Kayode Idowu, in Maiduguri
Borno State Governor, Prof. Babagana Umara, on Thursday said N515 million was spent on getting political thugs off the streets of Maiduguri metropolis.
The governor’s revelation came even as the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) said it was buying into the Borno government’s “cash for sanitation”, a programme which pays each political thug N30,000 monthly for six months after signing a bond not to be involved in political thuggery again.
Umara, had in July 2019 launched a ‘cash for sanitation’ programme through which each of 2,862 registered members of “ECOMOG” political thuggery groups were being paid N30,000 between July and December (six months) to abandon thuggery and clean the streets.
Borno Government, with the payment ending in December, has subsequently ordered the arrest and prosecution of anyone caught involved in political thuggery.
Speaking at the relaunch of the scheme on Thursday, Umara said the 2,862 youths were drawn from the 15 wards in Maiduguri Metropolitan Council and six wards of Jere.
The two local governments, Maiduguri and Jere, which are largely part of the Maiduguri metropolis, have been producing the highest number of youths involved in violent political thuggery since the build-up to the 2003 governorship elections in Borno State.
The governor at the relaunch at the El-Kanemi Sports Centre in Maiduguri, said a total sum of N515 million was spent in making the monthly payments to the youths enrolled in the model of social protection, and that payments were made directly into each individual’s account.
He said this was done in addition to getting the youths acquire vocational skills so they can become productive.
Umara said it is hoped that another batch of youths will be enrolled for the next phase of the programme.
Meanwhile, the UNDP’s Representative in Borno, Yoshiaki Noguchi, while expressing the interest of the UN agency, said the payment of N30,000 will be extended to the participants in the scheme for another three months.