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Osinbajo inaugurates committees on rehabilitation of displaced Nigerians

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As part of plans to ensure safe return of Nigerians displaced by the insurgency in the North-East from Cameroon, Niger and Chad, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, on Monday inaugurated three committees to drive the process.

There are over 3.2 million displaced Nigerians scattered over West Africa, including over 2.9 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) in north-eastern Nigeria.

Of the figures, over 900,000 IDPs are currently residing in Cameroon, Chad and Niger, while 304,000 are refugees in the four countries.

Osinbajo, while inaugurating the committee on Monday at the first meeting of the Presidential Committee on the Repatriation, Returns and Resettlement of Displaced Persons in the North-East, urged members to carry out the assignment with every sense of urgency, noting that 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 then urged the committee to deal “with this task as an emergency”.

“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,” he said.

Osinbajo noted that while the committee will 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 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,” he added.

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The Vice President assured that governments at both federal and state levels will work in conjunction with other stakeholders to ensure a hitch-free repatriation exercise, noting that “there is no reason why we cannot return our citizens to their homes.”

The vice president then 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 was inaugurated by President Muhammadu Buhari on February 2, 2022 with Osinbajo as Chairman and Governor Babagana Zulum of Borno State as Vice Chairman.

The Committee has Babagana Zulum; his counterpart from Gombe State, Muhammad Yahaya; the deputy governor of Yobe State, Idi Gubana; and the Chief of Staff to the President, Ibrahim Gambari, as members.

Other members of the committee present include the Ministers of Justice, Abubakar Malami; Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama; Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Farouq; Defence, Bashir Magashi and National Security Adviser, Babagana Monguno.
Others included the Chief of Defence Staff,. Lucky Irabor; Inspector General of Police, Alkali Baba; Director-General, State Security Service, Yusuf Bichi; Chief of Defence Intelligence Agency, Samuel Adebayo; and the representative of the Director-General, National Intelligence Agency, Ahmed Abubakar.