Daji Sani who visited some communities in Adamawa State liberated from Boko Haram terrorists by the military, reports that the federal government and some private organisations are assisting the communities to rebuild destroyed infrastructure 

Boko Haram incessant attacks and the perennial floods on communities in Adamawa State have brought nothing but pains and hardship to residents. Women and children were rendered homeless after their breadwinners were killed by the insurgents. Their homes and businesses were destroyed leaving them hopeless and without anything to earn a living. The children forced out of school took to the streets begging and looking for what to eat.

These victims of insurgency and the perennial floods only survived on the alms that good spirited individuals give to them on a daily basis. Some of the victims just needed small amounts of money as capital to enable them go into small scale businesses to aid them bounce back.

Recent research by the United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) revealed that about 34,000 children were suffering from acute malnutrition in Adamawa State, and it is believed that the floods and insurgency were major contributing factors. Also, some scholars have argued that the decline in the country’s economy is also a contributing factor to impoverishment of the people.

But stakeholders have insisted that to rebuild the North-east region, all hands must be on deck because according to them, government alone cannot do much considering the level of destruction visited on the region by the Boko Haram terrorists.

Since the primary responsibility of any government is to protect lives and property, the Federal Government has started rebuilding the North-east using the 3Rs- reconstruction, rehabilitation and reconciliation. Today, visible development is taking place in the seven Local Government Areas in Adamawa State liberated from the Boko Haram terrorists by the military.

For example, in Hong Local Government Area almost all the primary and secondary schools, bridges and roads destroyed by the Boko Haram terrorists have been reconstructed by the federal government. This was made possible through the intervention of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr. Babachir David Lawal, who hails from Hong.

Also, rich individuals in Michika, Gombi , Mahia, Mubi North and Mubi South are said to have rebuilt their houses and shops destroyed by the Boko Haram terrorists. Some of them said that they collected bank loans to re-establish their businesses and farms.

However, in Madagali stakeholders regretted that no meaningful development has taken place in the council even when funds have been released.

House of Representatives Committee Chairman on Media and Public Affairs, Hon. Abdulrazaq Namdaz, said that the sum of N46.9 billion has been earmarked for capital projects in the North-east region.

Namdaz who represents Ganye/Toungo/Jada/Mayo-Belwa Federal Constituency, disclosed this during a dinner organised for journalists in Yola. He said that out of this amount, the sum of N5.9 billion was allocated to projects in Adamawa  State.

The federal lawmaker explained that projects to be executed in his constituency captured in this year’s budget included the completion of Mayo-Belwa power sub-station by Transmission Company of Nigeria, repairs of Mayo-Belwa-Zing road and rehabilitation of Federal Government College Ganye.

Namdaz who disclosed that he has constituency projects worth N197 million to be executed, promised to continue with his empowerment programme.  “I will also continue with my youth empowerment programme for people in my constituency. I want to use this opportunity to urge the people of Adamawa to come out en masse to support our party (APC) candidates in the coming local government elections in the state.”

The lawmaker who called for support and understanding of Nigerians for President Muhammadu Buhari, said the current hardship being experienced was a global problem and not peculiar to Nigeria alone.

“I went to South Africa, they are also facing challenges. We need to bear with President Buhari as he tries to shape things. We must realise that he is not a magician,” Namdaz said.

Allegation of lopsided development

A member representing Madagali State Constituency in the State House of Assembly, Hon.  Emmanuel Tsamdu, has lamented that the reconstruction of the North-east is selective.

He accused the SGF of self-centeredness for only reconstructing schools, roads and bridges in Hong council which happens to be his home town. Tsamdu lamented that other towns and villages are yet to feel the presence of the Federal Government.

The state lawmaker lamented that if nothing was done in the next three weeks before the rains, Madagali would be cut off from other parts of the country. He accused government of refusing to reconstruct the bridges that were blown up by the insurgents.

He said at the moment small vehicles have to divert into the bush to cross the rivers to the other side of the road before continuing their journey adding that heavy duty vehicles cannot go to Madagali. According to him, vehicles now stop at Michika because the bridges that serve as links to other towns and villages are broken down.

According to him, if raining season becomes severe small vehicles can no longer divert into the bush to cross to the other side of the road as the rivers would have overflown their banks. “Even the relief materials donated to our people by NEMA, we have to go to Michika to collect them because our bridges were destroyed by Boko Haram,” he lamented.

The rebuilding of the North-east region has created job opportunities for the youths in the area as developers engage them in construction works. One of the developers who declined to give his name, claimed he has made fortune since he relocated his business to Mubi, Michika and Hong.

Federal Government Intervention

The state Coordinator of National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Hon. Saad Bello, said the Federal Government through NEMA has been providing food for the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) who returned to their ancestral homes without waiting for the government to give them clearance.

He said that as soon as most of them heard that their communities have been liberated, they start to return on their own.

Bello said that the returnees needed to have given government little time to at least properly mop up the affected areas of carcasses of dead bodies and rebuild government institutions destroyed by the Boko Haram terrorists.

“Apart from providing a conducive environment for them before they return, the government needed to register them to enable it plan and know how to distribute relief materials to the returnees,” he said.

He said that despite the challenges, government still went ahead to provide basic necessities of life for these people such as provision of food and water, psychological and psychosocial therapies. According to him, through religious and traditional leaders the returnees were taught on the need to live in peace and unity with one another despite their cultural affiliations.

He explained that with the collaboration of security agencies, the government has established civil authorities in the affected areas, adding that the rebuilding of the North-east is not going to be automatic but a gradual process.

According to Bello, NEMA and other humanitarian agencies deployed their staff to the affected areas in collaboration with wards and village heads and traditional rulers to rebuild the lost trust among the returnees.

He said the rebuilding of the affected areas have commenced noting that in few years the affected areas will receive the needed development as the federal government is not sleeping on the issue. Bello said the federal government had distributed 70 trucks of grains across the 21 local government areas of the state.

He said that these efforts by the government are meant to cushion the effects of hunger ravaging many communities as a result of insurgency and perennial floods that disrupted farming activities for more than two years in Adamawa State.

State Government partners CSOs 

On his part, Governor Bindo Umaru Jibrilla has lauded the contributions by some Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) towards good governance and welfare of IDPs in the state.

Jibrilla made the commendation while inaugurating the Yola Advocacy Resource Centre set up by Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) in collaboration with the North East Regional Initiative (NERI).

The governor said that CSOs have remained effective partners with government at all levels in facing current challenges particularly the ones created by the insurgency.

Represented by the state Commissioner for Agriculture, Jibrilla said his administration was ever ready to work with the CSOs in rehabilitating the IDPs and promoting good governance.

The Chief Executive Officer of CISLAC, Mallam Auwal Rafsanjani, said the advocacy centre was establish to complement  the efforts of federal government in restoring peace and development in Adamawa.

Rafsanjani who was represented by Mr. Kolawale Banwo, said the resource centre would serve as a learning centre for CSOs, youth and women groups to strengthen their capacity as well as empower them to change the lives of citizens at every level of their engagement in the state.”The essence of this project is to support  the state government and non-state actors in Adamawa State with requisite skills needed for effective engagement for good governance, rehabilitation and community cohesion,” he said.

On his part, the state Programme Manager of NERI, Mallam Abubakar Mustapha, said his organisation in collaboration with other NGOs had executed series of projects for IDPs and in areas librated from Boko Haram.

The projects according to Mustapha include, renovation of classrooms, provision of school kits and skills acquisition training for IDPs and vulnerable youths in various communities in the state etc.