North East govs to establish commercial airline

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Borno state governor, Prof. Umaru Zulum, has said plans have been concluded by the North-East state governors to establish a commercial airline for the north east region.

The Chairman of the North-East Governors’ Forum, who is also the Borno state governor, Professor Babagana Umara Zulum, made this known on Friday in his welcome address  at the 7th NEGF meeting in Gombe town.

According to the governor, the establishment of the regional  commercial airline was to help expand business frontiers of the North-East region after years of security challenges that have truncated rapid growth and development in the region in the past 13 years or so 

“Our decision to float a commercial airline, known as the North-East Regional Air Shuttle Limited, for the region is also coming to fruition as soon as a number of financial and technical requirements are met,” Zulum said.

The governor also decried the state of disrepair of Trunk ‘A’  roads across the region, especially, the Federal Government roads in the North-East states.

Zulum further lamented the effects  of Boko Haram insurgency which had beclouded the region’s prospects while calling on  the National Assembly to adjust annual budgetary allocations to the north east region to fast track  reconstruction and rebuilding processes of destroyed states of the north east.

He said: “At this juncture, I need to however make a passionate appeal to the Federal Government and the National Assembly to incorporate into the 2023 budget of the Federal Government the reconstruction and rehabilitation of many federal roads in the North-East region, which have been in deplorable condition for years.

“Although the level of insecurity in the region then was a tenable reason for delaying the reconstruction of the roads, the security situation now has improved tremendously. 

“As it is now, the North-East has the least Federal budget allocation for road construction and it is fair and reasonable for the Federal Government to inject the needed funds for the construction and reconstruction of federal roads within the region. 

“So on behalf of my colleagues, I am calling on the National Assembly, particularly the Senators and Representatives from the North-East zone to, as a matter of urgent priority, include the repairs and construction of a network of Federal roads within the zone,” Zulum said.

The forum noted the link between mining activities and insecurity especially the abuse of the mining leases.  It therefore resolved to ensure strict compliance with the provisions of the Land Use Act.”

The forum  also lamented on the power distribution of five per cent in the ; adding that the Federal Government should expedient action towards harnessing the potentials of the Mambila power project.

“The forum again expressed concern on the parlous state of power supply in the North-East region, which at present receives less than five per cent of national allocation of grid energy while accounting for 14 per cent of the population and 30 per cent of landmass. 

“While noting the direct correlation between energy security and high level of poverty and our GDP status, it called on the Federal Government to introduce innovative strategies by investing in the production of comparatively cheaper hydropower and renewable energy.”