Ndume Calls For Increase In Northeast Allocations

Ali Ndume, Northeast, Budget AllocationFormer Senate Majority Leader, Ali Ndume, says more needs to be done to improve the humanitarian situation in Nigeria’s Northeast.

Speaking to journalists at the National Assembly in Abuja, Senator Ndume called for increase in the budget allocated to the region.

“In the budget proposal under consideration by the National Assembly (that is this year), only 45 billion Naira is allocated for the Presidential Committee on North East Initiative (PCNI).

“This is grossly inadequate to address the emergency humanitarian crisis we are faced with.

“We have made a case to the National Assembly; the PCNI has written to the Speaker, there’s a favourable response.

“I have personally raised the issue with the Senate President and there is a favourable response to increase the budgetary allocation for the humanitarian crisis in the northeast from 45 billion Nara to a reasonable amount,” he said.

The lawmaker said over 2.5 million children are malnourished in the region, not to mention other alarming situations while highlighting the need for decisive intervention in the region.

He also urged the Federal and State governments to work together to ensure efficiency in managing the crisis in the northeast.

Governor Shettima Commends NASS Efforts On NEDC Creation

Kashim Shettima, NEDC, NASS, North East, NortheastThe Governor of Borno State, Mr Kashim Shettima, has commended lawmakers at the National Assembly for their efforts towards the establishment of the North East Development Commission (NEDC).

Governor Shettima gave the praise on Wednesday while he led a delegation from Nigeria’s northeast to the National Assembly in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory.

He said he was optimistic that the commission would address the challenges confronting the region, as a result of the insurgency.

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr Yakubu Dogara, had said the lawmakers were looking to fast track the passage of the bill to set up the NEDC.

The lawmakers, however believe an institutional framework was required to facilitate the coordination of all the support provided towards the reconstruction and development of the region.

Mr Dogara said the House recognised the need for a legal framework that would address the overall development challenges of the northeast.

He pointed out that the existing legal frameworks on refugees, emergency management and boundary disputes resolution had so far not addressed the plight of the people in the region.

Seven Parties To Participate In Yobe LG Election – IPAC

IPAC, Yobe LG ElectionThe Inter Party Advisory Council (IPAC) in Yobe State says seven political parties will participate in the Local Government (LG) election slated for February 11, 2017.

The State Chairman of IPAC, Mr Umar Kukuri, made the disclosure during an interview with reporters in Damaturu, Yobe State’s capital, in northeast Nigeria.

Mr Kukuri said: “The seven political parties have already conducted their various primary elections in which their respective candidates have emerged, submitted to the State Independent Electoral Commission (SIEC) and screened by the electoral commission”.

The seven parties are PDC, SDP, CPP, ACD, APC, NCP and MPPP.

The IPAC Chairman hinted that campaigns had commenced across the state with political parties canvasing for support ahead of the poll.

He asked SIEC to ensure a free and fair election that would be accepted by all the political parties and observers nationally.

Kukuri also appealed to the political parties to conduct themselves according to the rules of the game and avoid issues that could breach peace in the state before, during and after the election.

He praised security operatives in the state for ensuring peace in the previous elections and urged them to maintain the same tempo during the imminent poll.

Hitch Free Election

The chairman further commended the Yobe State government for conducting the election despite the security threat poised by the Boko Haram insurgents.

“The council wishes to appreciate the Yobe State government for promoting democracy throughout the conduct of the local government election.

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“It is noteworthy that the Yobe State government had consistently conducted LG elections in spite of security challenges faced by the state. While states without such challenges failed to conduct LG elections, the council elections are being conducted in Yobe.

“As democrats and proud citizens of the state, it is to the credit of the state government that the council elections of 2015 encouraged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to conduct the 2015 general elections in the northeast region that was bedevilled by serious security challenges,” he said.

Mr Kukuri assured the people of the state that IPAC would work with all the participating political parties to ensure a hitch-free election.

The last time Yobe State held an LG election was in 2014 at the heat of the Boko Haram insurgency.

Lawmakers Blame Poor Policy, Coordination for IDPs Crisis

The National Assembly says the current crisis in the management of Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs in Nigeria is a fallout from poor policy thrusts from government and absence of proper coordination of stakeholders in the sector.

The Chairman, House Committee on IDPs Refugees and Initiatives on the Northeast, Rep Sani Zorro, said this while speaking with journalists in Osogbo, the Osun state capital.

