‘We can’t celebrate peace until IDPs return home’
• Dogara appeals for patience on economic recession
Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has said that the nation cannot be classified as peaceful until Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) return to their homes.Atiku spoke at the 20th anniversary of the creation of Gombe State at Pantami Township Stadium at the weekend.
He said complete peace could only be achieved when displaced persons in the North East and other troubled areas return to their homes and businesses.
“There will be complete peace when hospitals and markets reopen. There will be complete peace when children and women are no longer malnourished or when people are no longer in fear or traumatised,” he said.
He said for peace to be sustained in the region, the level of poverty, illiteracy and unemployment must be treated as a national emergency.Atiku lamented the slow pace of development in the region. He urged the government to set targets with definite timelines to achieve results in the area.
Also, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, appealed to Nigerians to be patient, assuring that the Federal Government is making efforts to address the current economic recession.
The Speaker commended the people of Gombe for justifying the creation of the state through the development witnessed. He urged them to sustain the achievements.
In a keynote address, the state governor, Alhaji Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo said the dream of the founding fathers of Gombe had come through with the remarkable physical and socio-economic transformation in the state, which began from the first military administrator in 1996, Group Captain Joseph Orji (rtd.) to the current administration.
The event was attended by factional leaders of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Ali Modu Sheriff and Ahmed Makarfi, former governors Muazu Babangida Aliyu, Sule Lamido, Jolly Nyame and other dignitaries.
Meanwhile, following widespread starvation and disease plaguing internally displaced people, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has revised its humanitarian appeal for Nigeria from $55 million to $115 million to assist an additional 750,000 people in conflict-affected areas in the North East of the country.
UNICEF’s Director of Emergency Programmes, Afshan Khan said: “We are reaching new areas to provide critical humanitarian assistance, but we need greater international support to further scale up and reach all children in dire need.”