North East Governors Forum has called on the North East Development Commission, NEDC to prioritize consultation with state governments in its intervention programs and projects.
In a communique issued in Jalingo where the fifth meeting of the governors held yesterday, the forum decried the level of consultation between the governments of the states in the region and the commission.
The state governors noted that the commission needs to merge their programs and projects in line with the priorities of their governments.
Prof. Babagana Umara Zulum, Governor of Borno and chairman of the forum, who signed the communique, described as low the level of consultation between the commission and state governments.
‘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 Masterplan. It equally calls for expedited action to complete the existing projects in the region,’ the chairman said.
The forum has also stressed ‘the general improvement of the security’ and peace in the region, calling, among other things, for more and continuous collaboration with all security agencies.
‘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,’ the chairman added.
Other issues deliberated by the forum include the need for the federal government to expedite completion Mambilla Power Project, straightening security in schools and need to improve standard of education, among other things.
‘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 chairman further stated.
The next meeting of the Forum is to be held in Damaturu, Yobe State, on Saturday, 9th October, 2021, the communique further stated.