Senate President Bukola Saraki has said that it was important for Nigeria’s intelligence apparatus to take reports that Boko Haram has begun recruiting young Nigerians from internally displaced persons (IDPs) camps seriously.
He also commended the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for arresting the contractor who diverted 60 trucks of grains that were allocated to IDPs in Borno State by the Federal Government.
A statement by the Senate President’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Yusuph Olaniyonu, said Saraki drew comparison from the fact that ISIS has been recruiting members from European refugee camps, and the Kenyan government recently had to shut down the world’s largest refugee camp because Al-Shaabab was using the place to train and recruit young people as extremists. He added that it is important that our intelligence agencies investigate and nip in the bud plans by insurgents to recruit the internally displaced persons for terror tasks.
The Senate President also denounced the actions of individuals attempting to enrich themselves off the plight of the IDPs by criminally diverting relief materials meant for the deprived persons to private or commercial use.
He stated that it was unconscionable for anyone to attempt to defraud millions of displaced Nigerians in the North East that are on the verge of becoming extinct.
Saraki, who called for comprehensive investigation of last week’s diversion of materials to IDPs, added that to secure aid and funding from international partners, there was the need for a better co-ordination by the Federal Government regarding the situation in the North East.
“What is clear right now is that we cannot do this alone,” he added, “This is why we need to ensure that we put everything that we can in place to ensure that the international community is involved at maximum capacity.”
Saraki added that he was already making consultations on whether or not to call a Senate public hearing to deliberate on the government’s response to the IDP crisis, which many observers have called a looming humanitarian crisis – if not properly addressed.
“If we all have to sit down with the various stakeholders at the Senate to find out what the institutional and logistical hindrances are, that’s what we are going to do,” the Senate President stated, “It is not enough for us to say that there is a problem, we need to push out solutions quickly; hunger will not wait for anyone.”
Saraki also expressed optimism on the passage of the North East Development Commission (NEDC) Bill as he said the Senate was using the period of the recess to iron out the creases needed to ensure a smooth passage of the Bill.
“I am confident that we are at the last stretch on the NEDC Bill – at least as far as the Senate is concerned,” he said, “When we return from the recess, it will be very high on our list of priority legislative interventions.”