Air Commodore Yusuf Anas (Rtd)
Air Commodore Yusuf Anas (Rtd)
Advocates Permanent Resettlement of IDPs
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The Centre for Crisis Communication (CCC) has asked President Muhammadu Buhari to ignore those who are asking him to back down on the fight against corruption.
 
At its regular monthly media briefing in Abuja on Wednesday, the Executive Secretary of the Centre, Air Commodore Yusuf Anas (retired) also recommended to governments and other stakeholders to begin the process of rebuilding communities destroyed by terrorism in the North East so that displaces Nigerians can begin to return home.
 
According to Anas, “the culture of impunity and non-compliance with due process needs to be checked”, he said especially considering that the international oil market with prices diving as low as about $40 a barrel, perhaps the lowest since 1986.
 
“The Centre acknowledges the considerable impetus in the fight against corruption, especially at the Federal level. Of particular interest to the Centre is the strategic directive by President Muhammadu Buhari to Ministries, Departments and Agencies of Federal Government to start using Treasury Single Account (TSA).”
 
CCC, which is an independent non-governmental organisation floated by Forum of Spokespersons of Security and Response Agencies (FOSSRA) also expressed believe that the introduction of TSA is a step in the right direction capable of ending leakages of revenues meant for the federation account.
 
He canvassed that states and local governments should also key into the fight against corruption at their own levels adding “we are all witnesses to the wonton impunity of leaving behind billions of naira in debts by various state governments to their successors.”
 
Nonetheless, he warned that due process must be followed in the fight against corruption in order to ensure that no one elude the justice system.
 
On internally displaced persons (IDPs) living in and outside official camps, Anas said the Centre recently organised visits to some of the IDP camps in the North East, which afforded the Centre opportunity to critically evaluate the humanitarian efforts of National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), the military, International bodies, NGOs and Civil Society groups.
 
He said it was discovered from available records that there are presently 27 official Camps
coordinated by NEMA where internally displaced persons are managed in Nigeria comprising the following: 16 camps in Borno State, 4 camps in Adamawa State, 4 camps in Yode State, 1 camp in Edo State, 1 camp in FCT and 1 camp in Plateau states.
 
“There is also urgent need to complement governments’ efforts aimed at bringing succour to IDPs through our common humanity from the well do Nigerians.  For example, CCC visit to WTC camp in Maiduguri, Borno State, which houses a total of 6,139 IDPs made up of 2,518 female children, 1,464 male children and 2,157 female adults displaced in December 2013 from Bama Local Government. The sad thing about this camp is that 45% of the children in this camp are orphans while 80% of the women are widows.”
The Centre therefore recommends that affected states and the Federal Government should begin to work out programmes and modalities towards permanent resettlement of the people in these camps so that the families could be reintegrated back to the communities and the society to pursue their normal livelihood. It also advised the immediate reconstruction of towns and communities destroyed by the insurgents amongst others.
 
Speaking about the current flooding being witnessed in several parts of the country, Anas lamented that individuals, communities and governments appear not to have taken advantage of the timely warning issued by the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) of the impending hazards due to anticipated heavy rains in 2015.
 
“Given the destructive socio-economic impact of flood, it is critical that mitigating and attenuating measures be put in place to forestall the flood and the resultant consequences.
 
“It is precarious to rather wait for floods to happen and deal with the aftermath instead of taking necessary precautionary steps that will minimize its devastating effects,” he said.
He recalled that in 2012, following the sudden bursts of the Cameroonian and Guinean dams coupled with the heavy rainfall experienced between May and September, over 20 states in the federation were affected by flood waters.
 
“Yet it did not come without a warning. The consequence of the flood then was that by 5 November, 2012, over 363 people had died as a result of the flood with about two million people displaced. The states most affected then were Adamawa, Taraba, Plateau, Benue, Bayelsa, Kogi, Niger, Lagos Cross Rivers, Rivers and several others.
 
“Of course the flood destroyed properties worth billions of naira, dislocated many families from their homes, destroyed farmlands, businesses, polluted water resources and even increased risks of diseases.  As a result, the country suffered from land and gully erosion, huge economic losses such as food shortages and spiralling prices even in unaffected areas.”
 
The Centre canvassed for more pragmatic efforts by the Federal Government over the danger posed by the annual ritual of releasing excess water by Cameroon.
 
 

 
CENTRE FOR CRISIS COMMUNICATION
Text of a Media Briefing By Executive Secretary Air Commodore Yusuf Anas (Rtd) on the State Of the Nation held in the Conference Room, on 2 September 2015  at 12 00am
 
Gentlemen of the Media,
 
You are once again welcome to the Centre for Crisis Communication (CCC). In our last interaction, we promised a periodic media briefing with the aim of keeping Nigerians informed through you. Today’s briefing therefore is in line with our objective of keeping Nigerians sensitised on issues in our country.  The Centre appreciates your time to be here as our partners.
 
As we informed you at the last briefing, a key aspect of the Centre’s operation is the painstaking monitoring and evaluation of the socio-economic and political dynamics in our society with a view to identifying areas or issues that could possibly breed conflict or escalate into crisis situation.
 
