Presidential Committee on North East Initiative, PCNI Commends Buhari, Shettima, Military on Return of IDPs to Their Host Communities

By Ahmed Abu, The Nigerian Voice, Maiduguri
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Alhaji Tijani Tumsa

The Vice Chairman, Presidential Committee on North East Initiative, PCNI, Alhaji Tijani Tumsa has commended President Muhammadu Buhari and Governor Kashim Shettima for their commitment in the restoration of peace in the north east region.

He also appreciated the Nigerian armed forces for their tireless efforts in liberating areas hitherto occupied by the boko Haram insurgents and securing these places for people to safely return and rebuild their livelihoods.

The Vice Chairman who stated this Wednesday at a very important meeting, tagged, " Return Strategy Workshop For Stakeholders" aimed at taking steps towards establishing a coordinated approach for returning IDPs said everybody was aware that sustained security of the lives and property of the people returning remains a foremost consideration in the efforts to return people to their communities. In addition to the protection provided by the military, "We must also support the restoration of civil authority with the police and other security agencies which must be enabled to effectively contribute to the protection of human lives.

" As we are all aware, the predominant occupation of the people of the North East is agriculture. Therefore, access to farmlands, and freedom of movement along the roads are also important considerations when planning for sustainable livelihood recovery. It is our strong belief that we will all work diligently as critical stakeholders to ensure a well-coordinated return of the IDPs to their respective communities.

Alhaji Tumsa added that on their part, PCNI will continue to emphasize the importance of the nexus between humanitarian and developmental interventions.

He said: " This becomes more and more apparent as the demand for early recovery and transitional support measures grows with the increasing number of voluntary returnees.

"We also urge continued support for resilient communities that have taken in so many IDPs and have had their own resources overstretched and compromised.

" Our concern today is to ensure that we can collectively agree on a plan for the continued safe, coordinated and sustainable voluntary return of IDPs to areas that are safe.

"We acknowledge the overwhelming desire of these people to return to their homes, after being displaced for over 5 years.

"We also understand the need for this return to be phased while ensuring basic services continue to be provided to the people as a condition for this return," Tumsa said.

According to him, the PCNI recognised the concerns being raised by varied stakeholders and indeed also the IDPs, especially in relation to the emerging gaps in the return exercise as well as the need to mobilise resources to address the gaps.

" I therefore wish to reassure you of the Federal Government’s commitment to take up and support the quick resolution of many of the gaps that will be identified today.

" The PCNI is committed to work with all stakeholders as well as willing to mobilise funding for some of the critical requirements to make the continued return of IDPs a success.

"The PCNI hopes we can all agree that only by working together can we ensure we achieve the goal for the recovery of the North East," Tumsa said.

While appreciating the inputs of all partners, the Vice Chairman appealed to the people to continue to share information on activities, collectively respond to challenges and learn from lessons of the past for the benefit of the people of the North East.

"As we take this bold step today, let us be mindful of the necessity of the urgency to take forward and replicate the success we will collectively achieve", Tijani added.