Nigeria Collaborates With Japan On North East Recovery

By Rahila Lassa, Abuja 

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The Nigerian Government is collaborating with the Japanese International Cooperation Agency, JICA, in developing rural communities in the North East region of Nigeria.

Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Nasir Sani-Gwarzo said development of rural communities and Local Governments is critical to the recovery of the North East region.

Sani-Gwarzo stated this at a sensitisation workshop on Community building through collaboration with Local Government in the North East region organised by the North East Development Commission in collaboration with the Japanese International Co-operation Agency, JICA.

Sani-Gwarzo who was represented by the Director, Humanitarian in the Ministry, Alhaji Grema said there has never been a better time to take stock and do appraisal than this.

” Please note that the role of the Federal Ministry if Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development as ND that of the North East Development Commission is to draw fare focused policies and programmes that are unbiased, prudent, humane and leaves no one behind in tandem with the Humanitarian, Development and Peace, HDP, triple nexus. 

” However, the effort of both these Federal Government organisations can only make meaningful impact if the States and Local Governments complement our efforts by keying to the HDP triple nexus. The HDP triple nexus will accelerate the building of trust between governments at all levels and the local communities,” he said.

Region Reconstruction

The Permanent Secretary, however,noted that the reconstruction of the region will be faster and better if NGOs, INGOs and other Local and foreign partners are given opportunities to assist government.

” The Japan International Co-operation Agency, JICA is one of such partners that has tremendous impact in areas of Community engagement and development amongst other sectors.

” Last year, staff of the Ministry, NEDC and States were given the opportunity to experience how the trusting relationship between government and communities has helped recovery and development in Japan,” Sani-Gwarzo explained.

Study Tour

The Managing Director, North East Development Commission, NEDC, Mohammed Alkali commended JICA for sponsoring a study tour of Japan in October 2022.

Alkali who was represented by the Head of Research and Planning in the Commission, Professor Bobboi Umar Said the key lesson learnt from the study tour was inclusiveness of local communities in recovery and development planning governance to reduce trust deficit between government and the people.

To share Japan experiences of recovery and reconstruction in Hiroshima (World War II) and Iwaki (Great East Japan Earthquake).  To know the current efforts of trust building between government and community done by government and their issues and challenges. To discuss possible application of the Japan’s experiences to the North-East recovery and reconstruction”. 

” Today’s top-level engagement with 112 LG Chairmen through the 6 State ALGON Chairmen and 6 Permanent Secretaries of Ministries of Local Government from North East States is strategic for sensitisation on the need to involve communities as stakeholders in development and governance using Japan as a model,” he explained.

He further said that the event would be followed soon by another workshop for Community Development Officers in all the 112 LGAs on their expected roles as bridges between government and communities.

” The Agency has been cooperating with the Commission in terms of recovery from disaster, especially from their Hiroshima incident. Though we are different, we can learn some forms of recovery from disaster.

“Apart from capacity development, there are also other interventions they did for us like scholarships for NEDC officials as well as posting other officials and experts to the Commission for two years and we are expecting further collaborations.

“Most of these development partners’ interventions are for Adamawa, Borno, and Yobe. So we are expecting that the other three states in the North-East region that’s Bauchi, Taraba, and Gombe should be supported as well.

“So, these are the major areas we are working in line with JICA mandate to help us support the other three states as well as specific sectors like health and education,” the NEDC boss said.

Responding, JICA Programme Officer on  Nutrition, Agriculture, and Peace Building in Nigeria, Dr. Umar Halilu, said the North East region was faced with insurgency and conflict for several years hence the need for the interventions in the areas of recovery and conflict resolution.

We are trying to share these lessons learned from those countries we had an intervention and to Nigeria’s context. That is why North East which is suffering from conflict is benefiting from this intervention.

“Largely, we believe that the local government is very vital to ensuring development in the communities because these groups of people are the closest to the community.

“So, one thing we try to do is to change the attitude of governance within that aspect of local government.

“We try to share experience how the LG can build trust between them, the service providers and the beneficiaries which are the community people, and to build this trust the community has to be involved in the decision-making and planning process,” Halilu said.


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