By Ben Agande
Kaduna – The United Nations Development Programmes, UNDP, yesterday, said about 1.9 million people in North Eastern part of the country were in urgent need of recovery support, food and shelter.
Country Director of UNDP in Nigeria, Mr Samuel Bwalya, disclosed this at graduation ceremony of 79 UNDP-sponsored training programmes for 79 internally displaced persons at the Peugeot Automobile Nigeria Learning Centre in Kaduna.
He said what the UNDP was doing by sponsoring the internally displaced persons, IDPs, was to make them self-sufficient and support the community.
He said: “The insurgence just worsened the situation, resulting in mass suffering among the people, especially women and youths.
“From our assessment, about 1.9 million people in the region, representing over 250,000 households, are in urgent need of early recovery support, including shelter, food, livelihood, social infrastructure, public security, among others.
“It is important to note that currently, over 80 percent of households affected by the insurgence spend more than they earn, and 30 percent of households are economically inactive.
“As UNDP, we are working towards ensuring that necessary early recovery needs are met through vocational skills training, livelihood support, rehabilitation of public infrastructure – these efforts are providing catalytic ingredients for communities to thrive again, for individuals to be able to fend for themselves again, and for development to return to the region.’’
According to the UN chief, the programme under the theme, “Together for Peace: Respect, Safety and Dignity for All,” focuses on the plight of IDPs, refugees and migrants throughout the world. demonstrates that hope and opportunity still exist when peace is given a chance, knowing the circumstances that led to mass displacement of communities from which some of these graduates came – Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states.
He said though the number of those graduating may be small, “they represent a lot of hope for others and communities they come from.’’
He said further: “Even before Boko Haram began its insurgency in the region more than eight years ago, communities were already vulnerable and struggling to survive. Nearly seven out of ten people were living below the extreme poverty line, on less than $1 a day, and livelihood opportunities were severely limited.’’
He said the 79 trainees were part of the over five hundred IDPs the UNDP was supporting in the region.
“Currently, 571 of the 575 were placed into three technical facilities in Kaduna, Maiduguri and Yola, 79 of whom are graduating today, while 179 others will graduate in Yola Technical Centre by this time of next week.
‘’The last two batches from the Ramat Polytechnic, Maiduguri, and this centre will graduate in November 2017 and February 2018 respectively.
“It is our hope that after passing through this training process, the graduates, depending on the programme they were engaged in, are peace advocates, responsible citizens, better business managers and potential leaders in their communities.
“We can do more and support more of the victims of the insurgency. With more partnerships, more resources mobilised and more equipped centres of learning, it is possible. We remain ready to support both the federal and state governments in establishing standard technical and vocational training facilities which will be useful in providing skills to women and youth of this country.
‘’I, therefore, encourage governments in the region to invest in programmes that promote youth entrepreneurship, vocational and skills acquisition. It is the only way we will address some of the underlying causes of instability here and in other parts of the country,” he expressed.
Earlier in his speech, the governor of Yobe State, Ibrahim Gaidam, said Boko Haram was no longer active in the state, stressing that the state was ready for investors.
The governor, who was represented by Musa Jidawa, a permanent secretary in the state, urged other development partners to emulate the efforts of the UNDP by coming to the aid of the state.
The Managing Director of PAN, Ibrahim Boyi, said the organization was ready to contribute its quota to the reduction in unemployment by making youths in the country self-sufficient through skill acquisition.