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.

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.

Buhari To Attend TICAD Summit In Nairobi

Children's Day, Muhammadu Buhari,Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari, will attend the Sixth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD VI) in Nairobi, Kenya, a top government official said on Thursday.

 

The summit, which will hold from August 27 to-28, is co-organised by the Government of Japan, the United Nations Office of the Special Adviser on Africa, the United Nations Development Programme, the African Union and the World Bank.

It will focus on promoting structural economic transformation through diversification and industrialisation; promoting resilient health system for quality life and promoting social stability for shared prosperity.

A statement by a spokesman for the President, Femi Adesina, said President Buhari, during the conference, would participate in plenary sessions on TICAD in alignment with African Development, a Dialogue with the Private Sector and the Global Launch of the Second Africa Human Development Report.

The President will also hold a bilateral meeting with the Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe.

No fewer than 35 African leaders are expected at the two-day high level summit which will also be attended by leading private sector companies from Japan.

This will be the first time TICAD is being held in Africa since its inception in 1993.

Nigeria has played a prominent role at the forum aimed at forging international partnerships for Africa’s transformation and prosperity through economic growth, agriculture and social stability.

Invest In Education, Empowerment Of Women, FG Urges Nigerians

Amina-Mohammed-Minister-of-environmentThe Federal Government has appealed to well-meaning Nigerians to invest in the education and empowerment of women in order to enable them contribute towards mitigating the effects of climate change.

Speaking in Abuja at a National Consultative Forum on Gender and Climate Change, the Minister of Environment, Amina Mohammed, said women’s responsibilities in households and communities as stewards of natural and household resources, places them in a better position to contribute to strategies adapted to changing environmental realities.

The Resident Representative of the United Nations Development Programme, Opiah Kumah, however lamented the economic and political power of women which exposes them to adverse effects of the changing climate.

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.

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.

ECOWAS Launches Small Arms Control Project

ECOWASThe Economic Community for West African States, ECOWAS, in collaboration with the European Union and the United Nations Development Programme, UNDP, has launched a new fight against proliferation of small arms in West Africa.

The ECOWAS community, the European Union and United Nations delegations believe that recent surge in terrorism across West Africa can be reduced through this project.

According to the officials, this intervention is aimed at supporting efforts to maintain regional peace and stability which has been threatened recently by terrorism.

ECOWAS President, Kadre Ouedraogo, said that the project would strengthen similar initiatives within the West African region aimed at reducing proliferation of illegal arms.

It is one of several projects launched in recent times to curb the rising waves of terrorism and other crimes escalated by proliferation of illegal arms in the West African region.

The European Union in agreement with ECOWAS is putting over five million Euro into the project that would be managed by United Nations Development Programme, UNDP.

They are confident that if well managed, the project is capable of restoring peace and stability in the troubled regions of West Africa.

Some of the activities of the project would include raising community awareness on the dangers associated with the proliferation of small arms and armed violence in the region.

It would also strengthen security and encourage voluntary weapons surrender and collection in return for community based development projects.

The project is targeting six countries, including Nigeria, Niger, Mali and Liberia.

Nigeria Asked To Intensify Battle Against Deprivation

United Nations Development ProgrammeNigeria and other countries in Sub-Saharan Africa have been asked to intensify their battle against deprivation in order to prevent crisis from setting back recent development advances, made in economic development.

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) made the demand in its 2014 Human Development report on Nigeria, entitled; ‘Sustaining Human Progress: Reducing Vulnerability and Building Resilience’.

The report addressed issues surrounding human vulnerability and highlighted policies needed to maximise future opportunities.

According to this year’s human development index, Sub-Saharan Africa, has made much progress in health, education and income between 2010 and 2013. However, the region was still the most unequalled in the world. Says UNDP’S of the human inequality index.

An equivalent of 72 per cent of 585 million people are vulnerable. They are either living in poverty with overlapping deprivations in education and health or at great risk of falling back into poverty.

According to UNDP’S Representative to Nigeria, Mr Daouda Toure, the lack of preparedness to disaster, prevention and early warning was costing Africa, including Nigeria, useful capital resources for human development.

