The North East Governors Forum has appealed to the Federal Government to fast-track work on the Mambila Hydroelectric Power Project.
Making the appeal in a communique issued late Wednesday, March 3, and signed by its chairman, Gov. Babagan Zulum of Borno, after a meeting in Bauchi, the Forum observed that the project existed only on paper, but in reality, had yet to commence.
The Forum stressed the need to accord the project the attention it deserved, adding that its anticipated positive impact of turning the fortunes of the sub-region and the nation at large upon completion, could not be over-emphasised
The Forum also pledged to be aggressive in repositioning education and therefore resolved to form the North East Council on Education, with the mandate to improve the performance of students.
It also noted that the zone remained short-changed in the appropriation of capital projects in the 2021 national budget considering the precarious security situation in the sub-region, adding that the region required infrastructural projects to defeat insurgency.
“There is the need to make an adequate allocation for capital projects in the build-up to the supplementary budget, which is the only means to redress the apparent injustice to the region” it added.
The Forum however thanked the Federal Government for the selection of some roads through the presidential order 07, to be constructed by the Dangote Group and Lafarge/Ashaka.
It resolved to work with the UK Government in all areas beneficial to the sub-region, but without compromising Nigeria’s sovereignty, saying this decision was a product of the recent Forum’s meeting with the British High Commissioner in Nigeria.
It also acknowledged the positive impact of the Great Green Wall project in the sub-region and called for the development of a framework for regional /state partnership to ensure maximum impact.
The Forum noted with dismay, rampant instances of substance abuse, and resolved to collaborate with the Substance Abuse Research Team (SART) to fight the menace.
It called on the North East Development Commission (NEDC) to fast-track the process of development of a Masterplan for the sub-region, just as it advised the commission to work closely with the state governments on areas that required intervention.
The Forum considered prospects for oil exploration in the region and resolved to establish specialised institutions to provide the desired local content in the Oil and Gas industry.
It commended Bauchi and Gombe state governments for establishing an Oil and Gas Academy in Alkaleri, Bauchi State.
Ripples Nigeria gathered that the governors of Borno, Bauchi, Adamawa, and Gombe, namely Babagana Zulum, Bala Mohammed, Ahmadu Fintiri, and Inuwa Yahaya, attended the meeting in person.
Yobe and Taraba state governors were represented by their deputies, Idi Barde and Haruna Manu.
The Forum’s next meeting has been fixed for June 2021, in Jalingo, Taraba