The North East Development Commission (NEDC) has begun sensitisation of Northeast residents on technics of detecting unexploded improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and landmines within their environment.
The training workshop organised for 1,300 participants drawn from the 65 local government areas of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states, is as a result of the over 11 year Boko Haram insurgency in the Northeast.
Speaking at the venue of the training in Maiduguri, the Managing Director NEDC , Mohammed Alkali, said the training is timely since governments and stakeholders in the affected states are embarking on resettlement of the internally displaced persons (IDPs) .
Alkali said the exercise will further ensure that people return safely back to their ancestral homes without casualties and injuries.
He said : ” The 1,300 participants and volunteers are drawn from all the 65 local government areas of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states, and the Governor and other stakeholders have been working to ensure that people return back home. But the issue is that after any war, it is not about going back home, but how one goes back successfully and settle down.
” And one of that thing that people must take care of after any war is demining of the area because, Mining and use of other explosives is crudenes of war and it is being used in most war. Since this insurgency, we are aware that there are a lot of undemined explosive ordinances around.
” So when we send people back, we want to assure them that they will go back peacefully. And one of the things we are doing now is to get experts to educate people on how to detect or how to handle those unexploded ordinances or landmines, so that as they are going back, we won’t have casualties of lives,” Alkali said.
The NEDC Boss said that is why the commission has selected experts to train people, adding that they have done a good job by selecting those who are capable of understanding what is being taught, who would go back and teach other people in all the local government areas of the three states worst hit by Boko Haram terrorists.
Also speaking, Air Vice Marshal Ibrahim Umar ( rtd ) , the Chief Executive Officer MAKESAFE Humanitarian Safty Services Ltd, the partnering firm in the training , said the excercise which takes three days, is a response to threats posed by the population of war affected areas of Northeast of unexploded and other explosive remnants of war.
” So essentially, the objective of the programme is to ensure that the participants observe proper safety procedures and take appropriate action in the event of incidences involving landmines or unexploded ordinances.
” So we are educating people who will be Mine risk educators, who will go back to their individual local governments and take the Mine risk education programme to their local governments,” AVM Umar said.