By Ndahi Marama – Maiduguri
The United Nations Development Programme has keyed into a social protection model introduced by Governor Babagana Umara Zulum in enforcing his ban against political thuggery in Borno state.
The intervention was disclosed on Thursday at the sports centre in Maiduguri in the presence of the Governor who was a Special Guest of Honour at the closing of his government’s phase and launch of UNDP’s involvement.
Zulum had in July 2019 launched a ‘cash for sanitation’ programme through which 2,862 registered members of political thugs called “ECOMOG” were being paid N30,000 each for a period of six months while they abandoned thuggery and clean the streets to earn pay.
The monthly payment ended in December 2019. With these in place, the Borno ordered the arrest and prosecution of anyone caught in political thuggery.
Speaking at the relaunch, Zulum said the 2, 862 youths were drawn from the 15 wards in Maiduguri Metropolitan Council and six wards of Jere.
Our correspondent reports that the two local government areas had produced the highest population of youths involved in violent political thuggery since build-up to the 2003 governorship elections in Borno.
Governor Zulum, who hopes to end that, announced at the sports center that a combined sum of N515 million was spent in making the monthly payments to the youths enrolled in the model of social protection. payments were made directly to individual accounts.
The payment in addition to getting the youths to acquire vocational skills so they can become productive.
UNDP’s representative Yoshiaki Noguchi, said the UN organ will extend the payment by another three months. That means the UNDP will from the end of January 2020 pay N30,000 monthly to each of the 2, 862 youths under a “cash for waste” programme.
This entails that the youths will have to earn payments through the generation of waste from sanitation as they did under Zulum’s model.
Nogushi also announced that the UNDP based on an apparent recommendation by Governor Zulum will replicate the programme for youths in Biu and Bama local government areas.
Meanwhile, Governor Zulum hopes another batch of youths will be enrolled for the next phase of his determination to end political thuggery in all parts of Borno state.