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The governors across the federation under the aegis of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, NGF, have accused the Federal Government of failing in its constitutional mandate to secure citizens which has negatively affected economic activities.
The governors said that the spike in poverty level among the citizens was a consequence of the rising insecurity on commercial and agricultural activities.
According to them, the failure of the government at the centre to clamp down on non-state actors had permitted “bandits, insurgents, and kidnappers to turn the country into a killing field”.
This was contained in a statement issued by the NGF Director of Media and Public Affairs, AbdulRazaque Bello-Barkindo.
The statement followed the accusation by the Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Clement Agba, that the 36 state governors were to be blamed for the increasing poverty rate in the country.
The NGF argue that they have made enormous progress in their respective states through people-oriented projects.
The statement read, “It is important to put on record the progress made by state governors in the administration of their states, which have witnessed tremendous progress in recent times. Governors have undertaken projects where they, in conjunction with their people, deem them fit for purpose.
“This dereliction of duty from the center is the main reason why people have been unable to engage in regular agrarian activity and commerce. Today, rural areas are insecure, markets are unsafe, travel surety is improbable and life for the common people generally is harsh and brutish.
“The opinion, therefore, of one minister, based on a survey of 56,000 households in a country of 200 million people can never diminish the good work that 36 pro-poor-minded governors are doing for this country.”
“Mr Agba explained that their government, through many of its social security programs, has been dedicating resources to alleviating hardship, and then goes further to accuse state governors of misdirecting resources to projects that have no impact on the people. While rightly pointing out that 72 per cent of the poverty in Nigeria is found in the rural areas, the minister said that the rural populace had been abandoned by governors,” the statement added.
According to the forum, the Federal Government’s claim is “Mr Agba’s veiled and deliberate effort, as a minister, to protect his paymasters and politicise very critical issues of national importance”.
The statement further added, “The primary duty of any government is to ensure the security of lives and property, without which no sensible human activity takes place. But the Federal Government, which is responsible for the security of lives and property, has been unable to fulfil this covenant with the people, thus allowing bandits, insurgents, and kidnappers to turn the country into a killing field, maiming and abducting people, in schools market squares and even on their farmlands.
“How can a defenceless rural population maintain a sustainable lifestyle of peace and harmony when their lives are cut prematurely, and they wallow permanently in danger? How does a minister whose government has been unable to ensure security, law, and order have the temerity to blame governors?
“Under the current administration that Mr Agba is minister, the national cash cow, the NNPC, has failed to remit statutory allocations to states in several months. The situation had compelled governors to rely on other sources of revenue like the SFTAS program and other interventions anchored by the NGF, to fund state activities while monies budgeted for such federal ministries like agriculture, rural development, and humanitarian affairs, are not being deployed in the direction of the people.”