The House of Representatives Committee on the North East Development Commission (NEDC) on Thursday pledged to facilitate adequate budgetary allocation to the commission to enable it to tackle the humanitarian challenges facing the region.
The Chairperson of the Committee, Khadija Bukar-Abba, made the promise in Maiduguri during a two-day oversight tour of the NEDC projects.
Bukar-Abba said that the committee had taken note of challenges facing the people of the Northeast zone.
She said that given the quantum of work that needed to be done, it had become imperative to provide more funding for the commission to enable it to effectively carry out its mandate.
The chairperson said that the committee had gone round some of the projects, which NEDC executed in displaced communities and Internally Displaced Peoples (IDPs) camps, noting that a lot of people required life-saving assistance.
“We have visited some of the IDPs camps and we had a first-hand experience of the depth of suffering which the people are going through, especially the women and children.
“We have also seen the impressive works that the NEDC has executed since it began operations.
“But we have observed how overwhelming the work that the NEDC needed to do has been, and how their progress may be affected due to lack of resources.
“We visited Ngwom village in Mafa Local Government, about 18km outside of Maiduguri, and we have seen the 1,000 housing units which the NEDC is constructing there; we are excited that the project would be concluded before the end of 2020.
“At the IDP camps, we have seen many women and children, as well as old persons who needed food more than anything else to survive, and we felt the challenges are overwhelming, while the NEDC is underfunded,’’ she said.
Bukar-Abba commended the commission for achieving so much in the last one year, noting that rather than being accused of misappropriation of funds, “the NEDC is grossly underfunded’’.
“Our committee and, of course the House of Representatives, would not hesitate to approve all the requests of NEDC concerning the welfare of the IDPs and people of the Northeast any time they approach us for additional funding,’’ she said.
In his remarks, the Managing Director of NEDC, Prof. Mohammed Alkali, said that some of the properties acquired by the commission were being used as warehouse, offices and accommodation for its guests and staff.
One of the IDPs, Muhammed Abacha, told the committee that the major challenges facing the IDPs included food shortage and education for children.
“We, in the Customs House IDPs camp, are facing a serious challenge of lack of food to eat,’’ Abacha said.
“We have only nine classrooms here in the camp and we have well over 3,000 school-age kids in this camp. We need more classrooms, or else our children will continue to roam about the camp without any form of education,’’ he said.
Hajiya Yabawa Kolo, the Chairperson of the Borno State Emergency Management Agency, informed the committee that the state government had been giving daily food support and cash to the IDPs.