GOVERNORS of Nigeria’s six states in the northeast geo-political zone have decried the allocation of N43.32bn ($113m) to the North East Development Commission in the 2021 federal budget saying it is not enough to execute the required capital projects.
Earlier this month, President Muhammadu Buhari presented Nigeria’s most ambitious budget ever to the National Assembly when he unveiled a record-breaking N13trn ($33.68bn) package before lawmakers. In the budget, the national proposed expenditure is put at N13.08trn, with recurrent expenditure of N5.65trn, personnel costs of N3.76trn and debt servicing of N3.12trn.
However, the governors of the six north-eastern states described the amount allocated to their geo-political zone as a paltry sum in the face of a daunting infrastructural deficit confronting the region. This was contained in a communique issued by the governors of Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Taraba and Yobe states after their recent North East Governors’ Forum meeting in Yola.
Governor Ahmadu Fintiri, the host governor read the communique at the close of the meeting, chaired by Governor Babagana Zulum of Borno State, attended by Governor Bala Mohammed Bauchi and Inuwa Yahaya of Gombe State. The governors of Yobe and Taraba states were represented by their deputies.
Part of the communique read: “Forum notes that there is relative improvement in the security situation in the sub-region. However, the activities of Boko Haram, bandits, cattle rustlers and kidnappers are still constituting a threat to sustainable development.
“While the forum commends the effort of the security agencies in the sub-region, it agreed to strengthen community policing and action to complement their efforts. Forum notes with dismay, that despite the challenges of development especially the infrastructural deficit in the northeast, the 2021 proposed budget makes provision for only N45.32bn for capital projects in the sub-region.
“This represents a paltry 0.35% of the proposed N13.02trn, which means that northeast is highly short-changed. Forum demands the National Assembly review the 2021 budget in the spirit of equity and inclusion and equally mandates the northeast caucus of both the Senate and House of Representatives to take immediate steps to redress this imbalance.”