The United Nations (UN) Deputy Secretary-General, Amina Mohammed, on Tuesday, visited Banki, a border town in Borno State, in her ongoing tour of selected West African countries.
Ms Mohammed, a former minister in the cabinet of President Muhammadu Buhari, who arrived in Maiduguri on board a UN jet, immediately flew to Banki in the company of the Borno State governor, Babagana Zulum.
She was accompanied by other top officers of the UN, including Mohammed Ibn Chambas and Edward Kallon.
Upon her return from Banki, she told journalists that her mission to Banki was to assess the recent joint border community project with the Borno State government.
While acknowledging the success of the border stabilisation project in Banki, Ms Mohammed said she also observed the frustration of the internally displaced persons, who she said were eager to return home.
“We did interact with men, women, young people and children and they said they want to go back to a normal life, ” said the UN DSG.
“And they are tired and this because this has been going on for many years. Many of them have suffered; they want to see the end to their sufferings.”
Ms Mohammed said the UN would key into the local plans and priorities of the Borno state governor, to succeed in the next phase of the humanitarian intervention for the IDPs
“We have to get behind the governor’s plans and his priorities and to see that it is made possible in the shortest time possible,” she said.
“One of the things that we saw there in Banki shows clearly that the camps are overcrowded. The demand is high and the transition needs to be speeded up towards resettlement and reintegration.
“It also requires support and that support needs to come in terms of security and the investment in livelihood and socio-economic empowerment and infrastructure.
“There is a sense of frustration and also a sense of gratitude for what they’ve gotten was better but it is not enough! The people deserve to go back to their normal life. They want peace, security and normal life.
She said the situation in Borno presents an opportunity for investment for speedy recovery and development.
Ms Mohammed said part of her trip’s mission through Nigeria, Niger, Sierra Leone and Ghana is to assess how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the countries to ensure that efforts are put together to end it soon.
“We begin to see normalcy return here and we are ready to support the government succeed. I was with the President of Nigeria yesterday and has spoken high about the good works of the Borno state governor,” she said.
At a courtesy call at the Government House Maiduguri, Governor Zulum thanked the UN top official and her team for making Borno one of the states of the visit.
The governor informed the UN DSG that Borno is gradually having peace being returned.
He said despite the COVID-19 pandemic, his government has been able to return willing IDPs to their liberated communities under safe a dignified manner
”We have studied the situation and have found out that the greatest need of our people is the livelihood.
”And we are working hard to revive the small scale industry to promote the self-reliance of our people.
He said the state government has concluded arrangements to return refugees in Minawao Camp in Cameroon to Banki town on or before December 5, 2020.
She departed Maiduguri for the Niger Republic in continuation of her trip.
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