By Yakubu Uba
Maiduguri, Oct. 7, 2020 The Chief of Party, North East Regional Initiative (NERI), Mr Olivier Girard, has announced the rounding up of its six years programme interventions in insurgency affected states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa.
The programme, which involved interventions in education, health, women empowerment among others, is being funded by US Agency for International Development (USAID) and British Government.
Announcing the rounding up at closing ceremony on Wednesday in Maiduguri, Girard said that within the past six years, NERI carried out 254 activities in Borno alone.
“USAID has asked us to close down our programme in the Northeast. This was not an easy decision on their part.
“They have asked us to shift the focus of our intervention. We will soon be undertaking new programming in Nigeria’s Middle Belt in response to conflict and violence against civilian populations.
“The good news is that USAID will be launching a new programme in the coming months entitled- Building Community Resilience to Violent Extremism and Conflict in Northeast Nigeria.
“This programme will continue to work with communities to strengthen social cohesion and push back against the influence of insurgents,” Girard said.
He lauded the support and cooperation given to NERI by government at all levels including security agencies.
“We have worked closely with the Nigerian Army to improve safety and security of communities in northeast.
“We have been busy digging trenches around Damasak, Gubio, Monguno, Dikwa, Kekeno, Bama, Pulka and other locations like Maiduguri International Airport.
“We put up concertina wire fences, we installed streetlights to make it harder for insurgents to infiltrate and attack towns. And also to improve the morale of the population,” Girard said.
He also explained that NERI had supported medical outreach activities and widows with training and tools.
According to him, NERI last year received 1.5 million pounds from British Government to support the Nigerian Police with infrastructure rehabilitation and equipment.
He explained that the fund was used to rehabilitate the police quarters in Monguno, Bama and the State Command headquarters in Maiduguri.
“These investments were made because both the British and American governments believe that the Nigerian Police Force can and should have the material support it needs to improve the security of citizens in Borno,” Girard said.
Other interventions listed by Gerard include the restoration of GSM services in some local government areas, buildings the capacity of community based civil society organisations, media organisations and the setting up of community radio stations in Biu, Damasak and Monguno towns.
In his remarks, Gov. Babagana Zulum represented by the Commissioner of Women Affairs and Social Development, Hajiya Zuwaira Gambo, lauded the intervention of NERI in various sectors particularly education and women empowerment.
Zulum urged NERI to stay for a while pointing out that it was exiting at a critical time when the state was relocating Internally displaced persons back to their ancestral land.
Representatives of various organisations, who spoke including army, police and civil society organisations, also lauded NERI for it interventions which they said touches many people and organisations in the state.