UNDP’s Post-insurgency Training Scheme
IN every way, the United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) support programme for victims of the Boko Haram insurgency in the Northeast is significant, considering the vast damage the insurgency has wrought on several communities.
Besides, the programme is coming at a time when the Federal and affected state governments are facing a probably greater challenge of rehabilitating and re-integrating into the society victims of the unfortunate attacks. There is no doubt that all hands need be on deck to revamp displaced persons and properties, as well as restore some semblance of normalcy to the ravaged areas.
At least 500 victims from the war theatres of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states have reportedly benefitted from the UNDP’s vocational training, the first batch launched in August this year, producing 223 sponsored victims while 272 were sponsored in the second batch of the Livelihood Support Scheme.
Resident Representative Opia Kumah said the second set was a follow-up to the successful training of the first. “Investing in skills acquisition programmes like the UNDP’s will empower women and youth and rekindle the hope, spirit and determination to overcome their plight and all odds,” the official added. “This will go a long way to entrench peace and stability in Nigeria, for the way to sustainable peace lies in addressing developmental challenges in addition to military operations.” Stakeholders will benefit from his welcome observations.
Without exception, the dehumanised victims deserve all the support the world can muster to return them to normal lives. A safe, peaceful environment is a crucial factor in the survival of the traumatised lot, many of them still longing for home in the various Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps they have been consigned for months.
The UNDP effort, among others including the Nigerian government’s massive rehabilitation plan to be prosecuted by a proposed multi-billion dollar fund, “in solidarity with the governments and peoples of Nigeria in overcoming insurgency” sets the tone for humanitarian groups, donors and firms – local and multinational – to be responsive to the cries of the needy, akin to previous interventions in some other battered economies (and peoples) of the world.
The reality of the massive destruction of lives and property needs to be appreciated by the global community. The devastation visited by a disoriented group in virtually all of the north eastern towns and villages in the past six years is certainly not something that should be left to government alone to salvage; more so as, despite overtures to them by government officials at one time or the other in the past, the faceless sect’s leaders have yet to come clean on their supposed grievances against either the country’s constituted authorities or the people; and they are yet unrelenting in their murderous activities.
Hopefully, the reported ‘technical’ decimation of the group by the military will bring some succour to the region. Handling of the insurgency has been commendable so far, but government should view its progress so far as the beginning of a daunting task of restoration of law and order, without which the insurgency will fester. Surely, military onslaught and its gain is only a phase of the problem.
By this effort, UNDP has become a reference point to other bodies at the regional, continental or global level. As a global institution, it should aspire for greater heights in encouraging, even mobilising others in measures to touch lives and lift people out of despondency. It should also continue to partner with governments to promote sustainable development in the post-insurgency era the country is about to launch into.
It remains a blot on humanity that insurgencies, in the 21st century, are gaining more than a foothold in regions of the world — a world plagued by unnecessary territorial ambition, crooked display of destructive power by some entities and for the most part, unreasonable display of fundamentalist instincts, especially of religious beliefs. Pitifully, Nigeria has found itself in the midst of some of the intervening variables in global affairs. Hence, Boko Haram’s fatal disruptions of living have inflicted a big toll on the country with more than one million lives lost and millions of people displaced.
Economically, the regional ruin has set back in years the northern belt (and by extension the country) in general, the three states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa in particular. This is the time to brace up for a long-term reconstruction effort in the northeast. The job at hand is massive and must be so approached.
For its efforts to be meaningful, the UNDP has to develop a continuous problem-solving approach for the region and in the country. Other development agencies should take a cue from the laudable vocational skills programme. Beneficiaries will also do well to make the best of the opportunity afforded them by the skills acquisition.
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