By Muhammad Bello
Abuja (Nigeria) – Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari has declared that the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) as a result of the Boko Haram Insurgency will begin to return to their homes/ communities early next year (2016).
He made the declaration when he hosted a delegation from the International Rescue Committee (IRC) led by former British Foreign Minister, David Miliband in Abuja.
The President stressed that, his administration will do all within its powers to facilitate the quick return and resettlement of the over two million IDPs camping across different locations in the country.
He said, “In 2016, the return of the IDPs will start in earnest. They will return to their communities to meet destroyed schools and other infrastructure which have to be rebuilt.
“With agriculture being moribund in the region in the last two years without cropping, hunger is already manifest. We will welcome all the help we can get to assist the returnees, ” he noted.
On Federal Government’s priorities as to the nature of assistance required for the IDPs, Buhari said, “there is an urgent need for support in the areas of agricultural inputs, health, nutrition, water and sanitation,”
He however called on the IRC, other local and international non-governmental organizations to partner with the Presidential Committee on North-East and the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) to assist the IDPs and restore some basic infrastructure in the communities affected by insurgency – and their rehabilitation.
Leader of the IRC delegation, David Miliband, in his remarks assured President Buhari that the IRC will intensify its ongoing work in Nigeria, stating that the organization has assisted over 350,000 displaced persons, mainly in Adamawa and Borno states.
He however called for an increased security presence in recovered towns and territories, noting that, most prospective returnees still have fear on their safety on their return back to their homes.