AHMED MARI, Maiduguri
The Borno State Governor Professor Babagana Umara Zulum, has warned humanitarian International Non-Governmental Organisations (INGOs) over using the humanitarian crisis in the state to enrich themselves.
Governor Zulum gave the warning when Leader of European Union, Mr. Laban Onismas, led other Development Partners such as Plan International, UNICEF and Save the Children as well as other Consortium in an emergency Review meeting at the Government House, Maiduguri on Friday.
Zulum frowned at the way Mercy Corps International (MC) and the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) for their claims and infliction of number of drilled boreholes and constructed houses in Maiduguri Metropolis, Jere and Gwoza Local Government Areas in the state.
The governor said: “My sad experience is with Mercy Corps and NRC; I reviewed their activities, after validation, I observed that Norwegian Refugees Council (NRC) claimed and reported that it has drilled 150 boreholes in Jere Local Government alone, which was far from the truth, while Mercy Corps, which claimed to have constructed 350 houses in Gwoza as reported was untrue, as it was only one house that was erected by the organization in Gwoza alone.”
“As government, we will sit down and review this budget of N20 million Euros. If the budget is in tandem with the demands of the Borno State Government, fine; we are willing to work with you, but if the reverse is the case, then, we will not mind if you can shift your intervention to other state or country.
“If you are ready to change, we are ready to work with you, but if you are not ready to change, then we are ready to change you,” he said.
According to the governor, henceforth, any humanitarian organization that is operating in Borno, must allow the State Government monitor and supervise and take charge of all activities or should pack out and leave.
He further said the N20 million Euros being approved for intervention in the state by European Union Consortium for three years (2019- 2021), would not be accepted by the present administration, until and when Government is given a free hand to monitor and take total control based on its required developmental and post-insurgency recovery plan to avoid duplication.
Commending UNICEF for living up to the expectation of the state government and the traumatized citizens, especially millions of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), the Governor frowned at all the INGOs operating in the state without the consent of the State Government.
His words: ” I want to commend UNICEF for living up to the expectation of the state government and the traumatized citizens, especially millions of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs). This is because in primary school, I used to hear of UNICEF, and they have remained with us as a very committed humanitarian organization.
” International non-governmental organisations have been in Borno quite for sometime, but we have never met until today. I have strives to see you people since when I was Commissioner for Reconstruction, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (RRR), but you have refused to come to me so that we can have first hand information of your objectives. And this is what I want to correct for now as Governor for the betterment of Borno people.
” With this budget of N20 million Euros which you are part of the consortium for implementation, we are not going to accept it until we sit down again, review your plan budget, and if it is not in tandem with our demands, we have the right to write objection to the EU.
“This is in accordance with the demands of our people. Chunk of intervention funds was channeled into psycho-social support, but I think as government, we also have our demands.
“Already, the World Bank and the African Development Bank are giving us psycho-social support, and if most of these International Non-Governmental Organizations (INGOs) are doing same intervention, which means there is duplication of effort that we are trying to correct”, Zulum stated.
Earlier, the leader of the EU Consortium, Mr. Onismas, told the Governor that they were at his office to brief him on the plan interventions by the European Union Consortium and the approved budget of N20 million Euros for humanitarian assistance in the education and other sectors in the state for period of three years.
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