THE European Union once again showed its unbending determination to front the post-insurgency rehabilitation efforts in Borno State, the epicentre of Boko Haram terror, when on Tuesday, January 23, 2018, it unfolded The Borno Package, a 143 million Euro (N60.1 billion) financial boost for the implementation of nine key post-insurgency projects in the next three years. It was the third such grant in the past one year.
The EU Head of Operations, Mr. Kurt Cornelis, disclosed that the programme will be implemented by nine humanitarian agencies which had been active in the state for some time. The programme will focus on food and nutrition security to the millions of internally-displaced persons. It will also involve the provision of critical services in the health, water, sanitation, sustainable energy, employment opportunities and general improvement in the livelihood of a state that has lived through the most horrible orgy of destruction of lives and property by Islamist Boko Haram terrorists.
To say that this and other gestures of empathy and goodwill by the EU and other humanitarian bodies are welcome is putting it mildly. It is a huge relief, especially for a state whose government has bravely but with determination carried the grim burden of the carnage while spending much of its lean resources in caring for the displaced persons and rebuilding devastated communities.
It is a celebration of our common humanity that groups and bodies from far-flung corners of the world have continued to show great eagerness to invest the taxpayers’ money of their countries to assist us in sorting out the mess imposed upon us by misguided elements hiding behind the screen of religion. It is a tragic irony that the tepid efforts by the Federal Government to alleviate the sufferings of the embattled people of the North East through the Presidential Initiative in the North-East, PINE, got mired in corruption.
We are, however, encouraged by plans jointly put in place by the Borno State Government and the EU to ensure that the funds are professionally and transparently utilised with the help of implementation partners such as the British Department for International Development, DFID, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation, FAO, the United Nations Development Programme, UNDP, among others.
These rehabilitation activities will greatly complement the Federal Government’s efforts in reasserting its full presence in liberated areas. It will boost human activities and help the troops to carry on with their mop-up efforts without losing liberated communities as in the past.
We highly appreciate the readiness of our international friends to stand with Nigeria in this period of great need and hope that within a short time, total and permanent peace and progress will return to Borno State and the entire North-East.