Succour has come the way of returning Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) from Kaga Local Government of Borno State, as about 192 families will soon take ownership of the newly reconstructed houses in the area.
The reconstruction project in Kaga is a pilot of the rebuilding project in affected communities within Borno, and the state government has set March 6 as the official date for allocation.
The development is part of the process of rebuilding Nigeria’s Northeast, after some states including Borno suffered unquantifiable loss as the ruthless Boko Haram unleashed terror on the states.
To achieve the humanitarian gesture, the Borno State Government got a seamless collaboration of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Japanese Government.
Kaga is the first beneficiary community owing to the return of calm and the absence of security threat to the civilian population in the area.
The project covers the reconstruction of municipal buildings, schools and most importantly homes of the affected population.
Officials say the rebuilding has paved way for villagers to have even better homes than they had before the crisis.
According to the Chairman of Kaga Local Government, Lawan Wasaram, the beneficiaries are elated by the project, as they haven’t had such luxury in a long time.
“They are happy; a villager who has not slept under a concrete building before and now he has sheets and concrete building, of course they are happy.
“Even when the rains come they are no longer worried. Their lives have changed from living in a village to a city,” Mr Wasaram said.
The Regional Coordinator of UNDP, Joerg Kuehnel, also expressed happiness that the international organisation, being one of the development partners of the Rebuilding Borno Project, has been looking forward to the success of the project.
“We are here today (Monday) to supervise one of the programmes we have been implementing with the government of Borno State.
“We have been supporting and working with them for months, to help with the reconstruction efforts and for us, it’s very important that we work through the communities so that it’s really the people that do it themselves.
“Today what’s important for us is to see how the project progresses and I have to say that I am very impressed with what I saw,” the UNDP official said.
The project has not helped only the homeless population, as a large percentage of the building workforce comprises of the IDPs.
One of the IDPs, Bukar Isa, became displaced when his hometown, Bama, was invaded by the Boko Haram militants.
Along with others displaced from other parts of the state, he has decided to make a living from the rebuilding programme.
“My daily pay as a mason is 3,000 naira (while) others get 1,500 naira and above.
“Since I came to Maiduguri, I have never lived in a camp. I rented a house in town and put my family there.
“I pray other idle youths out there would be encouraged to work and fend for themselves,” he said.
A representative of the Borno State government, Mr Babagana Umara, who is in charge of the reconstruction project, said the big plan is to empower the returnees.
Mr Umara believes the project would hopefully reduce the burden of housing and feeding the IDPs after the home allocation ceremonies.