North-East govs request federal attention on critical infrastructure gaps

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The North-East Governors’ Forum has raised concerns about the neglect of the North-East in the federal allocation of capital projects, especially the poor condition of road and railway infrastructure that connect the region to the rest of the country.

The forum urged the federal government to prioritize the reconstruction of these crucial infrastructure projects.

Additionally, the forum expressed disappointment over the prolonged power blackout in the region and criticized the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) for its lack of responsiveness to the issue.

As a short-term solution, the forum resolved to establish a regional solar power plant capable of generating at least 10 megawatts per state to address the energy shortage.

These resolutions were part of a communique issued and read by Governor Ahmadu Fintiri of Adamawa State at the conclusion of the 10th North-East Governors’ Forum in Bauchi on Friday.

See the full statement below:

Communique
Issued at the end of the 10th Meeting of the North-East Governors’ Forum (NEGF)
Held in Bauchi, Bauchi State.
Friday, 17th – May, 2024.

The Northeast Governors’ Forum (NEGF), comprising of the Governors of Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Taraba and Yobe held its 10th meeting on 17th May 2024 in Bauchi, Bauchi State. It expressed delight at the growing strength of the subregional cooperation and appreciated the successes recorded through the leadership styles of the Governors in their respective States. The Forum reiterated its commitment to foster a common ground and pursue collective course for the benefit of their people.

After exhaustive deliberations, the Forum resolved and presents the following Communique:

1. Forum acknowledges that the Team 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.

2. Forum commended the Bauchi State Government for hosting the Northeast Trade Fair, following the decision of the Forum at the 8th Meeting in Maiduguri. 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.

3. Forum reiterates its concern over the seeming neglect of the Northeast in the allocation of Federal Government Capital Projects. 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 subregion to the rest of the country, nothing serious seems to be happening. The Roads from Enugu to Maiduguri is in deplorable State and the railway from Enugu up to Maiduguri has been destroyed. This is a major route for regional trade and very important for integration, peace building and improving national unity. The region is also not included in the National Infrastructure Plan for the transition from PMS to Compressed Gas. The Forum is calling 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.

4. Forum notes 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.
Forum 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. the Forum has resolved in the short term, to set up a solar power plant that can generate a minimum 10 Megawatts per State.

5. Forum notes 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 300,000 square kilometres and a population of over 35 million. 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 calls 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.

6. Forum 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.

7. Forum notes that climate change and environmental degradation remains a reality in the region. It appreciates 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.

8. Forum charges the Northeast Development Commission (NEDC) to be consultative in its dealings, operation and project prioritization. It calls 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.

9. Forum notes that the world is passing through a horrific food security crisis, especially with the war in Ukraine, climate, change and poor agricultural practice. In the Northeast, Member states, resolved to continue to invest in Agriculture Value Chain and encourage the transformation of subsistence farming into SMEs. The member states of the forum will support the procurement of improved drought-resistant and short-maturation seedlings, subsidise fertilizers and ensure that the region specialises in the production of such seeds.

10. Forum resolved to partner with OCP Africa to support Agriculture in the Northeast.​

11. Forum reaffirmed its commitment to strengthening the partnership of member states with UNICEF on investing in sustainability for improved Water and Sanitation Coverage (WASH) in the region.

12. The Forum appreciates 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.

Signed
Professor Babagana Umara Zulum, CON, mni, FNSE
Chairman NEGF and Governor,Borno State