Bandits killing people in ‘very insignificant percentage of our land’: Gov Bago
“Yes, we cannot shy away from insecurity. It is a reality, but what percentage of our land is affected? Very insignificant,” the governor explained. “Lives are being lost.”
Governor Mohammed Bago while admitting that insecurity is “a reality” in Niger has downplayed the atrocities of bandits in the state, claiming that a “very insignificant” percentage of the state is affected by the armed criminals.
Mr Bago pledged to pursue development initiatives and inject fresh ideas, policies and programmes in the state to advance the welfare of the people of Niger.
Mr Bago said this at a Sunday dinner hosted in honour of the House of Representatives press corps in Minna. He said Niger was endowed with vast human and natural resources, with no justification to remain economically challenged.
He expressed his commitment to harnessing these resources for the betterment of Niger residents. The governor acknowledged that Niger has faced challenges, especially in protracted insurgency but assured that his administration has developed strategies to address insecurity.
Mr Bago promised to continue to pursue development initiatives, adding that Niger “is the largest” state in terms of the landmass in Nigeria, with over 76,300 square kilometres of arable land.
“We also possess four Hydropower dams, including Kainji, Jeba, Shiroro, and Zungeru. Our state boasts unique attractions such as the Shagunu beach, Zuma Rock, and more,” stated the governor.
The governor underscored the need to reshape Niger’s image beyond security concerns, saying, “What people understand about Niger state is the insecurity and insurgency.
“Yes, we cannot shy away from insecurity. It is a reality, but what percentage of our land is affected? Very insignificant,” the governor explained. “Lives are being lost, and we are working assiduously to ensure everyone lives well in Niger state and Nigeria.”
Mr Bago also addressed the impact of fuel subsidy removal by announcing an agreement to purchase 200 compressed natural gas buses.
According to him, these buses will provide free transportation for students and at subsidised rates for civil servants. He said his administration had initiated road construction projects totalling approximately 566 kilometres while expressing his ambition to transform the state’s infrastructure.
“We are so ambitious, and by the grace of God, we will achieve our goals,” stated Mr Bago.
The governor emphasised the forthcoming Green Economy Summit hosted by his government, aiming to leverage the state’s potential. He said Niger, with its abundant shea trees and extensive forests, is uniquely positioned to benefit from the green economy.
He stressed the importance of conserving the environment and harnessing resources sustainably.
Regarding Niger’s status as a leading paddy rice producer, Mr Bago highlighted plans to collaborate with rice mills, particularly the Gerawa Rice Mill, to boost the local rice industry and empower farmers.