By David Odama – Lafia
Nasarawa State Governor, Abdullahi Sule has passionately appealed to indigenes of the state to join him and support his administration to further develop the state.
Sule made the appeal on Saturday while speaking as Special Guest of Honour at a one-day conference on harnessing the economic potentials of Nasarawa State for development, organized by indigenes of the state working and residing in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), which held at the Nicon Luxury Hotel in Abuja.
The Governor said indigenes of the state must not wait until they are as rich as Alhaji Aliko Dangote or Bill Gates before they could lend their hands of support towards the development of the state.
“You don’t have to be as rich as Aliko Dangote or Bill Gates to help in the development of Nasarawa State. Once you have the heart of these individuals, you can be able to contribute towards developing Nasarawa State,” Engineer Sule said.
The Governor highlighted the strategy adopted by his administration, the Nasarawa Economic Development Strategy (NEDS), which encapsulates the mission and vision of his administration for developing the state.
Making particular reference to the mining sector, with Nasarawa being the “Home of Solid Minerals”, Engineer Sule called on indigenes of the state to go beyond criticizing the government but to join in and participate towards solving the inherent problems in the sector.
The Governor recalled ongoing agitation by state governors for a review of the template governing the mining sector, as according to him, in spite of years of extracting minerals by mining companies operating in the state, Nasarawa is yet to feel any impact in terms of revenue.
He disclosed that as a result of the agitation, the Federal Government has agreed to set up a committee comprising governors, Ministry for Solid Minerals Development, miners’ association and other major stakeholders, with a view to finding a new template on how concession should be given, on how mining should be conducted.
“Let our work define who we are. With mining, I want your own contribution, that’s why we brought up this fight and I’m also taking it to you. Because some of you are in a position to assist. Please, let us not only criticise, but also let’s work on it,” he said.
Engineer Sule decried a situation where miners in Udege extract tin, columbite and tantalite worth roughly N500m monthly but only give a paltry N1.5m to the community.
Commenting on the advantage of the proximity of the state to the FCT, Engineer Sule was optimistic that if the state focuses on the Karu axis alone, revenue to be generated will sustain the economy of Nasarawa State.
He explained further that his administration was able to break the 17 years jinx during which the Karu International market has remained unoccupied, with most significantly, customers coming from Kano to take up 200 shops in one fell swoop.
The government announced plans to set up a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) to take care of serious investors coming into Nasarawa State and who may not likely accept to deal directly with the government, as well as build a modern bus terminal opposite the Karu International market in order to generate revenue.
Engineer Sule expressed a desire to host an expanded economic summit, where indigenes of the state, as well as others from outside the state, would gather to brainstorm on how to further develop Nasarawa State.
Speaking at the event, Dauda Kigbu, 2019 governorship aspirant and retired Permanent Secretary, Bureau for Public Service Reforms, called on the government to set up a small team of revenue experts to understudy Kano, Kaduna and Lagos states and to bring back their experience to apply it to improve revenue generation in Nasarawa State.
Kigbu equally called on the government to open up the Karu corridor, which will not only boost revenue but attract population movement from the FCT to Nasarawa.
Among those who participated in the conference include, former state governor, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, Minister of State Federal Ministry of Science and Technology, Barrister Mohammed Abdullahi, Secretary to the Nasarawa State Government, Tijjani Aliyu Ahmed, Mr. Mike Omeri, former Director-General of the National Orientation Agency (NOA), Dauda Kigbu, among others.