The Centre, through its early warning signal initiative, proffers proactive strategies aimed at averting identified potential crisis or mitigating the effects of a crisis situation. Surely, surmounting the numerous daunting security challenges confronting us as a nation calls for regular counsel.
The Centre therefore notes the following developments in our country and strategies to address them.
 
Fight against corruption
The Centre supports the current government’s fight against corruption and corrupt practices in Nigeria. The culture of impunity and non-compliance with due process needs to be checked. The fight is necessary due to the deepening gloom in the international oil market with prices diving as low as about $40 a barrel, perhaps the lowest since 1986. Some of you will recall that in Year 2000 Nigeria was ranked as the most corrupt nation in the world by Transparency International, while in 2001 and 2003 the country ranked second among the most corrupt in the world. These underscore the imperative for the fight against corruption. Indeed, according to Transparency International, Nigeria was placed 144th out of 174 ranked countries in 2013 and 136th in 2014.
 
The Centre acknowledges the considerable impetus in the fight against corruption, especially at the Federal level. Of particular interest to the Centre is the strategic directive by President Muhammadu Buhari to Ministries, Departments and Agencies of Federal Government to start using Treasury Single Account (TSA). The TSA being a unified structure of government bank account enables better control and optimal utilisation of government revenue.
 
The Centre believes strongly that this is a step in the right direction capable of ending leakages of revenues meant for the federation account. There are signs that the measure is so far paying up. Although some few elements in the society are averse to the current drive, the Centre wants to urge the Federal Government not to be distracted in its resolve to tackle corruption.  As obtainable in other parts of the world, Nigerians especially those in position of authority must remember that they will be held accountable for their stewardship. Hence, there is no gainsaying that transparency and accountability should be observed as the norm rather than seen as an aberration.
 
Indeed, government must as a matter of urgency strengthen all her institutions and especially the anti-corruption agencies such as Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC), Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC), Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) and Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB).
 
It is pertinent to note that corruption is not perpetrated at the federal level alone, it is also manifest at the states and local government levels. The Centre therefore is equally urging states and local governments to key into the fight against corruption at their own levels.  We are all witnesses to the wonton impunity of leaving behind billions of naira in debts by various state governments to their successors.
 
While we support the current fight against corruption, the Centre wants to caution that due process must be followed to ensure that no one elude the justice system. Let me at this juncture acknowledge the support of several countries, especially United States, Britain and China, in the current drive against corruption and corrupt practices in Nigeria.
 
Flooding Menace
The menace of Flooding is a big disaster waiting to happen annually in different parts of the nation every rainy season. Although flood menace is not strange to Nigeria, what is, perhaps, strange is the apathy and apparent indifference with which flood related warnings have been treated over the years. There have been predictions and warnings about heavy rainfall this year by the Nigeria Meteorological Agency (NIMET) and possible incidence of flood in several parts of the country. This was confirmed by the crisis alert issued by NEMA to state governments and communities along River Benue of possible flood between July and November, especially following information on the plans by Cameroonian authorities to release excess water from the Lagdo Dam.
 
Given the destructive socio-economic impact of flood, it is critical that mitigating and attenuating measures be put in place to forestall the flood and the resultant consequences. It is precarious to rather wait for floods to happen and deal with the aftermath instead of taking necessary precautionary steps that will minimize its devastating effects.
 
It would be recalled that in 2012, following the sudden bursts of the Cameroonian and Guinean dams coupled with the heavy rainfall experienced between May and September, over 20 states in the federation were affected by flood waters. Yet it did not come without a warning. The consequence of the flood then was that by 5 November, 2012, over 363 people had died as a result of the flood with about 2 million people displaced. The states most affected then were Adamawa, Taraba, Plateau, Benue, Bayelsa, Kogi, Niger, Lagos Cross Rivers, Rivers and several others. Of course the flood destroyed properties worth billions of naira, dislocated many families from their homes, destroyed farmlands, businesses, polluted water resources and even increased risks of diseases.  As a result, the country suffered from land and gully erosion, huge economic losses such as food shortages and spiraling prices even in unaffected areas
 
The Centre strongly believes there is the need for more pragmatic efforts by the Federal Government over the danger posed by the annual ritual of releasing excess water by Cameroon. While their action impacts negatively on Nigeria and its citizens, yet we will never be able to avert this threat without construction of a dam to contain the excess water. Indeed, the menace of flooding is a big threat to our national security and therefore an opportunity cost.  We must not wait until it is too late before action is taken.
 
Meanwhile, the Centre is exhorting concerned states and local governments as well as communities to take heed of NIMET and NEMA warnings and ensure proper urbanization planning, adequate drainage facilities and the stoppage of erecting buildings in flood plains which contribute substantially to exacerbate the effect of flood when they occur.
 
