By Ismaila Chafe (NAN)
President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday presided over the longest meeting of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) in the history of his administration at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the meeting which started at about 11.00am, was still on going as at the time of filing this report (9.25pm).
NAN gathered that the meeting was to deliberate on over 25 memos from different Federal Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).
NAN observed that the meeting went for break twice to enable the cabinet members meet up with some spiritual obligations and other needs.
President Buhari had, before the commencement of the Council meeting today, inaugurated the North East Development Commission (NEDC), with retired Maj.-Gen. Paul Tarfa and Mohammed Alkali as Chairman and Managing Director/Chief Executive.
Members of the board include Musa Yashi, Executive Director Humanitarian Affairs; Muhammed Jawa, Executive Director Administration and Finance; Omar Mohammed, Executive Director Operations.
Others are David Kente, member representing the North East Zone; Asmau Mohammed, member representing North West Zone and Benjamin Adanyi, member representing North Central Zone.
Also on the board are Olawale Oshun, member representing South West Zone; Dr T. Ekechi, member representing the South East and Obasuke McDonald, member representing South South.
Buhari told members to commence the process of resettlement and rehabilitation of Internally Displaced Persons to their original homes or their new communities to bring social cohesion in the northeast.
According to him, the inauguration of the commission was in fulfilment of the promise he made to the people of the northeast.
Buhari said that the gesture was in appreciation of the massive electoral support he received from the zone in 2015 and 2019 that encouraged him to inaugurate the board.
He told the board to shift focus from humanitarian assistance as soon as possible in all relevant areas to developmental and infrastructural projects, including reconstruction of roads, houses, educational institutions and business premises destroyed by Boko Haram.
The president also urged the board members to work out strategies to key into the African Development Bank’s Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zones initiative.
He said that the board should also explore other programmes and initiatives, championed by Nigeria’s development partners, local and international to further bring socio-economic development to the zone.
Buhari disclosed that N10 billion had been earmarked in the 2019 budget for the smooth take-off of the commission as well as the rebuilding of the zone.
Urging the members to make judicious use of the fund, the president mandated the commission to conduct a comprehensive survey on the magnitude of damage caused by the insurgency.