This year’s report puts Nigeria Human Development Index value for 2013 at 0.5, which was low in the  human development category, positioning the country at 152 out of 187 countries and territories in the region.

In spite of this position, the government insists it had  done well in achieving millennium development goals 1, 2, 3,and 4 which addresses poverty eradication, universal basic education, gender equality and reduction in child mortality.

Ahead of 2015, when international funding for the millennium development goals will stop, this year’s report is expected to set a post in  2015, development agenda for Nigeria.

Experts say African Nations, must think greatly about policies that would encourage production as well as eliminate barriers to competitiveness in the international market.

In the face of challenges including insecurity, lack of electricity and other disasters that has affected the country in recent times, Nigeria needs policies and political will, that will improve on the little successes contained in this year’s report.

UN, EU Hold Training To Strengthen Nigeria’s Political Leaders

UNDP-and-EUThe United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in conjunction with the European Union have held a leadership course for Nigeria’s youth leaders of political parties aimed at strengthening their capacity as they look forward to becoming key pillars of democratic policy.

The training, organised under the UNDP’s Democratic Governance for Development Project, was held on Tuesday at the Political Parties Leadership and Policy Development Centre at the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies in Kuru, Jos, the Plateau State capital.

At the event, the UNDP resident representative in Nigeria, Daouda Toure, reinstated the importance of political parties as essential pillar for a vibrant, well established and resilient democracy.

Mr Toure pointed out that since it had been identified that “no workable form of democratic pluralism operates without political parties, there are always challenges of policy, operational and capacity challenges which may limit their effectiveness in fostering and deepening democracy”.

At the end of the programme, the young party leaders are expected to be equipped with the fundamentals that will enable them derive a robust democratic engagement.

Toure urged the participants to embrace values of good governance with adequate consideration given to the cultural values, the traditional institutions as well as effective communication for sustainable democracy.

As the young political party leaders undergo the training course to equip them with skills and knowledge to engage in policy development and research, Nigerians are looking forward to youth leaders with effective pro-democratic tendencies that will strengthen the country’s democratic institutions.

FG Releases ‘Conditional Grants’ To 148 LGAs

The Federal Government has announced the release of ‘conditional grants’ to 148 Local Government Areas (LGAs) in order to improve investment at the grassroots level.

The senior special assistant to the President on Millennium Development Goals (MDGs); Precious Gbeneol, who announced this in Abuja at a pre-implementation workshop for local government officials said the conditional grants scheme has availed the nation the opportunity of leveraging resources from all tiers of government in order to achieve socio-economic development of the rural areas.

She explained that the scheme is aimed at reducing poverty and providing even development of local government areas.

Ms Gbeneol warned the participants not to misuse the grants allocated to their local government areas.

Development partners from the Department for International Development (DFID) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) pledged their support for the programme.

The Akwa Ibom state Commissioner for economic development who declared the workshop open, stressed the need for local government authorities to positively affect the lives of their people.

The conditional grants scheme is an initiative of the federal government funded from the debt relief gains to enable states and local governments access funds to scale up specific projects in their localities.

Nigeria Is Not Improving Its Human Development Index – UNDP

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has stated that Nigeria is not one of the African countries recording remarkable improvement in its human development index.

The agency in its 2013 Human Development Index (HDI) Report listed Angola, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Liberia, Mali, Mozambique, Niger, Rwanda, Sierra Leone and Tanzania as among the African countries that made the greatest strides in HDI improvement since 2000.

According to the report, Nigeria was ranked amongst countries with low development index at 153 out of 186 countries that were ranked.

Life expectancy in Nigeria is placed at 52 years old while other health indicators reveal that only 1.9 per cent of the nation’s budget is expended on health.

68.0 per cent of Nigerians are stated to be living below $1.25 daily while adult illiteracy rate for adult (both sexes) is 61.3 per cent.

The report comes despite the reported growth in the Nigerian economy, with the country recording a GDP growth rate of 6.99 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2012.

The country’s economy has been described as robust and resilient.