Five years after its establishment, the North East Development Commission (NEDC) continues to set the pace for other development commissions in Nigeria not only in rebuilding infrastructures and ensuring other humanitarian interventions, but also investing in peace building and conflict mitigation. MUAZU ABARI writes on its activities in Adamawa state.
The devastating effects of the Boko Haram insurgency and its wanton destructions of lives, infrastructures and other means of livelihood cannot be quantified but imagined. What started like a joke in faraway North East state of Borno, the epic centre of the insurgency metamorphosed into national catastrophe that was to later envelope other North East states of Yobe, Adamawa, Gombe, Bauchi and Taraba states like a wild fire.
Suffice to say that many were killed, others burnt alive and sent to their early graves, while means of livelihood and infrastructures such as schools, hospitals, power and water supply, businesses and other amenities that make life worth living were destroyed and people forced to flee their abode and communities to take refuge in the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs)’ camps and surviving at the mercy of God and good will.
The humanitarian situation in the region has become synonymous with egoistic state of nature where life is short, nasty, brutish and short. This has attracted global concern and called for drastic and urgent action to safe humanity from oblivion. Consequently, the federal government , out of concern, established the North East Development Commission(NEDC) as an intervention agency.
The commission, established to among others to fast track the rebuilding and development of the region as well as tackle the menace of poverty, illiteracy, ecological problems and other challenges bedevilling the region, based on North East stabilization and recovery plan, is being headed by an illustrious son of Borno state and a first class graduate of Accountancy from Bayero University Kano and a master degree holder in accounting and finance from London School of Economics, University of London , Mohammed Alkali as its managing director.
Since its establishment in 2017, the Alkali-led NEDC continued to restore the hopes of the people of the region, make them proud and set the pace for other development commissions in the country through live-saving interventions fast returning the region back to its glorious days, especially in the areas of rebuilding of infrastructures, constructions of new ones, support to victims and empowerments among others.
Apart from the 647 rapid respond intervention projects in agriculture, environment, education, health ,energy/power ,markets and WASH executed by the commission in all the six states in the region where N6billion was expended, the commission continues to execute countless numbers of capital intensive projects in all the six states in the northeast.
What keeps the commission going in the last 4 years is not only the transparent and accountable ways and manners which the management continues to exhibit in the management of finances and awards of contracts, but also the high level of fairness, equity and justice in the distributions of projects among the six states that make up the region without any bias and mostly carried out simultaneously in all the six states.
Some of the projects executed and humanitarian interventions rendered by the commission in Adamawa state include construction of 500 Housing units, reconstruction of 3 bridges at Kudzum, Dilechim and Wuro Ngayandi at the cost of N1.43 billion, construction of 3 new span bridges on the Jabbi lamba- Belel road at the cost of N1.192 billion, 25km road at the Adamawa state college of Education Hong (N498.55 million).
Others are the upgrading and rehabilitations of 10 technology skills acquisition centres across the state at the total cost of N269 million, reconstruction of Garkida Secondary School, functionalisation of Digital Bridge Institute Yola, establishment of 3 ICT training centres in the 3 senatorial districts of the state, construction of molecular laboratories and burns centre at the state specialist hospital and Federal Medical Centre Yola.
Others are distributions of foods and non-food items, medical outreaches, capacity building for youths in VSAT installations and repairs, support to safe schools initiative, supply of logistics vehicles and hospital diagnostic equipment to military, police and other security agencies, supply of ambulances, PPES among many other interventions in the last 4 years to cushion the effects of insurgency and rebuild the region.
To further consolidate on the gains recorded by the commission in Adamawa state, just like in the remaining 5 states, the NEDC boss, penultimate week, led other members of his management team and the governing board of the commission, led by Major Gen.Paul Terfa(rtd)to flag off additional projects in the state. These include 32km Garkida-Dabna road and building of 3 model mega schools in the state.
Speaking at the two event which took place in Garkida, Gombi local government area and Song local government area, Alkali said the 3 mega schools to be constructed in the state and the remaining 5 states in the region is in line with the educational blueprint of the commission and would go a long way to bridge the educational deficit of the state which had suffered serious setback during the insurgency.
He further explained that three mega schools one in each senatorial district will be constructed in the state and already sited in Song for the central zone, Guyuk for the southern zone and Mubi for the northern zone.
The commission added that the mega schools which are 18 in number in all the North East states, will cost the commission N21.6billion.
According to him, the mega schools will consist of 16 classrooms, six laboratories ,fencing 480 capacity students hostels, provision for solar power and standby 500kva generators among others, expected to absorb 1,200 students each in all the senatorial districts in the region.
Speaking at the second leg of the event in Garkida at the ground breaking ceremony for the construction of the 32km Garkida-Dabna road, the NEDC boss said the project is in continuation of the commission’s commitments to rebuilding infrastructures destroyed and fast track the development of the region, describing it as significant to the development of the state.
Alkali said: “The project is one of the significant interventions that the commission is executing as part of its mandate towards recovery ,reconstruction, stabilization, renewal, expansion and sustainable development of the North East zone geared towards rebuilding the region”
He further reiterated the commission’s commitments to live up to expectations in the discharged of its responsibilities, assuring that the commission will not let the people of the North East, Nigerians and Mr. President down in achieving the goals for which the commission was established.
Most of those who spoke at the event through their representatives were Governor Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri, represented by Deputy Governor Crowder Seith, Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management and Social Development Sadiyya Umar Farouk, Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) Boss Mustapha, all lauded NEDC’s achievements within just 5 years, describing the feat as the best thing that ever happened to the people of the North East.