North East Governors Forum Reiterates Concern Over Neglect Of Zone  In Allocation Of FG Capital Projects

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*Laments blackout experience in  zone from TCN
*Says zone  not included in  National Infrastructure Plan for transition from PMS to Compressed Gas
The North East Governors Forum (NEGF) in a communique Issued and signed by the forum’s Chairman, Professor Babagana Umara Zulum, who is also the  Borno State Governor at the end of the 10th Meeting of the North-East Governors’ Forum (NEGF) held in Bauchi, Bauchl State on  Friday,   May 17, 2024.
The  communique  reiterated  concerns over the seeming neglect of the North East in the allocation of Federal Government’s capital projects.
It also lamented the  blackout being  experienced by the zone and  that they are also not included in the National Infrastructure Plan for transition from PMS to Compressed Gas.
The Northeast Governors’ Forum (NEGF) which  comprises   governors of Adamawa, Bauchl, Borno, Gombe, Taraba and Yobe, held its 10th meeting on 17th May 2024 in Bauchi, Bauchi State, where it expressed  delight at the growing strength of the sub regional cooperation.
A communique issued at the end of its meeting, also appreciated the successes recorded through the leadership styles of the governors in their respective states, while  the forum reiterated  commitment to fostering a common ground and pursue collective course for the benefit of their people.
After exhaustive deliberations, the forum resolved and presented further  in its 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 North East 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 communiques 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  concerns over the seeming neglect of the North East in the allocation of Federal Government Capital Projects, stressing that, roads from Enugu to Maiduguri are 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 NE in all National Development Plans and initiatives.
It further noted with dismay, the power  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 states of the region by  May 27, 2024; accordingly, the forum urged the Federal Government to direct TCN to take immediate action, while revealing that  the it 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 North East, 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 regio 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 North East, 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.
The forum  also resolved to partner with OCP Africa to support agriculture in the Northeast while  reaffirming  its commitment to strengthen the partnership of member states with UNICEF on Investing in sustainability for improved Water and Sanitation Coverage (WASH) in the region while appreciating  the government and people of Bauchi State for hosting the meeting, It resolved to hold the 11th Meeting of the Forum in Damaturu, Yobe State between 30th-31st August 2024.

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