Accountability key to North East development plan – Saraki

Senate President, Abubakar Bukola Saraki, Friday said that accountability and oversight were necessary components in the country’s efforts to rebuild the insurgency-ravaged North East zone.

A statement by the Special Adviser (Media) to the Senate President, Yusuph Olaniyonu, said that Saraki was responding to the conclusion of a four-day visit by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on human rights, Dr. Chaloka Beyani to internally displaced persons (IDPs) camps.

It said that Saraki indicated that he was encouraged to learn that the international community was beginning to pay more attention to the suffering in the North East.

Oloniyonu quoted Saraki as saying, “We are hopeful about the increasing international attention being shown toward the North East. On our part, we need to make sure that our accountability mechanisms generate confidence in our ability to absorb and monitor the delivery of aid material and resources.”

It said that the Senate President, who added that Nigeria was heading in the right direction in tackling the North East’s humanitarian crisis, however noted that “there are still many issues in the areas of accountability, such as sexual abuse, lack of protection and the provision of basic services that need to be addressed.”

Saraki said “Gradually but surely, we are heading in the right direction. However, let us not take our foot off the gas pedal. We must make accountability an expectation in Nigeria’s humanitarian relief infrastructure. Accountability must be built into all aspects of the relief to rehabilitation effort to promote greater confidence in our capacity.”

Saraki, the statement said, also emphasized the need to focus less on the sensational stories of corruption in the relief effort and instead focus on more transparent systems to root out corruption and profiteering.

It said that Saraki assured that when the 8th Senate resumes sitting later in the month, the humanitarian crisis in the North East will be a high priority.

“As Senate President, I am sure that I speak for many of my colleagues when I say that we are more than willing to work with any and all Nigerians and international stakeholders to restore development, dignity and hope to the people of the north east,” he stated.

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