Why Nigeria Does Not Need The North-East Development Commission – Engr Ramat


by Engr. Ramat,

Nigeria does not need a North-East Development Commission, that nomenclature exposes the initiative to political abuse and controversy that risk reducing the Boko Haram catastrophe to a strictly northeastern affair. What we need is a Post-Insurgency Reconstruction Trust Fund that addresses the needs of Boko Haram affected communities on a case specific basis.

Because, there are areas of the northeast, like those in Taraba state, that are completely immune from Boko Haram. And northeastern states like Gombe and Bauchi have suffered no more than Kano, Kaduna or even Abuja. Making the NEDC an exclusively northeastern initiative marginalizes Boko Haram  affected communities from other parts of the country.

Besides the facts of Kano and Plateau states’ contiguity to the northeast region, with each abutting the region through Bauchi state, the idea of a northeast as comprising of six states is an academic and political abstraction meant for administrative convenience. The Nigerian constitution and laws only recognize states, local governments and legislative constituencies.

The NEDC is modeled after the NNDC in the Niger Delta. That is where the problem lies, on the erroneous assumption that the Boko Haram and Niger Delta insurgencies are similar and can be handled using similar approaches. Nothing is farther from the truth. The Boko Haram and the Niger Delta insurgencies are entirely different in their backgrounds, scope, grievances, strategies and methods.

There are two aspects of the post-insurgency intervention process: on one hand is the need to rebuild communities and reverse the physical devastation in affected areas; and on the other hand is the need to address the underlying factors that provide fertile ground for Boko Haram and its murderous ideology. These factors are not restricted to the northeast alone, they are as visible today in the north as they were when Boko Haram first started.