Why I visited the President, by Kwara Governor

Date: 2020-09-23

. Flood incidents, Bacita Sugar factory, infrastructure top list

. Seeks inclusion of more Kwarans in FG's cash transfer

Kwara State Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq on Tuesday visited President Muhammadu Buhari over the recent flood and rainstorm that wreaked havoc in several parts of the state, calling for urgent interventions of the federal government for victims of the incidents.

A statement issued after the meeting quoted the Governor as commending the president for the quality leadership he has offered in Nigeria' battle against the COVID-19 pandemic and for the recent approval of the Economic Sustainability Plan to mitigate the effect of the crisis on the country and its people.

AbdulRazaq appealed to the President to continue to support his administration in delivering socio-economic development to the people of Kwara State.

He specifically called for the president's support for over 15,000 households and 357 communities affected by the recent flooding and rainstorm in Kwara State, and his intervention for the revival of moribund industries in the state to generate jobs and drive economic growth.

"We wished for Kwara State to be part of the first beneficiaries of road construction and rehabilitation, support to MSMEs, land development for agricultural purposes, mass housing and rural electrification; which are approved initiatives under the COVID 19 intervention programmes," the statement quoted him as telling the president.

"In the social sector, I informed His Excellency that we have since set up our own Social Investment Programme which mirrors the National Social Investment Programme. So far, we have disbursed loans to 21,623 petty traders, 15,000 transport workers, trained 3,100 youth on digital skills, and about to commence the training of 10,000 more. We are yet to commence disbursements to cash transfer beneficiaries. I requested Mr. President to please ensure that special consideration be made for Kwara in the additional 1 million households who are set to benefit from Federal Cash Transfer.

"Still in the social sector, His Excellency is aware that Kwara State ranks amongst the poorest states with Open Defecation practices in Nigeria. Our administration has built a few public lavatories across the State and invested in provision of potable water. However, Federal Government's support is required to obtain more impactful result. As such, we wish for Kwara State to be among the first States to benefit from the COVID 19 intervention programmes in the WASH sector.

"Kwara State has not accessed UBEC grant since 2013 after the State was blacklisted following certain malplractices. Our administration paid the fine of N450million and has since commenced the process to access the grant from 2013 – 2019. Given the economic realities now, it is difficult for the State to obtain the N7.150bn counterpart funding required to access the grant. We requested for Mr President to kindly consider a waiver for this requirement, as is being pushed by the Nigerian Governors' Forum.

"More urgently, I informed Mr President about the recent flooding and rainstorms in many parts of the state. Without doubt, the State has been affected by disasters including fire outbreaks, floods and destruction caused by heavy rainstorms. The latest disaster happened following last Saturday's heavy rains which affected Ilorin East, Ilorin West, Ilorin South, Patigi, Edu, Moro, Kaiama, Ifelodun, Baruten, Asa, Isin and Irepodun LGAs, amongst others. From the first assessment, over 15,000 households across 357 communities were affected and 13 deaths as well as N10billion in losses to farmers and damage of buildings were recorded. I beseeched Mr President that it would be highly appreciated if relief materials could be provided. Specifically, I said we would appreciate food items as well as housing materials such as bundles of zinc, packs of roofing nails, mattresses and beddings for our people as the number of IDPs is expected to rise.

"Kwara State is interested in participating in the implementation of the pilot phase of the NLTP. So far, 200,000 hectares of grazing reserves have been allocated to the programme, counterpart funding has been set aside in our 2020 budget, sensitization of communities, farmers and pastoralists has been undertaken and data collection and needs assessment were concluded. We solicit for His Excellency’s intervention for a prompt FEC approval and for the inclusion of Kwara State in the pilot phase.

"I also solicited for His Excellency's intervention on the matter of the sale of Bacita Sugar Company. I reminded His Excellency that AMCON sold the company over a year ago. However, the buyer only paid 10% of the total amount which leaves the sale uncompleted. This has resulted in 100 thousand people, mostly out grower farmers, losing their jobs. His Excellency may kindly consider directing AMCON to put the company back for sale in order to quickly conclude the process.

"As regards Presidential Order 7, Kwara State has applied to be a beneficiary of the Road Tax Fund. If approved, three major roads will be constructed, contributing to the infrastructural development and ease of doing business in the State. We requested for His Excellency's kind and prompt approval of the request.

"The approved FG's 2020 budget has provisions for major roads dualization in Kwara State. They include: Ilorin - Jebba; Wawa – Kaiama; and Ilorin - Igbeti bridge. We solicited for His Excellency's intervention in ensuring these projects are promptly funded.

"His Excellency (the President) has recently graciously approved a N10bn irrigation scheme for Shonga. However, the project is yet to be funded. I therefore requested for His Excellency's intervention in ensuring that the project is given special attention and adequate funding very soon.

"His Excellency is aware of the 132 KVA power project which covers from Kainji Niger State to Iseyin Oyo with a substation in Kaiama, Kwara State. We kindly requested that His Excellency direct the Transmission Company of Nigeria to execute a 33KVA from Kaiama to Kosubosu. This will also supply Baruten LGA and will go a long way in providing electricity in these LGAs of Kwara North which have been ignored for long."

Rafiu Ajakaye

Chief Press Secretary to the Governor

September 22, 2020


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