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Repatriation of displaced Nigerians to North East urgent assignment – Osinbajo

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo says the safe return of Nigerians displaced by the insurgency in the North-East from Cameroon, Niger, and Chad will be treated as an emergency assignment.

Yemi Osinbajo PHOTO: Twitter/ Babafemi Oretuyi

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo says the safe return of Nigerians displaced by the insurgency in the North-East from Cameroon, Niger and Chad will be treated as an emergency assignment.

Osinbajo’s spokesman, Laolu Akande in a statement, said the vice president chaired the first meeting of the Presidential Committee on the Repatriation, Returns and Resettlement of Displaced Persons in the North-East on Monday at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

The committee was inaugurated by President Muhammadu Buhari on Feb. 2 with Osinbajo as Chairman and Gov. Babagana Zulum of Borno as Vice Chairman.

The meeting also had in attendance, Gov. Inuwa Yahaya of Gombe, the deputy governor of Yobe, Alhaji Idi Gubana and Chief of Staff to the President, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, and members of the Federal Executive Council, among others.

Osinbajo urged members to carry out the assignment with every sense of urgency.

He said the president wanted a committee with wide representation in order to be inclusive, and to be able to deliver, taking to account all the issues.

The vice president implored the committee to deal with the task as an emergency.

Osinbajo said that while the committee would work with existing frameworks in the management of the issues, ongoing efforts to facilitate the return of displaced persons to their communities must continue unhindered.

“We simply don’t have the time to get into too much bureaucracy so that we are able to deliver on all of the issues.

“We should immediately do whatever it takes to commence the process of repatriating our people back home.

“Already there are several initiatives; we need to deal with all of that working as quickly as possible to achieve the terms of reference and of course, ensure that all other initiatives continue to run in the way that they are designed to run.”

Osinbajo assured that governments at both Federal and state levels would work in conjunction with other stakeholders to ensure hitch-free repatriation.

“There is no reason why we cannot return our citizens to their homes,” he said.

He directed the secretariat to commence work on constituting three technical working groups on the work plan, repatriation exercise and rehabilitation of repentant Boko Haram combatants.

The committee will meet later to assess progress.

Other members of the committee present at the meeting included the Ministers of Justice, Abubakar Malami, Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajiya Sadiya Umar Farouq and Defence, Maj. – Gen. Bashir Magashi (retired).

Others were the National Security Adviser, Maj. – Gen. Babagana Monguno (retired), Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Lucky Irabor, Inspector General of Police, Usman Alkali Baba and Director-General, State Security Service, Yusuf Bichi.

Chief of Defence Intelligence Agency, Maj.- Gen. Samuel Adebayo and the representative of the Director-General, National Intelligence Agency, Ahmed Rufai Abubakar also attended.

More so, the North-East Development Commission and the National Commission for Refugees, Migration and Internally Displaced Persons were represented.