Beyond the Camps for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Nigeria
Sequel to the on-going efforts to bring to an end to the current insurgency in the North-Eastern part of Nigeria, the obvious direct consequence is the pitiful condition of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs). The CCC undertook an assessment visit to a number of IDP camps in the North East in order to establish a clearer picture of the situation in various IDPs camps scattered across the country. The visits afforded the Centre opportunity to critically evaluate the humanitarian efforts of National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), International bodies, NGOs and Civil Society groups.
 
Records available to the Centre reveals that at present there are 27 official Camps coordinated by NEMA where internally displaced persons are managed in Nigeria comprising the following: 16 camps in Borno State, 4 camps in Adamawa State, 4 camps in Yode State, 1 camp in Edo State, 1 camp in FCT and 1 camp in Plateau states.
 
There are also other internally displaced persons in Bauchi, Gombe and Taraba States who are not necessarily in the camps but are sheltered by relations, friends  and are also desirous of assistance from the government and its partner agencies.
 
According to NEMA, the breakdown of the number of IDPs across the North-Eastern states is as follows: Borno State – 1,002,437; Yode State – 125,484, Adamawa – 113,437, Bauchi -76,504; Gombe – 16, 984 and Taraba – 20, 501.
 
CCC findings from the assessment visit indicated need for better coordinated response at the federal, states and local governments, their various agencies together with donor agencies and NGOs. There is also urgent need to complement governments’ efforts aimed at bringing succor to IDPs through our common humanity from the well do Nigerians.  For example, CCC visit to WTC camp in Maiduguri, Borno State, which houses a total of 6,139 IDPs made up of 2,518 female children, 1,464 male children and 2,157 female adults displaced in December 2013 from Bama Local Government.  The sad thing about this camp is that 45% of the children in this camp are orphans while 80% of the women are widows. Similarly, visit to Yerwa male camp noted a population of 5,175 comprising of 3,468 adult male, 1,573 boys below the age of 18. Our common humanity calls for more support from all men and women in our country to rise up towards assisting the people in the IDPs with additional material and logistic support in form of provision of social amenities like clinics, schools, bed space, and lavatory facilities among others.
 
While we commend the efforts of several NGOs and CSOs who have offered valuable material, spiritual and psychological assistance to the IDPs, we want to specifically acknowledge the efforts of NEMA in not only providing the necessary facilities at the camps but also constantly monitoring to ensure these essential materials are continued to be provided.We also wants to acknowledge the efforts of the military in providing security  at the camps and especially in establishing a a full fledged hospital in Maiduguri for the displaced persons.
 
The Centre also noted that there are other internally displaced persons who are not necessarily in the camps rather are sheltered by relations, friends or kind hearted folks. These categories of people are also desirous of assistance from the government agencies, NGOs and the public.
CCC believes however that beyond the provision of succor at the IDP camps which are temporary relief measures, there is the need for a more permanent arrangement to be put in place immediately towards the resettlement of the IDPs back in their Communities.  This predicates against the likelihood that the insurgency would end within the three month deadline given to the military to end the stand-off. The funds mobilized in support of the victims by government such as those under General TY Danjuma and even more recently by the management of the Daily Trust and other ones could be harnessed to kick-start the process.
 
In this this regard, the Centre recommends as follows:
i.                    Affected states and the Federal Government should begin to work out programmes and modalities towards permanent resettlement of the people in these camps so that the families could be reintegrated back to the communities and the society to pursue their normal livelihood.
ii.                  The reconstruction of towns and communities destroyed by the insurgents should commence immediately.
iii.                Friendly countries and international agencies including United States, UK, China, Germany, World Bank, etc that made promises to assist in rebuilding of affected towns and communities should be encouraged to redeem their pledges to enable accelerated reconstruction works.
iv.               Post-crisis and post-trauma programmes should be established by government and aid agencies for the displaced people preparatory to their full reintegration into the society.  
 
On Fight against Boko Haram
The Centre has noted the resort to soft targets for bombing by some elements of the terrorist group using hapless young women and children. Seldom is direct confrontation between the insurgents and the troops are reported these days. What this means therefore is that the time now calls for more intelligence gathering and sharing by all and sundry. Citizens must remain security conscious and vigilant, especially in public places like markets, schools and worship centers and be able report any lead to the nearest security forces.
 
On the possibility of negotiation as we intimated in the last briefing, the Centre wishes to state that nothing has changed so far and all options are still open. In any case, negotiation or not, we urge the military to continue in their operations until the mission is achieved.
 
Conclusion
In conclusion, the Centre wants to reiterate its firm support to the fight against corruption and the need to refocus our public and private sectors to the ideal ways of good service delivery to the public. Transparency and accountability should remain the hallmark of public service and no one should be allowed to short-change Nigerians due to personal interest.  Our national institutions especially the anti-graft agencies need to be strengthened to perform their statutory functions in the country. The challenges posed by perennial flooding in several parts of the Nigeria need both immediate and more comprehensive approach at the community, state and federal levels. Similarly, the IDPs need a multi-dimensional and proactive Marshal plan to not only continue to cater for them now, but also to resettle them back in their communities permanently.  Once again, I thank you all.
 
 
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