By Dave Iyima
Hope of victims of insurgency in the North East of Nigeria to get succour is hanging in the balance following the alleged disappearance of about N35 billion said to have been released by the Federal Government for the rebuilding of communities ravaged by Boko Haram in the region.
The Federal Government in 2017 established the the North East Development Commission with the mandate to rebuild schools, hospitals, communities and other utilities destroyed by Boko Haram in Borno, Yobe, Gombe, Bauchi, Adamawa and Taraba states.
Investigation by the Apex News revealed that the Federal Government released the sum of N10 billion in August, 2019 for the take off of the commission. It was meant to take care of office accommodation, utilities and services of the newly established Commission.
It was further revealed that another whooping sum of N25 billion was said to have been released for material intervention, master plan, reconstruction and full implementation of the commission’s operations. This was released to the commission in September 2019.
In spite of the huge sums released by the federal government, no single office accommodation was secured in any of the six states of the North East.
Furthermore, no rehabilitation, reconstruction or resettlement program took place in any of the affected states about seven months after the released of the funds.
Our investigation further revealed that about N6 billion was said to have been spent by the commission on the procurement of relief materials for distribution to victims of the insurgency scattered in various IDP camps across states of the North East but only very few trucks of such materials were procured and distributed by the commission.
According to a very reliable source at the commission, the N35 billion was only said to have been released on paper but diverted by some highly placed personalities in the presidency in connivance with the directors of the commission.
It was similarly gathered that the commission was established to served as conduit pipe for the main purpose of funding Boko Haram.
Consequently, a substantial potion of money claimed to have been released to commission was allegedly handed to a highly placed Borno indigene domiciled in the presidency for onward delivery to the Boko Haram leaders.
What gave credence to these revelations was that immediately after the release of the funds, a top management staff of the commission, a dismissed banker who also hails from Borno state and was said to have delivered the money to his ally in the presidency for delivery to the Boko Haram leaders.
With the development on ground, the hope of rebuilding the ravaged North East communities, may not be in sight in the near future.
Equally, some members of the commission who came with the zeal of rendering service to the displaced citizens of the North East, have become disenchanted because of the diversion of the funds meant to serve the purpose.