A crusade of bloodshed disguised as a religious means of winning souls had led to the death of over 40,000 persons, with no fewer than two million citizens displaced. Unfortunately, the disheartening atrocities are being carried out in a state once regarded as the commercial hub of the Northeast where people from far and near, especially neighbouring countries of Chad, Niger, Cameroon among other African countries, and people from across the States of Nigeria trade.
During the 12-year Boko Haram insurgency, 76 district, ward and village heads were reportedly killed in Borno. The effects of the crisis resulted in the creation of several internally displaced persons (IDPs) camps across the state to provide temporary homes for citizens rendered homeless by the crisis.
Amidst the crisis, most IDPs in Borno have lived in the camps for about seven to eight years depending on when the terrorists invaded their communities after which they were displaced.
But thanks to the efforts of the military, government, and humanitarian groups who are working hand in hand to free most communities from the grips of the terrorists for people to return home.
Recently, when the baby of necessity, the North East Development Commission (NEDC) in the execution of its mandate as established by the federal government under the supervision of President Muhammadu Buhari completed the 1000 homes at Ngwom, a community in Mafa local government area of Borno State. At the moment, the IDPs that benefited from the housing scheme are filled with beaming smiles for once again having the opportunity to own a home as opposed to the makeshift houses in the camps.
The completed 1000 housing units are among the 10,000 housing units earlier approved by President Buhari as a special intervention to ameliorate the desperate situation that displaced communities in the state had found themselves in during the over 12 years Boko Haram insurgency.
These homes constructed by the federal government through the NEDC have the appeal of a community setting with social amenities such as solar-powered boreholes, solar-powered lights, and road networks that run in between the buildings.
Ibrahim Giskilda, a 60-year-old man who is one of the beneficiaries of the NEDC 1000 housing units said he was displaced from his community seven years ago when the terrorists stormed loskori community in Mafa and displaced him and his family.
Amazingly, Giskilda who resided at Farm Centre IDPs camp prior to his resettlement said benefiting from the housing units has raised his hope of survival and secured a two-bedroom flat for his wife and children.
He said residing in camp is not what anyone would wish for, noting that as an IDP living in such an environment, one’s privacy was always at stake.
He lauded NEDC, the federal and Borno State government for the collaboration that resulted in them benefiting from the houses and called for urgent action that could bring the insurgency to an end for people to return to their homes.
Falmata Modu also from Mafa said she lost her husband to the terrorists two years ago when the insurgents killed him while searching for firewood to sell and feed the family.
The mother of five who also benefited from the NEDC housing scheme said succour has come her way for again having a home years after being displaced by the terrorists.
“My husband was killed by Boko Haram terrorists two years ago while in the forest outside the Farm Centre IDPs camp where we then resided before this resettlement. I had lost hope until God provided this house for me and my family, we remain eternally grateful,” Falmata Modu said.
Interestingly, while the IDPs were in camp, life continued as most of them within the seven or eight years in the camp raised children who were born there. The situation they found themselves in, however, did not deter them from living a normal life such as procreation.
Usman Bukuje, a beneficiary from Limanti community of Mafa local government area who lived at the Farm Centre IDPs camp for eight years before the present resettlement said he entered the camp with three children and got three more children while in the camp.
Bukuje said the 2 bedroom flat allocated to him will be of help to his expanded family, adding that the coming of the housing units is a great hope of survival from the shackles of the insurgency.
Addressing the resettled IDPs shortly after distributing food and non-food items to them, the minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajiya Sadiya Umar Farouk, said additionally, to mitigate food insecurity, malnutrition and other challenges faced by the persons of concern in the north-eastern states, the FMHADMSD through the NEDC is commencing the distribution of food and non-food items to the six states of the region which is part of an overarching goal to improve food security and reduce hunger.
She said apart from that there is the handing over the Burn Centre which would cater for victims of burn injuries as a result of bomb attacks; Handing over of 1000 Ngwom Mass Housing units constructed under the Special Presidential Intervention for resettlement of IDPs; Graduating Batch B from the NEDC ICT training scheme in graphic design and small phone repairs and groundbreaking of the construction of 300-seater auditorium/centre for the study of violent extremism for prevention.
She commended the continuous efforts of the managing director and the entire NEDC team for carrying out their mandate and also thanked the governors of the states in the northeast for their support and commitment towards the rehabilitation, reconstruction, and sustainable recovery of the region.
Speaking, the managing director NEDC, Mohammed Alkali, noted that the Commission was the brainchild of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration established to address developmental challenges in the Northeast region and also to restore means of livelihood of the people following the over 12 years war.
Alkali said the 1,000 houses which were handed over to the Borno State government consists of blocks of four units of two-bedroom bungalows with veranda and courtyards in a cluster arrangement, adding that each block sits on four hundred square metres, with perimeter fence and ample space for other home activities.
“The following socio-economic facilities are also provided in the estate; solar-powered street lights; four industrial powered boreholes; planted over 3000 economic trees and provision made for school, market, police station, motor park among others.