Northeast Development Masterplan will be Ready Soon, Says  NEDC

*Borno State Governor Babagana Zulum reading his address as address of North East Governors' Forum.
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By Abraham Olatokunbo
The North East Development Commission (NEDC) on Sunday said the development masterplan for the sub-region  would be available soon.
The promise was made by the Managing Director of the Commission, Alhaji Mohammed Alkali, who made the disclosure when the six governors of the region paid a courtesy call on the Commission in Maiduguri.
He said as a mandate of the Commission, it has plans that will transit between humanitarian development and development of peace and stability in the region.
Goni said it is very composite thing that NEDC is going to do that which will cover all aspects of lives that include livelihoods development.
He said the governors visit to the headquarters in Maiduguri is to see things for themselves and ensure that the Commission is working.
Alkali described the governors’ visit  after a meeting of the Nigeria Northeast Governors Forum as special, being that since the inauguration of the Commission, it has been shuttling from Abuja to Maiduguri.
“This week, we have finally decided that all the Management Staff should move to Maiduguri being the headquarters of the Commission. We are going to seek for more support so that we can do our work effectively and efficiently. Each of the governors has given us temporary office to operate in their respective states.”
” With collaboration and teamwork, the Northeast region shall rise again to its glorious past,” he said.
On the N6 billion Education Endowment Fund set up by the NEDC for the Northeast , Alkali said the Fund is to resuscitate the region’s devastated education sector and rebuild the human capital.
Responding on behalf of the governors, the newly elected Chairman of the Forum and the governor of Borno State, Professor Babagana Zulum noted that one of the reasons for the establishment of the NEDC is to enhance the economic recovery and stabilisation of the region.
He said: “That means, economic recovery does not only involve provision of infrastructures, it include enhancement of livelihood of the people residing in the Northeast sub-region.
“And therefore,  government and people of the Northeast are willing to get the maximum of the Commission not only in terms of infrastructures, but also in terms of livelihood development.”
He recalled that during the Forum’s meeting held on Saturday at the Government House Maiduguri, the governors said that they will provide the necessary support to the NEDC, but urged them to carry states along in their programmes.
Present during  the visit of the governors to the NEDC headquarters in  Maiduguri included the governor of Adamawa State, Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri; Bauchi State, Bala Mohammed; Gombe State, Mohammed Inuwa Yahaya; and the deputy governors of Yobe and Taraba States.
Earlier the governor standing from their meeting on Saturday had issued an-eleven point communique on how to tackle Boko Haram insurgency and economic plunge of the region.
The Northeast Governors Forum in a communique read by the newly elected chairman, Prof. Babagana Zulum (Borno), called for the initiation of a development masterplan for the region.
The governors stated their supports to the management and Board of the North East Development Commission and agreed to work together in producing comprehensive strategic Master Plan for the region that will ensure sustainable development.”
They commended the effort of the Federal Government of Nigeria in fighting the insurgency but asked the Armed Forces to intensify effort to secure hard-to-reach areas in the region and ensure safe access to farm lands.
They also called on the Federal Government to ensure the deployment of state of the art military hardware to the region, while recommending that the manpower deficit in the Nigerian Armed Forces should be bridged by allowing the Police to carry state of the art weapons where necessary and that they should be provided with strategic equipment like high velocity tear gas, trackers and Armoured Personnel Carriers (APC).
They asked the Federal Ministry of Water Resources to ensure that attention is given to recharging the Lake Chad from National water bodies and strengthen the river basins in the sub region, while pledging working to work together to foster regional integration, growth and development especially in exploitation of its oil and gas potentials, mineral resources, agriculture and industrialization.
The governors urged the Federal Government to revoke selected roads contracts awarded by Federal Ministry of Works for years without progress and re-award same to more competent contractors and fund to ensure timely execution, even as they asked that local content in the execution of the Mambila Hydro electric power project and other programmes of the North East Development Commission should be done in way that will ensure synergy with state governments.
They however  affirmed their commitment to support the Federal Government agenda of transforming the Almajiri system with a view to strengthening both Islamic and western education as well as stopping street begging and prevalence of out of school children in the region as agreed by the Northern Governors.
The Borno State Governor, Professor Babagana Zulum, was elected as the Chairman of the Forum for a period of two years with the Forum Headquarters located in Maiduguri, Borno State.
The next meeting of the Forum is fixed for November 7, 2020 in Yola, Adamawa State.
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