Insurgency: UNDP Rebuilds Destroyed Houses In Borno

 

The United Nations Development Programme, (UNDP) has helped residents of Ngwom village in rebuilding infrastructures that were destroyed by the Boko Haram during the insurgency in Borno State.

The UNDP under its Integrated Community Stabilization of the North East programme undertook the project to rebuild Ngwom, located in Mafa local government of Borno state.

The project which gulped over a million dollars was executed with co-funding from the Government of Japan.

Locals living in the village who deserted the area since 2014 are preparing to return to the only place they consider home.

Ngwom village of Mafa local government is few kilometers away from the metropolitan city of Maiduguri.

Before the Boko Haram crisis, it was a community with a reputation as a livestock and trading hub in Borno state and across the Lake Chad basin and the Central African Republic.

The community was completely razed down by insurgents in two different attacks in 2014 and 2015.

More than three thousand villagers were left displaced in Maiduguri where most of them have been living ever since.

According to one of the residents, “Boko Haram chased us away, since we left four years ago we never turned back until today.”

It is this same community the UNDP North East Sub Office with co-funding from development partners has built back with 300 houses,288 market stalls, a primary school, a health centre, and boreholes among other things for the community.

The UNDP representative stated that “Four years ago no one would have imagined that Ngwom would be home to thousands again.

The Borno state government through which the project was implemented is happy with what the UNDP has done.

Governor Kashim Shettima however says government will rely on the security ambience before making any move to relocate the Ngwom IDPS to their homes.

“We have to look at the security architecture before now, beneficiaries are equally grateful for their rebuild community and are eager to start off again.

However one of the residents commended the government for what they have done, “if I am empowered I can do petty trading in front of my house to cater for myself.”

However many locals who lost their homes were not captured in the distribution. They are calling on authorities concerned to compensate them.

The Borno state government through its ministry of Reconstruction and Rehabilitation has been rebuilding communities destroyed by the anti-government militia, Boko Haram.

UNDP Trains 150 Insurgency Victims In Entrepreneurship Skills

Trainees display certificates received after the programme

 

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has trained at least 150 victims of the Boko Haram insurgency in various entrepreneurship skills, competencies, and behaviours.

A statement from the communications specialist at the UNDP Lucky Musonda on Monday said the trainees – who comprise of youths, women, and men – acquired various skills that would help them start or run their small businesses successfully.

Mostly drawn from communities ravaged by the nine-year-long crisis, the beneficiaries either had their businesses destroyed by the insurgents or have found themselves residing in new locations with no means of sustaining themselves and their families.

Nigeria’s North-east has witnessed a widespread destruction of both infrastructure and livelihoods by the militant group, a crisis that has displaced thousands of people across the region.

“After this training, my life as a businesswoman will never be the same again, I will not run my business the way I did it before UNDP trained me on how to become a successful entrepreneur,” Nahyani said at the end of the six-day Entrepreneurship Training Workshop in Yola, Adamawa State.

Similar workshops were conducted in Maiduguri and Damaturu, Borno and Yobe state capitals respectively while there are plans to organize more in other parts of the country.

According to Musonda, the insurgency victims were trained by UNDP with support from the Government of Norway, in metal fabrication, tailoring, catering and decoration, mobile phone and computer repair, mechatronics and spray painting, among others.

He explained that the development was part of efforts aimed at providing catalytic ingredients for communities to thrive again and lay a foundation for long-term development to take place in a region.

The beneficiaries were also supported with start-up equipment so that they could secure alternative means of livelihoods beyond humanitarian handouts.

Speaking about the training, UNDP’s Country Director Samuel Bwalya said, “Entrepreneurship skills are needed to ensure that those with vocational skills only, who either own businesses or wish to start anew, are able to run their enterprises successfully.”

He explained that UNDP was investing in these initiatives with the hope that once the beneficiaries apply the knowledge they are acquiring from the training, they would be able to establish new businesses or expand existing ones and employ others within their communities.

Bwalya stressed further that this would consolidate the organisation’s ongoing efforts in meeting urgent early recovery needs in communities affected by the Boko Haram crisis.

The early recovery interventions in the region, he noted, aims to prepare communities for the day after the crisis, saying prolonged development deficit in the region exposed millions to different kinds of vulnerabilities.

In his address at the graduation ceremony in Yola, the Permanent Secretary of the Adamawa State Emergency Management Agency (ADSEMA), Haruna Furo, congratulated the graduates and urged them to apply their newly acquired knowledge in their daily business lives.

