Michael Olugbode in Maiduguri
Borno State Governor, Prof. Babagana Umara, thursday disclosed that N515 million was spent on getting political thugs off the streets of Maiduguri metropolis.
The governor’s revelation came even as the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) said it was buying into the state government ‘cash for sanitation’, a programme which pays each political thug N30,000 monthly for six months after signing a bond not to be involved in political thuggery again.
Umara had in July 2019 launched a ‘cash for sanitation’ programme through which each of the 2,862 registered members of ‘ECOMOG’ political thuggery groups were paid N30,000 between July and December (six months) to abandon thuggery and clean the streets.
The state government, with the payment ending in December, has subsequently ordered the arrest and prosecution of anyone caught involved in political thuggery.
Speaking at the relaunch of the scheme thursday, Umara said the 2,862 youths were drawn from the 15 wards in Maiduguri Metropolitan Council and six wards of Jere.
The two local government areas, Maiduguri and Jere, which are largely part of the Maiduguri metropolis, have produced the highest number of youths involved in violent political thuggery since the build-up to the 2003 governorship elections in Borno State. The governor at the relaunch of the programme at the El-Kanemi Sports Centre in Maiduguri said a total sum of N515 million was spent in making the monthly payments to the youths enrolled in the model of social protection, and that payments were made directly to their individual account.
He said this was done in addition to getting the youths to acquire vocational skills so they can become productive, adding that it is hoped that another batch of youths will be enrolled for the next phase of the programme.
Meanwhile, the UNDP Representative in Borno State, Yoshiaki Noguchi, while expressing the interest of the UN agency, said the payment of N30,000 would be extended to the participants in the scheme for another three months.