The Peace, Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Initiative, PRRI, has announced plan to relocate no fewer than 1,000 persons displaced as result of the activities of the Boko Haram insurgents back to their homes.
The organisation said it took the decision following its recent findings that no community was found to be occupied by Boko Haram terrorists at the moment.
According to PRRI, the move became imperative following the total victory of the Nigerian military over the insurgents and restoration of normalcy to the north-east, a hitherto volatile region.
Launching the program under the pet name, ‘Return and Restore’ PPRI said IDPs would not only be supported to return home but they will be engaged entrepreneurial and small scale enterprise activities that would bring them back to normal life.
Bukola Olasanmi, Media Officer, PPRI in a statement on Monday, said part of the strategy is to support farmers – majorly women – with seedlings, provide skills and set up small businesses that would help families to be self reliant upon their return home.
Her statement reads in full.
The Peace Reconciliation and Rehabilitation Initiative (PRRI) had in the past expressed concern at the need to assist communities and persons directly affected by the activities of Boko Haram to be able to return back to their communities. This became necessary owing to the aggressive and strategic activities of the Nigerian military to restore normalcy since 2015 upon the ascension of the current administration of President Buhari.
Owing to this concern, PRRI has carried out a detailed investigation of the communities allegedly taken over in the past by Boko Haram terrorists with a view to using the findings to develop advisory for our staff and partners as well as for developing our interventions. PRRI therefore commenced resettling of IDPs back
to their communities in 2016 and was able to return about 5,000 families to their various communities throughout the north-east. The communities were selected based on advisory and investigation by our staffs who went round the entire region.
The PRRI can categorically confirm that following from our recent investigation, no community was found to be occupied or can be occupied by Boko Haram terrorist any more . The Nigerian Army has cleared the entire areas and embarking on a final phase in the anti-terrorism Campaign called ‘Operation Last Drop’. The PRRI therefore finds this development comforting to observe that what must be avoided is leaving liberated areas empty for criminality to thrive while the inhabitants of these towns and villages grapple through life under less than desirable conditions in IDPs camps.
We therefore commend the Nigerian Army’s ‘Operation Last Hold’ and all other operations that have made gains in rooting out terrorism as part of the commitment of the Nigerian Army to see that people are returned back home without further delay.
We further confirm from our assessment that the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the various camps can now return to their homes since normalcy has returned to these places. The ongoing military operations have made the current situation completely different from what obtained four years ago when their communities fell to the oppressive presence of Boko Haram.
In continuation of our intervention and as our contribution to rebuilding life in the northeast, PRRI is unveiling a specific target plan to support the IDPs in the operational area of Operation Last Drop which is Northern Borno with its own “Return and Restore” to assist these persons with farming materials, entrepreneurial skills and direct cash transfer to enable willing persons that desire conventional life again to return home.
PRRI is committed to resettling 1,000 families under the first leg of Phase 2 of this unique humanitarian program code named “Return and Restore” to help IDPs return back home and get their lives back on track.
Under the program, IDPs are not only supported to return home but they are also set up and engaged entrepreneurial and small scale enterprise activities that would launch communities into becoming economic hubs and clusters that would revive the economy of the areas that are recovering from Boko Haram’s disruption to life. The strategy is to support farmers – majorly women – with seedlings, provide skills and set up small businesses that would help families to be self reliant upon their return home.
The first phase of PRRI’s intervention rendered assistance in resettling displaced persons in areas liberated in 2016 to prevent terrorists from regrouping in such places to ensure that the general area of the anti-terrorism campaign taking place in the north east does not have fertile ground for Boko Haram. The “Return and Restore” program is to consolidate on the gains from phase one and is poised to deliver even better results since it will draw from the experience from the first phase.
PRRI is pleased that the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and the Enterpreneurs Network of Nigeria are partnering with it for “Return and Restore” as well as other NGOs that share in its vision. We appeal to organizations and individuals inclined to offer a helping hand to reach out to the IDPs directly with their support to return the joy of living to the displaced people.
PRRI urges IDPs to take advantage of this unique opportunity to return their lives back on track and give a fair chance to their offspring to live life under normal conditions in environments that are conducive.