervention activities. The Representative of the DG of NEMA, Alhasan Nuhu in a presentation at the meeting revealed that 868,000 thousand people were displaced in Nigeria by flood and insurgency. He stated that the Federal Government through NEMA is providing medical consumables, ambulances, clean water and boreholes for Internally Displaced Persons in varied camps. The representative of UN, Jean Gull at the occasion indicated that UNCIEF has opened offices in Maiduguri, Borno State because Borno is the epicentre of insurgency. She opined that the UN is providing support to children to help tackle malnourishment, describing it as a challenge in the camps. She intensified that the UN is as well working to stamp out polio and Cholera in Nigeria, offering support to Government in the safe school initiative and demanding collaboration with host communities on social security. The meeting agreed that the implementation of the multi-donor trust funds should be engage through short and long term strategies to effectively and adequately address the devastating effects of insurgency. Other agencies of government responsible for disaster management such as the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA); the National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons and the State Security Services attended the meeting.