By Rabiu Sani
Maiduguri – The Presidential Committee on Northeast Initiative (PCNI) said it inaugurated a committee for the return and resettlement of persons displaced by the Boko Haram insurgency in Borno.
The Vice Chairman of the PCNI, Alhaji Tijjani Tumsa, told News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Maiduguri on Sunday that the committee was constituted to facilitate safe and dignified return of displaced persons to their homes.
Tumsa said the committee was part of strategies adopted to ensure successful implementation of the resettlement exercise.
He said that members of the committee included Borno Government, UN agencies, humanitarian and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), military, police and other security agencies as well as representatives of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).
According to him, PCNI will be at the forefront of the return process.
It will ensure the people return to their homes in a safe, dignify manner, and pick up livelihoods to resume their normal lives.
Tumsa noted that the challenge facing the exercise was how to be able to sustain the resettled communities in the next four months in terms of food supply before they could harvest their crops.
He disclosed that the PCNI in collaboration with Victim Support Fund (VSF) provided seeds and fertilizers to the returning farmers, to enable them to engage in agricultural activities.
“While we may want to address issues that are long term developmental, the basic of the humanitarian condition requires food.
“We are working with the national and state emergency management agencies, UN agencies and International Non Governmental Organizations (INGOs), to address food supply gap in IDP camps and resettled communities in Borno,”
Tumsa revealed that the committee, in partnership with the government, would rehabilitate major roads to open up the state, link communities, encourage agricultural activities and ease movement of farm produce to the market.
“”Road is critical to resettlement, we are in discussion with Borno Government on rehabilitation of Maiduguri-Bama road, work will soon commence at the end of the rainy season,’’ he said.
He disclosed that the Federal Government also awarded contract for Gwoza-Damboa-Chibok road, adding that the committee accorded priority to rehabilitation of the Maiduguri-Gwoza; Maiduguri-Mubi, Maiduguri-Ngala and Maiduguri-Biu roads.
The vice chairman noted that the project were essential toward improvement of the wellbeing of the people and check nefarious activities of the insurgents.
Tumsa, said the committee was working with the state government to mitigate the environmental impact caused by the insurgency.
According to him, it is also working to encourage tree planting and development of alternative energies to reduce dependence on firewood.
He said that the committee had provided building material to Borno Government for reconstruction of residential homes, while offices, schools and clinics were rehabilitated to facilitate smooth implementation of resettlement exercise in the state.