Federal Government on Tuesday said it was ready to fast track the construction of 10,000 housing units in Borno State to aid the proposed rehabilitation of internally displaced persons (IDPs).
Speaking during a visit to Maiduguri to condole the Borno State Government on weekend’s inferno at Muna IDP camp in the town, the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajiya Sadiya Umar-Farouk said recent fire incidents at IDP camps in the state has come to show that permanent accommodation should be built to accommodate the displaced persons.
She said the federal government would be collaborating with the Borno State government for the construction of the 10,000 housing units earlier approved by President Muhammadu Buhari.
She lamented that in recent times in the state there has been two fire incidents that have left 16 IDPs dead and thousands rendered homeless after their shelters and property were destroyed.
She commended the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) together with the State Emergency Management Agency ( SEMA ) for their prompt response and immediate activation of the crisis response protocol, under the leadership of the new Director General of NEMA, AVM Mohammed Mohammed ( rtd ).
She said:” I am deeply saddened by the loss of two lives at Muna-garage IDPs camp and this unfortunate incident has taken place less than two months after a similar incident had claimed 14 lives and cost extensive damage at Ngala IDPs camp.
“Our prayers and condolences go out to all those who lost their loved ones and property in the fire disaster. I pray that Almighty Allah comfort them at this difficult moment. I am also using this opportunity to extend President Muhammadu Buhari’s condolences to the government and good people of Borno state.
“Yesterday, we had deployed relief items in terms of food and non food items for the affected victims in the camps. We are monitoring the situation closely and we are providing every support required as investigation continues on the cause of the incidents.
“Cognisant of the human and material toll these fire incidents took on our lives, the ministry in consultations with relevant agencies and other stakeholders is evolving new strategies for an all-hazard approach that would prioritise the prevention and mitigation to avert such tragedies.
“Your Excellency, we are working hand in hand with you to see that we kickstart the mass housing project which has been approved by president Muhammadu Buhari, that is the 10,000 housing unit that is supposed to be constructed this year.
Reacting, Borno Governor, Prof. Babagana Zulum the government and people of Borno state appreciate all the efforts of the minister, he said that the only solution to the incessant fire outbreaks at the IDPs camps is to ensure that more permanent houses are built with a view to ressettling back the people to their localities.
He said major reasons the camps usually got razed is because the buildings are made of corn stocks, coupled with windy nature of the areas, hence when there is fire incident, the whole area would be gutted by fire.
Zulum said. “As you have rightly pointed out, the issue of medium term, long term sustainable solution is the only way out. Let me express my sincere appreciation to you for the enormous support that you have been rendering towards uplifting the standard of the displaced communities of Borno state, even when you were Commissioner for the National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons (NCFRMI).
” We received your tremendous support three days ago with regard to the fire incident at Ngala IDPs camp; and this time around, as soon as you heard the sorry state, you dispatched relief items through the able leadership of the new Director General NEMA,” the Governor said.
He assured the Minister that the items donated would be distributed to the deserving ones meticulously and judiciously.
In the delegation of the minister are the Director General of NEMA and the Managing Director of the North East Development Commission (NEDC), Alhaji Mohammed Alkali