How to rehabilitate the North East
SIR: President Muhammadu Buhari has indicated that his government will soon inaugurate a committee for the rehabilitation of the Boko Haram-ravaged North East, Nigeria. This is a good move. Unveiling comprehensive and feasible post-war programmes and projects to restore communities to their pre-war peaceful and productive conditions is what most people in the northeast are expecting from the federal and state governments.
Furthermore, people of the northeast are hopeful that the committee will have powerful individuals who can use their influence to drive the rehabilitation process. But the committee should not just be made up of powerful individuals but also people with a passion for the rehabilitation of the war-ravaged northeast.
As the military is winning the war, the ideal step to take next is the application of soft approach to winning wars – programmes and projects to tackle the original factors that facilitated the growth of Boko Haram and helped the group in its recruitments and indoctrinations i.e. abject poverty, illiteracy and the absence of employment opportunities in these states.
The proposed committee should coordinate funding and execution of projects and programmes to help in the restoration of basic infrastructure, integration of lives and livelihood of the people, the quick rehabilitation of farmlands, the local economy, places of worship, health-centres, bridges, boreholes, schools, etc. Efforts should also be made to create productive employment for the teeming unemployed citizens and those engaged in unproductive-manual jobs.
Any plans for the Northeast has to be tied to agriculture which is the easiest way to touch and re-integrate the people in the region. The committee, working in tandem with NGOs and states government, should identify the most affected communities, rehabilitate and also provide them with basic infrastructure that was hitherto not available in the communities.
The Borno State governor, Kasim Shettima’s efforts in rebuilding communities through the ministry charged with reconstruction, rehabilitation and resettlement of communities affected by Boko Haram insurgency is an excellent model to copy.
• Zayyad Muhammad ,
Jimeta, Adamawa State,