The president of Islamic Development Bank, IDB, Ahmad Ali has on Sunday, stated that the bank will work in consonance with Nigerian officials to develop a wide range of plan for re-constructing the Northern Nigeria.
Mr. Ali revealed this while in Jeddah, the headquarters of IDB, when he received a five-man delegation made up of governors from the Northern Nigerian States Governors Forum, NSGF.
The group of representatives led by the Borno State Governor, Kashim Shettima, was made up of Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano State, Nasir El-Rufa’i of Kaduna State, Umar Al-Makura of Nassarawa State and Muhammad Abubakar of Jigawa State.
In the words of Ahmad Ali;
“We will work together to come up with a comprehensive and constructive plan to support northern Nigeria. “We will start with education, particularly bilingual education, and other areas such as job creation.
“Before you leave Jeddah, I would like to have a list of your priority areas, from education, power to agriculture and so on.”
The Governor of Borno state, Kashim Shettima, pointed out in his remarks that “poverty wears a northern face,” hence, the reason for their visit to IDB is to inquire into acceptable ways of approaching their challenges ranging from joblessness to low access to education and healthcare facilities despite the surplus stock of resources in the region in order to further improve the quality of developmental activities. As he said, “It is a giant with a feet of clay.”
In his contribution, Malam El-Rufa’i, the Kaduna State Governor, told the president of IDB that there is need for immediate intervention in education, supply of electricity and poverty reduction, in the Northeastern regions as according to him, the most crucial reasons for the insurgency and terrorism is poverty.
The Vice President (operations) of the IDB, Mansur Muhtar, assured the delegation that IDB will do everything within its powers to look into different areas of intervention, most especially in the development of infrastructure which is a major priority in the bank’s 10 year development master plan.
He then appreciated the delegation for paying IDB a visit and expressed his hopes that the visit will assist in fostering a stronger relationship that will help in assembling resources in order to develop the area.
It is a very welcome gesture that those at the hem of affairs in the northern part of Nigeria has finally decided to wake up to the reality of existing needs in the region and address it now. The move by the governors was made just a few months after the Kaduna State University lecturer, Dr. John Danfulani wrote some very demeaning things about the northerners and the alarming number of out-of-school-children in the region. Could it have been their spur?
Education they say is the key to growth and development in any society. According to a report by UNICEF,”Forty per cent of Nigerian children aged 6-11 do not attend any primary school with the Northern region recording the lowest school attendance rate in the country” .This makes it paramount for all hands to be on deck in order to make the necessary investments into the education sector especially in the northern Nigeria as a medium of re-constructing the minds of the young ones, turning it away from acts of violence and terrorism.
Recall that the The Islamic Development Bank Group (IDB), in September, 2015 said it would invest 98 million dollars — about N19.5bn — on Bilingual Education Project (BEP) in Nigeria.
The Northern governors must be commended for taking the bull by the horn and not waiting for the government.