Joseph Akanimo and Collins Chima
The activities of Boko Haram insurgency in North-Eastern Nigeria left that part of the country in a dire situation of humanitarian crisis, occasioned by the destruction of infrastructure, social services, economic activities, community and family living and the general loss of lives and property.
Especially moved by the plight of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), the government in October 2016, set up the Presidential Committee on the North-East Initiative (PCNI), with the primary mandate of coordinating various interventions towards the rehabilitation of the region.
Styled “The Buhari Plan”, PCNI since inception has been stabilizing the socio-economic system of the North-East, as well as the return and resettlement of displaced persons, thereby achieving peace, stability and long term sustainable economic development of the region.
As part of its efforts to rehabilitate communities in the North East devastated by the insurgency, PCNI and the African Development Bank (AFDB) are jointly conducting a multi-sectoral recovery proje
The centerpiece of the project is the reconstruction of the Government Girls Secondary School. Some 276 female students of GGSS, Chibok, were infamously abducted by insurgents in 2013. The rebuilding of the school commenced later that year as the flagship of the Safe Schools Initiative (SSI).
Following the absorption of the SSI by PCNI, the Chibok project has been prioritized as one of the showpieces of the recovery and rehabilitation effort. The project’s other components include improved security arrangements for the school premises, psycho-social support and counselling programmes and the enhancement of the security architecture in the Chibok community.
Under the Safe Schools Initiative Student Transfer Programme, about 2,000 students have been relocated from high-risk areas in the North-East to 43 federal unity colleges in other zones in the North. PCNI has also handed over 26 rehabilitated schools to state governments in the North East.
The PCNI has been carrying out advocacy outreaches to high-value stakeholders and partners, aimed at securing their buy-in and participation in the vast mobilization of human and material resources ongoing in the North East.
These outreaches have been successful in bringing together state and non-state actors. Listening is a big part of PCNI’s mission; thus, as part of its broader public engagement, PCNI also conducts stakeholder forums focused on the people in targeted communities, with the aim of getting them to articulate their perspectives on pressing challenges requiring intervention.
Working with delivery partners, PCNI has conducted a Viral Hepatitis Vaccination Campaign that has screened and treated over 5, 000 people so far. With this programme, it ultimately targets 30, 000 people spread across the six states of the North-East, with a capacity building campaign for health workers.
So far, the PCNI is living up to its billing, as a result of the effective and result oriented leadership spearheaded by Gen. T.Y. Danjuma. Although a lot is still expected of them, it is clear that the interventions by the Initiative is already achieving high level results towards the return of succor and enthronement of a new socio-economic order in the ravished North-East region.