By Abraham Olatokunbo
Borno State Governor, Prof. Babagana Zulum has said renewed attacks and capture of parts of his state by Boko Haram would not deter his administration from continuing with it’s reconstruction, rehabilitation and resettlement plans.
The governor also expressed the willingness of his administration to support the military in recapturing from Boko Haram recently captured territories.
The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Major General Ibrahim Attahiru, had on Sunday given troops currently engaging Boko Haram in the Northeast 48 hours to retrieve captured communities from the terrorist group.
Speaking on Monday at the North East Development Commission (NEDC) official launch of Rapid Response Intervention (RRI) across the six northeast states of Taraba, Gombe, Yobe, Adamawa, Bauchi and Borno, an event which took place at the Multi Purpose Hall of the Government House, Maiduguri, Zulum said his administration was ready to give full support to the military and other security agencies to recapture Marte local government area which was taken over last week and currently under the occupation of Boko Haram.
He said, the renewed attacks in some parts of the state, especially in Dikwa and Marte and other resettled communities would not deter the present administration in its reconstruction, rehabilitation and resettlement drive.
The governor, who thanked President Muhammadu Buhari and the NEDC for their support to the traumatized citizens in the region, appealed to the Commission to key into some critical areas such as restoration of power, road construction, agricultural transformation and livestock production in the state.
He said: “Today’s Intervention/support by NEDC is huge amongst any other interventions we got in Borno State, although, some parts of Borno have witnessed renewed attacks by insurgents in the last one week, I want to assure that my administration is in full support of the military and other security agencies to recapture Marte local government area which was attacked and currently under the occupation of Boko Haram.
“These renewed attacks in some parts of the state, especially in Dikwa and Marte and other resettled communities would not deter the present administration in its reconstruction, rehabilitation and resettlement drive in the state.”
Earlier in his address, the Managing Director, NEDC, Alhaji Goni Alkali said apart from Rapid Response Intervention (RRI) across the six states of Taraba, Gombe, Yobe, Adamawa, Bauchi and Borno, the Commission has resolved to implement an average of two projects in each of the 112 local government areas of the region, with a budget plan of N50 million per local government.
He said the budget for the initiative was however pegged at N6 billion for implementation of all approved projects.
Goni disclosed that in order to ensure the projects were demand-driven, the Commission requested state governments to nominate sectors, including education, health, social infrastructure and agriculture that are of paramount importance to them.
He said the response has been massive, with states requesting for a total of 1,310 projects estimated to cost about N5.8 billion.
He however said when teams were sent by the NEDC to carry out preliminary assessments of projects and sites, the total number was rationalized to 647 across all the states in the region.
He also said the implementation of the RRI projects in Borno is almost completed with today’s handing- over to the state of about 40,000 two-seater classrooms furniture for distribution to schools in the 27 council areas.
The Managing Director said apart from the RRI, 166 youths were trained and now graduates of Information and Communication Technology (ICT), Computer Graphics and Cell phone Repairs who are to be kitted with Free Staryer Packs and the sum of N20,000 each to enable them hit the ground running.
He also stated that the Commission has provided food and non-food items worth over N4 billion to the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) residing in various camps in Borno in the last one year, stressing that as part of President Muhammadu Buhari’s approval to construct 10,000 houses to accommodate IDP returnees, the Commission has already embarked on construction of the first batch of 1000 houses at Ngwom in Mafa local government area which would soon be completed and handed over to the state.
On Covid -19 prevention by the Commission, Goni said they have sensitized the public on the dangers of the highly contagious disease. He said this was in addition to today’s flag off of distribution of 35,000 branded face masks for private and public primary schools in the state as well as for security agencies and to members of the Nigerian Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW).
He also said 2000 pieces of hand sanitizers, 100 pieces of infrared thermometers would be distributed to primary schools across the state as well as 500 pieces of Bio Super Wound Gel for clinics at IDPs camps.