MAIDUGURI, North-East, Nigeria – The United Nations Development Programme has keyed into a social protection model introduced by Borno State Governor, Babagana Zulum, to enforce ban against political thuggery in the state.
This was disclosed on Thursday at the sports centre in Maiduguri. Zulum was a special guest of honour at the closing of the State Government’s phase and launch of UNDP’s involvement.
The governor had in July 2019 launched a ‘cash for work ’ programme where 2,862 registered members of “ecomog” political thuggery groups were being paid N30,000 each for a period of six months while they abandoned thuggery and clean the streets to earn a living.
The monthly payment ended in December, 2019, and with this in place, the Governor ordered for arrest and prosecution of anyone caught in political thuggery.
Speaking at the relaunch, Zulum said the 2,862 youth were drawn from the 15 Wards in Maiduguri Metropolitan Council and six Wards of Jere.
The two Local Government Areas had produced the highest population of youth involved in violent political thuggery since the build up to the 2003 governorship elections in the state.
Zulum, who hoped to end political thuggery in the state disclosed at the ceremony that a combined sum of N515 million was spent in making the monthly payments to the youth enrolled in the model of social protection.
He said payments were made directly to individual accounts; and also to getting the youth acquire vocational skills so they can become productive.
UNDP’s representative, Yoshiaki Noguchi, said the UN organ will extend the payment by another three months. That means the UNDP will from end of January, 2020, pay N30,000 monthly to each of the 2,862 youths under a “cash for waste” programme.
This entails that the youth will have to earn payments through the generation of waste from sanitation as they did under the State Government model.
Noguchi also announced that the UNDP, based on apparent recommendation by Governor Zulum, will replicate the programme for youth in Biu and Bama Local Government Areas.
Meanwhile, Governor Zulum hopes another batch of youth will be enrolled for the next phase of his determination to end political thuggery in all parts of the state.