Zorro said that proper coordination has been discovered to be missing in the operations and management of the IDP camps which has opened doors for an all-comers affairs in the sector.

This, he said, has resulted to negative activities which has placed the country in bad perception globally.

According to Zoro “if policies were to be available, that policy would have clearly spelled out the roles, responsibilities and obligations of state institutions, nongovernmental organisations and so on.

“That will make it easier for everybody to operate within the space available; but now it is free for all, there is no coordination, and there is no communication among all the actors in the humanitarian Sector.”

He believes “there is also no effective collaboration among agencies of government and that is why you hear about abuses in the camp, you hear about corruption like diversion of food items meant for IDPs”.

“We have investigated and visited camps to ascertain the extent of this unfortunate situation.

“The recent report by Human Rights Watch which says there are cases of rape, unwanted pregnancies and general abuses of displaced persons, especially women, now I have read the report very carefully and I endorsed it but there are some explanations that need to be tendered, which probably the Human Rights Watch didn’t consider.‎

“Peculiarities in terms of culture and tradition need to be taken into account. What can constitute an abuse in one country may not be considered so in some other environment because of the tradition,” he said.

He, however, affirmed that steps would be taken on revising the security and operational setups across the IDP camps.

“They have taken their time to investigate. We have not only recognised the content of the report, we are working hard to address them,‎” he said.

FG Approves 5.5 Billion Naira For Healthcare In Northeast

northeast, primary healthcare, inadequate facilities, challengesThe Federal Government through the Ministry of Health has approved the sum of 5.5 billion naira to Borno and four other states in the northeast for the implementation of its ‘Saving One Million Lives’ initiative.

The Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole, stated this in a meeting with health officials from Adamawa, Taraba, Borno, Bauchi and Gombe states at the strategy planning meeting to prepare grounds for the implementation of the initiative.

The programme, which targets one million vulnerable Nigerians, is designed to improve access to primary healthcare and decrease maternal mortality and morbidity.

The ‘Saving One Million Lives’ programme is an elaborate scheme to expand access to essential primary healthcare services for women and children, launched by Nigeria’s ex-president, Dr. GoodLuck Jonathan, in 2015.

The Minister of Health said that the ‘Saving One Million Lives’ scheme will be used to evaluate the performance of the health sector in each of the states.

According to the Minister, the Federal Government would also provide drugs worth 1.2 billion naira to Borno State while the Presidential Task Force addresses urgent issues relating to health, environment and water.

Each component of the initiative the Minister said has the budget of 4.3 billion naira which has already been approved.

The Minister, however, emphasized the need to utilize the resources on intended purpose as agreed upon in the meeting, threatening that any state that falls below the expected performance will not benefit from subsequent disbursements.

Saraki Seeks Support To End Malnutrition In North-East

Bukola-Saraki-on-BudgetNigeria’s Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, is calling for more support from Nigerians and members of the international community to tackle the issue of child malnutrition in internally displaced persons (IDPs) camps in the northeast.

The Senate President made the appeal during a meeting with representatives of 32 IDPs’ camps located in the Federal Capital Territory.

He said that the Senate is ready to ensure that resources meant for the IDPs get to the intended beneficiaries rather than being diverted for selfish purposes.

He also assured those gathered that the adhoc committee recently constituted by the Senate on the diversion of funds and aids meant for IDPs would not stop at identifying the problems but would also outline solutions going forward.

Diversion Of Funds

Just a week earlier, the Nigerian Senate launched an investigation into the utilisation of funds allocated to the Presidential Initiative on North East.

The lawmakers, who said the probe was to ameliorate the conditions of the IDPs affected by the insurgency, constituted an ad-hoc committee at their first legislative proceedings for the week.

They expressed concern that funds appropriated to the committee for the displaced persons have been allegedly used to take care of other interests.

The legislators also resolved to investigate the purported diversion of grains and other food items from the strategic grains reserve, the National Emergency Management Agency and other sources for the IDPs.

They asked the committee to ascertain how much has been released to the committee and how the funds have been utilised from inception till date.

The Senate noted that the displaced persons had fled their homes as a result of the Boko Haram insurgency and were living in camps scattered across the northern part of Nigeria.

