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Governor Mohammed Abdullahi Abubakar has urged the Presidential Committee on the Northeast Initiative to come up with sustainable development programmes by involving the major stakeholders, especially the political leadership of the Northeast region, in the planning and all reconstruction, rehabilitating and economic recovery efforts of the areas devastated by the activities of Boko Haram insurgency.

Governor Abubakar was quoted in a press release issued by Press Secretary to the governor, Abubakar Al-Sadique, to have told the Vice Chairman of the Presidential Committee on the Northeast Initiative, Alhaji Tijjani Musa Tumsah, that “in planning the intervention programme, the bottom-up approach is the best approach, and the committee needs to treat all states in the region holistically, especially in addressing the root causes of the insurgency which are the same in all the states. We in Bauchi are ready to work and give you feedbacks”.

While lamenting that “illiteracy, lack of economic empowerment are the major causes” exploited to recruit thousands of youths into the Boko Haram insurgency, the governor emphasized that large scale agriculture using water sources to irrigate farmlands would provide easy employment opportunities and eradicate unemployment that provide the chances of youths being manipulated and recruited into banditry.

He stressed that agriculture, which provides employment to about 85% of the region’s population, must be embraced and approached with “seriousness by improving the capacity of our farmers and mechanizing agriculture to increase yields, and emphasized that the committee must invest heavily in that critical sector which he called the “alternative to oil”.

Governor Abubakar also stressed the need for the committee to improve the health infrastructure of the region, noting that the available health centres in the state are being overstretched with the IDPs.

“The health infrastructure of Bauchi state is inadequate because when we came into office in 2015 we had to turn around the sector by constructing 19 new health centres with VIP toilets and staff quarters to reduce hundreds of avoidable infant mortality and other deaths associated with childbirths” and equipped many other health centres in different parts of the state.

He also called on the committee to invest in providing educational institutions destroyed by the insurgency with the necessary infrastructure, because “deficit in infrastructure that are key to development and investments must be made to reverse the negative effects of the insurgency on this sector”.

Governor Abubakar said many parts of the states in the Northeast need to be opened with roads in order to provide access to farm produce cultivated by rural farmers which in turn reduces rural-urban migration.

He pointing out that economic empowerment of youth and women, who form the largest population of region must be pursued “if we hope to stamp out insurgency in the region”.

The governor who observed that successes recorded by the All Progressives Congress in the 2015 elections brought about the successful defeat of Boko Haram insurgency which “the under the previous administration appeared to be hopeless”, commended President Buhari for achieving that feat in less than two years and announced the provision of office accommodation, official car and project vehicles to the zonal office of the PCNI.

The governor expressed happiness that presidential committee has started showing action, saying for meaningful results to be achieved by the committee, much needed to be done, particularly by getting the acceptance and support of all stakeholders, especially the political leadership of the region.

Speaking earlier, Vice Chairman of the Presidential Committee on the Northeast Initiative, Alhaji Tijjani Musa Tumsah, explained that the committee was the apex body constituted to coordinate oversight strategies of the various intervention programmes of the “Buhari plan which gives roadmap for rehabilitation, resettlement and economic recovery” in the Northeast.

Tumsah who noted that “Bauchi has done well to reduce the economic and social hardships of the IDPs”, said the committee was in Bauchi to understand the priority plans of the State so as to “key in to ensure faster economic recovery” of those most devastated by the insurgency and to assess Bauchi state government’s efforts in resettling the internally displaced persons who trooped to the state with the Boko Haram insurgency.