By Bukar Bolori
Borno State Governor, Professor Babagana Zulum on Tuesday addressed multinationals from Lake Chad countries, and development partners from the UK and other countries, during an ongoing conference being hosted by the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO).
The conference, tagged “Lake Chad Basin: Key Steps Towards Comprehensive Regional Solutions” with focus on how to effectively manage mass surrenders by Boko Haram and ISWAP fighters through Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR), is taking place at Wilton Park, located at Winston House in Sussex, United Kingdom.
The conference has participants drawn from the military, managers of violent extremist groups, political leaders, the academia, humanitarian and development partners, diplomats, communication persons, and post conflict management experts from the UK and other developed countries as well as countries in the Lake Chad: Nigeria, Chad, Niger and Cameroon.
The conference began on Monday and it was facilitated through the Lake Chad Basin Regional Strategy for Stabilization Recovery and Resilience, which provides framework for conflict interventions by development partners.
A statement by the spokesman of Borno State Governor Babagana Zulum, Isa Gusau said his boss on the second day, delivered a keynote address, titled: “Insurgency, Recovery, and Rebuilding Borno State: My aspirations for Borno State and Lake Chad Region”.
In the address, Zulum gave a detailed overview which highlighted impacts of the insurgency in Borno in terms of infrastructure destructions, displacements, humanitarian crisis and resettlement efforts.
Zulum detailed the State’s immediate, short and long term plans for stabilization and development as well as how the State is responding to the mass surrender of over 35,000 repentant fighters from
Boko Haram and ISWAP.
The Governor also discussed recent efforts by the Nigerian Government with President Muhammadu Buhari’s appointment of a Presidential committee on repatriation, return and resettlement of displaced persons in the North-East, which has been tasked with resettling IDPs, supporting successful repatriation of over 190,000 Nigerian refugees, and managing mass surrender of insurgents.
Other speakers from different countries shared experiences and knowledge peculiar to communities in countries of the Lake Chad.
The conference is scheduled to end on Wednesday afternoon, with “key takeaways and next steps” to be reached for considerable implementation by stakeholders towards stabilizing communities affected in Nigeria, Chad, Niger and Cameroon.
Zulum was at the conference alongside Borno State’s Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development, Zuwaira Gambo and the Special Adviser on Security, Brigadier General Abdullahi Ishaq, both of whom have been playing leading roles in managing Borno’s responses to the mass surrender of Boko Haram and ISWAP fighters. Both officials made useful contributions at the conference.
The Governor’s Adviser and Coordinator,
Sustainable Development, Partnerships and Humanitarian Support, Dr. Mairo Mandara made presentations at a session during the conference.