By Michael Olugbode
The federal government has begun the construction of 10,000 housing units spread across 10 Borno councils for the resettlement of the internally displaced persons (IDPs).
The building construction, put at a cost of N20 billion, is on the heels of the Borno State Governor, Prof. Babagana Zulum’s declaration that all IDPs in camps in the state capital would be resettled before the end of May 2021.
The project, which is under President Muhammadu Buhari’s special initiative for Borno State, being the epicentre of Boko Haram crisis that has led to the displacement of over 1.5 million people in the troubled state, is handled by the North East Development Commission (NEDC) under the supervision of the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development.
Speaking during the ground breaking ceremony of the 10,000 housing units in Ngwom, in Mafa Local Government Area of Borno State on Friday, the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajiya Sadiya Umar Farouk, said the resettlement of the displaced persons is topmost on the list of Mr. President.
She said the housing units, which is being handled by NEDC, will be spread across the 10 most affected local government areas of the state, adding that 1,000 of the houses will be in Ngwom, while the remaining 9,000 houses will be constructed across the other nine selected local governments.
“And each house will cost the federal government about N2 million which is very modest. For these 1,000 units, we hope to complete them in the next eight weeks. They are semi detached bungalows for four households per bungalow,” she said.
In his remarks, Governor Zulum expressed gratitude to the President Buhari-led federal government for embarking on such project in the state.
Zulum said with the efforts of the federal government and the state, all the IDP camps in Maiduguri will be closed by May 2021, after the displaced persons must have been resettled back to their communities.
He said: “We are overwhelmed. This is the first time Borno State is having a big intervention programme from the federal government in respect to construction of housing estates.
“Indeed the people and government of Borno State remain eternally grateful to President Muhammadu Buhari and the minister for job well done. The housing units will go a long way in reducing the housing deficit in Borno State, especially with a view to accommodating the IDPs.”
The Managing Director, NEDC, Dr. Mohammed Alkali, noted that Borno State lost 80 per cent of its houses to the Boko Haram insurgency, adding that if the number of people in the IDPs camps are put together, there will be definitely the need for more houses.
He said in tackling the housing deficit as a result of the insurgency, President Buhari in his magnanimity approved the 10,000 housing units which is being constructed by the NEDC to fill in the gap.
Alkali said: “Here in Ngwom, the first 1,000 houses will be built and work has started in reality with 100 already built. Similarly, the commission has handed over two health facilities to Borno State Government, which included a 30-bed centre at Muna IDPs camp and another 20-bed centre at Mohammed Goni Stadium IDP camp.”
He said the facilities will assist the state government and camp managers in providing basic healthcare services to IDPs at the camps.
According to him, “Yesterday, the NEDC handed over 120 operational vehicles to the various security agencies as well as ambulances and medical equipment to all federal tertiary institutions in the North-east region.”