• Monday, June 24, 2024
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N/East governors decry neglect of region in allocation of FG capital projects

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The North East Governors Forum (NEGF) has expressed concern over the seeming neglect of the Northeast in the allocation of Federal Government Capital Projects.

The forum also lamented the blackout being experienced in the North East region, adding that the region is also not included in the National Infrastructure Plan for transition from PMS to Compressed Gas.

The governors lamentations are contained in a communique issued and signed by the Babagana Umara Zulum, the forum chairman, who is also the Borno State Governor at the end of the 10th Meeting of the North-East Governors’ Forum (NEGF) held on Friday in Bauchi State.

The NEGF which of comprise of the Governors of Adamawa, Bauchl, Borno, Gombe, Taraba and Yobe, expressed its delight at the growing strength of the sub regional cooperation.

The governors also appreciated the successes recorded through the leadership styles of the Governors in their respective states and pledged to foster a common ground and pursue collective course for the benefit of their people.

After exhaustive deliberations, the Forum resolved and presented further in it’s communique that it acknowledged that the forum has come of age; holding its 10th meeting is a pointer that the states and the governors are on the right path and it should be sustained.

The forum commended the Bauchi State Government for hosting the Northeast Trade Fair, following the decision of the Forum at the 8th Meeting in Maiduguri, pointing out that, the Trade Fair is an important tool for promoting regional commerce, opening the region to investors and above all a proof that decision once, agreed by the Forum can be translated into action.

“It noted with dismay that despite its cry for attention on the state of infrastructure in the region which has been consistently echoed in all its communique over the years, especially the poor road and railway infrastructure along the economic corridors that links the Northeast sub region to the rest of the country.

The forum reiterated its concern over the seeming neglect of the Northeast in the allocation of Federal Government Capital Projects, stressing that, roads from Enugu to Maiduguri is in deplorable State and the railway from Enugu up to Maiduguri has been destroyed.

It emphasized that this is a major route for regional trade and very important for integration, peace building and improving national unity while lamenting that the region is also not included in the National Infrastructure Plan for transition from PMS to Compressed Gas.

The Forum called on the Federal Government to look into the situation and consider the reconstruction of these basic infrastructure along Enugu-Maiduguri Economic Corridor and inclusion of North East in all National Development Plans and initiatives.

It further noted with dismay, the blackout experienced by the region over the last one month and the nonchalant attitude exhibited by the TCN in addressing this issue of National importance for the security and development of the country.

The forum noted that it is watching keenly the commitment made by TCN to restore power to all the state of the region by the 27th May, 2024; accordingly, the Forum urged the Federal Government to direct TCN to take immediate action while revealing that the forum has

resolved in the short term, to set up a solar power plant that can generate a minimum 10 megawatts per state.

The communique also said that the forum noted with deep concern that the Northeast, is the only region in Nigeria that has one transmission line supplying six states with a land mass of nearly 300Km square and population of over 35 million.

It stated that this has made the region the most vulnerable and most disadvantaged for industrial development and economic growth with over 70% of its population below 35 years of age.

Forum therefore called on the Minister of Power and indeed the Federal Government as a matter of urgency to implement the extension of the 330KV transmission line from Makurdi – Gassol – Jalingo linking to Adamawa – Gombe – Bauchi and the extension of the 330KV line from Kano- Bauchi- Yobe, linking to Borno.

It also resolved to maximise the existing hydropower generated in Kashimbilla and Dadin Kowa dam which the region has not been benefitting from because of the Ministry of Power has failed to extend the 330KV line of Makurdi Gassol- Jalingo line. Forum notes that climate change and environmental degradation remains a reality in the region.

It appreciated the various states for the policies they are putting in place to reclaim the environment. It called for a more sustained and coordinated regional onslaught to reverse the speed of desertification in the region and charged the Northeast Development Commission (NEDC) to be consultative in its dealings, operation and project prioritization.

The forum further called on the NEDC to work with the states in the region for Energy Development to unlock the energy potentials of the region and lessen the energy paucity burden of the people while noting that the world is passing through a horrific food security crisis, especially with the war in Ukraine, climate, change and poor agricultural practice.

It noted that in the Northeast, member states, resolved to continue to invest in Agriculture Value Chain and encourage the transformation of subsistence farming into SMEs, will support the procurement of improved drought-resistant and short-maturation seedlings, subsidise fertillzers and ensure that the region specialises in the production of such seeds.