President Bola Ahmed Tinubu on Tuesday assured Nigerians and the international community that Nigeria’s economy will soon re-bounce back.
President Tinubu who gave the assurance while flagging off the two-day Green Economy Summit: ‘Sustainable Future: Harnessing Green Assets and Innovation for Niger State’s Prosperity’, organised by Niger State Government in Minna, also pledged unfettered support for the Niger State Governor Mohammed Bago’s Green Economy initiative aimed at unlocking the vast mineral resources across the State.
The President who was represented by the Minister of State for Agriculture and food security Senator Abdullahi Sabi, gave insight into the newly approved solid mineral development policy during the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting held on Monday.
He said: “President Tinubu is also another visionary leader and we are grateful to Almighty Allah for bringing him to serve our country at this point in time. Permit me to say, just yesterday, to show the President’s commitment to the enthronement of a green economy, just yesterday (Monday) at the Federal Executive Council, a new solid mineral development policy was approved.
“And this policy will definitely align and benefit the green economy that you have envisioned for Niger State because the policy is emphasizing on removing all forms of illegality that is desecrating and destroying our environment.
“It also intends to ensure a new principle of resource-use efficiency while allowing people who will want to operate legally to do so in the mining sector. And like his Excellency, the Governor said, Niger State is blessed with a number of mineral elements.
“I want to assure you that the President’s commitment to enthronement of green economy over the next couple of years, will find favour with the green economy vision you have for Niger State.
“Finally, I want to assure you that the President is fully aware of all the difficulties occasioned by some of the difficult decisions that have to be taken at this point in time and his charge is to simply say please pray for us, give us your understanding and as we make this powerful sacrifice, the gains of our sacrifice is just a short minute or short hours away from us.
“Very soon, we shall begin to reap the benefits of these tough decisions, as our economy will re-bounce back and for us food security which is his number one priority, will also begin to get the full attention it deserves,” Mr. President said.
In his address, Governor Mohammed Bago of Niger State who convened the first sub- national Green Economy Summit, disclosed that his administration has “produced its first Green Economy Blueprint, a strategic document outlining a visionary roadmap that will shape our development choices and steer our actions, in alignment with the precepts of sustainability.
“We are using this Summit to present a draft to stakeholders for their review and input, after which it shall be formally launched and applied in the preparation of our appropriation proposals for 2024 and beyond.
“This blueprint is a comprehensive guide that details our vision, objectives, strategies, and actions, designed to transform our state into a beacon of green prosperity that is environmentally sustainable, socially inclusive, and economically robust. It spans across vital sectors, encompassing renewable energy, transportation, infrastructure, agriculture, inclusivity, and tourism. It lays out a detailed plan for sourcing financial support, technology transfer, capacity building, and fostering strategic partnerships in the realisation of our mission.
“This blueprint, in its entirety, is not just a document; it is a clarion call to collective action. It beckons the active engagement and cooperation of all stakeholders, including the government, private sector, civil society, academia, media, and our local communities. Innovative solutions, tailored to our unique context and needs, must be unearthed and harnessed,” he noted.
Speaking further on the blueprint, he said: “We aspire to create a state where its citizens enjoy access to fundamental social amenities and infrastructure that enhance the quality of life. These include top-tier healthcare, access to high-quality and inclusive education, safeguarded lives and property, assured food security, clean drinking water, affordable housing, recreational venues, and opportunities for sports and leisure.
“We envision a state with a sustainable economy, underpinned by substantial agricultural growth, investments in tourism, the utilization of renewable energy, the responsible extraction of solid minerals, fostering innovation, embracing cutting-edge technology, promoting diverse services, establishing free trade zones, cultivating industrial parks, and establishing economic cities as vital hubs for development and employment.
“Furthermore, our vision includes a state boasting state-of-the-art infrastructure, realised through a deliberate urban renewal strategy. This encompasses the development of quality road networks and efficient rail systems, modern urban transportation options, and advanced city surveillance systems.
“This vision aligns with our commitment to establishing a state built on the principles of good governance, characterized by equity, unwavering accountability, a proficient civil service, the maintenance of law and order, a thriving business environment, sound financial governance, optimized internal revenue generation, the application of technology for efficient governance, and inclusive governance and policymaking,” Governor Bago assured.
On his part, former Head of State, General Abubakar Abdulsalam applauded Governor Bago for providing quality leadership since he assumed office.
“Let me go back memory lane during the regime when Governor David Mark was here, I remember coming on a visit to find a policeman in front of my father’s house, he was given a ticket for not planting a tree in his house. I’m glad that Governor Bago is now retracing those steps and he’s trying to see that we annex our green economy in Niger State.
