The North East Development Commission (NEDC) has organized sports competition for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Borno to facilitate social cohesion and reintegration.
Speaking at the flagging-off of the event in Maiduguri on Thursday, the Managing Director of NEDC, Mr Mohammed Alkali, said NEDC has intervened in various sectors and the decision to intervene in sports is because of its role in uniting people and improving their mental health and skills.
“Therefore, sport play important role in facilitation of social cohesion, reintegration, and empowerment of the IDP youths when resettled in their respective communities.
“In addition to this, its poster and promote a shared sense of belonging among the participants and spectators. The combination of sport and developmental programmes would address varieties of needs such as Peace Building, Conflict Resolution and Social inclusion of vulnerable groups.
“It’s on these notes that the commission is organising the sport tournament to mitigate the dysfunctional consequences of such vices among the teeming IDPs youths in the State,” Alkali said.
He said the tournament would feature games like football, volleyball, badminton as well as field and tract events.
According to Alkali, there would be workshop for Games Master’s to enhance their skills and exposed them to modern ways of handling games.
“At the end of the competition, trophies and medals will be given out to deserving teams, and also start-up kits will be provided for each participating team to consolidate the replication of gains of the competition in their respective communities when resettled.
“The commission would encourage the talents discovered at the event by linking them to Sport Academies and other Professional Bodies to pursue careers as sport men and women,” Alkali said.
In his remarks, Gov. Babagana Zulum represented by the Deputy Governor, Alhaji Umar Kadafur lauded NEDC for its intervention in various sectors, and assured of the state government support at all time.
While stressing the important of sport as a unifying factor among others, Zulum said his administration has invested heavily in promoting sports in the state.
In their respective good will messages to the occassion, the military, police and para military organisations lauded the initiative and the unique role it would play in the ongoing rehabilitation and resettlement process.
Highlight of the occasion was a presentation by Prof Ibrahim Umara of the University of Maiduguri on “Sports as a Means of Social Cohesion”.