Niger State Governor, Hon. Umar Mohammed Bago, has disclosed that corruption and a lack of patriotism were the major factors militating against the development of the state and societies generally.
The Governor, who was represented by his Deputy, Comrade Yakubu Garba, stated this at a daylong workshop on "Sustainable and Inclusive Economic Development for Decent Employment in Nigeria", known as the Pro-poor Growth and Promotion of Employment Programme, organised by GIZ SEDIN Nigeria, held at the Guidel Hotel, Minna, on Tuesday.
He observed that corruption, lack of patriotism, and aggrandisement were responsible for the problem of underdevelopment we are faced with today, adding that good governance and accountability for the general good have become a mirage while righteousness has now become an orphan.
The governor disclosed that the statistics of inequality on a wide range of indices in the state were disturbing, as over half of the state population lives below the poverty line, he enumerated other ills bedevilling the state to include insecurity, lack of quality and affordable education, economic downturn, poor healthcare services, lack of access to roads, and unemployment.
He said the government was not unaware of the challenges hindering the state's development to its full potential, adding that the challenges were surmountable and that the administration of Gov. Mohammed Umaru Bago was determined to propel a paradigm shift.
"We shall break barriers, push through our limitations, and set a new bar in addressing these challenges," the governor assured.
He also declared the state government's support for the German agency for international cooperation to increase and improve employment, power supply, access to education, peace and security, access to funds, vocational skills acquisition, and food security, among others.
He also observed that development and the general good of all can only be achieved through sacrifices, saying that as the government and development partners renew their commitment towards achieving the desired growth and development of the state, the citizens' support is also needed.
While appreciating GIZ SEDIN for its numerous interventions aimed at improving the lives and livelihoods of Nigerlites, he said the agency had proven to be a worthy development partner and that the state government will provide all the necessary support that will enhance the success of GIZ programmes in the state.
Earlier, head of GIZ SEDIN Nigeria, Mr. Markus Wauschuhn, said GIZ had been in Nigeria since 1975 and in Niger State since 1990, where it went into fish farming promotion in the Kanji Lake in New Bussa.
He explained that GIZ SEDIN had achieved a multitude of prospects in Niger State aimed at improving the lives and livelihoods of the people in the aspects of health, entrepreneurship, economy, employment, agriculture, security, and support to SMSEs, among others, ensuring the agency's continuous support in improving the living conditions of the people in the state.
The N-Cares Facilitators and Desk Officers of the National Fadama Development Project, an International Development Association (IDA) credit facility-assisted projects sponsored by the World Bank, with confirming sources from the federal, state, and local communities, have called on the Niger State Governor, Hon. Mohammed Umaru Bago, to prevail on the State Coordinator, Hassan Garba, to pay them their allowances.
This was contained in a communiqué jointly signed by the Chairman of the Facilitator Forum, Aliyu Bawa, and the Secretary of the Forum, Abdullahi Mohammed, and made available to Newsline in Minna.
According to the communiqué, the Fadama project, in collaboration with the Nigerian government, started its project in 2021, adding that since the beginning of the project, 25 facilitators and 25 desk officers have been engaged along with the Project Implementation Unit (PIU) and other office staff.
It further stated that in the Generic Operation Manual (GOM), the roles and duties of the facilitators and desk officers were spelled out, as were their allowances, where facilitators and desk officers were to receive the sum of One Hundred and Fifty Thousand Naira (N150,000) each per month.
"Since the inception of the programme, we have not been paid a dime, and last Thursday, September 21, the Fadama staff in the state office had been paid one-year allowances, while we, the facilitators and desk officers, were denied," the communiqué stated.
It is against this backdrop that they are demanding the payment of their one-year allowances, amounting to N1.8 million each, and they are calling on governor Mohammed Umar Bago to prevail on the state coordinator to pay them their allowances.
"All efforts to demand our rights have been turned down; we therefore call on Mr. Governor to note that our participation in Fadama N-Cares brought enormous results that brought about a bumper harvest between 2021 and 2022.
"Sir, for you to achieve your target in food security in Niger State, please come to our rescue.
"Your Excellency, sir, your immediate intervention is highly needed to save us and the entire farmers in Niger State", the communiqué added.
However, in an interview with Newsline, the state chairman of the Fadama N-Cares Facilitators Forum, Aliyu Bawa, disclosed that several efforts to reach out to the state coordinator, Dr. Hassan Garba, have not yielded any positive response.
"We have tried as much as possible to meet with him to demand our allowances from him, but he has not given us the forum to meet him.
"In fact, last Thursday, on the 21st of September 2023, we went to see him, and he refused to see us, which informed our decision to convey an emergency meeting, and the outcome of the meeting brought about this communiqué we jointly signed, calling on the governor to talk to him to pay us our allowances," he told Newsline.