2,056 Northerners to Benefit from N6bn NEDC Undergraduate Scholarships

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By Emmanuel Addeh

The North East Development Commission (NEDC), said yesterday that at least 2,056 persons from its coverage area will benefit from the N6 billion fund set aside for building human capital under the North-East Development Commission Education Endowment Fund (NEDC-EEF).

Specifically, in a release signed by the commission’s Head, Corporate Affairs, Abba Musa, the body disclosed that the 2,056 beneficiaries will have the opportunity of getting free tertiary education under the fund.

The commission is mandated with the responsibility of receiving and managing funds allocated by the federal government and international donors for the resettlement, rehabilitation, integration and reconstruction of the livelihoods of victims of insurgency and terrorism in the north-east.

While chronicling the achievements of the NEDC, the organisation noted that part of the fund shall be specially used to cater for specific groups such as orphans, youths in sports and those whose education was forcibly truncated by the decade-long insurgency.

“Scholarships shall be granted to candidates at the bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degree levels, across all the north-east states, as follows: 2,056 candidates from the 1,028 wards in the north-east to acquire basic ICT skills.

“2,056 beneficiaries also from the 1,028 wards to undertake bachelor’s degrees in relevant programmes in universities located in the north east region.

“336 beneficiaries from the 112 local government areas of the north-east to undertake master’s degree programmes in demand-driven areas in Nigerian or overseas institutions.

“18 doctorate degree scholarships from the 18 senatorial districts of the region and special support to 5,000 beneficiaries such as orphans, those whose education was truncated by Boko Haram and youths engaged in sports.

“The project will also offer special support to post- secondary scholarship award to 2,000 beneficiaries of the safe school initiative, youths engaged in sports and training and re-training of teachers, nurses and midwives with annual target beneficiaries of over 20,000 annually,” the NEDC stated.

On its achievement since President Muhammadu Buhari in 2019 constituted the board with Gen. Paul Tarfa (rtd) and Mohammed Alkali as Chairman and Managing Director respectively, NEDC said it had carried out several medical interventions.

It noted that a total of 4,127 patients were seen in the duration of a week, with cases ranging from general outpatient consultations to surgical interventions during the outreach.

According to the body, the overall goal of the intervention was to increase the access of 3,000 community members in Maiduguri and its environs, especially those affected by the insurgency, to qualitative health care.

Also, the NEDC stated that a total number of 2,029 supportive laboratory tests were carried out on 851 patients during the course of the outreaches to aid diagnosis and prepare both general surgical and eye surgical patients.

It lamented that the region had been severely affected by the Boko Haram insurgency, which exacerbated the pre-existing socio –economic developmental challenges, stressing that the region had the lowest indices relative to the rest of the country in areas of education, healthcare, employment and infrastructure amongst others.

The NEDC, the release stated, also established ICT training centres within higher institutions in Gombe, Taraba and Bauchi and revamped the existing training facilities in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states.

According to the intervention agency, critical items were further distributed that were expected to boost the containment of the Covid-19 pandemic in the region, as well as provision of therapeutic capabilities to the tertiary health institutions.

On agriculture, it disclosed that after decades of neglect, followed by 10 years of insurgency, the agricultural value chain had become non-functional from absence of new investments, input supply chains and extension services.

“The commission plans an integrated agricultural scheme that shall support initially, smallholder farmers to return to productivity and regain their lost livelihoods (in rice production this time), to be rolled out,” NEDC stressed.

The commission explained that it found it imperative to ameliorate the sufferings of the people and communities in the 112 local governments areas in the region by approving the execution of two key projects for immediate intervention in each of the local government areas in the education, agriculture and health sectors.