By Lawrence Audu
Following the final decapitation of the dreaded Boko Haram terrorists and the complete return of peace to the Northeast, the Peace Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Initiative (PRRI) has resettled over 1000 displaced persons into their communities.
The Boko Haram insurgency which began an armed rebellion against the Nigerian state in 2012 with the aide of international conspirators like Amnesty International and a host of others took a substantial part of the Northeast of Nigeria thereby rendering millions homeless while killing unarmed civilians and raping women in uncountable numbers.
The renewed commitment of the Nigerian Military particularly the Nigerian Army within the last three years was able to take back areas held by these criminal elements.
With the return of peace in these communities, the PRRI has in the last two years been involved in the provision of humanitarian interventions such as relief materials, Medicare and financial assistance to victims.
The 2018 edition tagged “Home Return” was organized in collaboration with Entrepreneur Network Nigeria (EEN) and featured various vocational skills in soap making, insecticide, germicide, bead making , reusable sanitary towels, cosmetics shoemaking and tailoring.
Speaking at the distribution ceremomy, Deputy Secretary of PRRI Nkechi Odoma, who represented the PRRI Chairman, Hon Sam Ode mni said, PRRI is happy to be a part of their story and enjoined them to put the skills and resources already acquired into good use and encouraged others with such lofty ideas to reach out to them and not be discouraged.
She tasked the community to return home and start a living but must report movement of suspicious persons to the military and remain law abiding citizens.
Over 1000 Internally Displaced Persons benefited from the scheme at the Mongonu and Baga IDP camps with items such as sewing machines, cosmetic kits, and other starter packs as well as food items of assorted variables.
A beneficiary Amina Bulama who lost her husband and two children couldn’t hide her emotions while speaking to TheNigerian. Expressed gratitude to the organization for the program which she said has given her a reason to stay alive.
“This scheme has given me a new life, I am very excited to return home and begin anew,” she said.
Another beneficiary, Mohammed Kaita recounted his ordeal with the terrorists.
“They killed my aged mother and raped my two wives right before me. I had a barn filled with grains but they burnt all including our houses. My two sons were spared because they were not home at the time of the attack but my neighbours son who refused to join the insurgency were slaughtered like rams before their aged father who couldn’t survive the trauma.
“I have lost everything I ever worked for but I am very grateful to God for this initiative the PRRPI has brought. I have learnt how to make clothes I am prepared to go home any moment from now because peace has now returned to my village”. He said.
In 2014, the insurgency spread to neighboring Cameroon, Chad, and Niger thus becoming a major regional conflict.
In 2015, a coalition offensive by the Multi National Joint Task Force pushed Boko Haram to retreat into the Sambisa Forest until the Nigerian Military in a decisive operation cleared their entire strong holds.
The insurgency which has largely been political took place within the context of long-standing issues of religious violence between Nigeria’s Muslim and Christian communities even though the insurgents did not discriminate along religious lines in their killings.
Boko Haram has been called the world’s deadliest terrorist group, in terms of the number of people it has killed and territories it captured.
The PRRI has remained one of the organizations working not only to ensure that peace returns but that communities are reconstructed victims rehabilitated and resettled in their homes.
“Coming here by road all the way from Abuja, I have seen so much. The magnitude of devastation is unimaginable but the recovery effort is very very impressive” François de Rubet a French journalist told TheNigerian.
“It’s not about sitting in that luxury hotel in Abuja to say things that don’t add up, its about coming up here to assess situations for yourself.
“The most amazing aspect is the home grown solutions the Nigerian authorities have adopted. To me, this is the best solution to completely avert a future occurrence” he added.
After the intensive training by the PRRI Team beneficiaries where issued certificates and given materials and cash to start up businesses.
The intervention of the PRRI acco
rding to Hadiza Usman a beneficiary living with disability, will linger in their minds for a long time to come as they prepare to retur
n back home. But above all the love she has been shown by the team has helped her to stay hopeful that the event of the recent past has come to a final end.