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Muhammadu Buhari announced on December 9 that the return of people displaced by the Boko Haram terrorism to their home communities will commence in earnest next year.
Garba Shehu, presidential spokesperson, issued a statement saying that Buhari was speaking at an audience with a delegation from the International Rescue Committee led by former British Foreign Minister, David Miliband.
The president noted that his government will do all within its powers to assist in the quick return and relocation of over two million internally displaced people in their towns and villages.
President Buhari told Miliband and his delegation that the government will salute the support of the IRC and other local and international non-governmental organizations for the rehabilitation of internally displaced people.
He said: “In 2016, the return of the IDPs will start in earnest. They will return to their communities to meet destroyed schools and other infrastructure which have to be rebuilt.
“With agriculture being moribund in the region in the last two years without cropping, hunger is already manifest. We will welcome all the help we can get to assist the returnees.”
Answering on what IDPs need the Nigerian president said that there was an immediate need for support in the areas of agricultural inputs, health, nutrition, water and sanitation.
Buhari advised the IRC and other international agencies to work with the presidential committee on the North-East and the National Emergency Management Agency which, he said, were already doing a lot to supply for the IDPs and renew some basic infrastructure in communities suffered by terrorism.
Cameroon’s army with support from a regional anti-Boko Haram task force recently killed at least 100 militants and freed 900 people it had held hostage.
However, the authorities of neighbouring country have said that Chibok girls, abducted last year in Borno state by the insurgents, are not among the saved people.
There are fears that Boko Haram members may be hiding among the hostages that are being moved across the borders and inside the country.