The Northeast Development Commission (NEDC) has today, at an elaborate ceremony on Thursday, presented 1000 units of houses to the Borno state government.
The houses which comprised two-bedroom bungalows, are meant to be occupied by the internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Borno.
The 1000 houses are located at Ngwom, a village in Mafa local government area of Borno state
The Managing Director of NEDC, Mohammed Alkali, said the project is part of the 10,000 housing program approved by the federal government in 2019 under the Special Presidential Intervention in Borno state (SPIB).
Mr Alkali said an estimated N2 billion was spent by the Commission to build the 1000 houses alongside the establishment of technical and vocational centres around the state.
Mr Alkali said the 1000 mass housing units consist of four blocks of 2-bedroom bungalows with veranda and courtyard in a cluster arrangement
“Each block sits on 400 Square meters with a perimeter fence and ample space for other home activities,” said the MD.
The MD said the 1000 housing units are also fitted with solar-powered street lights, four industrial solar-powered boreholes, planted over 3000 economic trees, and provision made for school, market, police station and motor-park.
“As you can see, we are today delivering a town at Ngwom as against its earlier village status,” the NEDC chief executive said.
Extra food and palliative for occupants
The MD said the beneficiary IDPs who would soon be moving into their would-be homes are to be given food items comprising 2000 bags of rice, 2000 cartons of spaghetti, and 2000 gallons of vegetable oil.
Other non-food items to be given to the IDPs comprised 5000 pieces of blankets, 5000 mattresses, 5000 mats, 4000 pieces of children wear, 4000 women wrappers, 4000 pieces of mosquito nets, 5000 pairs of slippers, 2000 men brocade, 1000 cartons of antiseptic soaps.
NEDC said economic empowerment tools would also be given to the women as they move into their new homes at Ngwom.
“The NEDC, with the approval of the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, will also distribute livelihood support to the occupants of the house after thorough needs assessment and training.
“The livelihood support tool to be distributed comprised 1000 cooking stoves, 200 grinding machines, 200 knitting machines, 200 sewing machines and 200 spaghetti making machines,” he said.
General Paul Tarfa (rtd) who chairs the NEDC board described the event as “one of the most important projects since NEDC creation”.
“This event is important not for its magnitude but for what it would serve in the areas of provision of accommodation,” he said.
Chairman of the Senate Committee on Special Duties, Senator Yusuf A. Yusuf, had in an opening remark as chairman of the occasion, said the national assembly approved the budget for the NEDC, “because we believe our brothers and sisters can have a place to lay their heads.
“This is a way to get out of the IDP syndrome. This is the first time we are doing this and Borno state is one of the principal partners in the execution of NEDC projects.”
The United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, Edward Kallon, who was also at the event described the event as “light at the end of the tunnel”.
Mr Kallon stressed that despite the worsening spate of insecurity in parts of the state, he is happy with the idea of building permanent homes for IDPs, which he said “is a sign that peace is emerging in the Northeast.”
The ministers of Humanitarian Affairs, Sadiya Farouq, who and that of women affairs, Pauline Tallen, both commended the NEDC for bringing succour to the people of the Northeast especially the women and children.
Borno state Governor, Babagana Zulum, said the 1000 housing units is just one amongst the ” numerous supports the state gets from the Commission and the ministry of humanitarian affairs.
“Today we are witnessing another support in the series of interventions from Mr President. And this one will go a long way in bringing succour and development to our people,” he said.
Falmata Babagana, a mother of four and one of the recipients of the houses at Ngwom said she had lived in an IDP camp for six years before was recently moved to her new home.
“We thank God for this, and we appreciate the government for wiping off our tears. Now my family and I can sleep without worries about rainwater leaking into our roof or any fire disaster burning our home.
Zarau Modu another female beneficiary of the houses in Ngwom said “we are extremely happy that we have finally gotten a home of our own. We have lived in Gidan Taki IDP camp for over six years without proper shelter over heads.
She said since insurgents chased them out of their ancestral home, Maiwa village she and her family members had lost of ever having a decent accommodation of their own.
“We lost everything that we’ve possessed as a family, as Boko Haram burnt everything in Maiwa. But with this new home, which is even better than what we’ve had back at the country home, we are ready for a new life in Ngwom.
Bukar Aji, a 45 years old IDP, who also benefitted from the houses said ” Ngwom is now our new home, we pray to have peace and long life here.”