Niger invests N20bn in roads, power, pays NECO, WAEC, electricity charges


…as Bago wins Governor of the year award

By Tom Okpe

The Niger State Government under Governor Mohammed Bago, has invested N20 billion in upgrading some rural roads and providing solar electrification to some far situated villages.

The administration equally spent over N2 billion on clearing backlog of debt owed the National Examination Council, (NECO) and West African Examination Council, (WAEC) for registration of indigent students and electricity bill by the previous administration.

Governor Bago disclosed this at the ‘End of The Year Party’ of the Nigerian Union of Journalists, (NUJ) FCT Correspondent’s Chapel in Abuja, Saturday night.

The Governor who was the special guest of honour also, stated that his administration has so far, employed over 1752 workers and made some key appointments to help in realisation of his blueprint.

Bago who was recognised by the Union for his giant stride in urban renewal, said the Government under him discovered that most of the State’s infrastructure were decayed and there is no way development can be attained without adequate attention paid to infrastructural upliftment.

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Represented by his Principal Private Secretary, Usman Magaji, the Governor said; “Niger abounds with untapped natural resources for investors, urging media professionals to support the State through highlighting its comparative advantages to national and international publics.

“In the last six or seven months, it will interest you to know that our Government has invested about N20 billion in upgrading some of the rural roads, linking or connecting some of the rural areas to national grid, providing solar electrification to some far situated villages.

“When we came in, Government was owing about N750 million to NECO and about same amount to WAEC, which we paid off in two months.

“Since the past three, four months, we will be saving N20 million monthly, so that by end of the year you would have accumulated such kind of money that WAEC and NECO will need, to allow indigent students, sit for their examinations.

“Worthy of mention too, when we came in, we discovered that electricity bill accumulated to billions of Naira, despite that we are power State, hosting about four hydro power stations.

“We paid N700 million into NEPA’s account and as I am talking to you, except there is a natural or unavoidable reason,” he said.

Also speaking, the Director General, National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies, (NILDS), Prof Abubakar Sulaiman said in the realm of democracy, information is the bedrock upon which the edifice stands and journalists, with their pens as mighty swords, carve the path of truth through thick forest of misinformation.

Represented by the Acting Director, Training and International Cooperation of NILDS, Joke Akinsanmi, Sulaiman commended journalists’ dedication to the pursuit of knowledge, justice, and the public interest.

“NILDS, in the upcoming year, will intensify advocacy, enhance capacity development, and conduct research focused on the development of legislative and democratic institutions.

“We remain committed until the realisation of a country that aligns with our dreams,” he stated.

In his welcome address, the Chairman NUJ-FCT Correspondent Chapel, Comrade Jide Oyekunle said if democracy is about good governance, transparency and accountability, freedom of expression should not be curtailed, denied, restricted or taken away.

According to him, one of the key pillars of democracy is a free and vibrant press but when journalists work under fear, there is no press freedom.

“At this point, it is necessary to remind the Nigerian Government of its legal obligation to defend and protect the fundamental rights of the Nigerian people, including the right to freedom of expression guaranteed by section 36 of the 1999 Constitution.

“Today we will be recognising the Governor of Niger State, Bago on his giant strides in developmental projects particularly in the area of Green Economy and Urban Renewal Projects in the State,”Oyekunle said.

Also, the Director General, National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies, Prof Abubakar Sulaiman was recognized for his outstanding and remarkable contributions and support to journalism profession.

Oyekunle also said the Managing Director, Ti’bilon Construction, Tochukwu Nnamoko will also be recognized for being supportive to the Chapel.

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