Posted by Mayowa Okekale, Abuja | 28 August 2018 | 1,155 times
As part of efforts to restore lasting peace to places affected by the Boko Haram insurgency, the Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC) and the African Union (AU), have begun the processes of promoting regional integration and stabilisation in those areas.
This was the thrust at the Opening of a Ministerial Conference on the AU/LCBC Regional Stabilisation Strategy Meeting in Abuja on Monday.
The four riparian states of Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria have been experiencing unprecedented level of crises from extremist groups.
These crises have deepened instability and slowed economic growth, environmental and developmental challenges resulting in humanitarian crisis.
Mr Nuhu Mamman, LCBC Executive Secretary, noted that the meeting was targeted at discussing modalities for validating the Regional Stabilisation Strategy for the Stabilisation, Recovery and Resilience of areas affected by insurgency.
Mamaan said at the end of the meeting, a Memorandum of Understanding would be signed to begin the implementation of the strategy to reintegrate displaced person, provide humanitarian assistance among others.
According to him, the almost decade-long Boko Haram insurgency has had a devastating impact on communities in countries within the Lake Chad Basin.
“On the recommendation of the First Conference on Regional Stabilisation Strategy for the areas affected by Boko Haram insurgency that held in November 2017 in N’Djamena, Chad, a Regional Stabilisation, Resilience and Recovery strategy has been developed.
“The strategy reflects the different levels of engagement, from community to regional that will be critical in efforts aimed at pursuing the goal of stabilising the region that has witnessed a crisis of global magnitude,” Mamaan said.
He added that the validation exercise would ensure that the draft strategy receives the required endorsement and adoption by the affected countries through their respective ministers, who are the 1st and 2nd Commissioners of LCBC member states.
Mamaan also said that the strategy would lead to disarmament, demobilisation, reintegration, repatriation, and resettlement of Boko Haram Disengaged Combatants, and the resettlement of Internally Displaced Persons and refugees.
Ms. Hadiza Mustapha, Representative of the African Union (AU) Chairperson, pledged the support of the commission to support the implementation of programmes and policies that would improve the lives of those in the basin.
Mustapha said that ending the humanitarian crises in the basin cannot be left in the hands of the military alone, saying there was the need for multi-stakeholders collaboration to restore the basin.
She said there was the need for member states to improve government institutions to promote rule of law, provide psychosocial support and de-radicalisation, while taking into consideration of specific needs of gender and young persons.
Dr Musa Ibrahim, Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Water Resources, Nigeria, appreciated the LCBC and the AU commission for continuous support, while calling on experts to carefully review and analyse the strategy content for prompt endorsement.
Ibrahim said it was on record that the basin, home to no fewer than 40 million inhabitants have suffered untold socio-economic hardship and political losses due to activities of the book haram sect.
He expressed optimism that the strategy would enable the resumption of socio-economic activities and the return to normalcy.
Dr Samuel Bwalya, Country Director, UN Development Programme (UNDP) Nigeria, said there was the need to reverse the cycle of poverty and violence permeating the region, saying all stakeholders must join hands to make it a reality.
He said the UN would continue to be a partner to the LCBC towards promoting stability, resilience and recovery, adding that provision of life-saving assistance would continue.
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