The Minister for Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Developments, Hajiya Safiya Umar Faruq, yesterday said the devastation caused by over a decade long Boko Haram insurgency had cost the North-East over $9.2 billion. The minister, who said this while speaking at the launch and handing over of operational security vehicles to the Armed Forces, ambulances and medical equipment to Federal medical instructions/ medical centres in the North- East region in Maiduguri. Faruq said: “To achieve lasting peace, there is a need to take further steps in recovery and development of the region.
The rebuilding of the region will cost over $9 billion to achieve that. “We need collaborative efforts of all security operatives in the region and other stakeholders. The step taken by the North-East Develop-ment Commission (NEDC) to equip the security operatives is commendable. “The success recorded by our security operatives need to be sustained.
This is because the confidence of the people of the region boosted and the donation of ambulances to our health institutions is also a step in the right direction.” In his remarks, the Senate President, Senator Ahmed Lawan, said the budget of N18 billion allocated to NEDC in the 2020 budget by the execu-tive was grossly inadequate, while also appealing to President Muhammadu Buhari to increase it. Lawan, who was represented by Senator Ali Ndume, said: “The NEDC in the 2019 budget was allocated N38 billion, while the budget of N18 billion allocated to it in the 2020 budget is crossly inadequate. “We want to appeal to you (Minister of Humanitarian Affairs) to take this message to President Buhari. We know the president is passionate and concerned about the plight of the North-East.” Lawan also urged the Managing Director of the NEDC to collaborate with the state governors in the North-East to develop the region and also appealed to the NEDC to pay the allowances of the members of the Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF), hunters and vigilantes to reduce the burden on the state government of the six states in the region, as their budget cannot fund it.