*Seek further legislation, convening of donor,funding conference for region
By Joseph Erunke
ABUJA- CRITICAL stakeholders in the rebuilding of North East region engaged in a forum, Tuesday,to brainstorm on North East stability and development master plan,following years of enormous destructions caused by insurgency and terrorism.
The forum was basically for consultation, in compliance with President Muhammad Buhari’s directive to the North East Development Commission,NEDC Board, to constantly liaise with the relevant federal Ministries, Departments and Agencies,MDAs, states and other developmental partners for the implementation of all programs and initiatives and proper utilisation of funds released for intervention in the zone.
READ ALSO:OPINION: World Bank ‘exposes’ Uzodimma on fiscal performance in governance
Recall that Section 8 (1C) of the North East Development Commission, NEDC Act lists one of the functions of the NEDC to develop a master plan based on the needs assessment of the zone to be known as the North East Stabilisation and Development Master Plan, NESDMP, which shall contain programmes and schemes that promote and facilitate the physical and socio- economic development of the North East Zone and the estimate of the time and costs for implementing such programmes and schemes.
Various participants who spoke during the opening session of the event which held at the Transcorp Hilton, Abuja,said it was imperative that some critical and timely steps were urgently taken to rebuild the region.
Chairman,Board of North-East Development Commission, NEDC, Major General Paul Tarfa, tasked federal ministries,departments and agencies including the military and security agencies to actively partake in
planning the development of the region being undertaken by the commission.
“It needs little emphasis to mention that the Federal Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), including the Military and other Security Agencies are critical Stakeholders in rebuilding the North East and should partake in planning the development of the region currently being undertaken by the Commission,” he tasked.
Tarfa,while recalling that the 2016 Report on the Recovery and Peace Building Assessment (RPBA) on crisis in the North-East Region produced by the Nigerian Government, World Bank, United Nations and European Union shows that property worth US $9 billion were destroyed in the region,called for further legislation to improve funding for the region and convening of a donor or funding conference for the North-East region.
According to him,in the master plan, special attention be paid to robust monitoring, evaluation and coordination framework to ensure good governance and transparency in the execution of projects.
He also emphasised the need for civil-military relationship; human capital development in relevant professions and competencies; special initiatives for women, youths and Persons Living with Disabilities;completion of abandoned projects among others areas to be given priority attention in the master plan.
Also speaking, Managing Director of the commission,Mohammed Alkali,explained that the forum was aimed at presenting “an overview on the current status of the Master Plan Project and seek to harness inputs from the MDAs and security agencies for inclusion in the plan.”
Alkali,who disclosed that so far,” Baseline Surveys for needs assessment of the North East Region have been completed”,also said “the draft North East Development Commission and North-East Region Strategy Documents and proposed pillars of the ten-year master plan are ready.”
“Since the inception of the commission, we have been executing modest projects that are necessary for humanitarian assistance, recovery, stabilization, and peace building in the region,” he said.
In her remarks,Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Umar Farouq,tasked ministries, departments and agencies to key into the institutionalization and operationalization of the master plan, as according to her,”humanitarian action and disaster risk reduction is a multi-stakeholder undertaking.”
She commended the commission for the work it has done so far,noting that:”
Despite being in the process of developing the master plan”,”NEDC has not been static and continues to leave its footprints across all the North East states with life changing projects and programmes for our citizens.”
“I have personally commissioned several projects that have received positive feedback from governors of North East states,” she added.
She spoke further: “it is important to note that our strategic focus at the ministry now is the provision of coordinated sustainable humanitarian action centred on the global best principle, the ‘Triple Nexus’ approach.
“This is anchored in a home-grown National Humanitarian-Development-Peace framework developed through a consultative process aimed at reducing vulnerabilities to support and promote peace and stability in Nigeria.
“We are also pushing for the principles of localisation through institutional strengthening and capacity building of local stakeholders including affected communities, civil societies, non-governmental organisation and of course, national government.
“This is guided by the national localization framework developed and validated, which is focused on making all humanitarian interventions as local as possible.”