Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, on Thursday revealed that the number of deaths caused by the dreaded Boko Haram has dropped by 83 percent from the peak in 2014.
He also said the Nigerian Army’s Operation Last Hold, has helped 35,000 people voluntarily return to their various homes and communities.
To this end, the African Development Bank, in partnership with the Nigerian government, is investing about $258 million into the latest known as Inclusive Basic Service Delivery, and Livelihood Empowerment Integrated Project.
Vice President Osinbajo expressed confidence that very soon; people will look back to this moment as a turning point in the trajectory of North-east Nigeria.
Speaking yesterday in Abuja at the launch of IBSIP, the vice president disclosed that President Muhammadu Buhari is determined to decisively address the recent escalation in terrorist activities.
The vice president said, without doubt, the havoc that the Boko Haram insurgency has wreaked on North-east Nigeria and the entire country is unprecedented in recent Nigerian history.
He said: “Over the last decade, more than 20,000 persons killed, $9 billion in destroyed infrastructure, including more than 400,000 houses, and thousands of schools, hospitals and other public buildings, and more than two million Nigerians displaced from their homes and communities.
“But the devastation is only a part of the narrative; it is definitely not the entire story. There are the countless stories of heroism and resilience, from the victims of the insurgency, from the troops of the Nigerian Army, and the Civilian JTF, all of whom are out there fighting and sacrificing a great deal to keep us safe. For me, these stories of resilience and hope and optimism, deserve a lot more attention than there currently getting.
“And the event we are gathered here for is for all of these people: all of those citizens and communities refusing to be cowed by a band of conscienceless criminals, and striving to rebuild their lives against the backdrop of improving security.
“According to the latest edition of the Global Terrorism Index, the number of deaths caused by Boko Haram, has dropped 83 percent from the peak in 2014. The roads and schools that were all closed a few years ago are now open. This year alone, the Nigerian Army Operation Last Hold has helped 35,000 people voluntarily return to their homes and communities and commence the task of rebuilding lives and livelihoods.”
Although, the vice president acknowledged that there are still security challenges, but stated that “we are confident that the worst is now well behind us. And the President and Commander-in-Chief is determined to decisively address the recent escalation in terrorist activities.
“Already the Chiefs of Army and Air Staff are relocating to the North-east, to oversee a scaling-up of our efforts to end the insurgency completely.
“This, as you all know, has always been the president’s promise to defeat Boko Haram and end the insurgency, and to rebuild and restore the North-east. Right from its inception, our administration has demonstrated its commitment to all of these.”
On the IBSIP programme, Osinbajo said as more people return to their homes, the provision of essential services and job creation in safe locations will play a great role in ensuring that these returnees can get the basic tools and skills that they need to begin to rebuild their lives.
“The IBSIP, which will be implemented by the Federal Government of Nigeria and the African Development Bank (AfDB), is therefore an intervention focused on investing in infrastructural restoration, the reactivation of social services and the rejuvenation of livelihoods and the culture of enterprise which are necessary for sustainable post-conflict communities.”
In his remarks, Senior Director, African Development Bank Group, Ebrima Faal, who stood in for the bank’s president, said an estimated population of 14 million affected people, including about 2.3 million IDPs (of which 53 % are women, and 57 % are children) are expected to directly benefit from the basic service delivery interventions in health and nutrition, education and water and sanitation.
“Over 9,000 IDPs and head of vulnerable households, will receive direct assistance for their economic reintegration and livelihoods. Over 2000 Small and Medium Enterprises (79% women) will be reached to develop and enhance their businesses; 2,900 construction artisans and mechanics working in the informal sector will be supported to enhance quality and productivity and 2,000 unskilled youth will be trained in economic skills for employment and job creation.”
In his welcome address, Vice Chairman, Presidential Committee on the North-east Initiative, Tijjani Tumsah, said the new programme does not focus on building physical infrastructure alone, but human capacity will be supported and strengthened.