By Ahuraka Isah, Abuja
Senate yesterday urged the Presidential Committee on the North East Initiative (PCNI) to be steadfast in order to mitigate humanitarian crisis ravaging the zone.
This is just as the PCNI vice chairman, Alhaji Tijjani Musa Timsah, has decried the worsening financial condition frustrating the mandate of the body.
Chairman, Senate Committee on Special Duties, Senator Abdul–Aziz Murtala Nyako, told reporters that although members of his committee were satisfied with PCNI’s activities, the interventionist body should be encouraged to continue to be resolute.
Senator Nyako who spoke after an oversight duty at PCNI Abuja office, noted that the enormous assignment of pulling the insurgency devastated North East zone out of crippling humanitarian crisis made it imperative for the body to continue to be up and doing.
The Adamawa Central lawmaker said that the N45 billion ear-marked for PCNI in the 2017 fiscal year was a far cry from what the body needed to carry out its mandate effectively.
For him, N45 billion for six states in the North East amounted to about N7 billion per state.
He said that it is obvious that N7 billion cannot bring about any meaningful turn around to a local government in Adamawa State.
The lawmaker said that they discovered that the PCNI received only about 7 per cent of the appropriated allocation for 2017 “although we are expecting more releases to be made.”
Nyako said, “We have seen what PCNI is doing. We are happy with the framework of PCNI.”
They really need support to do better. We feel that with the right kind of support, particularly funding, they will achieve their purpose.
“We have come to put them on their toes because they really have to be on their toes to do the needful and lift the area out of humanitarian crisis. My candid opinion is that what they are getting is too small for any meaningful impact to be made.
“In 2017, they got N45 billion for six states which gives approximately N7 billion per state. One or two local governments in Adamawa can swallow N7 billion. We appreciate the constraints on the side of the federal government. It is our job to put more pressure so that more money will be made available to rehabilitate the North East and lift the area out devastation.”
Vice chairman of the PCNI, Alhaji Tijjani Musa Timsah listed paucity of funds as the greatest challenge it is facing.
The PCNI boss said that Nigerians should appreciate the fact that what the North East zone is passing through has a way of affecting the entire country.
Timsah said, “We have been able to chart a course and created a document which is a strategic framework for all intervention programmes we are doing. But paucity of fund is the greatest challenge the PCNI is facing.”
He noted that the programmes carried out by PCNI and other relevant agencies have assisted many Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) to resettle.
Timsah said that they are moving from humanitarian efforts to developmental efforts to make the impact of PCNI more felt by the affected persons.
He added, “We have continued to recover more space from the insurgents due mostly to the gallantry of our military through the purposeful leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari.
“More areas are now open to people who are before now displaced. More and more displaced persons have been returned to their daily activities of farming and other daily livelihood.”
He said that the strategic framework was put together to tackle challenges in the Northeast in line with their mandate.