Gov. Babagana Umara of Borno on Wednesday pledged to revamp the state’s economy through agriculture and transportation.
He made the pledge during the June 12 Democracy Day celebration at the Ramat Square in Maiduguri, stressing that his immediate concern was to ensure quick return of farming in communities.
He said “I am committed to ensuring that farmlands in all accessible communities are opened up, adequate farm inputs provided and security given to protect both the farms and farmers.
“We must take full advantage of the onset of the rainy season to ensure that our rural populace who depend largely on agriculture for their livelihoods are positively engaged.
“I have started talks with development partners and the Central Bank to Nigeria (CBN) to generously assist with the necessary inputs and soft loans and grants to empower our farmers.
“Our immediate policy thrust is a quick return to farming, as we remove all impediments and obstacles on the way.
“As we all know, Borno has a unique economically advantageous location as it shares borders with Chad, Niger and Cameroun and unfettered route even to the Central African Republic.”
The governor said he is aware of the huge economic and commercial potential of the state and the enormous benefits that may accrue to citizens, noting that “I have taken bold steps in the past two weeks to initiate the commencement of construction of Maiduguri- Dikwa-Ngala road and Bama-Banki Road.
“In addition, I have directed with immediate effect, the opening of Gwoza–Limankara road and comprehensive
maintenance of numerous road networks that greatly adds value to internal trade and commerce in the state.
“Let me reassure our displaced brothers and sisters in the various IDPs Camps that we will honour their genuine request for safe return to their homes as soon as possible.
“We will ensure minimum standards, in terms of security, safety assurances and access to basic services and livelihoods, repairs of damaged infrastructure are made before the people return to their respective homes.”
He added that necessary measures would be taken to improve the conditions of the IDPs camps, announcing that he planned to visit Niger and Cameroun in the next two weeks to confer with compatriots in the IDPs and work out modalities for their return and resettlement.
He recalled that in his inaugural address, he made it clear that there was huge danger in youth unemployment.
“I therefore see it as a scandal, depriving young men and women of their careers, diminishing the prospects for teeming young people, wasting our national resources, aborting our chances of societal recovery and creating hopelessness and insecurity.
“I planned to commission two vocational training centres for men and women in Maiduguri. I will resuscitate Technical Secondary schools in the state and create Youth Empowerment and Entrepreneurship Schemes to manage the situation.”
Edited by Hadiza Mohammed-Aliyu