NEDC to spend N6bn to execute developmental projects in 6 states

The North East Development Commission (NEDC) says it will spend N6 billion to execute developmental projects in 112 local government areas across the six North-East states.

The NEDC Managing Director, Alhaji Mohammed Alkali, disclosed this at the flag-qoff of the NEDC Rapid Response Intervention Projects at the Multi-Purpose Hall in Maiduguri on Monday.

He said that RRI Projects initiative was conceived as an aftermath of the commission’s Governing Board’s maiden Regional fact-finding tour of the North-East region.

He said that during the tour, members of the board witnessed the harrowing conditions the citizens were living in the wake of the insurgency.

He explained that the commission resolved that it had to intervene urgently to ease the situation of the citizens through implementation of the Rapid Intervention Scheme in a multi-sectoral and multi-dimensional infrastructure rehabilitation and construction programme.

Alkali said that it resolved to implement an average of two projects in each of the 112 local government areas of the North-East region with a budget envelope of N50 million per LGA.

According to him, in order to ensure that the projects were demand-driven, the commission requested State Governments to nominate projects for each of their council areas from infrastructure related sectors, including education, health and agriculture.

He said that the response was massive, with states requesting for a total 1,310 projects estimated to cost about N5.8 billion but when the teams were sent to carry out WASH, Social preliminary assessments of projects and sites, the total number was rationalised to 647 projects across all the states.

He said: “Implementation of the RRI Projects in Borno State is almost completed with today’s handing-over to the State of about 40,000 two-seater classroom furniture for distribution to schools in the 27 LGAs.

“The reconstruction of clinics in Kwaya Kusar and Shani LGAs are curentily going on, as well as the drilling and construction of twin middle aquifer boreholes with 10,000 litres capacity each in four LGAs which include Gubio, Konduga, Magumeri and Nganzai,” he said.

He disclosed that there was also the rehabilitation of the Gulayi Irrigation Scheme near Damasak, in Mobbar LGA, noting that most of them were at various stages of completion.

He said that 166 youths benefited in its Information Communication Technology Skills of Computer Graphics and Cell Phone repairs in all the 18 Senatorial Districts in the zone.

He noted that to mark the successful completion of the training, each of the beneficiaries will be kitted with free Starter Packs and N20,000 as resettlement packages.

“Your Exellency, sequel to President Mahammadu Buhari’s approval, the Commission is working with your Team to establish/equip about 10 Technical/Vocational Training Centres across the State with a view to providing opportunities for critical acquisition of hands-on skills by youths in the State.

“The Commission has provided food and Non-food items worth over N4 billion to the Internally Displaced Persons residing in various Camps, host communifies and other persons concerns in the state in the last one year and shall continue to do so whenever the need arises.”

He added that the commision had completed the construction of 1,000 first phase of houses in Ngowom in Mafa LGA out of the 10,000 houses approved by President Muhammadu Buhari to accommodate IDP returnees in the state.

The managing director said that to mitigate the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic and lock down, the commision provided food items to cushion hardship of the people, noting that it also donated PPE, hospital beds and ventilators.

Other items donated included ambulances and fully equipped COVID-19 laboratory facilities to all the six state governments as well as all federal tertiary health Institutions in the zone, adding that it is considering the upgrade of the laboratories into infectiuos diseases testing centres.

“The Commission is not unmindful of the challenges faced by the teeming youths in the state and the North East Zone as a whole in availing emerging opportunities. Plans have reached advance stage for the establishment of Youth Development Centres across the zone.

“This is also in addition to the establishment of Rehabilitation Centres to address the menace of the trauma and other opportunities.

“The commission has already established the North East Development Commission Education Endowment Fund (NEDC-EEF) for the purpose of building the Human Capital of Member States in the Zone and has set aside N6 billion to operationalise the fund.

“Consequently, it shall leverage on the scheme to strengthen training for different levels/categories in the Health, Education and Agric sectors, among others.

“More emphasis on the training of Teachers, Agric Extension officers and Health personnel, opening up of Economic corridors and construction of one Mega School in each of the three Senatorial Districts under the Commision North-East Stabilisation and Development Master Plan,” he said.

Gov. Babagana Zulum of Borno said that the laudable projects of the commision would go along way in amiliorating the surfferings of the people, fight poverty, unemployment and other challenges posed by the insurgency in the zone. (NAN)