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Inside Yobe’s breakthroughs in health, education, others

May 29, 2024, marked the first anniversary of many first-time governors in Nigeria. It also marked the fifth anniversary of many governors, and Governor Mai…

May 29, 2024, marked the first anniversary of many first-time governors in Nigeria.

It also marked the fifth anniversary of many governors, and Governor Mai Mala Buni of Yobe State is one of them.

And beyond the pump and pageantry, various media houses invited from across the country were taken round the state to prove that beyond pictures and commentaries, all that was said about Yobe’s strides in the areas of security, health, education, roads, among others, are true.

Aside Borno, there is no state in Nigeria that suffered from the mindless onslaught of the Boko Haram crisis as many innocent citizens, including women, children and their breadwinners have been killed, communities have been destroyed and residents have been displaced.

Thousands of children have been forced out of school and many hospitals have been destroyed. It was indeed a tragedy of monumental proportions which the international community, authorities within Nigeria and other pundits projected that it will take decades for the destroyed communities to return to life.

But recent happenings in Yobe have proved otherwise, as there is a noticeable progression in terms of human development interventions and concrete projects that will stand the test of time.

It is a new dawn for us under Governor Buni, said Kaltume Ali, a mother of five, who lost her husband during one of the attacks by the Boko Haram.

“I am one of those who relocated to Bauchi at the height of the Boko Haram crisis,” she said.

“I never thought that I would come back, but alhamdulillah, Governor Buni has brought us back,” she said.

“Of course, I am a widow but my children are no longer orphans,” Kaltume said.

Asked what she meant by her children are no longer orphans, she said, “They are being taken care of. My eldest son, Aliyu, who has a diploma has been employed by the state government and is on the pay roll of the government.

“His sister is in her final year in secondary school. Two others are also in school, one of them at the Mega School in Damaturu. All of them are being sponsored by the government,” she said.

Kaltume said she, too, was empowered by the government when she was given a grinding machine.

“I no longer beg, my chastity has been protected,” she said. “I am only praying to get a husband and remarry,” she said.

Kaltume’s narration represents that of many women who had hitherto lost hope.

Abdullahi Usman,  a civil servant who lost his house said he is now a beneficiary of one of the over 2000 houses built by the Yobe State government and sold to them at a discounted rate of 50 per cent.

 “The icing on the cake is that we are not going to pay for the houses at once. The government said it would be deducting the money gradually from our salary,” he said.

 “Many of us had no hope of ever getting a house that we could call our own, but here we are now, alhamdulillah,” he said.

During the two-day tour, journalists resident in Damaturu and their visiting colleagues were taken round the state capital and environs to see for themselves how Yobe is recovering from the ashes of insurgency.

At the Yobe State University, for instance, one of the points of attraction was the Biomedical Science Research and Training Centre (BioRTC).

The BioRTC is home to equipment valued at over N1 billion, acquired through grants and donations secured by Dr Mahmoud Bukar Maina, with robust support from Governor Buni.

Key equipment include Zeiss Laser Scanning Confocal Microscopes 780 and 700, LI-COR Odyssey imaging system, Applied Biosystems, 7300 Real-Time PCR system, full tissue culture suite, Cellular biobank, Nikon Eclipse Microscope 50i with fluorescence, Bio-Rad Mini-Protean System, UVP BioDoc-It imaging systems and others.

It was learnt that the clinical significance of some of the equipment includes the ability to visualize detailed cellular structures, and live cell imaging capabilities to help in observing dynamic processes within cells in real time.

Researchers at the centre said the Multicolor Fluorescence Imaging enables the simultaneous visualization of multiple fluorescent markers, aiding in complex biological studies such as cancer research, neuroscience and developmental biology, while the Full Tissue Culture Suite which facilitates Drug Testing and Development enables the screening of potential drugs on cultured cells, and accelerating the development of new therapies.

As hundreds of people have died in Yobe State due to cancer disease, researchers at the centre said they now have the capacity to study various diseases, understand genetic factors, and develop personalized medicines.

 “With His Excellency’s government support and partnership with Yobe State University Teaching Hospital, University College London, and London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, BioRTC also leads research to investigate the rise of kidney diseases in Yobe and Borno states and find effective solutions,” said Professor Bello Kawuwa, who spoke to journalists at the centre.

At the Yobe State University Teaching Hospital, the Chief Medical Director, Professor Baba Waru Goni, said hundreds of people receive kidney dialysis for free.

“It is all for free while we continue with the research to find a lasting solution to the problem. It is practically impossible for the poor to pay at least N50,000 for a session of dialysis. We thank the governor for his magnanimity,” the CMD said.

He added that the 600-bed hospital also caters for children and nursing mothers.

A point of note was an initial apprehension, especially among the visiting journalists, when the Commissioner for Information, Abdullahi Bego, said there would be a visit to the historic town of Machina, a distance of over 400km from Damaturu through Potiskum.

But the visit ultimately happened.

It was a convoy of four vehicles conveying over 60 people. And the irony was that there was no single police officer, a soldier or DSS operative in the convoy to keep guard.

 “We are sure of your safety,” Bego said. The return trip was at night, and it was after a visit to the trailer park in Potiskum.

Earlier in Machina, the Commissioner of Commerce, Hon Kaigama Umar, took journalists round the Sesame seed development centre.

“The essence of the centre is to add value to the value chain of sesame seed production. Yobe is one of the leading states that produce sesame,” he said.

“But our farmers are not getting value for their money. This is why this centre was established. We have three others in other parts of the state, including Potiskum,” Kaigama said.

During a briefing at the height of the tour, the Secretary to the State Government, Baba Malam Wali, who represented Governor Buni, said at the onset of the administration five years ago, nothing was taken for granted.

“You may agree with me that the present administration has been consolidating on the achievements of successive administrations by making progress in manpower training and intensifying efforts to increase internally generated revenue collection and strengthening the Treasury Single Account.

“The reforms and new approaches adopted enable us to minimize leakages in the execution of government businesses and record landmark achievements in the implementation of policies such as the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS), State Fiscal, Transparency, Accountability and Sustainability (SFTAS) and the Electronic Government Procurement System (e-GP) has fetched us commendation of the Federal Ministry of Finance and by the World Bank. 

“Similarly, the World Bank awarded us a grant of 5 million dollars due to our reforms, which are in tandem with world best practices in procurement, Annual Auditor General’s Report and other fiscal reforms,” he said.

According to him, “With the scarce resources at our disposal, we have been able to complete the rehabilitation of Katarko-Goniri and Siminti-Godowoli roads while rehabilitation work is ongoing along Geidam-Bukarti, Bayamari-Yunusari and Yunusari-Kanamma roads.

“We are undertaking new intercommunity road construction projects of the Damaturu-Kalallawa 25.5-kilometer dual carriageway for easier access to the Muhammadu Buhari International Cargo airport; and completed the dualization of the Abattoir Junction-New Bye-pass Roundabout along Potiskum road for smooth movement of high rate of traffic.

“We are also constructing the Damagum-Gubana, Bulanguwa-Kumagannam, Nguru-Bulanguwa, Danchuwa-Garin Abba-Garin Bingel, Chumbusko-Tagali, Nguru Highway-Karasuwa Galu town, Fika-Maluri, Jaji Maji-Karasuwa town and Kukuri-Chukuriwa-Dawasa intercommunity roads, among others.” 

Malam Wali said Yobe is ripe for investors and assured that security of life and property will remain their watchword.


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