Haruna also commended UNDP for the initiative, stating that the intervention would go a long way in changing lives of people in the state.

UNDP Complain Of Slow Operations In N/East Due To Insurgents

Attacks by Boko Haram insurgents in Northeast Nigeria are slowing down aid operations by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).

The agency says it has secured donations from its development partners and plans to spend up to four million dollars on humanitarian activities in the region this year.

According to the UNDP’s Regional Coordinator and Head of Maiduguri Sub-Office, Joerg Kuehnel, some areas are still unsecured because the insurgents are using them as hideouts.

He however notes that where there is no hindrance, progress has been made on the part of the state governments collaboration with humanitarian partners.

Rebuilding Borno: 192 Families To Get New Homes In Kaga

Kaga, IDPs, BornoSuccour 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.

UNDP Partners With Borno Govt. To Monitor NGO Activities

shettimaThe United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Borno state government are partnering to monitor the activities of humanitarian agencies operating in Borno state.

Representative of the country, Director Edward Kallon, who is in Maiduguri on a familiarisation visit, has been engaging in talks with the state Governor, Kashim Shettima on the the matter.

The talks centered around concerns recently raised by Shettima over some 126 Non-Governmental Organizations whom he accused of failing to justify funds they claim to be spending on the affected population in Borno.

Shettima had asked all of such humanitarian agencies to vacate the state, which according to him has become a “cash cow” for them.

The UNDP had however asked the state government to liase accordingly for better understanding of the activities of the many NGOs operating in the state.

“NGOs are partners of choice, some of them are good. It’s just like when you have children at home.

“There are good ones and there are troublemakers – but you try to manage and that is how it works here. That is why you see us on ground here, to make sure that whatever we do is transparent.

“Your Excellency, if you need any information on the activities of these people, ask us. – We should be able to report to you and give you information and you can crosscheck if you are not happy, that’s why we are here.”

Kallon also cautioned that only synergy between the government and humanitarian bodies would serve the best interest of the affected population.

According to him, humanitarian crisis around the world has placed a lot of demand on the UN system.

“The crisis we are managing here is also competing with emergencies in other parts of the world example Syria, Sudan etc.

“In Syria, for instance, the appeal that we launched is asking for six billion dollars. The South Sudan appeal is asking for three to four billion dollars so I really appeal to you and your government that we need to work together and speak with one voice.

“As we say in West Africa, if we allow the media to shoot us on our legs we are not going to be able to work because this is what is happening now.

“If we start sending a different language, different message it’s not going to help all of us here. So I really solicit your support for us to work with one voice and come together in strategic partnership.”

Shettima then absolved the UN system from his recent outburst, insisting that the presence of the non-performing organisations has caused untold hardship to people in the state.

“My anger was largely directed on the 126 NGOS who are smiling their ways to the bank on the agonies of our people but I think I was quoted out of context. Otherwise how can I criticise the UN system?

“People that have invested hundreds of millions of dollars on the welfare of my people; I want to make this clarification. My criticism is with the NGOs; especially the indigenous ones who are going on the international media and telling the whole world about the tragedy that has befallen Borno, providing account numbers where contributions should be made.

“My anger is to those of them that are here in Maiduguri that have created artificial scarcity of homes, making housing more prohibitive in Maiduguri than in Maitama Abuja.”

The governor however extolled the impact and achievements of the UN system since the humanitarian crisis begun.

“You guys are doing a great job and we remain eternally grateful to you. Honestly we are most grateful,” Shettima stated.

UN Pledges More Humanitarian Support In Northeast Nigeria

UN Pledges To Beef Up Humanitarian Support In Northeast NigeriaThe United Nations has pledged to beef up humanitarian support to the government of Nigeria to restore normalcy and security to the North East.

The Country Director of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Mr Janthomas Hiemstra, revealed his mission to journalists shortly after a courtesy call on the General Officer Commanding 7 Division of the Army in Maiduguri, Brigadier General Victor Ezugwu.

Hiemstra said: “The UNDP is going to put more presence in this area because we believe that the situation for Nigerian people have evolved to outside of the humanitarian situation.

“The military have done their work. The humanitarian are still looking at where are the people that are really suffering and have no food but the development programmes to come in also and say it’s not about food it’s about jobs, business.

