The Northeast Governors Forum (NEGF), Comprising of the Governors of Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno Gombe, Taraba and Yobe States, held its 3rd meeting in Yola, Adamawa State. It deliberated on the common challenges facing the sub-region and resolved as follows:
1. Forum, notes that there is relative improvement in the security situation in the sub-region. However, the activities of Boko Haram, bandits, cattle rustlers and kidnappers are still constituting a threat to sustainable development. While the Forum commends the effort of the security agencies in the sub-region, it agreed to strengthen community policing and action to complement their efforts.
2. Forum notes with dismay, that despite the challenges of development especially the infrastructural deficit in the Northeast, the 2021 proposed budget makes provision for only 45.32 Billion Naira for Capital projects in the sub-region. This represents a paltry 0.35% of the proposed N13.02 Trillion Naira. This means that Northeast is highly short changed. Forum demands the National Assembly to review the 2021 budget in the spirit of equity and inclusion. It equally mandates the Northeast caucus of both the Senate and House of Representative to take immediate steps to redress this imbalance.
3. Forum notes that the Sub-region has been unfairly treated in the provision of roads infrastructure by the Federal Ministry of Works & Housing. It further noted with dismay the slow or outright non existent progress on the pace of the roads already allocated in the sub region and calls for the immediate reactivation and review of the comatose existing road contracts in the sub-region.
4. The Forum notes with dismay, the lack of budgetary provision in respect of the Mambilla Hydro Project in the 2021 Budgetary Proposals and calls on the Federal Government to make the project a matter of serious priority, resolve all encumbrances around the project and order action on site.
5. Forum 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. Forum also agreed to form the Northeast Council on Education.
6. Forum reaffirms the commitment of member States within the sub. region to enforce the UBEC Law to protect and ensure all children have an opportunity to acquire basic education.
7. Forum calls on the NEDC to expedite action on the development of the Northeast Strategic Master Plan. While working on the plan, it should ensure projects are demand-driven to ensure impact and accountability. Forum frowns passionately at a situation where projects are imposed on the States without due consultation
8. Forum notes that Gender based violence is still a major nuisance in the sub-region, and called on all the Governors of the zone to domesticate the Violence Against Persons Prohibition Act 2015 and ensure the rapid dispensation of justice on gender-based violence.
9. Forum notes the need for sub-regional integration on significantly cross-cutting issues that could mutually be beneficial to States within the region and agreed that the State Gover ors within the region should appoint Special Advisers on Regional Integration.
10. Forum critically examined the status of the post- COVID-19 Economic Stimulus Package of 2.3 Trillion Naira. While it praises the Federal Governemnt for this noble Initiative, it solicits for equitable and fair treatment especially in view of the economic and social challenges facing the sub-region.
11. Forum resolved to engage Arewa Research and Development Project (ARDP), to provide technical support in key areas of development such as Agriculture and Education.
12. The Forum resolve to pursue vigorously the issue of securing admission for its candidates in Nigerian tertiary institutions to fill its quota.
13. The next meeting of the Forum would hold from 3rd - 4th March, 2021at Bauchi.
Prof. Babagana Umara Zulum, INSE, mni Chairman, Northeast Governors Forum & Executive Governor of Borno State