By Mark C. Orgu, News/Comments, 6th- July 7, 2021.
TARABA-The North-East Governors Forum held its 5th regular meeting yesterday in Jalingo, Taraba State, using the medium to discuss prevailing challenges confronting the region especially on security and others. The chairman of the Forum, Prof. Babagana Umara Zulum, who is the Governor of Borno State said that, North-East, which include, Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Taraba and Yobe States are under serious security threat, banditry, and poverty and among others. In a Communique issued and signed by the governor, the Forum beaconed on little improvement on security and wants further steps to be taken:
- The forum notes the general improvement of the Security situation in the region and calls for continuous collaboration of all the security agencies in the country to sustain the gains. The Forum, condoles Mr. President, the Nigerian Army and the families of the late Chief of Army Staff Major General Ibrahim Attahiru and the other officers who lost their lives while on duty. It also congratulates the newly appointed Chief of Army Staff, Major General Farouk Yahaya on his appointment.
- The Forum calls on the diplomatic community, partners and donor agencies supporting the region to activate the process of transiting from humanitarian to stabilization and durable solution within the region. This will ensure sustainability and give people the opportunity to help themselves out of poverty. This will address socio-economic dimension of insecurity in the region.
- The Forum also notes the negative impact of drug and narcotic substances in the region and the extent to which it fuels the insurgency and other forms of criminality in the region. It therefore calls for support in the area of stopping drug trafficking and enforcing narcotic control within the region and across the borders.
- The Forum notes the good work of the Rural Electrification Agency of Nigeria (REAN) and resolved to support the agency to deliver on its mandate within the region. It however, calls on the agency to intensify working with designated Focal Persons at the individual State level to ensure justifiable spread of projects across the region.
- While noting the activities of the NEDC as an intervention agency in the region, the Forum expressed deep concern that the level of consultation between the Commission and the various State Governments within the region on project priorities and locations is low and the speed of work on those projects already in place within the region, is slow. The Forum therefore calls on the Commission to consult the various State Governments within the region on priorities for intervention, location of projects and the development of the North East Master plan. It equally calls for expedited action to complete the existing projects in the region.
- The Forum notes the technical support on potentials for growth and development of the region especially the Agribusiness Programme using innovative financing model of the Adamawa State Government by the Arewa Research and Development Project (ARDP), and agreed that the research be extended to all the States of the region. Forum therefore directed the management of ARDP to immediately prepare and submit the project proposal to the NEGF Secretariat for onward transmission to the various States for implementation.
- The Forum while interacting with the Commissioners of the Federal Character Commission, appreciated their effort at ensuring compliance with the Federal Character principle. It however, expressed dismay over the shortfall in the number of applicants from the region in the recent recruitment into some Federal Agencies. The forum therefore, resolved to follow up with all the concerned agencies to ensure that the region gets its fair share in the recruitments into the concerned agencies.
- The Forum deliberated extensively on the presentation on the Mambilla Hydroelectric Power Project and noted with dismay, that the project as important as it is, to Nigeria and the North-East sub-region, is surrounded by a lot of contractual encumbrances which have stalled its take-off and realization. The Forum, therefore calls on the President to accord the project the desired seriousness by establishing a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) to address the encumbrances and bring the project to reality.
- In its bid to reposition Education in the sub-region, the Forum has received report from the North East Council on Education. It has taken the Councils’ advisory on the improvement of quality and performance of students and teachers screening and training in the region.
- The next meeting of the Forum is to be held in Damaturu, Yobe State, on Saturday, 9th October, 2021.
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