By Abdulkareem Haruna
At least 1,200 Internally displaced persons (IDPs) from Dikwa, Mafa and Konduga local government areas of Borno statel have recently been empowered with water pumps, sewing and milling machines as well as cash grants by a member of the Federal House Of Representatives, Ibrahim Mohammed Bukar.m
Honourable Bukar who represents the Dikwa/Mafa/Kodunga Federal Constituency at the lower chambers of the National Assembly, had earned the accolades of Governor Babagana Zulum, for spending about N200 million to empower the neediest members of his constituency.
The lawmaker who had also disbursed the sum of N50, 000 each to a selected 300 constituents as a modest takeoff grant for small scale businesses, said the gesture is to enable his people who were worse hit by the Boko Haram insurgency, to be able to stand back on their feet economically.
The lawmaker had during the elaborate ceremonies which took place separately in the three local government headquarters in three of the communities also gave token cash support of N5, 000 to a selected 3000 IDPs.
Borno state governor, Babagana Zulum, who flagged off the distribution of the palliatives in Konduga town on Thursday commended the lawmaker for giving out such an “unprecedented” quantity of livelihood to a people that are in dire need of support.
Rep Bukar told journalists that his gesture to his people was fuelled by the need to help them regain their balance after many years of displacement and destruction of their means of livelihood by the Boko Haram insurgency.
“Before the insurgency erupted many years ago, our people are known for their high sense of industry especially in all-season farming, animal husbandry and commerce. But they lost all that to the years of insurgency,” he said.
“As a lawmaker who represents them, I usually found it heartbreaking each time I woke up to a day that I cannot freely go to my constituents who have been displaced or held up somewhere due to insecurity. But with the improving security especially in the three local government areas that formed my federal constituency, I feel it is time we gave support to our people as they finally get resettled in their homes.
Aside from the routine palliatives and support that we have given to our constituents in the past years, I decided to provide holistic support that will not only alleviate their sufferings but give them a sustainable means of livelihood so that they would not continue to depend on government or NGOs to take care of basic needs.
“It is on that note that I decided to provide 300 units of pumping machines for irrigation farming to a selected 100 persons from each of the three local government areas. We gave out 300 sewing machines to another set of 300 beneficiaries selected in the three local government areas; as well as 300 millings (grinding) machines to another set of 300 persons across the three local government areas under my constituency.
“Apart from direct distribution of economic empowerment kits, we have also identified others who have expressed willingness to go into other forms of petty businesses and we have selected 300 of them (a hundred from each local government) that were given N50, 000 each as startup grants.
“In the area of educational support for children and young persons in my constituency, we have been able to identify another 600 students who are currently in tertiary institutions and awarded them small scholarship support of N20, 000 each which amounted to N12 million in scholarship to our young ones in school. We have earlier enrolled 300 students in my constituency for a diploma in Computer Studies, of which they are about to graduate this December.
The lawmaker further said that children in primary school too were not left out in the package as a total of 10,000 exercise books; ten thousand pens and pencils which were shared among the schools in the three local government areas of Dikwa/Mafa/Konduga federal constituency.
“Each local government got 3,333 units of exercise books, pen and pencils for onward free distribution to pupils in primary school,”
“During the disbursement exercise, we have also distributed food items like rice and maize to over 3000 IDPs who also went home with a token of N5, 000 each,” he said.
Rep Bukar commended the state governor for all the efforts he is putting in place in ensuring peace and harmony returns to Borno state.
“We have to do everything within our means to support our governor, Professor Babagana Zulum, because the state government alone cannot do everything. It is my utmost wish and hope that in the next few years our people are not only settled in their local government but fully resettled in their original localities.
“My dream every day for Borno is to see that we have sustainable security, that our people are fully returned home, and peacefully enthroned in all parts of the state.
Rep Bukar was a former council member of the Borno state government where he served as Commissioner of Works before he was elected to the Federal House of Representatives.