By Gbenga Akingbule
The North East Development Commission (NEDC) has on Monday announced its readiness to embark on the construction of Rail Newtwork and Gas pipeline projects as part of its 10 year Master Plan to develop the region.
The aim of the the projects according to the Commission is to boost economic activities , agricultural productivity and ensure easy and affordable means of transportation within the region .
Lead Consultant of the 10- year Noth Eest Stabilization And Development Master Plan (NESDMP) , Dr Kassim Gidado made the announcement during a Stakeholders Consultative Meeting held at Prine Lodge Apartment in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital .
Gidado said the Rail network and Gas pipeline projects are just two of the many proposal in the 10 – year Master plan geared towards meeting the yearnings and aspirations of the people of the region bedevilled with 12 year old insurgency.
He revealed that the necessary engagements with relevance stakeholders is expected to be completed in 6 weeks after which the implementation of the 10 year Master plan will commence.
According to him , ” We want to ensure we have the buy-in of the Noth East Governors, local communities, other stakeholders and the NEDC create the system and processes and make sure they have the monitoring and evaluation in place , when that is achieved, then we can roll out the plan .
” Regarding the Railway project, our strategy on transportation infrastructure is to have a multimodel approach where all the various aspects of transportation are exploited to the maximum. We need to have a robust rail network to be able to take our goods and products to the rest of the word . So we will construct a standard gage railway in major towns in the North East and link with other parts of Nigeria
The NEDC consultant stated that the railway and gas pipeline projects, will utilize the Public- Private Partnership (PPP) approach where the private sector will be engaged in financing the projects alongside the government.
For the Gas project , he said that there is already a gas pipeline that links Jailingo in Taraba State to Yola in Adamawa State and another links Bauchi to Maiduguri in Borno state nothing that NEDC 10 year Master plan will ensure the linking of gas pipeline to other states in the region.
He assured that the projects will bring about job opportunities and great economic boom to the region ” where the people will witness rapid development.”
The Managing Director of NEDC Mohammed Alkali said that “today’s joint Consultative Meeting with all representative groups of Stakeholders in the State (MDAs, Legislature, Judiciary, LGA Officials, Security Agencies, Traditional and Religious Leaders, Private Sector, CSOs, HDP Actors, Women and Youth Groups, Persons Living With Disabilities) will be followed by finalization of a Draft Master Plan that will eventually be presented for validation. The essence of having these diverse Stakeholders under one roof here, therefore, is to harness their individual and collective inputs to enrich the process and align with inclusiveness and bottom-up policy of NEDC.
Alkali added that ” The proposed 10-year NESDMP consists of 10 Pillars. It will encompass the relevant aspects of Development Plans & Policies of Borno State Government and those of other Partners. In this meeting, the progress made so far in the Master Plan Project will be presented to Stakeholders and their inputs solicited for inclusion in the Plan.”