***Says It Shouldn’t Be Manned By Politicians
By Chibuzo Ukaibe, Abuja
Elder statesman and former federal commissioner for information, Chief Edwin Clark, Monday cautioned that funds allotted and donated to the North East Development Commission (NEDC), should be judiciously utilized for the purpose it is meant for.
He further stated that there should be no discriminatory treatment in the execution of projects, as the people of the North East have suffered an unprecedented hardship, whether Christians, Muslims, atheists, pagans or ethnicity.
The elder statesman stated this in a statement which hailed President Muhammadu Buhari and the National Assembly and the people of the region over the passage of the NEDC Bill.
While he advocated for the Commission to be independent of the Federal, State and Local Government interference, Clark noted that it should also be manned by technocrats and not by politicians, who will tend to use it for personal political benefits.
He said “I wish to commend Mr. President, His Excellency, Muhammadu Buhari, and the National Assembly for the passage and signing into law the Bill establishing the North East Development Commission.
“This Act will amongst other things, receive and manage funds meant for the reconstruction, rehabilitation and resettlement of the Boko Haram ravaged North East, in order to reintegrate the people of the North East and give them a new lease of life.”
He added “I wish to suggest strongly that funds allotted and donated to this Commission, should be judiciously utilized for the purpose it is meant for; there should be no discriminatory treatment in the execution of projects, as the people of the North East have suffered an unprecedented hardship, whether Christians, Muslims, atheists, pagans or ethnicity.
“The programmes of the Commission should be executed in line with the post World War II Marshall Plan, where everyone worked for its success. The Boko Harram bombings, killings and destructions, did not discriminate in carrying out their havoc.
“The Commission should also be manned by technocrats and not by politicians, who will tend to use the scheme to climb the rung of their political ladder, and make money for themselves, as it is very common with many of the government interventionist agencies and parastatals, thereby defeating the very laudable purpose for setting it up.
“In addition, the Commission should be independent of the Federal, State and Local Government interference.
Let me also congratulate the people of the North East in this plan to rehabilitate them and give them succor.”
Clark noted that the action by the National Assembly goes to show that Nigerians have been in very strong support of the rebuilding of the war torn North East, as they would, to any other part of the country that faces similar situation, baring all sentiments.
He however added that the establishment of the commission was one of the principal recommendations of the 2014 National Conference.
He further said the creation of NEDC was an emulation of what was done after the Second World War of 1939-1945, whereby the Martial Plan, otherwise known as the European Recovery Programme, ERP, an initiative of the United States of America to aid Western Europe was set up.
He said “It will be recalled that the National Conference was fully involved in discussing the atrocities committed by the Boko Haram against Nigerians particularly in the North East, since the day the Conference came to a standstill when the news of the kidnap of the Chibok girls was broken on the floor of the Conference by a female delegate, Miss Bilikisu Magoro. Earlier in the morning of the same day, the Delegates were quaked by the news of the Nyanyan bombing. I recall with despondency that throughout the whole day and indeed the next day, the Conference suspended its entire business and debated the sad story of the menace of Boko Haram’s incessant attacks.
“It fell upon me, the responsibility to move a motion on the floor of the Conference, condemning the Nyanyan bombing and expressing the condolences of the Conference to President Goodluck Jonathan, the families of those who died as a result of the attacks and to the people of the North East.
“This motion was unanimously adopted, and recommendations were made, urging the Federal Government to be more committed to finding a lasting solution to the Boko Haram menace and how about two Traditional Rulers from the North East were kidnapped. One of the Traditional Rulers was alleged to have been killed. The Conference took a stand and wrote a strong petition to then President, asking him to intensify the fight against the Boko Haram insurgents.
“It was in this spirit that one of its recommendations which states thus was made: That there shall be a National Intervention Fund which shall be 5% of the annual revenue accruing to the account of the Federal Government for the stabilization and reconstruction of areas affected by conflicts and disasters, and for the rehabilitation of the internally displaced people, starting first with the North East of Nigeria, and in any other part of the country that may be affected by such occurrences.
“This was in emulation of what was done after the Second World War of 1939-1945, whereby the Martial Plan, otherwise known as the European Recovery Programme, ERP, an initiative of the United States of America to aid Western Europe was set up. Therefore the National Intervention Fund, was recommended by the Conference to rebuild the North East States of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe, and thereafter, funds from this plan, can be used to build any other war torn part of the country, if it so happens.
“This proposition, which was accepted by the Conference, was worked out by a Committee of about 36 members. Although a consensus could not be reached because some people wanted Kaduna and Kano States in the North, which are not war torn, to be beneficiaries of this plan. This was rejected by majority of the Delegates. It is, therefore, most reassuring that the National Assembly also rejected the inclusion of Kano, Plateau and other States in the scheme.”
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