Niger State Governor, Hon. Mohammed Umaru Bago has called on Nigerlites in the diaspora to come back home and contribute to the growth and development of the state.
The Governor made the call when he received a blueprint from a pressure group, Technocrats and Professionals in Niger State, at the Government House, Minna.
A statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mal. Bologi Ibrahim, said the Governor assured his guests that his administration would work closely with professionals in different fields.
"We are calling on Nigelites in the diaspora to come back home so that we can put our heads together and turn the table around", he said.
Governor Bago, who said the report of the group was in line with the vision and mission of his administration, disclosed that plans are underway to cultivate eight million hectares of land in the state under its one-for-one policy.
"Niger is on 76,000 square km of arable land and it means the state is sitting on over eight million hectares of land and we can do fishery, cultivate the soil for food and cash crops, and do animal husbandry", he explained.
According to him, the state will also take advantage of the excess water coming in the form of floods by building dams and reservoirs for irrigation farming.
He then assured the group of considering the recommendations contained in the document.
Earlier, Prof. Mohammed Yahaya Kuta who led the team said they were at the Government House to congratulate the Governor on his emergence and to present the blueprint for an integrated approach to support the implementation of his transformation agenda for the state.
He said the blueprint focuses majorly on Agriculture, Education, Health, Tourism, Gender and Law among others, explaining that they have articulated far-reaching analysis, observations and recommendations that would add value to the present administration, and further accelerate the development of the state.
Prof. Yahaya Kuta called on the Governor to consider and explore the document for full implementation.
Niger State Government is to provide free transportation for pupils in public schools in the state to increase the enrollment of children and cushion the effect of fuel subsidy removal by the Federal Government.
A press statement issued by the Governor's Chief press Secretary, Mal. Bologi Ibrahim, quoted the Governor as saying that the efforts will encourage children to go to school.
The statement said Governor Mohammed Umaru Bago had received officials of the National Examination Council (NECO) at Government House, Minna, led by its Registrar and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Prof. Ibrahim Wushishi, on a courtesy visit.
The Governor explained that the free transportation for the children at the basic level of education will "encourage pupils to go to school".
He observed the need for the examination body to collaborate with the state in addressing the challenges of out-of-school children and girl-child education, adding that the use of ICT in the education sector will serve the purpose.
The Governor also suggested that NECO should find ways of supporting Vocational training in the education curriculum, so as to have students that are self-reliant.
While charging the council to do more in terms of Corporate Social Responsibilities (CSRs) to the state, the Governor assured them of his support.
"As a government, we cry foul. We have not felt NECO in terms of Corporate Social Responsibilities, we have not seen a block of classrooms that has been fixed by NECO. You cannot be a tenant in our state and not add value to our people and communities'', the Governor bemoaned.
He added that "NECO needs to sponsor educational activities like essay writing and also deploy some of their human resources to classrooms to teach and do mentorship".
On the issue of fluctuating turnout and performance of registered students for Senior Secondary School Examinations (SSCE), the Governor directed the Secretary to the Niger State Government (SSG) to look into the root causes.
He also disclosed that he has approved N30M monthly to clear the outstanding debt owed the body, while also volunteering to do follow up on how it can recover debts from other states of the federation.
Earlier, the NECO Registrar and CEO, Prof.Dantani Ibrahim Wushishi had said their visit was to congratulate the governor on his victory at the polls and successful inauguration.
Prof. Wushishi who sought for more collaboration between the council and the state government, said it will bring about immense mutual benefits.
He explained that Niger State has experienced fluctuating registration figures for the SSCE from 2018 to 2022.
The Registrar urged the state government to make their examinations compulsory for all the public schools in Niger State and assured him of its readiness to partner with the state to enhance education in line with its core values.