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Liberated Communities: Borno Elders Faults Federal Government's 10-day Assessment Timeline

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SAN FRANCISCO, March 27, (THEWILL)  – The 10-day timeline given by the Federal Government to the committee set up to evaluate the level of destructions in all liberated communities in Borno and other parts of the Northeast has been faulted.

‎The Borno Elders Forum (BEF) which faulted the timeline on Thursday described the 10-day period given to the committee to carry out the assessment for possible reconstruction as hasty and unrealistic.

In a statement signed by its chairman, Ambassador Usman Gaji Galtimari, the forum said it had consistently advocated for a marshal plan for the liberated communities in Borno and other Northeastern states even as it expressed gratitude to the Federal Government for responding to the call.

The statement said: “We understand that the chairman of the Presidential Initiatives for North -East, (PINE) Prof. Soji Adelaja, inaugurated the committee on Tuesday in Abuja with terms of reference that includes assessing status and conditions of liberated communities, with a view to determining the ones that are ready for occupation while it is also to determine, in conjunction with ‎other relevant agencies, the immediate needs of the returnees and to recommend and implement modalities of how refugees can return to their communities after reconstruction works, among others.

“The Federal Government has taking the right step that is expected of it. However, we are a bit worried by the ultimatum of ten days which some sections of the Nigerian media reported as the time frame given to the committee to tour almost 20 local government areas affected in Borno State and access the communities so far liberated. This is in addition to visiting other affected communities in Yobe and Adamawa States.”

“We think that if a thorough job expected from the Federal Government is to be done, a time frame of 10 days for assessment of the three States is not realistic and it is capable of raising questions about the sincerity of the initiative itself. ”

“Like we submitted from onset, the first step is to ensure the safety of the liberated communities, to guarantee that mines possibly buried on routes and within hitherto, occupied communities, are properly swept by security experts associated with effective and efficient management of explosive devices. Then, evaluation of destructions can be carried out either simultaneously or after the places are cleared of mines (if any).”

“For those of us conversant with happenings in Borno State, we can say with authority that massive destructions have been inflicted on our communities from headquarters of local government areas to villages.

“Only few days ago, we heard and read from many accounts that Bama town was completely burnt by insurgents. This is the case of many territories whether in Northern, Southern or Central parts of Borno State. Residential houses, farmlands, hospitals, schools, markets, water supply infrastructures, public buildings, palaces of traditional rulers that are identities and ancestral heritage of various communities have all been brought down.”

“Hundreds of thousands of givers have been turned into beggars that depend on alms. Our people have been dehumanised for no fault of theirs other than a man made mass murder and destructions.”

“All of these require a good time for the committee to evaluate and also meet victims to hear some of their stories, create some data base from existing records that can be collected from both the National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA and the Borno State Emergency Management Agency and other official sources. ”

“We seriously call on the committee to make adequate consultation with security agencies to be able to ascertain the safety of any liberated communities before citizens are allowed to return because from some previous experiences, some communities which appear safe could be under hidden threat. There is the need for absolute assurances. We have recorded too many deaths, we must avert whatever is avoidable.”