Urges FG to scale up funding, transparency on N-East issues
By Ndahi Marama
Maiduguri—Suspended former Senate Leader, Mohammed Ali Ndume, has regretted his continuous absence from the floor of the National Assembly.
Ndume, who represents Southern Borno senatorial district, said since his forcible exit, there were some critical issues affecting the people of the North East, particularly in Borno State, that nobody was addressing.
Ndume, who spoke, yesterday, in his Maiduguri residence with journalists on the security situation in the region, said one of the critical issues has to do with the Presidential Committee on the North-East Initiatives, PCNI, budget.
He said before he went the on suspension, he was among those who went to the leadership of both arms of the National Assembly (Senate and House of Representatives) to appeal for a scale-up of PINE N45 billion budget, considering the security and humanitarian crisis in the zone.
He said: “In February this year, United Nations, developed countries and Non- Governmental Organisations, NGOs, within four hours during an international conference in Oslo donated about N241 billion.
“So far now, I cannot say off-head what is the contribution status, but I know that the contribution for now is getting to over $500 million, which is over N200 billion.
“Here we are, a country like Nigeria which is directly involved in this crisis, is budgeting a megre sum of only N45 billion. I am surprised that since I left, nothing good in this regard was done, despite the fact that the national budget increased to over N100 billion this year.
“Second, this issue of the breakout of cholera in camps hosting millions of our Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs, which has so far claimed over 50 people’s lives, with others hospitalised.
“It is unfortunate that as I speak to you, the Federal Government has not sent any delegation/emergency team to address the matter, instead the Federal Government chose to leave it in the hands of the state government and international NGOs who are overstretched.
“I, therefore, call on the Federal Government to scale up its funding and be transparent in addressing humanitarian challenges posed by insurgency activities.”
He said aside from the inadequate supply of food and other health facilities in camps, which was beyond the state government and other humanitarian agencies to address, many children of the IDPs had no access to basic and qualitative education in the last four years.
He lamented the lack of completion of projects, especially road construction due to insecurity, which had continued to make movement difficult in the region.