North-east: Presidential C’ttee Begins Work, Says $9bn Lost to Boko Haram Destruction


Buhari to launch strategic framework N12 billion appropriated, FG releases N10.5 billion
Probing diversion of funds, relief materials not our mandate, says committee

Paul Obi in Abuja
The Presidential Committee on North-east Initiative (PCNI) on Thursday commenced work on the rehabilitation of the region following its destruction by Boko Haram insurgency.

According to the committee, a substantial amount of resources estimated at $9 billion had been lost to the destruction of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa States and other states within the region by Boko Haram insurgents.

The committee further explained that a strategic framework which has been developed through a document would be launched very soon by President Muhammadu Buhari, his pet project, in line with his determination to rebuild the region.

The Vice Chairman of PCNI, Tijani Tumsah, told journalists in Abuja at a press briefing that the mandate of the committee is to harness resources in the rehabilitation and provision of humanitarian intervention in order to bring about succour to victims ravaged by the insurgency.

According to Tumsah, “The focus of the meeting was to discuss the mandate given to PCNI  to arrange a way that would be most direct in terms of delivery of that mandate; analyse the enormity of the task and fulfill the presidential mandate to deliver succour to the people of the region.”

Conversely, he stated that the committee was not given the mandate to investigate and prosecute the people who allegedly participated in the diversion of relief items meant for victims of insurgency in the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camp.

Tumsah said: “We are not investigating anybody; there are people who are investigating such diversions. I’m glad you mentioned the Senate, House of Representatives, police and EFCC. Our mandate, going forward, is to provide strategic framework of implementation of all interventions going on in the North-east in terms of humanitarian, resettlement and eventual rebuilding of the North-east.

“In terms of the cost, there is an immediate, short term and long term view. The entire rebuilding of the North-east, of course, will keep changing. But we do know that a substantial amount of resources has been lost to destruction put at over $9 billion value of resources in terms of destruction.

“We are going to channel this strategic framework through a document that we have developed that is going to be launched very soon. It is the plan of President Buhari for the rebuilding of the North-east. That is the strategic implementation going forward.”

Speaking against the backdrop of the funds earmarked for the rebuilding of the region, Tumsah said it was donated for a particular purpose – rehabilitation of victims of terrorism.

“The PCNI will oversee that programme and it is a key component of our intervention,” he emphasised.
Another member of the committee representing the Senate, Ali Ndume, stressed that its members were representatives of the North-east caucus, because of the peculiarities and the objectives for which PCNI was set up.

He said: “It is our constitutional responsibility to back the course, especially in terms of appropriation. We have earlier on appropriated N12 billion. So far, I think N10.5 billion have been released out of that money.

“In fact, it is in view of the situation of the mandate that are so divergent and are not really achieving that the government is so worried to get through that gave birth to the presidential committee.
“As the vice chairman said, that is what led to the collapse of the three committees; we are here to form the committee. We are to give it the constitutional backing.”