By Rabiu Sani
Maiduguri – The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) says it spent more than one million U.S. dollars on the reconstruction of Ngwom commercial town in Mafa Local Government Counil of Borno.
Mr Edward Kallon, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, disclosed this at the inauguration of 300 residential homes constructed by the UN agency under its community recovery programme, in Ngwom near Maiduguri.
“As a lead agency in providing early recovery support to the region; we have invested a lot of resources in making sure that Ngwom and other affected communities bounce back.
“Together with partners, the Government of Switzerland, the Government of Japan, over a million dollars has been spent in rebuilding Ngwom.
“We are rolling out an integrated package focusing on strengthening community resilience by addressing the socio-economic and security related challenges being faced both the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and host communities.
“We are committed to meet the early recovery needs of the affected population as well as lay foundation for them to be self reliant after the crisis.
“Using Ngwom as a pilot scheme for our community stabilisation programme, we have built 300 permanent houses; one healthcare facility, 288 market stalls, a primary school, 20 shops shopping centre and two solar powered water boreholes.’’
Kallon said that the UN agency would distribute economic empowerment kits to support returning households with means of livelihoods as well as build resilience.
He explained that the houses would be allocated to returning families who lost their homes to the insurgency.
The UN official said that the agency would execute similar projects in various communities to fast track rehabilitation, reconstruction and resettlement in the war ravaged region.
Also, Alhaji Babagana Zulum, the Commissioner for Rehabilitation, Reconstruction and Resettlement (RRR) said that the state government had reconstructed a motor park and completed Kajiri electrification project with support from the Japanese Government.
Zulum added that the government had also approved Maiduguri-Ngwom-Mafa electrification project, noting that work on the project would soon commence.
He added that 150 returning households would also be supported with economic empowerment kits to make them self reliant.
Zulum disclosed that 20 million Euros were also contributed to facilitate implementation of the UNDP’s Integrated Rural Approach Project designed to rebuild 20 communities in the state.
Also, Gov. Kashim Shettima of Borno lauded the UNDP for the gesture, adding that it would go a long way towards rebuilding the economy and addressing the humanitarian crisis in the region.
Shettima advocated for a joint ownership of the houses between couples to guard against misuse of the property by male heads of households.
He said that the state government would adopt effective security measures to secure the Ngwom community and protect residents.
The governor further presented keys to the houses and distributed empowerment kits to some of the beneficiaries.
Mrs Mairo Usman and Garba Shettima who were among the beneficiaries, commended the gesture, adding that it would alleviate their sufferings.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Ngwom community, hitherto, a hub of commercial activities was sacked by the Boko Haram insurgents in 2014.
Ngwom about 10 kilometres from Maiduguri attracted grain and livestock traders from southern part of the country as well as Chad, Niger, Cameroun, Sudan and Central African Republics.
More than 100 persons were killed in the insurgents’ attack, while 1,600 of the 2,300 inhabitants were registered in various IDPs camps in Maiduguri.