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FG unfolds N92.2 billion Marshall Plan for N’ East

By Njadvara Musa (Maiduguri) Karls Tsokar (Abuja) and Nnamdi Akpa (Abakaliki)
28 October 2015   |   3:12 am
The critical intermediate plan is for the over two million Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).

IDPs Adamawa• To unveil national strategy for strategic communications
• Deadline in anti-terror war not necessary, says Gowon

THE Federal Government yesterday unfolded North East Marshall Plan (NEMAP) on the short, intermediate and long term interventions in economic reconstruction, development and emergency assistance at projected total budgetary expenditure of N92 .2 billion for the sub-region.

The critical intermediate plan is for the over two million Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs). The long-term implementation of NEMAP will also cost N116.4 billion in addressing the needs of non-returning IDPs in the affected states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa.

And in a bid to finally put to rest the Boko Haram narrative, the Federal Government has developed and will soon unveil a strategic national communication plan to counter the ideology and teaching of the terror outfit and other such groups.

This was made known yesterday in Abuja by the National Security Adviser (NSA), Maj.-Gen. Babagana Monguno (rtd), at a two-day “Counter Violent Extremism (CVE)-Media Roundtable; Reporting Responsibly on Violent Extremism.” It is organised by the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) in collaboration with the European Union Technical Assistance to Nigeria’s Evolving Security Challenges (EUTANS) team.

Monguno, represented by the Deputy Director of CTC, Office of the NSA, Ahmad Gusau, stated that the National Strategy for Strategic Communication (NSSC), a validation workshop on the draft was held in June 2015 and contributions of the various departments of government and other stakeholders are being integrated before the document would be approved and unveiled, and “has as one of its six focus areas, the relationship between government and the media.”

Meanwhile, former Head of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon yesterday, said the Federal Government’s December deadline to stop the activities of Boko Haram in the North East was not necessary since no one could say with certainty when such operations may end.
Strategy against B’Haram propaganda coming

Delivering a paper at the Media Roundtable on: “The Fundamental Responsibility of the Press is to Disseminate Information: ‘Patriotism’ is Relative,” Editor of The Guardian, Martins Oloja, said the consciousness of the practitioners regarding the truth and the concept of patriotism within the framework of national interest should prevail over individual or personal interest.

He said: “Journalists have become lapdogs instead of watchdogs as enshrined in Chapter 2 of the constitution.

“Three elements are necessary to keep the media relevant. They are credibility, consistency and context. The people must know the truth. Journalists in the whole world are the most patriotic professionals in the world.”

Safiya Muhammad Adamu, Chairman, Editorial Board of Leadership Newspapers, who spoke on “The possibility of patriotic reporting,” said the media practitioners should put human interest ahead of any other.

Besides, other contributors insisted that the obligation of the journalists to national interests should supersede individual interest and must not be defined within the context of human interest alone.

Gowon, who spoke to journalists in Abakaliki, the Ebonyi State capital shortly after an advocacy visit to the Governor, Chief Dave Umahi on Roll Back Malaria, stated that the war against Boko Haram insurgency may not end by December as promised since “nobody can really talk about when any particular military operation was going to end.”

In another development, the United States of America (U.S.A) yesterday condemned “the horrific and indiscriminate attacks at the Jambutu Mosque in Yola, Adamawa State, the Central Mosque of Polo Ward in Maiduguri, Borno State, and other locations in Maiduguri on October 23 and 24, 2015.”

A statement signed by the John Kirby, the spokesman of the Department of State, said the U.S. offered its deepest sympathies to the victims’ families, criticised Boko Haram’s indiscriminate use of young girls and children as suicide bombers. “We offer our deepest sympathies and condolences to the families and loved ones of the many innocent civilians who were killed and injured,’ Kirby said in a statement distributed by the Africa Press Organisation (APO).

“The apparent use of children—particularly young girls—to commit these attacks is especially heinous, and it provides yet more examples of the horrific measures Boko Haram is willing to take to terrorise civilians in Northeast Nigeria and the Lake Chad Basin region.” the U.S. Department of State said.
Plan to address crisis in region

Presenting the Marshall Plan yesterday in Maiduguri at the Government House Multi-Purpose Hall, the Presidential Committee on North East Interventions (PCNI) led by Mohammed Danjuma disclosed that the Federal Government is strongly determined to comprehensively address the crisis in the region.

His words: “The North East Emergency Assistance and Economic
Stabilisation programmes are designed to deliver restorative and palliative services to displaced people, vulnerable persons and the most affected households in the need of assistance. This marshal plan or programme has five main components and will last up to 24 months.

He listed the programmes to be fully implemented by accelerating relief programme, and the fast tracking of all federal projects in the affected North East sub-region of the country.

“Other slated various programmes under NEMAP, included comprehensive relief assistances, social assistances, education revitalisation and productive works programme.

Citing productive works in the affected communities of the region, he said: “The total budget for the comprehensive short term plan of the marshal plan will cost the Federal Government the sum of N33.12 billion; while comprehensive relief to also cost N52.8 billion.

“Targeted cash transfers, mobile hospitals and medical support to the displaced persons in the various affected communities will also gulp the sum of N6.4 billion.”

He said the mobile containerised schools and the adoption of the school initiative have costed the Federal Government N164 million.
The redevelopment plan for each sector of NEMAP, according to him, was defined by the committee to target specific challenges in the agriculture, health, education, safety and security, infrastructure and job creation sectors of the region’s economy in the next two years.

The United Nations country representative, Mrs Ratizou Ndlovu said that NEMAP requires: “Mountainous sectorial responses that should be fully implemented by various levels of governments, donor agencies and other stakeholders, before the lives of IDPs could be restored in their respective communities.

In his brief remarks, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo said that the Federal Government is ready to engage in the full implementation of the plans and programmes for sub-region.

Gowon happy with military’s exploits against insurgency

The former Head of State while expressing confidence in the military’s renewed efforts in flushing out insurgency in the country, stressed that with the present strategies being adopted, the war against terror could be won soon.

“I am happy with the approaches being taken by the military to flush out the insurgents in the North East though past experiences have shown that no one could be certain when such insurgency would end.”

As a one-time Commander-in-Chief, I know this. Yes, you can have a time frame as target, but it may finish before that time or it may go beyond it. To end insurgency, that to me, is the most important thing.