Regional Challenges: Group calls for establishment of North-Central development commission
The North Central Development Initiative (NCDI), has tasked the Federal Government to establish the North Central Development Commission (NCDC), toward addressing development challenges in the zone.
Musa Otigba, the director-general, NCDI, said this at the inauguration of 10 Standing Committees to facilitate the establishment of the commission on Saturday in Abuja.
Mr Otigba said that the commission would not only help to address security challenges in the zone, as it would also contribute toward developing it and the nation at large.
“The North-Central is reputed to be the food basket of the nation, Nigeria. There are also many mineral deposits in the region which are yet to be mined in full scale to benefit the region and its people.
“Therefore, the role of North-Central in Nigeria’s national development, cannot be overemphasised.
“But unfortunately, the region has been bedeviled by acute security challenges and has been under constant attacks by bandits and other criminal elements since the last two decades.
“The north central region has suffered significant damages due to kidnappings and frequent attacks on the citizens of the states that make up the region by insurgents and armed bandits as well as communal clashes,” he said.
He added: “The influx of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) from other affected areas like the North East, North West, and South East, has added significant pressure on the facilities available in the North Central thereby causing the host states to suffer additional hardships.
“The only way to address the developmental challenges bedeviling the region and to fast track the rebuilding of homes and economic activities in the region which have been under constant attacks by bandits and armed men, is through the establishment of the NCDC.”
Mr Otigba also called on the people of the zone and their lawmakers at the National Assembly to support the demand for the move for the commission.
“On our own side, we have already prepared a draft bill for an act to establish the North Central Development Commission and it will soon be presented to representatives at the national assembly for further necessary action,” he said
Mr Otigba commended President Bola Tinubu-led federal government and the security agencies on their efforts toward making Nigeria a safe place.
He, however, urged the government to adopt more strategies and introduce more ideas on intelligence gathering, through the establishment of a National Intelligence Service (NIS), a civilian agency, charged with the responsibility of providing intelligence to counter threats to Nigeria’s internal security.
He added that the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) should be left with only the responsibility of overseeing foreign intelligence and counterintelligence operations to counter foreign threats.
“In my opinion, a separate internal intelligence agency is one of the ways to effectively curb the current insecurity in Nigeria.
“Countries like Botswana, Rwanda and Kenya, did it and they were able to achieve tremendous successes in recording peace and security in their countries,” he said.
Mr Otigba also called on governors of North-Central to begin to work out the modalities for the establishment of a North-Central Joint Security Network.
He said a security network just as the ‘Amotekun’ in the South-West, the ‘Ebubeagu’ in the South-East, to curb the surge of insecurity in the north-central region.
Mr Otigba commended the interventions of the Senate and the federal government’s economic team aimed at cushioning the effects of the prevailing economic hardship in Nigeria.
“We praise Tinubu for rising up to the occasion, and appeal to Nigerians to remain patience with the government and still have faith in the Tinubu-led administration,” he said.
Speaking, the Eyize of Ebiraland, Barnabas Ojia, advised governors in North-Central to beckon on the president to make the establishment of the commission a reality.
Mr Ojia said that in all facets of life, the North-Central remained key in the development of Nigeria.
He called for the resuscitation of Ajaokuta Steel Development Company, saying it remained the bedrock of the development of the country.
The special assistant, media to Gov. Idris Sule of Nasarawa state, Ali Abare, said there was hope for the North-Central.
The highlights of the occasion was the inauguration of committees on secretariat services; planning and organizing; contacts, mobilization, and courtesy visits; media and publicity; constitution and bills drafting; budget, finance, and fundraising; patrons appointment, elders advisory; non-indigenes mobilization; and the think-tank committee.