They were sad that despite the fact that the insurgency victims lost their loved ones and all their property, they were contending with horrific living conditions in their various camps.

 

Insurgency: Nigeria Begins Reconstruction Of Buni-Yadi In Yobe

Buni-Yadi, YobeThe Presidential Initiatives for North East Nigeria in collaboration with the Yobe State government on has added impetus to the reconstruction work in devastated communities in the State.

Some residents sacked from their homes in Buni-Yadi area in the heat of terrorists activities in the state received succour, as they were handed some building materials.

The development is aimed at aiding the rebuilding of destroyed houses in the community.

Buni-Yadi is the capital of Gujba Local Government Area which at the heat of the Boko Haram insurgency, suffered severe destruction.

Residents of the community have been taking refuge in Damaturu, the state’s capital and some neighbouring communities in and around the state in northeast Nigeria.

As reconstruction gets underway following the restoration of relative peace in troubled communities, Buni Yadi stands out in the rebuilding process, even though some surrounding communities equally suffered destruction of public and private structures as well as facilities.


The Resettlement Sub-committee Chairman, Mohammed Lamin, revealed that the building materials conveyed to the liberated town to be shared to the returnees include: 9,850 bundles of Zinc, 700 bags of cement and 300 bags of nails.

Lamin, who believed that the materials would bring succour to the returnees, expressed hope that it would be shared evenly based on the level of destruction.

Receiving the materials, a member of the House of Assembly from the area, Representative Bulama Bukar, appreciated the government’s gesture.

He said it would go a long way in aiding the rebuilding of the devastated community.

Mr Bukar lauded the government and various organisations for their frequent provision of food and relief materials to the displaced persons.

Northeast Insurgency: U.S. To Assist Nigeria Develop Security Plan

Alan Tousignant, U.S., Nigeria, SecurityThe United States government has pledged to help the Federal Government develop a civilian security plan and enhance emergency response in Nigeria’s northeast region.

The U.S. acting Deputy Chief of Mission, Mr Alan Tousignant, said that the assistance would be in the form of technical support.

He made the promise at a meeting with Nigeria’s Minister of Interior, Lieutenant General Abdulrahman Dambazau (Rtd), held in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory on Monday.


Mr Tousignant explained further that the technical assistance was part of the security governance initiative of the U.S. government.

General Dambazau, on his part, stated that the partnership would not include the provision of equipment for troops in the northeast.

PDP Crisis: Reconciliation Committee Presents Recommendations To Sheriff

Ali Modu Sheriff, PDP, Jerry GanaThe reconciliation committee of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) says it is making frantic efforts to reunite aggrieved members of the party.

The reunion is part of efforts to put things in place ahead of the proposed PDP national convention.

The Chairman of the reconciliation committee, Professor Jerry Gana, was briefing journalists after a meeting with the Senator Ali Modu Sheriff’s faction of the party on Friday in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.

He says the committee hopes to reconcile all warring factions before the party’s convention.

Professor Gana hinted that the committee had presented its recommendations to Senator Sheriff’s faction and expressed optimism that it would promote reconciliation if implemented.

At a separate meeting with party members from the northeast, Gombe State Governor, Ibrahim Dankwambo, asked members to be cautious of the decisions to be taken by various leaders of the party to avoid plunging it into another round of crisis.

The PDP Youth Leader in Kaduna State, Ahmed Maiyaki and federal lawmaker, Tony Nwulu, insisted that the youths be carried along in the process.

The party has been struggling with its leadership crisis since it lost the presidential elections in 2015.


In May, some members of the party at a convention in Port Harcourt removed Senator Sheriff as its Chairman and set up a caretaker committee led by Senator Ahmed Makarfi.

After, his removal, Senator Sheriff continued to carry himself as the leader of the party, insisting that a court order had nullified the convention that led to his removal.

The situation brought a divide in the party, that led to the setting up of the reconciliation committee by the PDP Board of Trustee saddled with the responsibility of reconciling the factions.

Senator Sheriff is expected to study the recommendations of the committee ahead of a bigger meeting with the contending factions before the proposed convention.

Defence Chief Advocates Stronger Military And Media Synergy

Defence Chief, Gabriel OlonisakinThe Chief of Defence Staff, General Gabriel Olonisakin, has called for a better synergy between the military and the media in the interest of national security.

General Olonisakin made the appeal on Thursday in Abuja while giving a speech on “constructive reportage as an important ingredient for national security and integration”.

