Discussion on how to tackle growing insecurity and harness the agricultural potential in the northeast region to boost the economy of the region top agenda of the meeting of the Northeast Governors’ Forum, which opened in Jalingo, the Taraba State capital on Tuesday.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, the Chairman of the Forum and Governor of Borno State, Prof. Babagana Zulum, said the meeting of the forum became necessary to advance regional cooperation and tackle the challenges of the region.
“Our coming together is to explore the opportunities available to the region and help solve problems facing us.
“I want to thanked President Buhari for his visit in Borno recently where he received first hand information on how to solve one of the most challenging problem in the region-Boko Haram.
“The Northeast region has a lot of potential and I urged my colleagues to prioritize intervention in agriculture to boost food production and job creation for our teeming youths,” he said.
Earlier, the host Governor, Darius Ishaku, reminded the Governors that the forum has become a strong political voice in Nigeria and urged them to always speak with one voice and support member states in solving the problems of the region.
Ishaku called on the forum to garner support for the actualization of the Mambilla hydro power project by lobbying the National Assembly and the Presidency to make budgetary provision for the project, even as he lamented that the project received zero budgetary allocation in the 2021 budget.
While calling for the harnessing of agricultural potential in the region to boost the region’s economy, ensure food security and job creation, Ishaku said Taraba was blessed with arable land for the production of various crops.
He however, lamented that conflict between herders and farmers has affected the harnessing of agricultural potential for the good of the State and the region.
“The displacement of people has led to humanitarian crisis and Taraba has bear the burden of conflict in the region. Today, herders conflict has taken a toll on food security and high crime rate and we must work hard to address this challenge.
“I want to thanked President Buhari for the renewed fight against Boko Haram, but I want to call on the federal government to fast track exploration of oil in the lake Chad basin and the Benue trough for the good of the region and the nation,” he said.
Our correspondent reports that the meeting had in attendance, Governor Darius Ishaku of Taraba, Babagana Zulum of Borno, Umaru Fintiri of Adamawa, Inuwa Yahaya of Gombe, Bala Mohammed of Bauchi, while the Governor of Yobe was represented by his Deputy Idi Barde.