“It is about agriculture, it is about people rebuilding houses, rebuilding secretariat buildings, clinics and schools, so this is the next phase that would have to happen together with humanitarian work.

“The UNDP is a specialised agencies that would work with other agencies towards recovery and development in the Northeast.

“We have reassured the General Officer Commanding that we will be beefing up our office and our activities and he appears to be pleased with that,” Hiesmstra stated.

UNDP Seeks Improved Women Empowerment

undp1The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), has affirmed its support for initiatives aimed at empowering women across Africa.

At a forum in Abuja, the UN agency said Africa is being threatened by cases of gender inequality.

It also called on public and private organizations to expand capabilities and opportunities for women to sustain human development.

The report focusing squarely on accelerating gender equality and women’s empowerment in Africa, is mapping out four broad strategies and six key accelerators to save Africa up to 95 billion Dollars lost annually to the gender equality gap.

undp2The UNDP Strategic Advisor, Angela Lusigi, said Africa’s commitment to women’s rights must be reflected strategically, such as revaluing domestic work, eliminating harmful societal and institutional norms, and economic exclusion for women.

The last declaration on gender equality and empowerment in Africa was made in 2003, in Maputo, Mozambique, a declaration that set a high pace for gender mainstreaming and equality in Africa.

Although there has been progress and positive inflections on gender matters since then, 13 years after, the UNDP, is out with a human development report asking that much more be done to bridge the gender gap on the continent.

Director UNDP Regional Bureau for Africa, Abdoulaye Mar Dieye, said there is rising human development around the globe, however, this is threatened in Africa by gender inequality.

According to him, the 2016 human development report is set to address that, crucially with the help of the African Development Bank.

Henceforth, as an outcome of the forum, Africa is expected to make gender equality a priority, if it hopes to achieve sustainable and progressive development, tackle institutional norms directly, and make critical gender choices as well as investments.

Bank Of Industry’s Solar Power Project Lights Up 200 Homes In Kaduna

Solar-power-panelThe Bank of Industry (BoI) has commissioned a solar powered electricity in Makarfi Local Government of Kaduna State, lighting up over 200 homes that were not connect to the national grid.

The electrification project covers a six km distribution network, and is also capable of providing commercial and domestic ventures with electricity.

At the commissioning of the project at Charwa and Chakun communities, acting Managing Director of the Bank, Waheed Olagunju, said the Rural Electrification Project was financed in conjunction with the United Nations Development Programme.

He stated that the Rural Electrification Project was conceived by the bank not only to improve living standards of the rural dwellers, but also to boost economic activities in such areas.

Sufficient Solar Electricity

Prior to the installation of the solar power system, the over 200 households in the two villages like other remote communities across Nigeria, only ran individual electricity generators, spending huge amounts in buying petrol.

With the commissioning of the project, each home will have sufficient solar electricity to power at least three light bulbs and other gadgets. The consumers are expected to pay for only the energy they use.

Explaining the metering model, the BoI managing Director said payment would be on a pay-as-you-go basis, with each household provided with a pre-paid meter.

The MD Arnergy Solar Limited, Femi Adeyemo, who is the project consultant, gave a background of the project and its benefit while Governor Nasir El-Rufai, said that the state government would spend about 1.5 billion Naira to complete the 30 Megawatts Gurara Power Plant, to provide reliable electricity to industrial and domestic use.

Governor el-Rufai was represented by the Director General of Kaduna Power Supply Company, Dr Abdulkarim Mayere.

With the lighting up of the two communities after about 70 years of being in darkness, the Bank of Industry said it was ready to partner with all state governments on solar electrification projects in off-grid areas.

World Bank Allocates $800mln To Northeast Nigeria

World BankThe World Bank has allocated 800 million dollars to Northeast Nigeria to address poverty issues the region is battling with.

The UNDP Country Representative, Fatma Samoura stated this in a meeting with government officials at the Borno State Government House.

The humanitarian, who is in Maiduguri for a 2-day visit said that the UNDP is interested in making contingency plans against the coming rainy season and issues around resettlement of the internally displaced in their original homes.

“We are going very close to the rainy season and with the rainy season comes epidemic outbreak. The UN would be ready to support all the government and local agencies’ efforts to prepare contingency planning to avoid the situation of last year where several cases of water diarrhoea was reported,” Samoura stated.

The Country Representative said that the UNDP is finding it difficult mobilizing resources for Nigeria in view of the crisis situation in other parts of the world which she said is costing traditional donors a lot.

