Niger State Governor, Hon. Mohammed Umaru Bago, has met with members of the United Kingdom business community and representatives from the UK House of Lords on possible collaborations with Niger State in the areas of agriculture, solid minerals, energy, and education.
The meeting was in continuation of his engagement with foreign partners to engender trust and confidence and to facilitate foreign direct investment in Niger State in pursuance of his administration's strive towards improving all critical sectors of the state economy.
In a statement made available to Newsline by his Chief Press Secretary, Mal. Bologi Ibrahim, the governor was quoted as saying his commitment to changing the face of Niger State in all spheres of the economy in line with his "New Niger" vision was unwavering.
He highlighted the tremendous potential the state was endowed with, including large bodies of water, fertile lands for modern agriculture, natural tourists, and a conducive climate and environment that will yield high returns on investments.
The governor explained to his audience that his efforts were to ensure that both parties were on the same page with a shared understanding of goals and expectations, as well as work together and support each other to bring about the desired objectives.
Governor Bago had earlier visited the United States of America, where he equally met with top-notch officials of the United Nations to brief them on his transformational agenda as well as his plans for hosting a Green Economic Summit in the state to tap into the enormous water bodies and land potential.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) Regional Office for Africa has commended the efforts of the Niger State Government towards the eradication of poliomyelitis in the state.
The commendation was made by the coordinator of the WHO polio eradication initiative, Dr. Jamal Ahmed, when he led a team of experts in the health sector on a courtesy visit to Governor Mohammed Umaru Bago and was received by the Deputy Governor, Comrade Yakubu Garba, on behalf of the Governor, in his office on Thursday.
He informed the governor that the team was in the state to review the progress made by the state government in stopping the outbreak of variant polio viruses that have affected not only the state but also states like Katsina, Zamfara, and Sokoto in the sub-region.
Dr. Jamal said from what they had witnessed so far, the Niger State Government has established a very solid structure at both the state level, local government area, and ward level, which is helping to coordinate in trying to reach the settlement of every child.
He revealed that WHO had spent not less than N1.1 billion in Niger State through its various support programmes, eradicating some vaccine-preventable diseases such as poliomyelitis and measles, advocating for more funding for primary healthcare, and strengthening coordination activities in the state.
Dr. Jamal, who also observed that whatever affects Nigeria usually affects the remaining African countries, disclosed that the assessment exercise is a nationwide project currently going on in 10 other states, aside from Niger State, with the aim of taking stock of the level of response to the outbreak.
"The goal is to take stock of where we are on the outbreak response assessment and see what more we can do to reach more children, protect more children, and ensure that polio is completely out of Nigeria," said Dr. Jamal.
He added that Nigeria had made remarkable progress in reducing the new variant of polio by over 95 percent in the last 12 months, saying Nigeria is on track to eradicating the last tream and making Nigeria free from all treams of poliomyelitis.
Responding, the governor, who spoke through his deputy, Comrade Yakubu Garba, assured the team that the state will not be found wanting in terms of funding the health sector, especially primary healthcare, as it is one of the top priorities of the present administration in the state, hence the rationale behind creating the ministry of primary healthcare in the state.
He added that counterpart funding was not a problem for the present administration as it had cleared all counterpart funds for various health programmemes in the state and directed the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry to verify and forward if there is any health programme for which counterpart funds are yet to be paid.
The governor, while appreciating WHO for its support to the health sector in the state, said, like Oliver Twist, they need more support to do better in areas where they are doing well and where they are lagging behind, urging the team to feel free to carry out the assessment exercise they are in the state for.