In the wake of the release of the 82 Chibok Girls early this week, a very high ranking federal Lawmaker from Borno State Hon. Muktar Betara Aliyu has called on the federal government to expedite the establishment of the North East Development Commission (NEDC), which according to him is the only panacea to restoring the region to its path of development and growth if it is to catch up with other parts of the country.
In an exclusive chat with our reporter, Hon. Muktar Betara Aliyu, who is the Chairman House Committee on Defence disclosed that there is a bill being sponsored by the Speaker of the House of Representatives Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara which is more important to us in the North-East than anything or individual at the moment, which is the North East Development Commission (NEDC).
I can tell you that if this bill is passed by the Legislature and the Executive currently headed today by Acting President Professor Osinbajo ascents to it, the North-East will be able to meet up with the developmental and infrastructural deficit it has suffered from as a result of their encounter with Boko-Haram since the past 6years.
This is more important to us than one individual occupying any position at the federal government.
Nigerians must appreciate the need to urgently tackle poverty, educational backwardness, outbreak of diseases, infant and maternal mortality, infrastructural deficit, and of course the psychological impact of the loss of several loved ones due to the insurgency in the region.
He also slammed those criticising the return of the 82 Chibok Girls which coincided with the departure of ailing President Buhari who went for further medical treatments abroad.
According to him, “those who are criticising the return of the girls basically because it coincided with the departure of Mr. President who had to return back to London to further attend to his ailing health are only doing so for political expediency.
“Borno State has once again been the centre of global attention given the release of these girls who were captured by the dreaded Boko-Haram Sect, which has been responsible for the destruction of lives and properties in North-East Nigeria since 2011.”
Speaking to our reporter in Abuja the House Defence Committee Chairman, praised the gallantry of the Nigerian Armed Forces who have been able according to him, to successfully degrade the capability of these terrorists to the point where they could begin to release these girls back to us.
For him, rather than criticise the timing or the methodology of how or the conditions of their release, Nigerians should be grateful for their freedom and be more circumspect in this situation while praying for the release of the remaining girls in captivity.
“It is worth celebrating, if after several years they’re able to release 82 of the Chibok Girls at a go and again I’m very happy for the parents who have almost lost hope that their girls will be returned back and also the people of Chibok Local Government of Borno State.
“I am happy for this and I sincerely appreciate all the efforts of our military including the Government of Borno State and the Nigerian Military who have been in the theatre of war.
“Everyone who has been working even behind the scene to facilitate their release must be appreciated, so I am very happy as a member from Borno state I can tell you that I and my colleagues are very happy with this development.”
Responding to the level of satisfaction towards the humanitarian response going on in the North-East, the Borno state born two-time federal Lawmaker expressed confidence that more will be done to the development of the region.
While thanking the international and local donor agencies, the Hon. Member representing Biu/Bayo/Shani/Kwaya-Kusa of Borno State said that Boko-Haram activities has largely dropped in his constituency except for a very small part of one out of the four local government experiences the terror of the dreaded sect.
“During my recent visit to Sambisa, we stopped in Bama Local govt. I saw some constructions by Aliko Dangote rebuilding destroyed houses and infrastructure, and it was very encouraging to also see my Governor Kashim Shettima receiving items and relief materials which are meant for the Internally Displaced Persons (IDP’s), which he ensures are judiciously distributed to the affected persons and families.”
He also confirmed that several NGO’s have continued to carry out their humanitarian responsibilities in a manner that will allow the people return to their normal lives very soon, because the federal government itself have continued to provide the needed funds for these IDP’s to return back home, he said.
He further confirmed that nobody is paying any money to have possession of their rebuilt property or infrastructure by either the federal government or the state government, that it is totally free.
In fact he as a Legislature alongside his colleagues are committed towards ensuring that no individual or family is exploited as they also contribute their quota in the form of constituency projects.