By Francis Okoye Maiduguri
Barely 24 hours after attacks on a community and some areas in Maiduguri by the Boko Haram insurgents, acting president Yemi Osinbajo yesterday defied the presumed security threat to flag off federal government’s emergency food intervention for the Northeast in Borno State.
Inaugurating the distribution of the 30,000 metric tonnes of assorted grains for the Internally Displaced Persons, (IDPs) for the zone, Osinbajo said the federal government cannot be intimidated by the attacks from remnants of Boko Haram insurgents.
According to him, the President Muhammadu Buhari administration is determined to ensure that internally displaced persons return to their communities to pick up the pieces of their lives.
He said, “The federal government will adopt a voucher system in catering for the IDPs which will also serve as data base for future resettlement process. The grains distributed were locally produced by Nigerian Farmers in line with President Muhammadu Buhari’s policy of “eat what we produce, produce what we eat”.
“Today, the Federal Government flags off what will be a quarterly grain distribution programme for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and by this, we are saying to our brothers and sisters in the Northeast that our country does not take their burdens lightly and we are not blind to their difficulties.
“I am particularly pleased to say that the grains that we’ll be distributing, which comprise of Sorghum, Maize, Soya Beans, and Rice, are produced locally; they are produced here in Nigeria by our own farmers.
“This has always been the vision of Mr. President for our country, to grow what we eat, and to eat what we grow and to use what we make. These grains have travelled from various locations across the country, from as far afield as Ibadan, and as close as Gombe; escorted and protected by the Nigeria Police Force, the Nigerian Military and in some cases will be airlifted by the Nigeria Air Force”.
He also added that the federal government would work closely with States to provide other assistance including health services to the IDPs.
Osinbajo commended the partnership support from international partners such as the UN, World Food Programme, NEMA, the Military, the Police, other security agencies and State Governments in the region.
The acting president who on arrival paid a courtesy visit on the Shehu of Borno, Umar Abubakar Gabai Ibn El-Kanemi in his palace, told the traditional ruler and members of his Emirate Council that President Buhari sees the welfare of the IDPs as the responsibility of government.
In his remarks, the Shehu of Borno thanked President Buhari for his commitment to the restoration of peace in the State and entire region. He noted the laudable efforts of the Buhari Presidency at recovering the kidnapped Chibok girls and attending to the welfare of IDPs across the region.
Earlier upon arrival in Maiduguri, the acting president inspected the consignment of about 30,000 metric tonnes to be delivered across the region by 1,032 trucks. The distribution is for affected persons in Borno, Yobe, Adamawa, Taraba, Bauchi and Gombe States.
Osinbajo, during the visit also inspected some facilities such as the NEMA warehouse, the Bakassi IDP camp office and the premises of School A located within the camp.
The acting president was accompanied to the visit by the Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Gabriel Olanishakin; Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai; National Security Advicer, Brig. Gen. Babagana Monguno (rtd); Minister of Sports, Solomon Dalung, Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Godwin Emefile, among others.
Security was beefed up across the town, with heavily armed security personnel from the Army, Navy, Airforce, Police, DSS, Immigration and other para-military agencies deployed to major roads and streets during the visit.
Speaking at the occasion, Borno State Governor, Kashim Shettima, described the acting president’s visit as psychological warfare indicating that the government will not be intimidated by renmenants of Boko Haram terrorists.
Shettima thanked the federal government for the intervention and assured that the Borno State government will continue to work closely with the federal government and other international donors in the process of reconstruction, rehabilitation and resettlement of IDPs and destroyed communities.
Earlier, the director general of the National Emergency Management Agency ( NEMA) , Engnr Mustapha Maihaja, said the intervention will change the perception of the nation in the eyes of the international Community.
“NEMA is ready to partner with state, local and international organisations in advancing the lives and welfare of victims of Boko Haram. This agency will do everything possible to ensure that the Federal government food Intervention program is implemented”, the DG said.