By Sumaila Ogbaje
Abuja – The Presidential Committee on the North-East Initiative (PCNI), says it has deployed medical team to the north-east to cater for the health needs of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the area.
Dr Sidi-Ali Mohammed, the Head, Humanitarian Assistance, Rehabilitation and Reconstruction, PCNI, disclosed this at a PCNI Coordination Forum and Tracking Indicators Validation Workshop on Thursday in Abuja.
Mohammed said that the team had concluded its outreach in Yobe and presently Borno, adding that it would move to Adamawa from Jan. 28.
He said that PCNI had been able to address some basic needs of the IDPs, who were victims of Boko-Haram insurgency in three states of the north-east.
According to him, what you see in the north-east are the armies of people who are in need of one medical attention or the other which they are not able to get.
“Some people are in the camps, some are in the host communities and some are even in the informal camps.
“So, the only way this group of people would be able to get medical attention is under what we call the Rapid Health Response Programme where we take the healthcare services to the people.
“I can tell you that it has been a success story because of the number of people who have come out to benefit from minor surgeries, common treatments and all that.
“Like I mentioned, we have done Yobe, Borno and we are going to Adamawa from Jan. 28, till February and it is a continuous exercise because when we finish, we will go back round again.
“This is because we realised that those medical outreaches for one or two weeks are not enough but we need to touch all the states,’’ he said.
Mohammed said that PCNI had been able to achieve milestone in addressing the basic needs of the IDPs in the affected states, such as health, education and resettlement.
He said the committee had been able to also address the issue of supply of relief items to the IDPs in the camps as well as the host communities.
According to him, on the issue of data capturing, PCNI in collaboration with NEMA is assiduously working hard to track the number of the IDPs in the region.
On the challenges being faced by the Committee, Mohammed it started with only N5 billion in 2016, while it got a budget of N45 billion in 2017, but only N10 billion was released to them.
“Funding for example is an issue because in 2016, we had N5 billion, in 2017, we had a portfolio of N45 billion but as you are all aware, budgeting and releases are two different issues.
“For example in 2017, out of the N45 billion approved for PCNI, so far we have been able to receive only N10 billion.
“If you look at that percentage, it is still very low and we hope that in 2018, more funds available would be made available to the committee,’’ he said.
Mohammed also disclosed that the number of Nigerian refugees in Cameroon had risen from 80,000 in 2017, to 91,000.
He added that PCNI was working with the International Organisation on Migration (IOM) to establish reception centres before returning the Nigerian refugees in Cameroon.
According to him, more interventions in healthcare services, education and infrastructure are still needed in the north-east.
He commended the security forces, especially the military for the successes recorded so far in securing the communities overran by the insurgents. (NAN)