On the request of President Muhammadu Buhari, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo delivered a message of hope, restoration and comfort to Nigerians affected by the insurgency in the North East when he visited one of the several IDP camps in Maiduguri on Wednesday.
He also told Nigerians displaced by the insurgency that the federal government led by President Buhari will not rest until every one has been resettled back to their homes.
The Vice President, accompanied by the Borno State Governor Kashim Shetimma and the Director General of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Mohammed Sani Sidi, visited the Dalori Camp in the state capital, the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital and the palace of the Shehu of Borno, Alhaji Abubakar Umar Garbai El-Kanemi.
One of the major highlights of his visit was his stop at the Teaching Hospital where he interacted with a number of bomb victims undergoing treatment in the hospital. There he met Aisha Ibrahim, a baby girl who suffered severe burns from a terrorist bomb explosion. Touching the baby girl and comforting the mother Ms. Mariam Ibrahim, Prof Osinbajo promised that plastic surgery would be explored to improve her situation and enhance her recovery.
Speaking at the Dalori camp, one of the 22 camps with over 18,000 IDPs, the VP said the President “out of great concern for the welfare and well being of the very many men, women and children who are in this camp, asked me to come and to join the Governor to see for myself what exactly is going on in the IDP camps.”
Continuing, he said the concern was not just for the IDP camps in Borno State, but all the other states -ie Adamawa and Yobe that have been affected by terrorist acts and insurgency.
“The President is extremely concerned especially about the welfare of the women and children, and of course the displacement of the people in the Northeast and in particular those who are here in Borno State, ” Osinbajo said after touring the camp interacting with the IDPs including men, women and children.
“President Buhari wanted me to go round and have some conversations, and we have tried to do so today. From the brief interactions I have had, it is quite clear there has been a great deal of human suffering, a great deal of trauma, ” the Vice President observed.
According to him, “the work of resettlement involves a great deal. It involves not just taking the people back to where they came from, but rebuilding their homes, rebuilding their markets, and rebuilding their places of worship.”
His visit to the camp, is only the beginning of the process, the VP explained, stressing that “our task has only just started, until every single person who is in a displaced camp is back in their homes, we cannot rest. Until every single child, who is an orphan is taken care of, we cannot rest.”
In order to accomplish the task, Prof Osinbajo noted that the federal government will be partnering with the state governments, development partners, and with the aid workers adding that “all of this, we must do within the shortest possible time, and that is exactly why I am here.”
Briefly hinting on the potential cost and the implications of that for an administration that inherited substantial and huge public debts, the VP stated that the rebuilding “is an enormous task and it involves a lot of money.”
He said, “as you know the administration is grappling with huge debts that the FG owes. In fact as you know, in the past few months, even in order to pay salaries of workers not just in the states but also in the FG, governments have had to look for ways and means to pay those salaries.”
Yet even under those circumstances, Osinbajo assured the IDPs that the federal government “knows that you who are suffering from terrorist acts are even worse off. That is why your matters are priorities to the federal government.”
During the visit he went into a temporary class room on the camp for children, speaking words of inspiration to them.
He told the children who gave a cheering applause that “the president has sent me to tell you that he is thinking about you everyday, and your parents everyday to make sure that you go back home and that you resettle and that you continue with your education.”
He added that “we are here to make sure that we see how you live here and how you are doing. And also to find out whatever support the government can give to you and your families. Very soon, you will be able to go back home.”
He concluded by telling the children “everyone of you will be a great Nigerian. You will all stay in school, you will be doctors, you will be lawyers, you will be engineers, you will be good politicians, you will be governors, you will be presidents. Yes, that is what will happen.”
The Vice President conveyed the appreciation and thanks of the President for the efforts of Governor Shetimma, NEMA, UNICEF, Red Cross, other development partners and all those who have been supporting the displaced Nigerians all across the IDP camps in the affected states.
All through the visits to the camp, the hospital, the palace and across town, the Vice President received a warm reception with the people lining up the streets waving, singing and applauding him.