Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, yesterday, launched the African Development Bank’s $258million comprehensive multi-sectorial intervention aimed at bolstering rehabilitation efforts in north-eastern Nigeria.

Speaking at the event in Abuja, Osinbajo said “it has been gratifying to note how enthusiastically our friends and partners have rallied to our support, mobilizing resources to tackle the crisis in the north-east. We would like to express the profound appreciation of the Federal Government to the Bank for being a partner in progress with us. When the story of the region’s recovery is told, the work of the African Development Bank will occupy a well-merited and prominent chapter.”

Osinbajo also lauded the program as a landmark intervention in support of the region, which has suffered devastation from insurgency.

In his remarks, chairman of the Presidential Committee on the North-East Initiative, General Theophilus Danjuma (rtd) noted that given the growing traffic of displaced persons back to their home communities, the provision of essential services and job creation in safe locations will play a huge role in ensuring the sustainability of the post-crisis recovery.

State governments of the northeast will implement the Bank’s US$258 million programme with Nigerian Federal Government’s support.

In terms of impact, 14 million affected people including 2.3 million internal displaced persons (IDPs) will benefit from health, nutrition, education, water and sanitation services.

The programme is targeting 9,000 IDPs and heads of vulnerable households who will receive direct economic assistance, while 2,023 small and medium scale enterprises (79 percent women) will receive business development support.

About 2,900 construction artisans and mechanics in the informal sector will also get help to improve their productivity. The initiative envisages that 2,000 unskilled youth will be trained for employment.

The President of the African Development Bank, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina represented by the Bank’s Senior Director in Nigeria, Ebrima Faal, highlighted the programme’s emphasis on inclusivity.

“It incorporates special gender considerations by ensuring that women are active participants in all stages of the project and providing training for women and youth entrepreneurs to increase their chances for employment and business opportunities,” Adesina said.

“The Bank has remained a strong partner of the Federal and State Governments in their efforts to restore livelihoods in the northeast. For instance, throughout the period of heightened conflict in the region, the Bank intervened with two critical programmes in Yobe and Taraba States. The experience gained and lessons learned from implementing these two projects are incorporated in the design of the current intervention,” he added.

For his part, the Bauchi State governor, Mohammed Abubakar, thanked the Bank for putting together what he described as the first integrated and inclusive plan for rebuilding of northeast Nigeria. The intervention seeks to reduce fragility aggravated by the Boko Haram insurgency by contributing to emergency transition, recovery and peacebuilding efforts. It focuses on three main components – service delivery, economic recovery and institutional strengthening.

It also includes support to ensure increased access of the poor and vulnerable to basic social services in water, sanitation, hygiene, health and education, as well as livelihood opportunities, food security and strengthened safety net systems.

Participating states include Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe and Taraba states.