She appealed for support from government at all levels, explaining that the humanitarian response plan at the moment is 10% funding as the country office has so far received only 24 million dollars out of the $248 million budgeted for northeast Nigeria for the year 2016.

Meanwhile, the Borno State Governor, Kashim Shettima wants donor agencies to do more to empower local people whose sources of livelihood have been lost in the insurgency.

About 157 displaced people live in makeshift camps in Maiduguri while nearly 1.6 million others have opted to live with relatives.

Governor Kashim said that the Borno State government is investing in Agriculture by empowering women living in the country side to embrace livestock farming as they return home.

The Governor listed illiteracy and extreme poverty as the underlying causes of insurgency, noting that the core issues must be addressed if the insurgency problem must end.

Governorship Aspirants Sign Peace Accord In Bayelsa

Timipre-Sylva-and-Seriake-DicksonBarely one month to the governorship elections in Bayelsa State, aspirants from various political parties have converged to sign a peace accord, to ensure peaceful and credible elections.

The signing of the peace pact which was initiated by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), in collaboration with United Nations Development Program (UNDP), had heads of security agencies, traditional and religious leaders in attendance.

The Resident Electoral Commissioner in the state, Baritor Kpagi, said that information available to INEC suggested that a number of cloned cards were in circulation in the state, and such cards would not be verified by the smart card reader.

The INEC National Commissioner representing the North West Zone, Mrs Amina Zakari, in her address, explained that election is a beautiful experience, especially when it is devoid of violence.

Also speaking, an official of UNDP, Mr Matthew Aloa, explained that signing of the peace accord connotes that INEC and the security agents would do everything humanly possible to ensure stakeholders’ confidence in the electoral process.

The Bayelsa State Commissioner of Police, Nasiru Oki, also advised aspirants to take the message of the peace accord back to their supporters.

The flag bearer of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Timipre Sylva, reiterated his commitment to abide by the term of agreement, as stipulated in the peace document.

The incumbent Governor, Seriake Dickson, also advocated for stringent punishment for electoral offenders.
The United States (US) on Tuesday had warned against any plan to foment violence before, during and after the Kogi and Bayelsa States governorship elections.

According to a statement by the United States Diplomatic Mission to Nigeria, the US urged Nigerians to refrain from any action capable of upsetting the peace of the nation or the two states involved in the exercise.

Insurgency Victims Get Managerial Skill Training

IDPsThe process of reintegrating insurgency victims in the north-east region of Nigeria has commenced with 250 beneficiaries attending a training programme that impacts managerial skill, conflict prevention methods and other skills towards rebuilding the communities.

Beneficiaries of the UNDP-led Livelihood Support Programme were enjoined to live peacefully in their communities and make the best use of the training opportunity by improving in their standard of living.

With experience from the operations of the insurgents leading to loss of lives and destruction of property, particularly in the north-east, there is need for rehabilitation of victims to return to their normal living.

Beneficiaries were exposed to different trainings ranging from management skills which include book-keeping and accounting, psycho-social and trauma counselling and physical training which will assist in effective management of their business.

As these beneficiaries return to their various communities to put into practice all that they have acquired at the training centre coupled with the empowerment programme; it is expected that the scheme will rekindle the hope and spirit as well as determination to overcome the various challenges confronting the victims.

Anambra Govt, UNDP Train Physically Challenged In Akwa

obianoThe Anambra State government in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has held a re-training workshop for 30 physically Challenged Persons in Awka and has also provided them with empowerment items for self-reliance.

The workshop, which is on Millennium Development Goals Acceleration Framework, targets empowering an increased number of the physically challenged persons in the state to reduce poverty and unemployment among the less privileged and the physically challenged.

According to the Special Adviser to Anambra State Governor on Donor Agency, Mrs Nneka Onwudiwe, the initiative is in line with the vision of the State Governor, Willie Obiano, to ensure an all encompassing welfare development for every citizen irrespective of status.

For the organisers of the programme, the initiative was to ensure an all encompassing welfare impact on the citizens of the state in line with the vision of the State government.

The UNDP representative revealed that the empowerment would be accompanied with monitoring of the progress of the beneficiaries as well as providing opportunity for soft loans.

The beneficiaries were handed items of empowerment which they pledged to make judicious use of to ensure that their lives and that of their families were made better while living above poverty and beggarly life.