The ECOWAS Commission on Sunday visited Maiduguri, Borno State, where it presented $1.4 million cheques to the state government as part of its contribution towards assisting the people displaced by the Boko Haram insurgency.
The President of the ECOWAS Commission, Marcel De Souza, led other top officials of the Western African umbrella body to make the presentation to Borno State governor, Kashim Shettima.
He informed Borno State of ECOWAS’ concern about happenings in northeast Nigeria, even as he said he was impressed with the manner the state governor was able to carry on with developmental programs despite the huge security challenges facing the state.
“This is the first time that I am coming to Maiduguri as ECOWAS leader; and I have seen that despite the challenges your Excellency is making a lot to constructive progress; which is very commendable”, Mr. De Souza said.
“We have heard reports of how the markets, the schools and public infrastructures were burnt and we are here seeing how you have been tackling the challenges in phases, which is quite commendable and we are congratulating you for that exemplary steps.
The ECOWAS President said he had earlier met with some officials of the United Nations, as well as the officers of the National Emergency Management Agencies who had given him some insights and data of the humanitarian situation in the state.
“It was on that note that we have come to contribute our own support and solidarity and we are fully backing you in all your programs going forward. And we may not be able to reach the entire 4 million people of the state, but we will support you in such significant manner to see that you touch the lives of the people positively.
“We are aware of the IDPs and refugee challenges facing the country at large and Borno state in particular; and we are ready to partner with you to see that we help those suffering from malnutrition, poor hygiene and healthcare. We are deeply concerned about the plight of the children and the women in this conflict.
“We have also come here today to give our modest contribution in terms of food from our reserve, which is worth about $400, 000 and a token of cash of $1 million to support the people for Shelter, healthcare needs.
The Director General of NEMA who was also part of the visiting ECOWAS delegation had announced the donation of more food items and building material for the reconstruction of Bama, Ngala and Hawul local government areas of Borno State.
Governor Shettima expressed his personal appreciation and that of the state government to ECOWAS for the cash and food support presented to the state.
He also thanked NEMA’s generosity to the state.
“We thank you most sincerely for your kind gesture for assisting our communities that are in distress,” the governor said.
The large quantum of food items donated would go a long way in alleviating the food security problems facing the state.
He, however, quickly pointed out that he would rather not handle the cash but wished NEMA took charge of the cheque and uses it to deliver all the needed consumables to the state.
“As for the $ 1 million you have contributed, I do not want the money to pass through our hands; I will rather give it to help us buy food stuff; we have the Maiduguri flour mill here which can process maize into flour for proper human consumption. The $1 million would go a long way in feeding our people; especially those living within the host communities.”
Though NEMA has not publicly indicated its readiness to help Borno State manage the $ 1 million presented by ECOWAS, PREMIUM TIMES was informed by some of the national relief agency’s officials that it could manage such funds.