Governor Mohammed Umar Bago of Niger State has attributed the current security challenges facing the state to the struggle by unauthorized persons to control the rich mineral resources found in the state.
Speaking with newsmen on Tuesday after a closed-door meeting with President Bola Tinubu at the State House, Abuja, Bago
also informed that his administration would do everything needed to ensure the state harnesses the huge mineral deposits, in the interest of the people.
The governor, who was responding to questions about the security situation in the state, also disclosed that a working relationship had already been established with security agencies in a bid to restore peace to all parts of the state, especially so that the mainstay of the people, which is agriculture could be revived.
Bago, who said he was in the Villa to pledge his commitment to President Tinubu’s success in office, as well as congratulate him over the successful election process in the National Assembly leadership, said his administration would be working, through the state’s Ministry of Mining, to take advantage of the mineral endowment in the state.
His words: “We are endowed as a state with a lot of mineral deposits and is not only related to the insecurity issues, most of the places where you see these banditry are places where you have lithium or gold. So a lot of these activities are kind of associated to why the banditry is springing up.
“However, yes, we will harness our mineral potential, we don’t intend to come to Abuja every month to collect FAAC or JACK or whatever you call it. As a State we have to put all the things in order so that we can harness these potentials.
“Now the state also has an SPV. The State Mining Corporation, where we’re hoping to have an MOU or synergy with other mining companies so that we can harness that potential and I assure you the next one year we will come out tops.
“If you’ll agree with me Niger State has a lot of ungoverned spaces and we are agrarian and in our strength is agriculture. So, we intend to cultivate most of your ungoverned land.
“We have a lot of body of water across the state, we want to encourage our irrigation farming and that is why we are collaborating with Mr. President, to ensuring that the agric potential of Niger State is tapped very well.
“So, we will harness them. However, in the interim, we were working with security agencies in making sure that we curb this menace and by the grace of God we will come out tops”.
Commentig on how his government intends to ensure the inclusion of women in government in Niger State, Bago disclosed that he had issued an executive order, which ensures women are made secretaries of local government councils, besides the plan to ensure that women would have more than just 35% affirmative.
According to him: “First and foremost we have issued an executive order to change all the secretaries of the local government councils to be female, that we’re going to implement in the next local government council, it is compulsory that at least all the vice chairmen of local government will come out as female, that is one.
“Secondly, I have just made five appointments and I promise that the next one will be female. So you should be watching out for that. So we are not going to even stick to 35 percent, we will have 50-50 if needs arise”.
Speaking on the out-of-school-children menace, the governor said “it is still associated with this insecurity, and we are bringing technology to learn. Thank God for COVID-19 meetings can be held you know, virtually.
“So we will deploy lending facilities to areas that are mostly affected so that we can put students back into schools. So, I agree that a lot of these out of school children will be enrolled back to school”.
Deji Elumoye in Abuja