We’ll fast-track IDPs’ home return —Buhari

PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari has assured that his administration will hasten the voluntary home return, rehabilitation and reintegration into the society of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in order to restore their confidence.

He made the declaration on Thursday, in Abuja, while receiving the outgoing Egyptian Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr Asharaf Abdelkader Salama, at the State House, Abuja.

President Buhari commended Egypt for identifying with challenges confronting the country, especially the plight of IDPs, which had remained topmost priority of the Nigerian government.

He said: “The displaced persons want to go back to their homes. They want to resume their normal lives. They want to go back to the land they have not cultivated for over three years now.

“We will work to restore their confidence and also work on infrastructure, so that they can quickly resettle.”

The president noted that the bond of friendship between Nigeria and Egypt was very strong, as demonstrated in their growing cooperation on regional and international issues.

In his remarks, Mr Salama, who spent four years in Nigeria, said he was the first foreign diplomat to travel by road from Maiduguri to Yobe State, North-Eastern Nigeria, last month.

He told the president that he was proud to have made the journey through an area once considered a stronghold of Boko Haram terrorists, following the successes recorded by the Nigerian military fighting insurgents in the region.

He described the people of Nigeria as “friendly and generous,” saying he hoped to be back in the country again.

President Buhari also received the outgoing Ambassadors of Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) and Tanzania.

During the audience with Ambassador Oubi Bachir of SADR, President Buhari reiterated Nigeria’s support for Sahrawi people’s self-determination and independence.

Ambassador Bachir’s duty tour of Nigeria spanned eight years, during which he served as the Dean of the Diplomatic Corps.

On Tanzania, President Buhari told the High Commissioner Daniel Ole Njoolay, that the East African country was fortunate to have a leader, who cared so much for the underprivileged in the society.

The president said Tanzania was blessed with good land and gas, which could be used for the good people of the country.

Ambassador Njoolay spent two years and eight months in the country.