The mouthpiece of Northern Nigeria, Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), has risen from its National Executive Council (NEC) meeting, lamenting what it described as slow pace of Federal Government projects.
This was also as the Northern socio-cultural group asked the Federal Government to as a matter of urgency review the privatisation of the Power Holding Corporation of Nigeria (PHCN), which it said has gone bad in the hands of the private investors who acquired them.
ACF in a communique issued at the end of the meeting presided over by its Deputy Chairman NEC, Alhaji Musa Liman Kwande, urged that provision be made in 2017 budget to complete projects that are of economic values and have direct bearing on the lives of the people, like Baro Port Terminal, Mambilla Power Project, the Kano-Maiduguri Dual Carriage Way and Kano-Lagos Railway.
According to the communiqué signed by ACF National Publicity Secretary, Muhammad Ibrahim, the meeting deliberated extensively on management matters and issues of national importance.
“The meeting noted with serious concern the slow pace of work on some Federal Government projects that are of economic value and have direct bearing on the lives of the people. Projects like the completion of Baro Port Terminal, the Mambilla Power Project, the Kano-Maiduguri Dual Carriage Way, Kano-Lagos Railway, and many others. It therefore calls on the Government and the National Assembly to appropriate adequate funds in the 2017 Budget for the completion of these projects.
“The meeting noted the abysmally low power generation and erratic power supply being experienced nationwide. It therefore questioned the wisdom of the privatization of the Power Holding Company (PHCN) and also the capacity of the private entrepreneurs that bought the power generation and distribution outfits.
“The regular excuses of shortage of gas supply, low water level, vandalization of installations, lack of spare parts etc which have continued to be given as reasons for poor power supply over the years are no longer tenable. The new owners of the Generation plants and the Distribution outfits were expected to have complimented Federal Government huge investments by injecting more funds and expertise that will improve performance at minimum cost to the consumers.
“ACF therefore calls on the Federal Government to take necessary and practical steps that will improve the power supply including reviewing the privatization. Government should also put in place policy framework that will encourage investments in the renewable energy sector, (solar and coal) to compliment the thermal and hydro generating plants.
“The meeting commended the efforts of the Nigerian military and the security agencies in tackling the insecurity situation with its limited personnel and equipment. It however noted the on-going recruitment exercise into the various security organizations, Military, Air Force, Police Force, Para-military agencies, which will ultimately strengthen the security outfits, and urged the youth to avail themselves to this opportunity.
“The meeting noted with dismay the recurrent ethnic/religious and farmers/herdsmen clashes in Kaduna, Benue, Taraba, Plateau, Nasarawa and other states and resolved to visit the affected communities to commiserate with them over the unfortunate killings and destruction of property. It will also mediate between the warring factions with the view to finding an amicable solutions to the conflict.
“It noted that the proposed Northern Security Summit to be held in April being supported by the Northern States Governors Forum will to a larger extent address causes of these conflicts and proffer enduring solutions.
“The meeting also applauded the Federal Government’s policy on food security which encourages investment in agriculture and calls on our farmers to avail themselves to the revolving funds set aside by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and other financial institutions. Nigeria’s dependence on imported rice has not only deflated our foreign reserve and enriched other countries, but has made us to abandoned our potential greatness in agriculture.
“ACF therefore calls on the Government at all levels to encourage our farmers to form cooperative societies in order to enjoy the agricultural facilities being provided by the financial institutions. Farmers should also endeavor to reciprocate the government’s gesture by promptly paying back the loans granted them to sustain the revolving fund”, the communiqué read.