The Vice President, Kashim Shettima, on Saturday in Maiduguri lamented that Boko Haram insurgency had inflicted damages in the North-East, to the tune of $9billion.
The Director, Information, Office of the Vice President, Mr Olusola Abiola, in a statement, said Shettima stated this while inaugurating the distribution of palliatives in the North-East.
He also performed the official groundbreaking for the construction of the 22.5km Jere Bowl road network project, covering Jere and Mafa LGAs, in Borno, undertaken by the North-East Development Commission (NEDC).
The event coincided with the 8th meeting of the North-East Governors’ Forum.
According to the vice president, Borno alone had damages worth $6.8 billion.
He said: ” Boko Haram insurgency had inflicted damages in the northeast, to the tune of $9 billion.
” There are similar destructions across Adamawa, Yobe, Bauchi, Gombe and Taraba. If Northeast of Nigeria was to be treated as a nation, we are poorer than Chad, Afghanistan, Niger.”
Shettima called on the NEDC to expand the scope of its interventions in the region to cover more road projects, regardless of their status.
He added: ” I want to urge the NEDC board to expand the scope of its intervention to cover more road projects across the northeast region, including Gombe-Bauchi, Maiduguri-Damboa-Biu and Gujiba-Biu roads, among many others.
“Though these roads are regarded as Trunk A roads, they will eventually be used by Nigerians, particularly the people of the northeast.”
Shettima commended the NEDC board for its prudent management of resources, and lauded the support of political leaders, including legislators from the north east region, for standing firm with the commission.
The vice president also commended the efforts of governors across the region for uniting the people in spite of their socio-political differences.
Shettima said: ” The northeast is a kaleidoscope of colours, made up of different people from different socio-political backgrounds.
” But i want to commend our governors for coalescing these units into a single force, irrespective of the differences in political and other backgrounds.”
On the distribution of palliatives worth N15 billion to beneficiaries in 110 LGAs, and 18 Senatorial Districts across the region, Shettima reiterated the commitment of the Federal Government to the welfare of the people.
The items to be distributed to beneficiaries across the zone includes; mats, variety of clothing materials for women and children, blankets, rice and vegetable oil, among others.
Earlier, Gov. Babagana Zulum of Borno called on NEDC to be more determined in the discharge of its responsibilities.
He also urged the commission to focus more attention in supporting agriculture, especially irrigation farming in the region.
Zulum said that as part of efforts to improve the fortunes of the region, Governors in the area would collectively checkmate the activities of illegal miners.a
He lso said the governors would engage actively with the Federal Government, with a view to exploiting mineral resources in the region for the benefit of the people.
Shettima also commended security agencies for the progress made in the ongoing fight against insurgency.
The governor, therefore, urged them to intensify efforts aimed at eliminating the remnants of fighters hiding in enclaves, in parts of the region.
Also, the Managing Director of NEDC, Alhaji Mohammed Alkali, said that the first phase of construction of the Jere Bowl road network was among other infrastructure projects undertaken by the commission across the region.
He said the commission was excited with the full implementation of the North-East Master Plan.
Alkali said the commission would simultaneously key into the present administration’s transport initiative by partnering with the states to deploy affordable, energy efficient electric and CNG-fuelled vehicles.
“Indeed, we will factor our activities with the Renewed Hope Agenda initiatives for agricultural value chain, food security, energy, industrialisation and human capital development,” Alkali said.
In attendance were the governors of Bauchi, Sen. Bala Mohammed; Yobe, Mai Mala Buni; Adamawa, Ahmadu Fintiri and Deputy Governors of Taraba, Karim Iliyasu and Gombe, Manassah Jatau and members of the National Assembly, among others. (NAN)