PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari, has inaugurated the Presidential Committee on the North East Initiative (PCNI) at the Aso Rock Villa, Abuja, with the determination to restore normalcy and stability in the North Eastern part of country, devasted by Boko Haram insurgents.
PCNI, which is expected to coordinate the humanitarian efforts on resettlement and reconstruction of the region, is chaired by General TY Danjuma (retd).
Buhari, speaking at the inauguration urged members of the committee to approach their task with dedication, accountability and transparency.
He also tasked them to take a quick look at the conditions of the over 2.4 million Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and take urgent remedial measures to alleviate their plights.
He said: “Today marks an important milestone in our desire and determination to restore normalcy and stability to the North Eastern part of our country.
“The devastation to human lives and livelihoods by the insurgency in the North East is severe, with more than an estimated 20,000 persons killed, an estimated 2.4 million persons displaced and billions of naira worth of personal and public assets destroyed.
“Many humanitarian intervention efforts, national and international, have worked over time to assist in coping with the task of bringing succour to the IDPs in and outside the region, with most of these efforts aimed at providing short-term emergency assistance and relief to the victims of the violence and displacement.
“However, there remains a need for better coordination of these efforts particularly the humanitarian resettlement and reconstruction of the region,” Buhari said.
He said though “the worst of the insurgency is behind us,” many of the IDPs who are willing to return home to pick up their lives and move forward have nothing to return to.
“They have lost everything to the insurgency. In addition, social and public services are also absent due to the massive destruction of public and private infrastructure,” he added.
The president, however, assured that the Federal Government is committed to providing effective coordination and guidance towards addressing the humanitarian crisis, the resettlement and reconstruction of the North East region.
“To this end, I have established the Presidential committee on the North East Initiative (PCNI), under the chairmanship of General T.Y. Danjuma (retd), GCON, a man of proven integrity, outstanding patriotism and dedication.
“He will lead this committee comprising members who have been carefully chosen from a wide spectrum of stakeholders. The committee will be the apex coordinating body for all interventions in the region, including those by the public, private, national and international development partners.
“The committee is domiciled in the Presidency and is charged with the responsibility for developing the strategy and implementation framework for rebuilding the North East region.
“The PCNI will not exist in perpetuity or isolation. Rather, it will exist for a period of three years, where after, it is envisaged that a long-term regional development framework or entity may be established,” he said.
According to Buhari, PCNI will be funded through federal, state and local government appropriation, as well as funds from the private sector and international development partners.
He, therefore, called on all stakeholders to give the PCNI their maximum support to enable it to deliver on its mandate.
In his remarks, the Committee Chairman, General Danjuma, reminded Nigerians that the task of rebuilding the North East region is the collective responsibility of all citizens.
He acknowledged the contributions from various sources, particularly during the previous fund-raising ceremony for the Victims Support Fund for the North East.
Danjuma, however, noted that only half of the pledges made during the fund raising were redeemed.