By Femi Ogunshola
Gov. Mohammed Bago of Niger has pledged to pursue development initiatives and inject fresh ideas, policies and programmes in the state to advance the welfare of the people of his state.
Bago said this at a dinner hosted in honor of the House of Representatives Press Corps in Minna on Sunday.
He said that Niger state, endowed with vast human and natural resources, has no justification for remaining economically challenged.
He expressed his commitment to harnessing these resources for the betterment of its citizens.
He acknowledged that the state has faced challenges, especially in the form of protracted insurgency, he assured that his administration has developed strategies to address insecurity.
He promised to continue to pursue development initiatives, adding that, “Niger State is the largest in terms of landmass in Nigeria, with over 76,300 square kilometers of arable land.
“We also possess four Hydropower dams, including Kainji, Jeba, Shiroro, and Zungeru. Our state boasts unique attractions such as the Shagunu beach, Zuma Rock, and more.”
He underscored the need to reshape Niger State’s image beyond security concerns, saying, “What people understand about Niger State is the issue of insecurity and insurgency.
“Yes, we cannot shy away from insecurity, it is a reality, but what percentage of our land is affected? Very insignificant.
“Lives are being lost, and we are working assiduously to ensure everyone lives well in Niger State and Nigeria.”
Bago also addressed the impact of fuel subsidy removal by announcing an agreement for the purchase of 200 Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) buses.
These buses according to him will provide free transportation for students and subsidize rates for civil servants.
He said, his administration has initiated road construction projects, totaling approximately 566 kilometers, while expressing his ambition to transform the state’s infrastructure.
“We are so ambitious, and by the grace of God, we will achieve our goals.”
The governor emphasised the forthcoming Green Economy Summit hosted by the state government, aiming to leverage the state’s potential.
He said Niger State, with its abundant shea trees and extensive forests, is uniquely positioned to benefit from the green economy.
He stressed the importance of conserving the environment and harnessing resources sustainably.
Regarding the state’s status as a leading paddy rice producer, Bago highlighted plans to collaborate with rice mills, particularly the Gerawa Rice Mill, to boost the local rice industry and empower farmers.
Bago called for collaboration between the state government and media to ensure accurate reporting and promote a positive image of Niger State.
He expressed gratitude to the House of Representatives Press Corps for choosing Minna as their retreat location, suggesting that the event would become an annual tradition.
Chairperson of the House of Representatives Press Corps, Grace Ike presented an award to Governor Bago, recognising his outstanding service, dedication and contributions to the Nigerian economy.(NAN)
Edited by Sadiya Hamza