The North East Development Commission, NEDC, on Wednesday inaugurated the construction of 500 housing units in Gombe State as part of its efforts towards rebuilding the sub-region affected by insurgency.
The commission also inaugurated the distribution of food and non-food items meant for the vulnerable persons in the state.
During the occasion, 204 youths trained by the NEDC on Information and Communications Technology, ICT, were also graduated with starter-packs presented to them.
Speaking at the foundation laying ceremony, the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Commission, Mr Mohammed Alkali, said the gesture was in compliance with the mandate of the commission.
Alkali said housing population in the region which was about four million had been depleted by activities of insurgents.
He said the action of insurgents over the years necessitated the construction of housing units to help address infrastructure deficit in the region.
He said that out of the 500 units to be constructed in the state, 250 would be constructed in Gombe metropolis while the remaining 250 would be located in other towns across the state.
He added that the construction of the houses expected to start immediately would be equipped with water supply, lighting and commercial spaces among other facilities.
Alkali who also handed over food and non-food items to the state government for distribution to “people of concern” in the state said the items were to help address food insecurity in the region.
He listed the items to include “10,000 bags of rice (25kg); 10,000 gallons of vegetable oil; 2, 000 bags of sugar; 2,000 cartons of tomato paste; 1, 500 packets of Maggi cubes; 3,000 cartons of spaghettis.
He said non-food items such as blanket 2,000 pieces; mats 2,000 pieces; mosquito nets 1,000 pieces; mosquito hand band 10,000 had been provided for vulnerable and Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the state.
Governor Inuwa Yahaya of Gombe State said that no fewer than 75,000 families had relocated to the state and already integrated with the people following effects of the insurgency.
Mr Yahaya, however, decried that as a result of such relocation, facilities in the state were being over-stretched.
“A lot of our resources have been put to stress from schools to hospitals to other social facilities were in dire need of help and NEDC came handy and is doing well enough to support us,” he said.
The governor said the housing development initiative was coming at a “critical and crucial time” and was worth commendation.
He said “It is for that this parcel of land that has been lying fallow for so long but we decided to commit it. This is because we have the believe that whatever you promise you deliver and people will benefit from your contribution.”
He assured that the interventions would impact positively on the wellbeing of the poor and vulnerable, noting that efforts had been put in place to ensure that the items get to them.