Stakeholders in the North East, including regional representatives of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and the private sector, have commenced deliberations on the North East Stabilisation and Development Master Plan (NESDMP).
The meeting, which drew participants from Borno, Adamawa, Yobe, Bauchi, Gombe and Taraba states, was organized by the North East Development Commission (NEDC), in collaboration with the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, on Wednesday, in Maiduguri, the Managing Diector of NEDC, Mohammed Alkali, said the meeting was initiated by the commission inline with its mandate to develop a master plan that would address the current development challenges in the region.
Alkali said the commission decided to adopt the bottoms-up approach by reaching out to CSOs and other grassroots groups, in order to harvest contributions from stakeholders closer to the grassroots that were directly affected by the 12 year old insurgency.
“We want a situation that at the end of the day, whatever we are going to produce in the plan the outcome will benefit the people.
“When the plan is ready, according to the Act establishing the Commission, any intervention from the Federal Government or International organisations, or anyone, must key into the master plan so that we can have an organized process of developing the region,” Alkali said.
While noting that the plan would cover all sectors, Alkali added that after the meeting in Maiduguri, the commission would also facilitate such interaction in all states in the region, for a broader consultation with the people.
In her remarks, the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajiya Sadiya Farouq, represented by an aide, Sadeeq Shehu, lauded the all inclusive approach being used by the commission to come up with a master plan and assured of the ministry’s support.
Farouq noted that it was inline with her ministry’s commitment to the bottoms-up approach to issues, she would soon be launching a document called “Localization”.
In their respective remarks, the Chairman of North East Civil Society Network, Amb. Ahmed Shehu, and the President of the Borno Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture, Alhaji Ahmed Ashemi, who spoke on behalf of presidents of North East chambers of commerce, lauded the resolve of the commission to carry everyone along in its plan.
They reiterated the commitment of their members to contribute and ensure the smooth implementation of the plan in transforming the region.
Representatives of other groups, who also spoke at the meeting, included the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) and the National Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO).