21 September 2017

Nigeria: UNDP Will Remain in North East for Recovery

The United Nations Development Programme coordinating recovery efforts in the north east says it will remain in position to ensure the region recovers in a sustainable manner.

UNDP country representative in Nigeria, Samuel Bwalya, said the agency's coordination has helped pull more than $300 billion in resources over the last three years for the north east-and especially the worst hit states of Adamawa, Yobe and Borno.

It is behind a technical skills acquisition programme targeting more than 500 young displaced people in three centres-Kaduna, Maiduguri and Yobe.

A first batch of 79 graduated after yearlong training at the PAN Learning Centre in Kaduna and got full set of tools to begin work in automotive industry. Another batch is expected to graduate in Yola next week.

"We think that by empowering young people with skills and equipment, we will be transforming their lives," said Bwalya.

"Once you build skills in an individual, we believe that education is permanent and has permanent impact on the individual targeted."

Defending the agency's use of skills acquisition and its sustainability considering similar programmes that have failed in the past, Bwalya told Daily Trust: "Our goal is not to say we are setting skills acquisition centres but using centres that already exist. We facilitate them, empower them, provide technical support to enable them provide the training."

The major challenge for Borno is rebuilding homes destroyed in the wake of Boko Haram sweeping through the state, according to Nuhu Gulak, commissioner of Borno's two-year-old ministry of reconstruction, rehabilitation and resettlement.

He said Borno would require huge resources to rebuild, a process that's beginning in Bama, one of the worst-affected council areas.

"Bama is completely destroyed, but the government is rebuilding from scratch. Almost all local government areas are affected, and we have 27 local government areas," said Gulak.

Musa Jidawa, executive secretary of Yobe State Emergency Management Agency, said Yobe was looking to return of normalcy.

"The entire state is focused on recovery-how to resuscitate basic infrastructure, give livelihood to returnees, assist them to rebuild their lives and homes-and especially agro-based support so they can return to normalcy," Jidawa said.

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