By Nefishetu Yakubu
The Federal Government, in its effort to ensure Integrated Rural Development across the Country, on Wednesday inaugurated 19 kilometers of road and three water projects in Ikoro and Agbomoba communities in Ovia North East area of Edo.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Minister of state for Budget and National Planning, Clem Agba, also inaugurated solar-powered street lights and market in the two communities.
Speaking during the inauguration of the projects in Benin, Agba said the projects were part of the national development plan 2021 to 2025, approved by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Agba noted that the national development plan placed emphasis on integrated rural development to alleviate the sufferings of the vulnerable poor in Nigeria.
He said “We inaugurated four projects today. These projects were handled by different government agencies.
“The agency for rural electrification handled the solar-powered street lights, the Benin/Owena River Basin handled the three water projects.
“And the rural development component of the federal ministry of Agriculture handled the markets and the toilets facilities, the solar-street lights within the markets and the 19 kms of road which cut across five other communities.
“These projects are targeted at eradicating poverty by providing the basic social amenities for the rural poor,” he said.
Agba lamented that the states were responsible for the over 133 million multi-diamentionally poor Nigerians because they have been deprived of access to education, water and good healthcare.
He called on state governors to also extend basic amenities to the rural areas rather than concentrate all in state capitals.
“I am not saying that they should abandon the state capitals, but what we are saying is extend part of the development to the rural areas to alleviate their sufferings.
“They are entitled to these basic amenities because they also vote during elections.
“Just look at these communities, before today, there was no water, no road and no light and there is still no school as you have heard from them.
“We believe that no one should go beyond two to three kilometers to access medical facility.
“What the federal government intervention have done is to provide livelihoods to the vulnerable poor in the rural areas by embarking on these projects,” added.
The Minister explained that the national development plan seeks to create more access to markets because it understood that more than 60 per cent of farm produce go to waste because farmers are unable to get their produce to the market.
According to him, “we have constructed and are still constructing rural roads to create access to markets.”
Mr Johnson Ikpewe, the Ikoro community chairman, on behalf of the traditional ruler, Chief Bright Owu, thanked the federal government for the kind gesture.
Owu, who commended the Minister for the completion of the laudable projects in the community, appealed to the Minister to help the community with a school.
At Agbomoba community, Pa Donald Omoregbe, who was visibly dancing for joy, also thanked President Buhari for the water project which, he said, was the only government presence in the community.
According to him, for over 300 years, the community has stayed without portable water and in darkness. We go to stream where cows also drink from to get water
The numerous projects attracted to the communities earned the Minister a new Ijaw name, known as Ebimiewei. (NAN) (www.nannews.ng)
Edited by Vincent Obi