The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), has told residents of the North-East to expect a change from the protracted insurgency to peace and development in their respective communities in the coming months.
Buhari spoke on Wednesday in Abuja at the inauguration of the Presidential Committee on the Repatriation, Return and Resettlement of Internally Displaced Persons in the North-East of Nigeria, which preceded the weekly Federal Executive Council meeting.
The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, disclosed this in a statement titled, ‘In coming months, you will witness massive shift from insurgency to peace, stability, President Buhari tells Nigerians in the North-East’.
The President announced that his regime was embarking on a revised approach to addressing the 13-year conflict and insurgency in the region and would not relent in efforts towards a return to peace and normalcy.
He said, “At the advent of this regime in 2015, I pledged to Nigerians that I would restore peace in the North-East and return it to the path of development and growth. I remain committed to this promise.
“To the people of the North-East, particularly the children and future of the North-East, we will never forget you and your courage, sacrifice and endurance have been exemplary.
“I pledge to you that in the coming months, you will begin to witness a shift away from a protracted insurgency to peacebuilding, stabilisation, and ultimately, development in your respective communities as we embark on a revised approach to addressing this conflict – A Return to Normalcy.”
On the terms of reference for the committee, the President said it was, among others, expected to develop a concise three-year action plan by the end of March to incorporate national and state-level plans, providing a clear pathway for the restoration of peace and development in the North-East.
It will also develop and implement a phased plan for the repatriation, return, and resettlement of the IDPs and restoration of livelihoods, incorporating global best practices that give dignity to the affected populations.
The committee will also be responsible for developing and implementing a coordinated peacebuilding and reconciliation programme that is culturally appropriate and community-driven. It will also strengthen collaboration with key donors, development partners and private sector organisations critical to mobilising resources and implementing plans.
Buhari said, “Members will dedicate more time to conduct field visits to regularly engage with state governments, communities and key stakeholders.
“Due to the prevailing fiscal constraints, Ministries, Departments and Agencies will utilise existing budgetary resources and repurpose funds to programmes approved under this initiative.”
He also directed the committee to submit monthly progress report, whilst the first progress review meeting would be held in the first week of March.
Highlighting the task ahead of the committee, Buhari stated, “History beckons and Nigeria calls on you to be the team that finally charts this new path to the restoration of sustainable progress in the North-East, and I firmly believe this could lead to the birthing of a template for addressing insurgency and instability in other parts of our country and across the world.
“Failure to deliver on this task you have been assigned is not an option.”
The President also commended Governor Babagana Zulum of Borno State, who was present at the inauguration alongside his Gombe State counterpart, Inuwa Yahaya, for his unparalleled commitment to his people and showing exemplary leadership.
He thanked the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs for the support in coordinating humanitarian actors, and the UNDP Regional Stabilisation Facility, which provides support in the area of security and the rule of law.
Members of the committee include the ministers of Finance, Budget and National Planning; Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development; Interior; Foreign Affairs; Defence; and the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice.
Others are the National Security Adviser; Inspector-General of Police; Chief of Defence Staff; Director-General, Department of State Security; Director-General, National Intelligence Agency; Director-General, North East Development Commission; Federal Commissioner, National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons; Director-General, National Emergency Management Agency; and the Chief of Defence Intelligence.