Until 2013, Buni Yadi hosted one of the largest markets in Yobe State, and attracted traders and buyers from all across Nigeria, hence becoming a key contributor to the entire State’s economy. The town had an enviable reputation of being the gateway to the communities in Southern Yobe, and was seen as an important link for communities between the northern and central regions to the Southern Yobe and Borno State.
Since then, the once-vibrant and prosperous community has been reduced to a waste land as insurgency forced the community to relocate in search of safety and livelihoods. The impact of the insurgency on this community has consigned families to destitution and dependency on humanitarian support.
Following a UNDP joint assessment and consultation with the Nigerian government, Buni Yadi was selected as one of the six target communities receiving interventions in Nigeria. The stability of Buni Yadi town has the capacity to create a ripple effect of recovery to smaller, neighbouring towns, and interventions across all six communities have focused in areas of community safety and security, basic infrastructure as well as livelihoods.
“During our assessment, we observed that Buni Yadi was terribly impacted, including the market being badly damaged. Many public buildings, including the schools that served the community, the healthcare centre, trading areas and other essential public infrastructure were significantly destroyed.” Said Nasiru Rabiu, Engineer for UNDP Nigeria, who is supervising the project.
UNDP through the Regional Stabilization Facility for Lake Chad is working with the Yobe State government to renovate the market, increase trade, improve livelihoods, contribute to local development and strengthen peace in the area. In the area of basic infrastructure, UNDP with the support of the Yobe state government are intervening in providing market infrastructure, 500 stalls and 100 lockup shops, to bring back vitality to the market economy of Buni Yadi.
Alhaji Bakale Gunimi, Market Head, Buni Yadi stated, “We are very pleased to have the market being constructed by UNDP in Buni Yadi. Scarcity of opportunities lies at the root of many challenges the people here are facing. Our economy continues to shrink and hence cannot provide adequate jobs and opportunities that the we need. This market will help address the current economic difficulties.”
For Maryam Mohammed, a trader in Buni Yadi, the construction of market stalls and shops will make a significant difference for her family and the community. “When we returned after the insurgency, we had no shops to store our goods. We are hopeful that with these market stalls being built, we will now be able to sell, make profits and take care of our children once again.” For her, the changes made by UNDP have been very useful and “amidst the crisis, the rehabilitation of market offers a sign of hope”, she noted.
The Regional Stabilization Facility for Lake Chad is funded by the European Union, Germany, and the United Kingdom. UNDP aims to expand and scale-up livelihoods and income generation efforts communities affected by the insurgency in North-East Nigeria to begin the process of rebuilding their lives on a sustainable basis.
Written by: Rejoice Emmanuel, Communications Associate
Photos: UNDP Nigeria/Rejoice Emmanuel