ByFemi Bolaji

SUCCOUR has finally come the way of Taraba State in the form of shelter, farming tools and medications nearly 12 years after the destruction of communities and their means of livelihood by Boko Haram terrorists which ravaged the region since 2009.

According to the Norwegian Refugee Council, no fewer than two million inhabitants of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa have been displaced by Boko Haram since 2009, with 80 percent domiciled in Borno alone.

While other North East states of Taraba, Bauchi and Gombe bear minimal effects of the insurgency, other pockets of communal conflicts, farmers/herders’ conflicts have created series of humanitarian crises that have led to displacement and destruction of lives and property.

However, the tide is gradually changing since the establishment of NEDC, which is rolling out massive projects and programmes to resettle millions of persons displaced by insurgency and other security threats.

Aside rebuilding communities and returning displaced persons to their respective homes, NEDC is also gradually turning the North East region to Information and Communication Technology training hub to bridge the infrastructure deficit gap insecurity has subjected the region to over the years.

Speaking at the ground breaking ceremony for the construction of 500 units of mass houses in Taraba State, the Managing Director of NEDC, Mohammed Alkali, explained that the mandate of the agency included rehabilitation and reconstruction of destroyed homes and commercial premises of citizens in the region.

He said there were no fewer than four million houses in the area before insurgents attacked and destroyed over 500 of them and that the agency needed to replace the stock.

Alkali said: “Even before the insurgency, there was housing deficit in all states of the region. Therefore, the insurgency only further aggravated the situation. In all of this, Borno State being the epicentre of the crisis is worst affected with the largest number of Internally Displaced Persons.

“Today, we are realising the actualisation of this commitment by the foundation laying ceremony of 150 Houses here in Jalingo Town by the Governor, Arc. Darius Dickson Ishaku, while the balance of 350 will be spread among other cities in the state with reticulated water supply, lighting and commercial spaces amongst others.”

Alkali also said the agency was currently training of 2400 youths across the six states of the North East with a view to driving a robust ICT local content driven industry in line with global best practices He added that 400 youths have been trained in each of the states and were given start-up grant for self-reliance.

Alkali said this would be complemented with the roll out of the commission’s education endowment programme that would award scholarships to deserving students in the North East region for the 2021/2022 academic session and oversee the upgrade and rehabilitation of one primary school in each of the 112 LGAs of the six States.

Also, to curtail the effect of the hardship occasioned by the global pandemic and the various humanitarian crises in Taraba State, NEDC also donated food and non-food items to the state government, a gesture that NEDC has replicated in other states of the region.

The items donated include 10,000 bags of 25kg rice, 10,000 gallons of vegetable oil, 1,800 cartons of tomatoe paste, 2,000 bags of sugar, 1,500 packets of Maggi and 3,000 cartons of spaghetti. Other items are 2,000 blankets, 2,000 mats, 2,000 mosquito nets, 10,000 mosquito hand bands and assorted pharmaceuticals worth N300 million.

Farmers also had cause to smile as the commission also gifted Taraba State 10 4-wheel tractors, 18 3-wheel tractors, 10 disk ploughs, 10 planters, 10 boom sprayers and 18 trailer bodies. Other items donated include 28 tool boxes, two iron bull tractors and eight trans-planters.


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