By Johnbosco Agbakwuru
ABUJA—PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari yesterday inaugurated the Governing Board of the North East Development Commission (NEDC), headed by Major General Paul Tarfa (retd) as chairman.
The NEDC has the mandate of rebuilding the North East ravaged by the Boko Haram insurgency.
Inaugurating the board at the Council Chamber, Presidential Villa, Abuja, before the commencement of the weekly Federal Executive Council, FEC, meeting, the President said that the establishment of the Commission was in appreciation of the massive electoral support he received from the zone in 2015 and 2019 general elections.
The board he said would be the focal organization to assess, coordinate and harmonize and report all the intervention programmes and initiatives of the federal government to avoid duplication of efforts and waste of scarce resources.
“You must, therefore, constantly liaise with the relevant federal ministries, departments and agencies, MDAs, states and other development partners for the implementation of all programmes and initiatives and proper utilization of funds released for intervention in the zone.”
He further said that the inauguration of the NEDC was in fulfilment of the pledge of his administration to the people of the North East Geo-Political Zone and as part of the strategy for regenerating the socio-economic potentials of the Geo-Political Zone after the devastation of the Boko-Haram insurgency.
The president recalled that the Commission was established by the North East Development Commission (NEDC) (Establishment) Act, 2017 which he assented to on 25th October 2017.
According to him, the Commission is charged with the responsibility of among other things, receiving and managing funds allocated by the Federal Government of Nigeria and donors for the resettlement, rehabilitation, integration and construction of roads, houses and business premises of victims of insurgency as well as taking care of the menace of poverty, illiteracy, ecological problems and other related environmental and developmental challenges in the North East States.
The President emphasized that the 11 Member Governing Board had been carefully constituted based on the proven track records of hard work and integrity of members.
He added, “It is, therefore, the expectation of Government and people of the Zone that you will rapidly and systematically set to work to address all areas of your mandates in a fair and equitable manner.
“To demonstrate the commitment of this Government to your effective takeoff, a provision of N10 billion has been made in the 2019 budget. It is my expectation that you will judiciously apply these resources.”
The President charged the Chairman and Members to as a matter of urgency conduct a comprehensive survey of all states in the zone to determine the reconstruction and rehabilitation needs of all the socio-economic sectors of the zone and develop an intervention master plan based on the outcome of the assessments.