By Inusa Salihu Ndahi, Maiduguri
THE United Nations (UN)1 has pledged to partner Borno State government and the North East Development Commission (NEDC) towards resettlement, as well as addressing the challenges of about 2.2 million Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the three North-East states of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe (BAY) ravaged by the Boko Haram insurgency.
Mr. Robert Piper, the Assistant Secretary General of the UN, who is also the Special Adviser to the UN Secretary General on IDPs revealed the partnership yesterday when he led the UN delegation on a courtesy visit to the MD/CEO of the NEDC Mohammed Alkali in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital.
Mr. Piper said the essence of the visit is for the UN to learn how the state and the NEDC have handled the humanitarian crisis and see how it can support the state Governor, Babagana Umara Zulum who has shown commitment to ensure that the citizens displaced mostly in 2011 by insurgency are resettled and reintegrated to their communities.
He emphasized that solution to displacement requires investment and that it is not something that happens overnight, stressing that, displacement requires investment in infrastructure, health facilities that are functioning, return of persons displaced from schools, with teachers showing up in classrooms.
“It is a long term development enterprise not a short term emergency work. To me NEDC is one of the instruments that holds the key. I believe you are a long term investor after seeing your portfolio and plans, they are long term structural business.
“When we think of of the 2.2 million persons displaced in the North-East out of which, 1.6 are from Borno State, we acknowledge that a lot of people are affected. They need to be on the move, they need to be reintegrated and join communities. We don’t invest exclusively in each family, but we lift the communities and neighborhoods up.
“So the investment benefit is not just to the 2.2 million displaced persons but to the communities where they live,” Piper said.
Responding, the MD/ CEO NEDC, Mohammed Alkali, said he was marvelled during a meeting between the UN and the Governor when he heard of Mr Piper revealling the kind of vision and concerns the UN have in the IDPs.
Alkali said the visit of the UN delegation is not only about discussion on how the issues of the IDPs could be handled, but how to have sustainable approach with each other, adding that the Commission has already developed a master plan for the North-East region.
“The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has supported us in providing technical support in drafting the master plan. The first phase is recovery and stabilisation of the victims of the crisis. We also among others have what we call the renewal phase which focuses on resettled renewal,” the NEDC boss said.
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