By Senator Iroegbu in Maiduguri
The Federal Government has disclosed that all the goods seized by the Nigerian Customs would be distributed to Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), especially to those returning to the liberated towns in parts of the North East.
The Chairman of the Committee, ACG Sanusi Usman, disclosed this when he led other members to visit the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt-Gen. Tukur Buratai, at the Military Command and Control Centre (MCC), Maiduguri, Borno State.
Usman said that the Committee was constituted to ensure that the materials were well distributed to places where they were needed, particularly to the villages and communities that have witnessed people returning back.
According to him, the aim was to encourage people to return back to the liberated towns and ensure that those who had returned were not in lack of the basic necessities of life.
He said: “It was proposed that all the seized goods should be distributed to the IDPs. The purpose is to ensure that this platform created by Mr. President is well distributed to the affected areas and not only to the IDPs but mostly to the villages so that the people can go back to their villages.
“We have found out from our experience from the visit to Yobe that there is no need in concentrating at the IDPs but mostly to the villages as most of them are increasingly returning to their communities. It’s in this state that many saw the devastation of Boko Haram and were moved.”
“We assure that these products seized will be distributed accordingly as we have done in Adamawa and some to Edo State. In Yobe State we went to Buni Yadi where lives are returning back to normal. Borno State is very significant because we have about 10 border posts,” he added.
Responding, Buratai commended the Federal Government for the “laudable initiative to make this available for the affected people”.
According to him, those that are in need and deprived by Boko Haram of their livelihood would be catered for through the Committee’s efforts.
He noted that the work of the Committee would also be complementary to the operations of the military to bring life back to the liberated areas.
“These are people that have been displaced by Boko Haram for a long time and this approach will help them settle back to their villages”, he said.
This will also assist the military in our operations as when people settle down it will help us to quickly move to the other areas of operation.
“So far the distribution has been going on smoothly and it will encourage people to go back to their hamlets and villages. Also the issues of medical supply will be useful to them as well as building materials that will make them to settle down quickly. I commend President Muhammadu Buhari for all he is doing to ensure that Boko Haram menace is brought to an end,” he said.
Buratai who also flagged off the distribution of relief materials to the IDPs together with the Governor of Borno State, Kashim Shettima, at Bakassi IDP Camp, said everything possible must be done to return the dignity of the internally displaced persons.
He said it had become imperative to do this, to get relief materials to the affected people, adding that the time had come to move from mere rhetorics to actions on the ground,
He added that: “We must move to give our compatriots least of life. What we are given today is a drop in the ocean of needs”
He told the internally displaced persons that: “I would assure you that your wellbeing remain paramount in the mind and plans of government.”
About 40 truckloads of items such as rice, vegetable oil, cartons of soap, second-hand clothes, new clothes, yards of clothes, spaghetti, mosquito coils and sugar were distributed. The items go to all IDPs in Borno and it could be recalled that 22 of the 27 local government areas were severely affected.
In another development, the Defence Headquarters (DHQ) has said that “as a result of ongoing onslaught against the Boko Haram terrorists in Sambisa forest, the terrorist group has now devised a means of identifying themselves”.
The revelation by the Director of Defence Information (DDI), Brig-Gen. Rabe Abubakar, was in-line with the discovery by the Nigerian Army of the existence of uniform used as a means of identification by the terrorists.
Abubakar in a statement yesterday, said that ” Boko Haram now wear uniform to blend among locality undetected where they sadly carry-out their heinous crime”.
He said that the recent apprehension of two Boko Haram terrorists in uniform near Dikwa in Borno State, is a pointer towards this direction
While the military would sustain the current tempo to further decimate the terrorists, he said, the military was advising the recalcitrant remnant Boko Haram to surrender now and get humane treatment in line with the world best practice.
The Defence Spokesman also urged members of the public “to be wary of this new development and be always alert” and that “any suspicious persons or object should be reported promptly to the security agencies”.