Senate president, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, yesterday warned that without accountability and stringent oversight, the efforts to rehabilitate the insurgency-ravaged north east zone would fail.
Saraki’s statement signed by his special adviser on media and publicity, Mr. Yusuf Olaniyonu, was in response to the conclusion of a four-day visit by the United Nations special rapporteur on human rights of the internally displaced persons (IDPs), Dr. Chaloka Beyani.
The senate president noted that he was encouraged to learn that the international community is beginning to pay more attention to the suffering in the north east.
“We are hopeful about the increasing international attention being shown towards 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 materials and resources”, he stated.
Saraki who pointed out that Nigeria was heading in the right direction in tackling the north east’s humanitarian crisis, however, noted that many issues remain to be attended to, regarding accountability, sexual abuse cases, lack of protection and the provision of basic services in health care, education among others.
“Gradually but surely, we are heading in the right direction. However, let us not take our foot off the gas pedal. Accountability must be built into all aspects of the relief and rehabilitation efforts to promote greater confidence in our capacity”, he said.
He also emphasised that there is a need to focus less on the sensational stories of corruption in the relief efforts and instead focus on more transparent systems to root out corruption and profiteering. Saraki further stated 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 I speak for many of my colleagues, when I say we are more than willing to work with any individual and organisation, Nigerian and international stakeholders to restore development, dignity and hope to the people of the north east. We are indeed willing,” he stated.