Barely 24 hours after the Supreme Court affirmed his election as Governor of Plateau State, Governor Simon Bako Lalong on Tuesday 21st January 2020 paid a visit to the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajiya Sadiya Faruk at the Ministry’s Headquarters at the Federal Secretariat, Abuja.
Governor Lalong told the Minister that he was in her office to seek the support of the Ministry in the rehabilitation and reintegration of Internally Displaced Persons in Plateau State who are being returned to their ancestral homes.
He said since the symbolic closure of all IDP camps in the State in December 2020, the State Government has been doing a lot to enable them rebuild their homes and start life again.
He said materials for reconstruction were provided to facilitate reconstruction of destroyed homesteads.
He said “we are committed to ensuring that the peace we have restored to Plateau is consolidated. Peace cannot be fully consolidated without taking care of those that were displaced and disoriented. We want to see that they are comfortable in their original abodes and have means of livelihood so that they can forget the trauma of the past as they heal”.
Lalong said the State Government cannot bear the huge financial cost of resettling the returnee IDPs hence the appeal for the assistance of the Federal Government through the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development.
He said so far, the State has benefitted a lot from the Social Investment Programmes of the Federal Government and is also doing its best to provide empowerment opportunities for the youths in the State through the Plateau Small and Medium Enterprises Agency (PLASMIDA). This he said has contributed immensely to the restoration of peace as many youths are now engaged with less tendency for crime.
Responding, the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development Hajiya Sadiya Umar Faruk thanked Governor Lalong for making her Ministry the first port of call after his election victory which testifies to his passion for the less privileged and vulnerable persons in the society such as the IDPs who need special attention.
She said the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development will assist Plateau State in not only ensuring that IDPs are returned to their ancestral lands, but will also ensure that they are empowered and given opportunities to be productive and live with dignity.
She said “I am not surprised that Plateau State now enjoys peace because you are a man of peace and have always advocated harmonious living. You are my big brother and I will do everything possible to support you. Already, we have received your request which the Permanent Secretary is working on. Very soon, the team will come to Plateau State to ensure that we are on the same page”.
She commended the Governor for absorbing many youths into various social programmes and giving special attention to the persons living with disability in Plateau State by creating the Disability Rights Commission which is one of the first in the country.
“Very soon I am going to come looking for the Head of your Disability Commission to join us here at the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development to help us coordinate the aspects of people with disabilities in Nigeria. We have heard that he is doing a great job. Your Excellency, please start looking for a replacement” the Minister said.
The Governor was accompanied on the visit by the Speaker of the Plateau State House of Assembly Nuhu Abok Ayuba, Secretary to the Government Prof. Danladi Atu, Chairman of APC in Plateau State Letep Dabang and the Commissioner of Information Dan Manjang.