He advocated more cordial relationship between the military and the media, as a panacea to building the bridge between the civilian populace and the military to strengthen national security.

The Defence Chief said that although the military and the media play different roles and may see things differently, all parties must be responsive to the overriding task of nation building and security.

He also touched on the ongoing war against terror in northeast Nigeria, which he said is being won, but requires more commitment from all Nigerians.

The Minister of Defence, Mr Mansur Dan-Ali, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Mr Danjuma Sheni, also solicited for increased support for the military from the civil populace.

Reps, Army Disagree Over Closed Roads In Nigeria’s Northeast

House of Representatives, Army, roads, northeast, NigeriaThe House of Representatives and the Nigerian Army have disagreed over the continued closure of roads in some liberated towns in the nation’s northeast.

The contention between the Theatre Commander of the counter-insurgency war tagged “Operation Lafiya Dole”, Major General Lucky Irabor and the House Defence Committee was voiced on Monday during a visit to the theatre command in Maiduguri, Borno State’s capital.

The seven-man committee led by Honourable Aliyu Isa said that their visit was part of a resolution of the House to investigate repeated complaints and petitions by members of the public in the region.

Mr Isa told General Irabor that while the National Assembly was in support of the military, there were concerns about operational modules and the failure to reopen closed roads, especially the Gwoza-Madagali road linking Borno and Adamawa states.

“We are here to investigate the continued closure of Madagali-Gwoza road, unlike other roads that the military has reopened.

“This is one of the major roads. The northeast has been closed down and a lot of people have been sending complains to the House, appealing to us to request the military to help reopen the roads for users,” Isa stated.

Critical, Realistic And Factual Motions

However, the Theatre Commander cautioned the lawmakers against making resolutions based on mere complaints and petitions.

He requested that they should visit the areas in question and obtain firsthand information, before championing the cause.NigerianArmy10

“Your investigation wouldn’t be complete without seeing the facts for yourselves. We have opened that road unofficially and life is already returning to Gwoza.

“And it’s not because people are complaining. We are not moved by complaints but rather the situation we find ourselves in,” Irabor stated.

The Army officer added that: “If there was a motion that was raised on the floor of the House, as lawmakers, one is at liberty to move such motions but I think what’s more critical is that motions should be moved from informed positions (and) not from perception or long distance assumptions.

“It must be critical, realistic and factual giving accurate positions as they are”.

General Irabor explained that the level of efforts that had gone into creating a secured environment for people to return to their homes at that part of the counter-terrorism operation informed partial opening of the road for humanitarian activities and returning displaced persons.

Some parts of Gwoza are reportedly home to the outlawed Boko Haram group and over the weekend, mourners were targeted for an attack in nearby Madagali Local Council of Adamawa State.

Northern Governors Urge FG To Restore Civil Authority In North East

Northern GovernorsNorthern Governors in Nigeria have commended President Muhammadu Buhari and the military for the effort they have put in bringing the Boko Haram insurgency in the north east to an end.

At the meeting of the Northern State Governors Forum in Kaduna on Friday, the governors, while expressing satisfaction with the ongoing war against the terrorists, appealed to President Buhari to restore civil authority to the affected areas in order to ensure the safe return of Internally Distanced Persons to their communities.

They expressed concern over the frequent clashes between farmers and herdsmen in North West and North Central states that have left several people dead and properties worth millions of naira destroyed.

Chairman of the forum and Governor of Borno State, Kashim Shettima, who briefed reporters at the commencement of the meeting, stressed the need for an effective collaboration with security agencies in order to address the situation and other security challenges confronting the region over the years.

He also appealed to members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria also known as Shiites to appear before the Judicial Commission of Inquiry investigating the December 12, 2015 violent clash between them and soldiers in Zaria, Kaduna state.

According to him, by appearing before the commission, the Shiites will have the opportunity of stating their side of what happened during the incident.

The governors commended the Federal Government for its intervention in the Agatu crisis in Benue State by deploying security forces to the affected areas.

During the meeting, the governors will also discuss the Boko Haram insurgency in the north east, the socio- economic challenges confronting the region and how they can addressed them.

In attendance at the meeting were governors of Kaduna, Borno, Zamfara, Kwara, Kano, Katsina, Sokoto, Adamawa among others.