Ngwon: Tale of how UNDP's housing largesse creates division in rebuilt community

By Blogger


Last Tuesday, I was invited to cover the opening and handing over of a newly rebuilt community by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to the displaced people of Ngwon, a village about 10km away from Maiduguri, Borno state capital.

The village was in 2014 attacked by Boko Haram insurgents who killed at least 100 people and burnt down its entire buildings.

Those who know the geography of Borno state would testify that Ngwom, a road side settlement along the Maiduguri -Dikwa road was known as one quiet and peaceful agrarian village that was largely built of mud and cement houses.

After the attack the village of about 400 houses was left in almost irreversible ruin.

Amidst despair of the people, UNDP magnanimously came in to rebuild the community with even a  modern touch.

Some 300 two rooms apartments each with its compound and fencing; 288 market stalls; 20 shop malls; a school; a mosque; a police outpost and two mega water points were part of the package presented to the people via UNDP's  integrated community development programme.

Borno state government had set up a committee to distribute the houses to the affected people. And on that day, most of the villagers celebrated having an allocation to occupy their new homes four years after Boko Haram had forced them to live lowly life in IDP Camps.

But sadly it was not everyone that was considered as beneficiaries of the house in Ngwom.

Some women, more than a dozen of them, said they were denied. It was even very disturbing when it turns out that these denied women, who had either lived for over 3 decades or  were born and brought up in the village, were not of the indigenous Kanuri or Shuwa breed that makes up the majority population of Ngwom.

I did a detail report on that rather disturbing issue citing the dangers such development could portend for the future and how the UN system may have abused or disregard rules in its post conflict interventions.

Check out the detailed report that will soon be published on PREMIUM TIMES

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