NEDC flags off mass housing construction, other humanitarian projects in Yobe

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NEDC flags off mass housing construction, other humanitarian projects in Yobe

NEDC flags off mass housing construction, other humanitarian projects in Yobe

Story from Sa’adatu MAINA, Damaturu

The North-East Development Commission (NEDC) and the Yobe State government on Thursday performed the ground-breaking ceremony for the construction of 500 NEDC Model Mass Housing, Mega Schools, the Gujba-Ngalda road project and graduation of the third batch of ICT trainees.

Speaking at the occasion, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer (MD/CEO) of NEDC, Mohammed G. Alkali explained that the NEDC flags off the projects in the state as part of the mandate for which President Muhammadu Buhari’s government set up the commission, to render humanitarian services and facilitate the speedy recovery and development of the terrorism-ravaged Northeast zone.

READ ALSO: Gov. Buni inspects Gujba-Mutai Road project, as NEDC pledges to construct 54km Mutai-Ngalda Road

He said, “NEDC was established to address developmental challenges in the northeast region and to restore means of livelihood of the people, following the effects of over 12 years-long insurgencies.

“This situation led to a massive influx of people into the urban areas with most of them taking shelter at any available public spaces, homes, abandoned and uncompleted buildings and some IDP camps across the States.

“Distinguished guests, you may recall that part of the commission’s mandate included rehabilitation and reconstruction of destroyed homes and commercial premises of citizens in the Region. You may also wish to be informed that the stock of houses in the northeast states before the insurgency was about 4 million, out of which over 500,000 structures (houses and commercial premises) were destroyed or irreparably damaged.

“Even before the insurgency, there was a Housing deficit in all the States of the Region. Therefore, the insurgency only further aggravated the situation. In all of this, Borno State being the epicentre of the crisis is worse affected with the largest number of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs)”.

“Based on the above, Mr President, His Excellency, Muhammadu Buhari (GCFR) had earlier in 2019 approved a special Presidential intervention in Borno State (SPIB) to ameliorate the desperate situation that displaced communities in the state had found themselves through the construction of 10,000 houses and the establishment of Technical and Vocational Skills Acquisition Centres for the IDPs amongst others.

“As part of the execution of the SPIB, it was resolved that the NEDC undertakes the construction of the first 1,000 houses and fully funded the equipping of the Technical and Vocational/Skills Centres around the State.

“Today, I am pleased to mention that, at a ceremony on 02/09/2021 presided over by the Honorable Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajjia Sadia Umar Farouq, the 1,000 Houses at Ngowom Village, Mafa Local Government of Borno State was handed over to His Excellency, Executive Governor of Borno State, Baba Gana Umara Zullum.

“We were able to deliver a town with all social amenities, these are all the efforts of the Commission to reflect on its mandate, and the decision to replicate same in the other five states of the region by the construction of 500 houses in each state.

Alkali further said “To realise this, the commission had earlier requested for, and had received approval from the Yobe State government on allocation of plots of land for these mass houses as follows, in Damaturu, 250 houses; in Buni Yadi, 50 houses; in Geidam, 50 houses; in Potiskum, 50 houses; in Gashua, 50 houses; in Nguru, 50 houses”, adding that construction would commence immediately after the foundation laying ceremony.

He explained that the mass houses of which they were about to commence construction are of the cluster block style which consists of blocks of four units of 2-bedroomed bungalows with veranda and courtyard, each block sits on four hundred square meters, with a fence separating each twin-facing houses, covered kitchens and toilets/bathrooms, and ample space for home living activities, adding that the facilities would also be provided with street lights, reticulated water supply system, commercial spaces among others.

On the NEDC Model Mega Schools project, the MD informed that the Commission is also charged with the Construction, Reconstruction and Rehabilitation of Education Sector Infrastructure to redress the high deficit in classroom blocks in both Primary and Secondary Schools throughout the northeast region.

“This deficit has meant that the region is the part of the country with the lowest literacy rate and highest poverty index in the country. Low literacy and high poverty are recognised by experts to be among the root causes of the violent insurgency that bedevilled the region for twelve years and the situation was further exacerbated by the large-scale destruction of schools and losses in the lives of youths, teachers, students etc.

“The destruction of schools, especially where they have not been rehabilitated throughout the decade of insurgency, resulting in the truncation of the education of primary and secondary school students, and even where schools remained standing, widespread poverty coupled with insecurity rendered an estimated 600,000 young people unable to go beyond the primary or secondary school levels. As such, millions of the out of school children in the region remain uneducated, justifying the need for massive intervention in the development of school infrastructure.

“Consequently, the commission resolved to construct three (3) Composite Mega Schools or upgrade existing ones in each state of the region, thus making eighteen, one in each of the Senatorial District. We are also going to compliment the physical structure with soft support like teachers’ training, curriculum upgrade, e.t.c.

“In the same manner as with the Mass Housing, sites have been sought for, and have been provided for the Schools as follows, Buni Yadi in Gujba LGA, Potiskum in Potiskum LGA and Gashua in Bade LGA. God willing, we are going to have the foundation Laying ceremony for the Schools in Gashua tomorrow,” he explained.

On the flag-off of the distribution of food and non-food items, Alkali said the issue of imminent food insecurity in the region had been a matter of discourse for a long time.

“Recently, the United Nations Resident Coordinator in Nigeria, Mr Edward Kallon on August 5, 2021, issued a press statement in Maiduguri on the need for the Humanitarian Community, the United Nations and Non-Governmental Organisations to join efforts in addressing the rapidly deteriorating food insecurity situation in the zone, highlighting its manifest and latent consequences.

The NEDC boss said, “In compliance with the pronouncement made by the Honourable Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and social Development on August 19, 2021, at the World Humanitarian Day event at the Presidential Villa Abuja, the Commission swung into action and came-up with a plan for the distribution of Food items to address the rapidly deteriorating food insecurity situation in the North East Region. Starting with Borno State on 02/09/2021.

“Today, as part of the strategy, we are going to hand-over the following items to His Excellency, the Executive Governor of Yobe State for onward distribution to people of concern in the state, bags of rice (25kg) 12,000 Gallons of vegetable oil, 10,000Bags of sugar 2,000, cartons of spaghetti, 3,000 cartons of macaroni.

“In our continuous support to the IDPs and other vulnerable groups in the state, we are also donating the following non-food items, blanket PCS 2,000 (Pcs), Mats 2,000 (Pcs), mosquito nets 2,000 (Pcs), mosquito hand band 10,000(Pcs)”.

“The commission’s vision for ICT development is to see a prosperous 21st-century northeast region with a robust ICT local content-driven industry that delivers Social and Economic Services in a manner that enhances safety, stimulates wealth creation and environmental sustainability for all”.

“Already, 2,400 youths were trained by the Commission in 2 batches across the six states. During our last ceremony on February 18th, 2021 in this great city of Damaturu, we graduated 138 candidates and promised to train another set of 200 beneficiaries in the second batch.

“I am glad to report that 192 Candidates will be graduating today from Yobe State, thus, the Commission has successfully graduated 330 beneficiaries out of the 400 intended to be trained during the 2 (two) batches, and indeed this is a laudable fiat”.

“To the 192 successful graduands, it is my pleasure to congratulate you all and urge you to utilise what was learned and be good ambassadors of the state. The Commission has been and will always remain committed to making sure that youths development is given topmost priority through training and job creation in delivering our mandate.

“To further support your successful completion of the training, I want to inform you that each of you will be provided with free Starter Packs and the sum of N20,000 as start-up capital incentive apart from the N15,000 monthly stipends already paid to each one of you”.

“Consequently, due to the importance of ICT empowerment and profound demand from the youths, the Commission will establish two more centres in the state, thus, one in each of the other two Senatorial Districts”.

“At this point, I wish to passionately appeal to His Excellency, the Executive Governor to encourage and further support these successful Sons and Daughters of the State by allocating strategic business premises to them for the next two years to enable them to commence their vocations seamlessly”.

“Also, during our last visit, we promised to donate to the state a fully equipped infectious Diseases Laboratory for the testing of COVID – 19 and other diseases. It gives me great pleasure to announce that His Excellency, the Executive Governor will formally commission the laboratory today for the benefit of mankind. We have already commissioned those in Bauchi and Taraba states while Adamawa and Gombe states will be done in the next two weeks”.

“Core Infrastructure development is very critical to the overall achievement of the Mandate of the Commission. In addition to the already ongoing construction of the 40 km Gujba to Mutai section being undertaken by the North-East Recovery and Stabilization Program (NERSP)/Multi-Sectoral Crisis Recovery Project (MCRP) which is under our supervision, your Excellency may recall requesting the Commission to construct the remainder 54k from Mutai to Ngalda section.”

“We have thoroughly reviewed the design and working details provided by the state cum the immense economic benefits the road will create not only to Yobe State but the entire North East Region, we are now ready to commence work. Our inspection visit to the ongoing site with your Excellency tomorrow will usher in action on the second section of the Road. Besides this road, the state is a great beneficiary of other Projects under the MCRP e.g, the establishment of a stand-alone Trauma service Center, Community Town Halls, etc.”

“Very soon we shall commence award of scholarships to deserving candidates across the northeast region for the 2021/2022 academic session.
“Also, the Board of Trustees (BoT) of the fund has reached an advance stage for the intervention in the basic education sector of the region, leveraging on the earlier Rapid Response Initiative (RRI) to at least fully upgrade/rehabilitate one primary school in each of the 112 LGAs in the six states”.

“Your Excellences, Distinguished Guests, based on our earlier pronouncements, I am very happy and delighted to report that we are currently pursuing intensive consultation with all stakeholders after which we shall soon unveil a robust and harmonised masterplan tagged, the North-East Stabilisation and Development Master Plan for the region.

“On behalf of the Board and Management of the Commission, I wish to earnestly thank His Excellency, Executive Governor of Yobe State, Alhaji Mai Mala Buni, for all the support provided to us right from inception to date. I want to assure His Excellency that the commission is solidly behind the government and good people of Yobe State in ensuring that peace and stability prevail once again and the citizens return to their normal course of life”.

“Our genuine appreciation also goes to our amiable Honourable Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajiya Sadiya Umar Farouq for her tremendous and enduring support and understanding as well as the policy direction enjoyed by the commission that led to our successful take-off and making today’s historic events a reality.

“The commission is also fully committed to the actualisation cum localisation of the National Humanitarian Development Peace Framework recently launched as part of the World Humanitarian Day celebration on the 19th of August, 2021. Equally the Commission will fully support the implementation of the recently approved National Policy on Internally Displaced Persons.

“On this note, I want to assure Mr President, our Honourable Minister, Governors of the member states of the Northeast, peoples’ representatives in the various Legislative Assemblies and all the residents of the northeast region, that the commission under the current board and management will remain focused and committed to ensuring the achievement of its mandate of rebuilding and developing the zone”.

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