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Nigeria-Japan set to recover the North East

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By Mercy Kelani

Development of rural communities and LGs is necessary for recovery & dev.

The Federal Government of Nigeria is set to collaborate with the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) for development of rural communities in the North Eastern region of the country. Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Nasir Sani-Gwarzo who was represented by the Director of Humanitarian affairs in the Ministry, Alhaji Grema, stated that to recover the North East Region, it is extremely important that rural communities and local governments are developed.

At a sensitization workshop on Community building through collaboration with local government in the North East region under the organization of the North East Development Commission in collaboration with the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA), the secretary noted that the responsibility of the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development as well as the North East Development Commission (NEDC) is majorly to enforce unbiased focused policies. These policies must be prudent and humane, leaving no one behind in Humanitarian, Development and Peace.

There should be a trusting relationship between the gov’t and communities.

Nigeria’s States and Local Governments are implored to cooperate with the efforts of the federal government and the ministry by enabling the HDP triple nexus – Humanitarian, Development and Peace. Keying into the HDP triple nexus would foster trust between governments at all levels, even at the grassroot level. The Permanent Secretary also suggested involvement of NGOs, INGOs, local partners and other foreign partners to assist the government in a swift reconstruction of the North East region.

The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) is regarded as a significant international partner with commendable impacts in aspects of community engagement and development, including other sectors. In 2022, recovery and development in Japan through the trusting relationships between government and communities was experienced by staff of the Ministry, NEDC and states. Mohammed Alkali, the Managing Director of the North East Development Commission (NEDC), thanked JICA for sponsorship of the study tour of Japan which happened in October, 2022.

Commission would learn additional disaster recovery efforts from JICA.

Represented by the Head of Research and Planning in the Commission, Professor Bobboi Umar, Alkali acknowledged inclusiveness of local communities in recovery and development planning governance as the major lesson gathered from the study tour for reduction of trust deficit that exists between government and the people. During the study tour, Japan’s experience of recovery and reconstruction in Hiroshima (World War II) and Iwaki (Great East Japan Earthquake) was shared. The country also revealed its present efforts to build trust between government and community and the issues and challenges associated with them.

NEDC’s Managing Director added that the presence of 112 Local Government Chairmen through the 6 ALGON Chairmen and 6 Permanent Secretaries of Ministries of Local Government from North East States is significantly necessary for sensitization on the need for communities as stakeholders in development and governance just like Japan. Also, there would be another workshop for Community Development Officers in the 112 LGAs on their designated responsibilities as bridges between the government and communities. NEDC aims at learning some forms of disaster recovery from JICA regardless of the difference.

More recovery and conflict resolution needed in the NE region.

The North East Development Commission (NEDC) are collaborating with the mandate of JICA for assistance in supporting Bauchi, Taraba and Gombe – the remaining three states that are yet to experience development partners’ interventions unlike Adamawa, Borno and Yobe – as well as health and education sectors. JICA Programme Officer on Nutrition, Agriculture, and Peace Building in Nigeria, Dr. Umar Halilu, responded that the North East region has been battling insurgency and conflicts for many years and requires interventions in recovery and conflict resolution. There must be an involvement of the community in the decision-making and planning process to build trust.

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