(VON) A group of Nigerian leaders from the North East geo-political zone of the country has pledged to take advantage of the North East Development Commission (NEDC) to enhance the capacity of the citizens, and develop the socio-economic state of the region.
The group which operates under the auspices of the North East Governors believes that the passage of the NEDC Bill by the 8th National Assembly provides a unique opportunity that will facilitate the speedy reconstruction and rehabilitation efforts currently going on in the area, largely devastated by the boko haram insurgents.
The delegation led by the Governor of Borno state, Kashim Shettima, made the pledge on Wednesday during a courtesy visit on the National Assembly leadership in Abuja.
Governor Shettima who told the legislators that the group was in the parliament to appreciate their contribution towards the return to normalcy in that part of the country, recalled that “the North East alone suffered destruction worth $9.6 billion during the hay days of the insurgents.”
The North East states are, Adamawa, Borno, Bauchi, Gombe, Taraba, and Yobe.
According to Governor Shettima, “destruction worth $6.7 billion was inflicted on the people of Borno state, out of which 956,453 units of houses were destroyed, and 5,335 classrooms in 501 primary schools, 38 secondary schools, and 2 tertiary institutions were all affected.”
Also affected in the destruction as highlighted by the delegation’s spokesman, is 201 primary health care centers among other basic infrastructural facilities in Borno state alone. The Governor emphasized that these were the bases for thank you visit to the National Assembly Leadership.
He however cautioned the all the leaders especially those from the North East region, against complacency and unnecessary politicking with the soon to be established commission (NEDC).
“We the Governors of the North East have a strong opinion that, together with the National Assembly and the Federal Government, we must learn from the experience of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), so that we can take preventive measures to ensure that persons with impeccable character are entrusted to manage the NEDC.”
“This is with a view to ensuring that the NEDC prudently deploys its wealth not only in rebuilding the north east but also in the reformation of the states of the region and the wellbeing of the people who are in critical need.”
President of the Nigerian Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki who received the visitors on behalf of the National Assembly leadership, appealed to the delegation to ensure that all the stakeholders, particularly the elected representatives, traditional rulers, and the youths, work hard enough to ensure that the NEDC succeeds.
“And I think that the thank you which you cannot give all of us is that after the bill becomes a law, and the commission begins to work, that it makes the difference and we will not come back to this National Assembly to form a panel of investigation to investigate what is going on with the funds of the commission.
I don’t want it to be years later, people will be asking us why did you set up this commission. Instead of being a commission for development, help generations unborn to rebuild, a commission to empower the people, it becomes a commission where we see the kind of things that we are seeing at the moment all over the place.”
All the Governors of the six states that make up the North East region, accompanied by their traditional rulers, and the youths attended the meeting. Also in attendance were all the principal officers of the National Assembly, including the Speaker, House of Representatives, Mr. Yakubu Dogara, Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekwerenmadu, and the Senate Leader, Senator Ahmed Lawan.