By; Mohammed Kawu, Bauchi.
A Cluster of Non-governmental organizations mobilizing stakeholders towards the rebuilding and reconstruction of the North-East devastated by Boko Haram insurgency have called on the Federal Government to establish the necessary agency and structure that will implement government’s interventions programme.
The cluster also wants the government to facilitate, through the General Danjuma-led Presidential committee on the North-East Initiative, the immediate convening of the stakeholders conference on the reconstruction and rebuilding of the northeast to help the government come up with a blue print for that purpose.
The cluster comprised the Centre for Information Technology and Development (CITAD), Kano; Borno Coalition for Democracy and Progress (BOCODEP), Maiduguri; Centre for environmental Education and Development (CEED), Taraba; Association of People Living with Disability, Gombe; and Women and Youth Empowerment for Advancement and Health Initiative (WYEAHD), Adamawa.
Others in the cluster include Bauchi Coalition for the Improvement of Public Expenditure Management (BACIPEM), Bauchi; Network for Civil Society Organizations, Yobe; Centre for Women and Adolescent Empowerment, Adamawa; Northeast Youth Initiative Forum (NEYIF), Yobe; and Society and the Future, Gombe.
They also want the Federal government to give its support for the speedy passage and accent of the North-East Development Commission that will eventually take over from the adhoc agency that government could establish as a stop gap.
The coalition cluster stressed the need for the presidential committee of the Northeast Initiative to start implementing its agenda with the involvement of CBOs and CSOs to promote transparency and accountability in the process.
The organizations led CITAD officer, Kabiru Sa’idu Dakata said in the event that the existing committee members cannot perform as expected on ground of lack of time due to other patriotic engagements or lack of energy because of age factor, government need to rework the structure of the committee.
“As schools have started resuming in some affected areas two years after been closed down, the committee needs to pay special attention in schools reconstruction and security project so that access to education will not be an issue for the children of those areas”, Dakata said.
Dakata explained that as the mandate of the committee, it needs to come up with strategies on how it will harmonize other governmental and non-governmental initiatives aimed at reconstruction of the Northeast sub-region.
“We also call on the state governments in the North-East to re-state the earlier regional consultations with a view to coming up with a regional Development Agency that can eventually clue into the federal government own blue print”, the cluster said.
The civil society organizations expressed worry that more than seven months since President Buhari took over, the rebuilding and reconstruction of the North-East that he promised is yet to take-off, and it is yet to even be articulated.
They argued that the General Danjuma committee appeared to be comatose with it neither doing any coordination nor providing the government with a blue print for intervention in the Northeast.
Accordingly, the organizations faulted, the conference of stakeholders promised to hold to assist in coming up with a blue print for the government has been shifted on more than two occasions and now apparently seemed to be even forgotten.
“Is IDPs going back to their places to void with no homes, no means of economic livelihood, no schools, no hospitals and indeed no any shelter for them? This means that if government insists in taking them back, they would be compounding their trauma through a new cycle of crisis”, cluster queried.
It would be recalled that President Muhammadu Buhari had on assumption to office promised to quickly come up with framework, strategic initiatives and mechanisms for the implementation of rebuilding and reconstruction programme for the North-East sub-region resulting from devastation of Boko Haram insurgency.
The President had understood that without reconstruction of the North-East sub-region which has been devastated by the insurgency, the humanitarian disaster that has resulted in the death of thousands of people and displaced millions of others cannot be addressed.