Normalcy returns to Maiduguri

Solomon Chung, Maiduguri

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Nigeria’s Information and Culture Minister, Alhaji Lai Mohammed

Nigeria’s Information and Culture Minister, Mr. Lai Mohammed says the return to normalcy in Maiduguri, the Borno state capital came with a deliberate and concrete strategy.

The Minister was speaking at the 9th series of the government town hall meeting which took place on Monday in Maiduguri.

“Nigeria didn’t get to where we are today by accident. Our gallant men and women in uniform have made all the sacrifices, including the supreme sacrifice, to bring us here. Our political and military leaders have shown leadership in getting us here, unlike in the past…,” the Minister stated.

He said Nigeria has come a long way from those days, when boko haram could strike at a place and time of their own.

That time, not even Abuja, the heartland of the nation, was safe from the insurgents’ attacks. Today, boko haram is no longer capable of carrying out coordinated attacks anywhere. All they do now is to engage in cowardly attacks on soft targets. That, in itself, is a sign of weakness,” he explained.

President Buhari charted the path
According to Mr Mohammed, President Muhammadu Buhari clearly and most deliberately charted the path to where we are today.

“In his inaugural speech on May 29, 2015, he gave the nation a roadmap for the defeat of boko haram, which he described as the most immediate of the security challenges facing the nation.”

Post conflict development
Borno state governor, Mr.  Kashim Shettima said the state government was focusing on the issue of post conflict development.

He noted that the state has invested heavily in agriculture, education, mass  housing, and other welfare activities as part of the humanitarian assistance to the plight of the internally displaced persons.

Governor Shettima called on the Nigerian government to render more assistance in various spheres it could.

“We are doing such huge investment because it is a must to do .We have over 54 thousand orphans and if you don’t train them properly, they can be another set to consume the society in the future. So we must give them hope and a better future,” he added.

Political commitment
Nigeria’s  Defence Minister, Mr. Mansur Dan-Ali said the political commitment and support of the President brought about the success in the North East crisis.

He said the Defence Ministry would do everything to sustain what has been achieved so far.

According to him, the welfare of Military personnel is paramount and shall remain so.

Procuring Military Hardware
He added that the authorities were also procuring military hardware from the best possible manufacturers in the most transparent manner without any middle dealings.

Interior Minister Mr. Abdulrahaman Danbazau said his ministry was focusing on how civilian authorities would return to liberated communities so that the military can move to other critical areas.

“Even as we are in the process of returning civil authorities to such areas, there must be a go ahead by the military authorities so that we don’t just return to areas that are still at security risks. So we are going to work with the military in that respect,” Mr Danbazu stated.

Returning Refugees
He explained that the government through his ministry was working out modalities to return refugees from neighboring countries.

He said 80% of refugees in Cameroun are from Borno state and also refugees in other countries in the Lake Chad.

The interior minister added that there were also effort to ensure that such refugees return to meet a viable economic life, shelter and adequate security.

The Minister for State Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed said women are being taken advantaged of in IDP camps and as such, they are working with other partners to put a halt to that and also encourage such victims to speak up.

Fixing broken infrastructure
She said there was the need to fix broken infrastructure in the North East.

She laid more emphasis on the issue of more investments in education, health care, and also human capital development to handle the gap created by the conflict, especially as new infrastructure and new systems are put in place, there must be professionals to control such.

The Chairman Senate Committee on Defence, Senator Abubakar Kyari applauded the achievement of the military but also called on the government to increase funding for the military.

He suggested that the security arrangement should allow farmers and legitimate people to go about their regular legitimate economic activities.

Other speakers representing other parts of the North East shared their thoughts which were all in the same shade of increase funding, the need to rebuild infrastructure, among others.

The Maiduguri Town hall Meeting is the 9th in the series and the second specialised one with the theme “Military and the security agencies.”

Confidence Okwuchi