Oscar Chukwugekwu, Abuja
The Senate President, Senator Abubakar Bukola Saraki, has made a cash donation of N10 million in support of the upkeeps of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Borno State.
This is even as Saraki also assured the people of North-East that the entire country is solidly behind them in this time of trial.
Saraki, who spoke when he led a delegation of the Senate on Monday on a one-day on the spot assessment of the security situation in Borno State, said: “We have come to feel your pains, to hear what you have been going through firsthand. To seek to understand the severe bloody struggle you have had to endure and go through emotionally, physically, financially and in many other ways, which can hardly be put in words.”
Saraki, who also led the team, in company of the Governor of Borno State, Alhaji Kassim Shettima, to pay homage to the Shehu of Borno, Alhaji Abubakar Ibn Umar Garbai El-Khanemi, assured the people that the Senate would do all in its power to ensure that life returns to the State and the zone.
Saraki later visited the IDPs camps located at the Umaru Shehu College of Education in Maiduguri and the Government College Maiduguri with over 4,000 displaced persons.
The delegation also visited the Dalori IDPs Camp housing over 18,000 displaced persons from Bama Local Government of the state.
He said that the resolution of the Senate to send him to lead a high-powered delegation of senators was a demonstration of the commitment of the Upper Chamber to find a lasting solution to the plight of people in the North-East.
“We have come to sit with you and listen to you and hopefully together work out solutions that would significantly change your situation for the better. We believe that after this visit your situation will not be the same again.
“The mission of our visit is simple; we have come to bring you hope and to let you know that the Nigerian Senate has not abandoned you and real change is coming. We are determined to end this carnage, this senselessness and sorrowful war. We are determined to defeat Boko Haram.
“The Nigerian Senate and indeed the National Assembly is willing to support you and your families to ensure that your lives return to normal. We could not in good conscience talk to you from Abuja. No. This new senate would rather come here and this is why we are here.
“We stand with you against Boko Haram and everything that stands against your security and against your welfare. We stand together with our dear President, Muhammadu Buhari whose singular devotion to ending these senseless killings gives us greater belief that together we will win the war.
“Our President has continued to work night and day to bring this evil of Boko Haram to a permanent end, and we reiterate our resolve to ensure that together we succeed. We stand with our troops, and will in the coming days show them that this new Senate will do all that is within its powers of authorisation and approvals, support them and provide for them the necessary funding and oversight that will guarantee that they defeat thus insurgency.
“The 8th Senate has made the security and welfare of our people priority number one on its agenda. We are very conscious of the level of carnage and destruction that has been wrought on the people here.
“We will be working closely with our counterparts in the House of Representatives to make sure that we rebuild the economy of the North-East. We will not rest on our oars until normalcy is returned to this troubled region,” he said.
While welcoming the Senate President and his team, Shettima, who spoke in emotion-laden voice, stated that the visit was historic and unprecedented.
“I would like to express my sincere and profound welcome to the Senate President and our respected and distinguished senators over this official visit to Borno State, which is the first of its kind by any Senate President since the advent of civilian administration in 1999. This is a clear manifestation of your concern for the plight of the people of the North-East region and Borno State in particular,” he stated.
He observed that there are 26 IDPs camps in Maiduguri aside those in Cameroon, Chad, Niger and other states in the country.
He urged the National Assembly to pass a bill that would create the North-East Development Commission to handle the issue of reconstruction, rehabilitation and resettlement of the IDPs and provide employment for the youths as was done to the Niger Deltans.
On his part, El-Knenemi called for more support to flush out the insurgents from the North-East and to achieve rehabilitation, empowerment of the IDPs and urgent restoration of power supply to the area.
He said that over two million IDPs are currently being sheltered in Maiduguri alone.
“The people of Borno State view this day and this visit as most apt and most significant. I have no doubt in my mind about the seriousness of this administration to putting a permanent end to this senseless bloodletting and madness of a few misguided elements, who hide under the canopy of Islam to perpetuate this heinous crime against innocent and defenceless citizens.
“The action of these criminals are completely at variance with the tenets of Islam. Borno has seen the worst of this insurgency and the problem is still there rearing its head with its attendant bloodletting and carnage.
“The measures so far taken by this administration have rekindled our hope for a better and more secured future. We hope your coming to see the IDPs will translate into a more robust legislative action that will bring about safety, security and succour to our people,” Shettima stated.
Other members of the Senate delegation include: Senate Majority Leader, Senator Ali Ndume; Deputy Chief Whip, Senator Francis Alimikhena; Senator Danjuma Goje, Senator Bukar Abba Ibrahim, Senator Hassan Mohammed, Senator Abubakar Kyari and the Chief of Staff to the Senate President, Senator Isa Galaudu.
The Senate delegation was received by Shettima, at the Government House, after welcoming the team at the Maiduguri International Airport at 12:10 p.m.
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