Vice President Kashim Shettima on Saturday, in Maiduguri, declared open the 8th meeting of the North East Governors Forum (NEGF).
Shettima is on a two-day official trip to Maiduguri for commissioning of projects executed by Governor Zulum, flag off of palliatives distribution by the northeast development commission and the opening of the Northeast Governors Forum meeting, all in Maiduguri. The VP arrived on Friday evening.
The VP, while opening the NEGF meeting, called for unity between diverse leaders and other stakeholders across the northeast in order to address challenges facing the geo-political zone.
The host, Governor of Borno State and Governors of Adamawa- Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri, Bauchi- Bala Mohammed, Yobe- Mai Mala Buni were in attendance, while those of Gombe and Taraba were represented by their deputies.
Vice President Shettima commended the northeast Governors for deliberately forging unity amongst themselves despite their differences in political ideologies.
He urged national and state assembly members to uphold same values.
Chairman of the North-East Governors Forum and Governor of Borno State, Babagana Umara Zulum, advocated for a partnership that can give birth to an independent power station and railway network across the northeast.
“Let me draw our attention to the recent amendment to the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria which saw the removal of Power Generation and Railway Transportation from the exclusive legislative list to the concurrent list. It is therefore important for us in the North East to partner towards the provision of independent power supply and rail transportation in the sub-region,” Zulum said.
Zulum also called for proactive measures towards curtailing the activities of illegal miners while at the same time maximizing the benefits of those minerals towards the overall development of the people in the northeast region.
The Governor also charged his colleagues from the region to give priority to the issues of youth unemployment and poverty in the region.
“As we are set to deliberate on matters of common interest and shared responsibilities, we should, in addition to the issues of insecurity, floods, illicit mining and North East Development Commission projects in the sub-region, also focus specifically on youth unemployment, the deep-rooted poverty among the majority of our people due to the removal of oil subsidy by the Federal Government,” Zulum said.
The Governor commended the Nigerian military for their efforts in curbing the security situation in the northeast, which saw relative peace.
“Let me use this occasion to commend our brave military in the fight against the insurgency, which remains unquestionable, while their determination to succeed is very glaring. No doubt, they have considered and acted upon a wide range of options in the fight against terrorism,” Zulum said.
Deputy Governor of Borno, Umar Usman Kadadur, senators and members of the House of Representatives, state lawmakers, Secretaries to the State Governments from the northeast States, traditional rulers led by the Shehu of Borno, Abubakar Umar Garbai Elkanemi and senior Government officials from the six States of the northeast attended opening of the northeast governors meeting.
The Governors later went into a closed-door meeting to deliberate, after which they are expected to issue a communique by the evening of Saturday.