As the residents of Niger State joined their counterparts nationwide to celebrate the Democracy Day, Governor Abubakar Sani Bello has reassured the citizens of the state, of his continued commitment to fastracking development of all sectors.
In a statement, the governor noted that the state might not have gotten it right all through, but has definitely made significant impact on some key sectors of the economy.
In the area of security and disaster management, the state government has, in the past six years, provided over 400 operational vehicles, vans, motorcycles, bicycles and tri-cycles to the conventional security agencies in addition to 70 operational trucks and 2,300 motorcycles distributed as mobility support to the Vigilante Group in the state.
These are aside funding many operations carried out by the security agencies and payments of stipends to the Vigilante Groups as well as sponsorship for the children of slain vigilante members as morale booster to the personnel at the battlefield to contain banditry and other criminal activities in the state.
The state government has also injected billions of naira in providing camps, relief materials and health care services to the Internally Displaced Persons across the state as a result of the insecurity. Victims of flooding were also not left out by the Governor Abubakar Sani Bello administration.
The present government equally reconstructed and equipped ten fire stations across ten local government areas, and recruited more fire personnel for effective and efficient service delivery. Equating the salary scale of the State Fire Service to that of Federal Fire Service as well as facilitating the establishment of Zonal Fire Service in Minna, the state Capital.
On health, the state government in the last six years has tackled infrastructure deficit through construction, rejuvenation of ailing structures and upgrading of primary health care facilities across the 274 wards in the state.
Secondary and tertiary health care facilities were also given attention particularly with the ongoing reconstruction and expansion work, as well as getting accreditation for school of Nursing Bida for the first time since its establishment over four decades ago.
Worthy of note is the contribution of the governor’s better half, Dr Amina Abubakar Bello who is a career medical practitioner. She has through her pet project, added value to the health sector particularly in collaborating with 12 selected primary health care facilities across the state to reduce infant and maternal mortality, she also established cancer screening and treatment centres, Visco Vaginal Fistula patients as well as other women and children related issues.Education which is said to be the bed rock of every society was undoubtedly given priority by the present administration, especially with the policy the government introduced to comprehensively renovate and construct some selected schools (classrooms, hostels, staff quarters, furnitures and laboratory equipments) across the three senatorial zones of the state.
The Niger State Teachers Professional Development Institute (NSTPDI) at Dandaudu and other geopolitical zones were established to give teaching profession a robust and solid foundation in the state.
The state has constructed and renovated over 2,500 additional classrooms, toilet facilities as well as drilled boreholes across primary and Junior Secondary Schools in collaboration with the Federal Government.
On Agriculture, the present administration has sustained the CBN Anchor Borrowers Scheme to contribute to the national policy on food security and to provide opportunities in the Agricultural value-chain.
Procurement of 500 tractors and subsidisation of fertiliser annually for rural farmers across the state to boost mechanised farming.
Renovation of 17 stores across the state, establishment of new irrigation scheme in Tamanai, Borgu local government area and reactivation of four existing ones, establishment of 30 hectares of oil palm plantation and revitalisation and upgrade of Farm institute in Tegina, school of Agriculture Mokwa as well as its study centre in Kuta. The administration has equally held in high esteem partnership with development partners resulting to many intervention projects such as DFID, FADAMA III, IFAD Value Chain Development Programme and Agricultural Transformation Agenda Support Programme etc.
The state government has been able to carve a niche for itself in the livestock sub-sector through establishment of thirty three thousand seven hundred and thirty one hectares multimillion naira Bobi grazing reserve which has been gazetted. The grazing reserve which is a model in the country is to boost meat and dairy production, generate revenue and address farmer/herder clashes. The reserve has been opened to various investors to produce milk locally.
Infrastructure as a catalyst for rapid development, has been in the front burner of this administration as it has dualised several kilometres of roads across the state, reconstructed and rehabilitated many township roads and also completed many inherited road projects from the past administration and construction of drainage system and waterways.
Out of the need to open up rural areas and provide access roads to ease mobility of farm produce, the present administration has sustained a partnership programme with International development partners under the Rural Access Mobility Programme (RAMP) which has so far constructed a reasonable number of rural roads and river crossings. The state government also surface dressed the roads constructed by RAMP at the cost of 6 billion naira.
Even some federal roads in the state particularly the City Gate-Chanchaga-Suleja road got the attention of the state government in an effort to ameliorate the sufferings of its citizens plying the road. While some of the roads Infrastructural development is ongoing, a lot has been completed already.
Water it is said is life. It is on this premise that the present administration has been able to supply water significantly to the populace in the last six years. This was possible through the procurement of water equipment (low lift and high lift pumps), carried out total overhauling of waterworks across the state, drilled over 100 solar-powered and 200 hand pump boreholes while over 300 were rehabilitated, procured and rehabilitate water treatment machines.
These efforts earned the state government support from USAID through the E-WASH programme. The programme meant to improve service delivery and make the sector more commercially oriented as well as financially viable, made the state government to change the sector’s name from Water Board to Niger State Water and Sewage Coorperation.
Transportation is another key sector that the present administration did not contemplate in revamping.The Abubakar Sani Bello led administration procured sixty four buses for the state owned transport authority as part of efforts to promote easy movement of goods and services across the country
Mary Noel Berje is thevChief Press Secretary to the governor of Niger State.