Ali Abare, Gombe
Sen. Mohammed Ali Ndume has said that the Presidential Committee on North East Initiative (PCNI) might eventually transmute into the North East Development Commission (NEDC).
Sen. Ndume stated this while chatting with reporters, on Thursday, in Gombe.
The PCNI is currently on a on a one-week retreat in Gombe.
Ndume who represents Borno South at the Senate, said following the dissolution of the Presidential Initiative on North East (PINE) into the PCNI, there was the likelihood of the PCNI transforming into the NEDC.
“It started with the Presidential Initiative for the North East. But you know the PINE had issues. So it was dissolved and more or less expanded to include all other development partners or NGOs and of course the Victim Support Fund.
“Now that was what led to the creation or establishment of the PCNI and now we believe that the PCNI is going to transform into and collapse into the North East Development Commission. We hope that the PCNI will transit into the North East Development Commission,” he said.
Ndume who co-sponsored the NEDC Bill at the Senate, stated that the commission is coming with a road map, the Buhari Plan, which he said is an articulated document to be used in rebuilding the North East.
He noted that the retreat would avail the PCNI with more input from experts on the way forward in the effort to find solution to the issues confronting the region.
“I think the problem is not what to do, because there is a lot to be done, like most of our people are displaced. We have displaced people in Gombe, Abuja and all over the country. So it is not that we are looking for something to do, what need to be done is there.
Schools have been destroyed in the North East, particularly in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe. Public buildings have been destroyed, roads have been mined. So there’s a lot that need to be done, people have been displaced, so is not the matter of what to do now, but how to do it,” Ndume said.
The lawmaker however pointed out that the biggest challenge confronting the PCNI is that of resources.
While describing the situation in the region as a “big humanitarian crisis”, Ndume disclosed that the Boko Haram insurgency have inflicted a total of about nine billion dollars destruction on the North East, which he said translated to over two trillion naira.
“It’s a big humanitarian crisis. In fact, it is rated as one of the most serious humanitarian crisis in the north and the whole world.
“You know our problem in the North East has also been compounded by the fact that, even before now, poverty, illiteracy and environmental degradation had been our major challenges, to the extent that the North East is adjudged, particularly Borno, Yobe, part of Bauchi and Gombe States to be the poorest regions on earth in terms of Human Development Indices of the United Nations Development Programme,” he said.
He added that as part of the President Buhari’s plan, government must first ensure that the people survive by providing them with food as well as security, stressing that unless peace has returned to the region, it would be nearly impossible to execute any meaningful development in the affected areas.
As part of its activities during the retreat, the PCNI would roll out a free medical outreach for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the state.