Over 40 per cent of teachers in the North East have lost their lives to insurgency-related attacks, the Managing Director of the North East Development Commission (NEDC), Mohammed Alkali, has revealed.
Appearing at the Ministerial Media Briefing organised by the Presidential Communications Team at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Thursday, he blamed the lack of a firm education system in the region for fueling the insurgency.
According to him, the commission has created an Education Endowment Fund (EEF) to build human capital in the region through scholarships, short-term capacity building, and improvement of basic education, among others.
He said the EEF will begin with a seed capital of N6 billion with plans to dedicate 10 per cent of its the NEDC’s annual allocation to the fund.
Alkali, however, noted that the Commission’s education drive is being impeded by an inadequate number of teachers, which he said are prime targets for the terrorists.
He said: “The scarcest products now, not only in Nigeria but elsewhere, are teachers. Like in the northeast, 40 – 50 per cent of teachers are either being killed or something might happen to them. Because the tag of the insurgency is Boko Haram and teachers are the instrument of the so-called Boko. So, they are the primary target of these terrorists. Most of them have been killed or something has happened to them and so we need more teachers in the region.”
He also revealed that the federal government has concluded the construction of 1,000 housing units as part of the Federal Government’s resettlement efforts for millions of inhabitants displaced by the 13-year insurgency in Nigeria’s Northeast.
According to him, 1,000 houses were built in Ngwom, Borno, and 500 each in five states at the total cost of N17.5bn.
The mass housing scheme includes two-bedroom flats built in clusters which have been handed over to the Borno State Government for distribution to affected families.
Alkali similarly disclosed that the NEDC has executed 647 projects ranging from agriculture, health, education, and energy/power across 112 local government areas in the northeast. With each LGA gulping at least N50m, the total costs accrue to N5.6bn.
Other projects, he said include: three bridges in Kudzum, Dilechim and Wuro-Ngayandi areas of Adamawa State, Mayo Ndaga Bridge in Taraba State, Mutai-Ngalda Road in Yobe State, Alkaleri-Futuk Road, Gombe Abba-Kirfi Road in Bauchi & Gombe, Zabarmari-Ngowom Road in Borno State, Dabna-Garkida Road in Adamawa State, Adamawa State College of Education Road, Jabbi Lamba – Belel Transborder Road, Adamawa State, Palliative repairs of Roads, Diverse Projects in Tertiary Educational and Health Institutions in all states.
The projects also include the environment/ecology projects – afforestation programme, waste recycling, efficient stove production and use, sensitization on environmental protection/climate adaptation.
He said the commission requires at least N31.05 trillion to execute its mandate in line with the North East stabilisation and development masterplan in the next 10 years.
Also speaking, the Executive Director, Humanitarian Affairs, North East Development Council, Musa Yashi, also revealed that some Internally Displaced Persons in the North East are unwilling to return to their ancestral homes.
But he admitted that the Boko Haram insurgency has left their homelands uninhabitable while some of the IDPs have integrated with their host communities.
Yashi noted that 20 to 30 per cent of displaced persons do not live in camps, making it a challenge to resettle them in their home communities.
He added: “About 20 to 30 per cent of the displaced persons in the Northeast are not in IDP camps. They are in home communities. Some of them from Borno are in Bauchi, Gombe and all the neighbouring states. Some of them have been integrated into the host communities that they don’t even want to go back. There is no need. Their families are here with them.
“Most of them really don’t want to go back, to be frank with you, because of this problem of transitional justice. Some of them have seen hell. If they go back, how do they settle? The homes are not even there. It’s rebuilding, rebuilding, rebuilding. This is one of the major challenges that we have because we have to rebuild.”
On the devastation caused by insurgency in the region, he argued that resettlement would require the reconstruction of whole communities; a task so daunting that the NEDC does not have enough funds to undertake at this time.
Yashi added: “There was a time we took a helicopter from Maiduguri to Monguno. We hovered low so that we could see the terrain of what happened in 2020. You could only see a semblance of a village that once existed.
“Only burnt trees were remaining. From Maiduguri to Monguno we could not see one standing village or town. So, if somebody wants to go back now, we must completely rebuild the whole town or village. And the funds, to be frank with you, are not forthcoming for now.”
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