Maiduguri, Borno State – In a significant development aimed at advancing infrastructure and providing relief to communities in the North-East region of Nigeria, Vice President Kashim Shettima has urged the North-East Development Commission (NEDC) to expand its interventions, emphasizing the importance of including various road projects regardless of their status.
Senator Shettima made this appeal during a momentous event on Saturday, coinciding with the North-East Governors’ Forum’s first 2023 meeting at the Government House in Maiduguri. The occasion marked the distribution of N15 billion worth of essential food items to the region’s governors and the commencement of a groundbreaking 22 km road construction along Mafa Road in Maiduguri, Borno State.
The Vice President, accompanied by the host governor, Prof. Babagana Zulum, and governors from the entire region, laid the foundation for a 22.5 km road project connecting numerous communities within Jere Local Government Area (LGA) and parts of Mafa LGA.
Following this, VP Shettima joined other dignitaries in the multipurpose hall of the Government House, where the North-East governors held their quarterly meeting. The event commenced with a welcome address from the Managing Director of NEDC, Mr. Mohammed Goni Alkali, followed by remarks from VP Shettima.
Afterward, the Vice President departed Maiduguri for Abuja, where he was scheduled to inaugurate the construction of 1,000 houses across the North-West and North-Central states.
In his speech, Vice President Shettima emphasized the need for NEDC to extend its scope to encompass additional road projects across the North-East, including roads like Gombe-Bauchi, Maiduguri-Damboa-Biu, and Gujiba-Biu, regardless of their classification as Trunk A roads. He highlighted the importance of these roads for the entire nation, especially the people of the Northeast.
The Vice President lauded the NEDC for its responsible management of resources and acknowledged the support of political leaders and legislators from the Northeast region in supporting the commission’s mission.
Senator Shettima also reflected on the devastating impact of the Boko Haram insurgency, estimating damages in the Northeast region at $9 billion, with Borno State alone accounting for $6.8 billion in damages. He commended the unity of governors in the region, emphasizing their ability to unite diverse communities.
Borno State Governor Prof. Babagana Zulum called on NEDC to intensify its efforts and focus on supporting agriculture, particularly irrigation farming in the Northeast. He further pledged the North East Governors’ Forum’s commitment to regulating illegal mining activities and collaborating with the Federal Government to harness mineral resources in the region.
Mr. Mohammed Alkali, the NEDC MD/CEO, welcomed Vice President Shettima, governors, and other dignitaries to the event. He disclosed that the commission had initiated several infrastructure projects across the region, including the first phase of the Jere Bowl road network construction. Additionally, he highlighted the commission’s plans to align with the government’s transport initiatives and promote affordable and energy-efficient electric and CNG-fueled vehicles, focusing on agricultural value chains, food security, energy, industrialization, and human capital development.
Present at the event were Governors Bala Mohammed (Bauchi), Mai Mala Buni (Yobe), Ahmadu Fintiri (Adamawa), Deputy Governors Karim Iliyasu (Taraba), and Manassah Jatau (Gombe), as well as members of the National Assembly and other dignitaries.