Zulum Blasts INGOs Over False Claim On Projects, Rejects €20 Million Intervention
Borno State governor, Prof. Babagana Umara Zulum came down hard on Mercy Corps International and the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) for their claims and inflation of number of drilled boreholes and constructed houses in Maiduguri Metropolis, Jere and Gwoza Local government areas in the state.
Zulum said, after his validation, he 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.
The governor said henceforth, any Humanitarian Organization that is operating in Borno, must allow the State government to take the lead, monitor and supervise all activities, or else should pack out and leave.
He also said, the €20 million Euros been approved for intervention in the state by European Union Consortium for the period of three years beginning from 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.
Zulum made these revelations 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.
The governor while commending UNICEF for living up to the expectation of the state government and the traumatized citizens, especially the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), 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 the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs). This is because, since I was in primary school, I use to hear of UNICEF, and they have remained with us as very committed humanitarian organization.
“Plan International have been in Borno quite for some time, but we have never met until today. I have strived 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 want to correct for now as governor for the betterment of Borno people.
“With this budget of €20 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.
“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 €20 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.
“This is in accordance with the demands of our people. Chunk of intervention funds were channeled into psychosocial support, but I think as government, we also have our demands.
“Already, the World Bank and the African Development Bank are giving us psychosocial 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 noted.
Earlier, the leader of the EU Consortium, Mr. Onismas told the governor that they were at his office to brief him on the planned interventions by the Europe on Union Consortium and the approved budget of €20 million Euros for humanitarian assistance in the education and other sectors in the state for period of three years.