The return of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the North East to their communities destroyed by Boko Haram will begin in earnest next year, President Muhammadu Buhari has assured.
It is estimated that over two million people have been internally displaced as a result of insurgency in the North East, which has raged on for about six years now.
Giving the assurance yesterday at the Presidential Villa in Abuja when a delegation of the International Rescue Committee (IRC) led by former British Foreign Minister David Miliband, paid him a visit, Buhari said his government would do everything within its powers to facilitate the quick return and resettlement of the internally displaced persons in their towns and villages.
He also said his administration would welcome the support of the IRC and other local and international non-governmental organizations in the rehabilitation of internally displaced persons.
“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 said.
In a response to Miliband’s request for the Nigerian government’s priorities on the nature of assistance required for the internally displaced persons, the president said there was an urgent need for support in the areas of agricultural inputs, health, nutrition, water and sanitation.
He further called on the IRC and other international agencies to work with the Presidential Committee on the North-East and the National Emergency Management Agency, pointing out that the committee and NEMA were already doing a lot to cater for the internally displaced persons in the area of restoring basic infrastructure in communities affected by the Boko Haram insurgency.
Earlier, Miliband had assured President Buhari that the IRC would redouble its effort in Nigeria.