The Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, has made a donation of $1.4 million to Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs, in Borno State.
ECOWAS President, Marcel de Souza, made the donation on behalf of the African regional body in two separate cheques of $1 million and $0.4million.
He handed the cheques to Governor Kashim Shetima with instructions that the fund should be used to procure relief materials for the IDPs as he also informed Borno State of ECOWAS’ concern about happenings in Northeast Nigeria, and expressed how 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. De-Sousa said that the leadership of ECOWAS share the plight and concerns of the IDPs and refugees in Nigeria, promising to do everything possible to support them.
“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. 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”. Mr. De Souza said.
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”
Sani Sidi, the Director General of the National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA, who accompanied the ECOWAS boss on the visit, also presented food items and building materials to the State Government for the reconstruction of Bama, Ngala and Hawul Local Government areas of Borno State.
The building materials include: 2600 bundles of Roofing sheet, 2500 piece ceiling boards, 350 bags of 3″ nails and 350 packets of zinc nails, which he said will assist the government in the ongoing reconstruction works in Bama, Hawul and Gamboru-Ngala communities. The food items include: 3600 bags of rice, 1400 bags of bean and 1000 bags of millet.
Receiving the items, Governor Shettima appreciated NEMA for its continued support to the IDPs. He also commended ECOWAS for the donations, assuring the Chairman that the items will be effectively utilized for the benefit of the IDPs.
“We thank you most sincerely for your kind gesture for assisting our communities that are in distress. 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 use 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 NEMA 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”
More photos below…