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Sen.Bashir Garba: The Trajectory Of a Transformer

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By Bala Ibrahim.

Two important appointments were made by President Muhammadu Buhari this week. One was consequent upon providence, while the other seems like a reward for being particularly good or worthy, in the course of duty.

This article would leave aside the appointment of Gen. Farouk Yahaya as the new Chief of Army staff, which was brought about by providence, and concentrate more on the appointment of Sen. Bashir Garba Mohammed, as the new Director General of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), which looks like the recognition and celebration of excellence in service, of the man.

In a statement by the S.A media to the President, Mallam Garba Shehu, the Presidency said, “President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the swapping of positions by two heads of agencies under the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development. Consequently, Mrs. Imaan Suleiman Ibrahim, the current Director General of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), takes over from Sen. Basheer Garba Mohammed as the Honourable Federal Commissioner for the National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons (NCFRMI), while Senator Mohammed becomes the new Director General of NAPTIP. This is in order to realize and sustain government’s abiding desire for effective and efficient service delivery in the two organisations”.

Before assuming the headship of the NCRMI in August 2019, Sen. Bashir Garba was a very influential politician with good grassroots support, that made him a member of 7th National Assembly, where he represented Kano Central Senatorial District.

Long before he assumed office at the NCRMI, successive leaders have had their plans of how to move the commission forward, but it looks like Sen. Bashir had a different vision, based on his own foresight, imagination and wisdom.

Although generally, the government has a robust strategy for refugees and the internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Nigeria, Sen. Bashir centred on two major projects, which he picked as his pet projects, and chose to pursue them with set out goal timelines.

The first is Project Reliance, where in collaboration with the CBN, IDPs, Refugees and Returnee migrants are trained on various skills, with a view to making them self reliant. Trainings are given in 53 skills here.

The second is the Resettlement City Rehabilitation and Reintegration Project, where large land is acquired for primary healthcare centres, skills acquisition, boreholes, educational learning centres and security posts.

Using the Buhari administration’s template, he refined, promoted and fast tracked the resettlement cities project for internally displaced persons (IDPs) and refugees in the country.

Through the use of good vision, with the help of dedicated and motivated staff, he took his time to recognize the effort of everyone, that went into achieving one of the missions of the regime, on the issue of displaced persons in and around Nigeria.

Within his brief stint at the commission, Sen. Bashir had succeeded in reinforcing the kind of motivation that compelled performance, and the attainment of realizable achievements for individual staff as well as for the commission.

Through thinking out of the box, and realizing that beyond giving out handouts to refugees, there is a trauma associated with compulsory residential relocation, especially relocations brought about unceremoniously by disasters, which deserves special attention. As such, Sen.Bashir puts priority to the resettlement cities project, that would permanently return and accommodate 1.3 million IDPs from camps and refugees, not only in Nigeria, but Chad, Niger and Cameroon.

Progress is being made in building the cities in the North East, North West and North Central zones, which are areas that have been affected by Boko Haram insurgency, banditry, as well as herdsmen and farmers clashes.

Perhaps it is in recognition of his talent and great energy or enthusiasm in the pursuit of the government’s cause or objective, that the President felt the need has arisen to move such motivation and zeal to the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP). Hence the decision to transfer Sen. Bashir there.

Like the NCRMI, NAPTIP is facing many challenges, which range from poor staff motivation, inadequate funding, slow judicial process, inadequate penalty and also the attitudes of the victims, but with the coming of Sen. Bashir Garba, who is working like a solution looking for problem, most of the challenges would be confronted head on, in order to reduce their severity, or be eliminated completely.

A simple visit to the new office of the National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons in Wuse 2 Abuja, would convince even the blind, that indeed Sen. Bashir Garba Mohammed is truly a trustworthy transformer.

While congratulating Sen. Bashir for such a feat, the government must also be applauded, for identifying and rewarding people with exceptional visionary qualities, who inspire others to work towards the achievement of it’s goals.

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