By Bode Olushegun
The Federal Government may have commenced the resettlement plan of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Borno State as it laid the foundation for the building of 10,000 housing units put at a cost of N20 billion.
The project will see 1,000 houses built in 10 local government areas of the state.
The project, which is under President Muhammadu Buhari’s special initiative for Borno State, being the epicenter of Boko Haram crisis that has left to the displacement of over 1.5 million people in the troubled state, is to be handled by the North East Development Commission (NEDC) under the supervision of the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development
Speaking during the ground-breaking ceremony of the 10,000 housing units in Ngwom, in Mafa local government area of Borno State on Friday, the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajiya Sadiya Umar Farouk said the resettlement of the displaced persons was topmost on the list of President Buhari.
She said the housing units which are being handled by the North East Development Commission (NEDC) would be spread across the ten most affected local government areas of the State, adding that 1000 of the houses would be in Ngwom, while the remaining 9,000 houses would be constructed across the other nine selected local governments.
“And each house will cost the Federal Government about N2 million which is very modest. For these 1000 units, we hope to complete them in the next eight weeks. They are semi detached bungalows for four households per bungalow.”
In his remarks, Borno State Governor, Professor Babagana Zulum expressed gratitude to President Muhammadu Buhari’s led Federal Government for embarking on such project in the State.
Zulum said with the efforts of the Federal Government and the State, all the IDPs camps in Maiduguri would be closed by May 2020, after the displaced persons must have been resettled back to their communities.
He said: “We are overwhelmed, this is the first time, Borno State is having a big intervention programme from the Federal Government in respect to construction of housing estates.
“Indeed the people and Government of Borno State remain eternally grateful to President Muhammadu Buhari and the Minister for job weldone. The housing units will go a long way in reducing the housing deficit in Borno State, especially with a view to accommodating the IDPs.
The Managing Director, NEDC , Dr. Mohammed Alkali has noted that Borno State lost 80 percent of its houses to the Boko Haram insurgency, adding that if the number of people in the IDPs camps are put together, there will be definitely the need for more houses.
He said in tackling the housing deficit as a result of the insurgency, President Muhammadu Buhari in his magnanimity approved the 10,000 housing units , which is being constructed by the NEDC to fill in the gap.
Alkali said: “Here in Ngwom, the first 1000 houses will be built and work has started in reality with 100 already built. Similarly, the Commission has handed over two health facilities to Borno State Government , which included a 30-bed Centre at Muna IDPs Camp and another 20-bed Centre at Mohammed Goni Stadium IDP Camp.
He said the facilities will assist the State Government and camp managers in providing basic healthcare services to internally displaced persons at the camps.
He said: “Yesterday the NEDC handed over 120 operational vehicles to the various security agencies , as well as ambulances and medical equipments to all federal tertiary institutions in the Northeast region.”