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Government & Politics

Rebuilding Northeast To Cost Over N2trn – Danjuma

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The Chairman, Presidential Committee on Northeast Initiative, retired Lt.-Gen. Theophilus Danjuma, has said that over two trillion naira will be required in the short-term to rebuild areas devastated by the Boko Haram insurgency.

Danjuma made the statement at the opening of a two-day security seminar, organised by the Alumni Association of the National Defence College, in Abuja on Wednesday.

“Conservative estimates put the cost of the short-term intervention of the reconstruction of the region at over two trillion naira.

He said the rebuilding of the region would require the cooperation of all, considering that the magnitude of destruction was beyond the means of the federal or state governments.

Danjuma said rebuilding the Northeast would demand maximum cooperation and resources, especially in the most affected states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe.

“Rebuilding the Northeast is one of the biggest and most complex challenges that Nigeria is facing today.

“To hold government or any one agency alone responsible for this task is to underestimate the enormity of the problem.

“The task would involve massive reconstruction of physical infrastructure, much of which have been totally destroyed and, of course, the more challenging one, which is the rebuilding of peace and social cohesion,’’ he said.

Danjuma called on Nigerians and friends of Nigeria to support the initiative of the Federal Government to rebuild the region.

He gave an assurance that the various platforms established by government for the reconstruction of the region would be carefully managed to check embezzlement of resources.

Danjuma said the various initiatives under his chairmanship would deploy the best strategies in ensuring that the expectations of the victims of the insurgency and donors were met.

“The rebuilding of the Northeast requires considerable planning and coordination.

“It is largely in response to this that the president has set up the Presidential Committee on the Northeast Initiative to, among other things, oversight and harmonise the functions of the various entities engaged in the Northeast.

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“This task, we must discharge transparently and accountably so that our country is not embarrassed by fresh allegations of corruption in the management of the Northeast reconstruction,’’ he said.

Danjuma, however, warned that the war against Boko Haram was not yet over, stressing that a lot was still required to prevent the spates of suicide bombings in the country.

Earlier, the Minister of Defence, retired Brig.-Gen. Mansur Dan-Ali, described the destruction caused by the insurgency as monumental and one that required the attention and intervention of all Nigerians.

He said the ministry was concerned about the plight of displaced persons as well as the conduct and welfare of troops in the area.

Dan-Ali blamed the present state of the war against insurgency and the resulting effect on displaced persons to the endemic corruption that plagued the procurement of the necessary equipment to prosecute the war.

He expressed hope that the present initiative by President Muhammadu Buhari, aimed at reconstructing the region, would yield the needed results.

In his opening address, the President of the alumni association, retired Brig.-Gen. Jonathan Temlong, said the seminar was an attempt by the association to put into perspective the issue of rebuilding the Northeast.

He described the rebuilding of the Northeast as a complex process and the living condition of displaced persons as chaotic and dehumanising.

He said Borno had the highest number of internally displaced persons totalling over 1.6 million as at October 2015, with over one million others taking refuge in Cameroon, Chad and Niger Republic.

The participants in the seminar were drawn from civil society organization, traditional institution, development partners and security agencies.

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