On Tuesday October 17, the Presidential Committee on the North-East Initiative held the fourth edition of its Monthly Coordination Forum. The event brought together all state and non-state actors engaged in humanitarian and developmental interventions in the North-East and held at Sandralia Hotel, Jabi, Abuja. The theme of this edition was “The Nexus: Transitioning from Humanitarian Dependence to Economic Recovery and Sustenance.” The thrust of the parley was the gradual shift of the operational focus of actors in the North-East from humanitarian and emergency activities to economic recovery and sustenance. These goals are increasingly salient as the military’s successes in the counter-insurgency campaign yield liberated communities ready for the restoration of civil authority and the subsequent return of displaced persons.
In his remarks, the PCNI Chairman, Lt. Gen. T.Y. Danjuma who was represented by the Vice Chairman Tijjani M. Tumsah said that the transition has been necessitated by “the need to bring back markets in the liberated areas, enhance community resilience, food security and sufficiency, and poverty reduction in the years ahead.” He urged ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) as well as donors to make economic recovery the central focus of their interventions in 2018 as this is the only way the people of the North-East can be empowered to become “self-sufficient and prosperous.” In consonance with this aspiration, Mr. Tumsah identified agriculture as the linchpin of economic recovery in the region and called for its prioritization as a means of overcoming long term dependence on humanitarian assistance.
He noted that “state governments, donor partners and the Victims Support Fund (VSF) are beginning to prioritize farming inputs in addition to other humanitarian interventions” and said this focus should be the preferred priority for all operations in the North-East as the year winds down and in subsequent years. “The future of the region and the fight against poverty of the present administration of President Muhammadu Buhari lie in how fast we can facilitate the return to farms in the region in view of improved security situation,” the Vice Chairman said. “Our commitment to revamping the economies of the liberated areas is also important for early recovery, stabilization, normalization and poverty reduction drive of the Federal Government.” In attendance were various development partners, governmental and non-governmental actors, civil society organizations and members of the PCNI.