President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday took a fresh message of hope to Nigerians displaced from their homes by the Boko Haram insurgency in the Northeast.
He told Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Yola, Adamawa State that government is working hard to ensure that they resume normal life at the earliest.
The president also decorated three soldiers who sustained serious injuries in the ongoing operations against Boko Haram with the Purple Heart medal for their gallantry.
Four other soldiers were presented Operation Lafiya Dole medals.
President Buhari said that the honour to the three wounded soldiers was in appreciation of their heroic contribution to the ongoing effort by the Armed Forces to end the Boko Haram insurgency.
He said: “These very deserved medals are in recognition of your sacrifices. I hope it will inspire you to give more to the nation and I urge you to maintain your determination to bring
peace to our fatherland.
“With what I have seen today, I believe that the Boko Haram are very close to defeat and I urge you to quickly clear the remnants of these criminals from wherever they may still be hiding.
“I also urge you to remain vigilant, alert and focused to prevent Boko Haram from sneaking into our communities to attack soft targets.’’
Those decorated with the Purple Heart medal are Lance Corporal Kenneth Kulugh who was wounded in a battle with Boko Haram at Magar Bridge, near Madagali; Private Anthony Sunday who was wounded in a battle with Boko Haram at Gubla in Adamawa State; and Private Danga Umar who sustained multiple gunshot injuries to both thighs at Magar Bridge, near Madagali.
He later went to the Malkohi Camp where he told IDPs that “by the grace of God, it’s our wish that you will be at your farm next cropping season.”
The president, who spoke in Hausa, said the government is determined more than ever before to end the Boko Haram menace. “My government is doing everything possible to rebuild your homes, schools hospitals and roads to enable you go back to your homes.”
“Boko Haram will soon be a thing of the past.
“I know that most of you are farmers and your farm land have been destroyed, but let me assure you that you will soon go back and continue in your farming.
“We remain committed to ending Boko Haram, ensuring your safety and welfare, particularly your children and their education.
Buhari assured the IDPs that government would not only recover their areas but help in rebuilding destroyed structures, particular schools and hospitals.
He lauded the Adamawa State Government, National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and other organisations for their effective handling of the IDPs and assured them of sustained support from government.
Welcoming the President, Governor Umaru Jibrilla said the state is burdened by the number of displaced persons, saying: “As I speak now,
about 10,000 IDPs from Central Africa Republic are expected in Adamawa in three days’ time.”
The Director General of NEMA, Sani Cidi, while welcoming the president said: “In Adamawa we have so far received 15,754 internally displaced and we are expecting about 10,000 more.”
President Buhari had earlier decorated the wounded soldiers after inspecting a guard of honour by the 23rd Armoured Brigade of the Nigeria Army.
He was met on arrival at the Yola airport by Governor Jibrilla, the Speaker of the House of Representatives Yakubu Dogara and other dignitaries including a former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar.
President Buhari also paid a courtesy visit to the Lamido Adamawa, Dr Muhamadu Barkindo Aliyu Mustapha, attended the wedding Fatiha of three daughters of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, and joined in the Jumat Prayer at the Airforce Mosque in Jibson Jalo Army Barracks, Jimeta, Yola.
He was accompanied on the trip by the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, Chief Bisi Akande, Senator Ahmed Lawan and Senator Kabir Garba Marafa.