“I want to congratulate you for this effort. Like the other speakers have said certainly we need to do something to go back to green economy. I want to commend you and wish you all the best as we discuss the importance of annexing the green economy.”
While commending Governor Babagana Zulum of Borno State for his service to the people, he commended his support for Governor Bago’s Green Economy initiative, also solicited the people’s patronage for the green economy.
In his remarks, Governor Zulum who applauded Governor Bago’s initiative expressed optimism that the Summit will help in achieving economic transformation as well as employment generation.
“The increasing cost of fossil fuel and indeed carbon emission into our environment is a great concern to the teeming population of Nigeria and the world in general. I’m glad to note that today’s summit is to discuss on harnessing the potentials of the green economy in Niger State.
“It is my very believe that the speakers at this very great summit will do justice to the matter and come up with key recommendations that will ensure utilisation and investment in green economy with a view to promoting growth and development of our own economy.”
Governor Zulum who averred that desertification is encroaching in a fast way, noted that the “only way that we aha get rid of desertification is to invest in renewable energy, which is very important.”
To this end, he called for investment in irrigation technology, sprinkling irrigation, among others with a view to reducing cost.
He also commended Governor Bago’s resolve to send a delegation to Borno State with a view to understudy various development initiatives embarked on by his administration.
While pledging support to partner with Niger State not only in the development of Borno and Niger States, he assured that the partnership will also be extended for the development of the entire Northern Nigeria.
In his address, Senator Sabi while acknowledging the vision of Governor Bago, he applauded his vision to transform the state economy, saying: “the new Niger you have envisioned is already a reality. It’s a reality because you stood on the shoulders of Giants. In life development is progressive, you’ve been a politician, you came in as a youngster, fought your way into the House of Representatives, made a mark for yourself, had a lot of experience while planning on how you intend to come and serve your people as Governor. Allah had answered that prayer.
“Let me the experience you brought shows clearly that you have prepared for this job and Allah has helped you to get this far. I want to congratulate you for taking this very powerful initiative of sending a message that the green economy is a global reality.
“In some few years to come, things will change beyond our imagination. We thank you for putting Niger State the largest state in terms of land mass which means we have potentials to enthrone the largest economy possible, thank you very much for this vision,” Senator Sabi said.
While delivering his goodwill message, a former Governor of Niger State, Babangida Aliyu who showered encomium on Governor Zulum for returning displaced Borno Indigenes to their ancestral homes following the insurgent attacks that ravaged the State, noted that excellent friendship with Governor Bago will ensure that he replicate Green Economy in Borno State.
“Desertification has been on almost annually. When you Niger State in helicopter you go to Agwaari town and some of the local governments bordering Zamfara, you will notice the movement of the desert and unless we arrest it we would end up, many of us have seen Sahara desert, and 2hat it means, so for me I am very very happy with this summit because it means we are serious in governance.
“We are serious in governance by bringing everybody to participate, we are serious in governance because we are concerned with the intellectual need of governance. We are very serious. Unfortunately I pity my Governor Umar Bago because Umar Bago you’re not going to work for 8 years, you’re going to work for 16 years in 8 years.
“But the beauty of it is that, because you have started, you will discover that many people will be behind you to succeed. But I must say something to you, in Niger State, do not be afraid of anything or anybody, if you rely on your God, but respect the Elders but do your job and God will protect you.
He maintained that the “low hanging fruits for this summit is that if the State Assembly is willing, fine, if it is not willing you can have an Executive Order that says every farmer with one hectare, two hectares up to 50 hectares must have a number of trees for the next four years of your first tenure.
“Another way is now to really make sure that farmers are empowered. Those who applied for certificate for farmland, we should quickly do it, not only the taxation itself that will be aware of who is involved and who’s not involved.
“We should go out of our way to set up a Committee that will involve agriculture and other people involved to go out there, through the National Planning, USAID, DfID, all these Development Partners to come tomour aid to assist the farmers in Niger State. Green economy is very important, we cannot go on burning our bush because of rats, we cannot go on cutting the woods because of firewood and many people have been involved.
“At least in my tenure, I was able to identify them and talk to them. Whether they stopped that I will not be too sure, but it is now your responsibility to ensure that our forests are protected and that our cities are well planted with trees. I am very happy anytime I drive in Abuja, when I was the permanent secretary and I brought the idea that we must plant trees everywhere many people don’t know the use of trees. Many people don’t know that anything that you see God has created it is also to help you succeed.
“If there are no trees, there would be no oxygen. Please let us go out and do that. Infact, we can plant not only in the farm, but also in our houses. By the development plan of a city, every house must have at least a tree. All of us, Nigerlite, please this is our own, if we make it good, we will look forward to coming back wherever we are. If we make it bad, we will run away. Some of us we have nowhere to run away to, but Niger State,” he noted.