Governors in the Northeast have expressed dismay that despite the challenges of development, especially the infrastructural deficit in the sub-region, the proposed 2021 budget of the Federal Government only made a provision of N45.32 billion for capital projects.
The said sum, they regretted, only represents a paltry 0.35 per cent of the proposed N13.02 trillion in the budget.
The foregoing was contained in a communique issued at the end of the third meeting of the forum held in Yola, Adamawa State and hosted by Governor Ahmad Fintiri of the state.
The Northeast, according to the governors, has been “highly short-changed”, hence the need for a review of the 2021 budget by the National Assembly in the spirit of equity and inclusion.
They mandated the Northeast caucus of both the Senate and the House of Representatives to take immediate steps to redress the imbalance.
The forum argued that the sub-region has being unfairly treated in the provision of roads by the Federal Ministry of Works & Housing.
The governors also noted with dismay the slow or outright non-existent progress on the the roads already allocated in the sub-region, and called for the immediate reactivation and review of the existing road contracts in the sub-region.
The governors expressed disappointment over the lack of budgetary provision in respect of the Mambilla Hydro Project in the 2021 budgetary proposals.
They, therefore, called on the Federal Government to make the project a priority, resolve all encumbrances around it and order action on site.
This was as they called on the North East Development Commission (NEDC) to expedite action on the development of the Northeast strategic master plan.
In the communique, the forum said it has critically examined the challenges of education in the sub-region and resolved to adopt a regional approach by being deliberate on transforming education, especially at the basic level, as well as agreed to form the Northeast Council on Education.
It reaffirmed the commitment of states within the sub-region to enforce the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) Law to protect and ensure that all children have the opportunity to acquire basic education.
The forum resolved to engage Arewa Research and Development Projects (ARDP) to provide technical support in key areas of development such as agriculture and education and also resolved to pursue vigorously the issue of securing admission for its candidates in Nigerian tertiary institutions to fill its quota.
Other issues examined at the forum include the status of the post-COVID-19 Economic Stimulus Package of N2.3 trillion.
The governors solicited for equitable and fair treatment in the North East, especially in view of the economic and social challenges facing the sub-region.
The forum noted that there is relative improvement in the security situation in the sub-region. It, however, said the activities of Boko Haram, bandits, cattle rustlers and kidnappers still constitute threats to sustainable development.
While commending the effort of the security agencies in the sub-region in tackling criminal activities, the forum agreed to strengthen community policing and action to complement their efforts.
The governors present at the forum include Bala Abdulkadir Mohammed of Bauchi State, his counterparts in Gombe (Governor Inuwa Yahaya), Borno (Governor Babagana Umara Zulum) and Adamawa (Governor Ahmed Fintiri).
The Governors of Taraba and Yobe states were represented by their deputies.
Bauchi State was selected to host the fourth meeting of the forum scheduled for March 3 and 4, 2021.
In this article: