Stakeholders Laud Buhari’s Infrastructure Development Strides

Stakeholders in Kogi, Niger, and Nasarawa States have lauded President Muhammadu Buhari`s government for its developmental strides.

They spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Buhari`s eight years of leadership in Nigeria.

Dr. George Moghalu, Managing Director, National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) Lokoja, said Buhari`s policies were geared towards the common masses.

He spoke through General Manager, Corporate Affairs of NIWA, Alhaji Jibrin Darda’u.

Moghalu said the projects executed by Buhari’s administration, especially in NIWA, were enormous and human-oriented.

He said that NIWA began to witness an unprecedented flow of different projects, as part of the transformation taking place in the transport ministry when Buhari assumes office in 2015.

“The administration began with shore protection works at Marine Base Waterfront, Asaba in Delta and Ndoni Waterfront in Rivers and maintenance dredging within River Niger in Kelebe in Kogi and Umaisha waterfront River Benue in Nasarawa State.

He said that between 2019 and 2020, NIWA carried out 14 projects for the construction of Jetty at Odekpe, Ogbaru Local Government Area of Anambra, at IIama-Iwopin in Ogun among others.

“This was made possible due to security being provided by the Authority and the advantage of the dredged channel from Ajaokuta to Onitsha which is 162 km, ” he said.

Barr. I.O. Alhassan, Chairman, of Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), Kogi Chapter, said the Buhari administration recorded significant progress in transforming most of the sectors of the economy.

Alhassan highlighted the agriculture, education and health care sectors the Buhari administration performed creditably in the last eight years.

“Today our farm produce like rice, beans, yam, cocoa, cassava are being consumed both locally and internationally unlike in the past.

“Most of the bagged rice you see in the market today is locally produced; competing with the foreign rice thereby generating reasonable income for the farmers.

“Today, we have more Universities and colleges of education aside other Health institutions being established across the country for the education of our teeming youths,” he said.

He noted that the Buhari government also did well in terms of infrastructure, particularly construction of roads and bridges.

“The completion and inauguration of the second Niger Bridge by this administration is a huge success to me.

“I think in a whole, Buhari has tried his best for Nigeria even though more needed to be done in the areas of security, corruption and economy,” the chairman said.

Amb. Idris Muraina, Chairman, Kogi Network of Non Governmental Organisations (KONGONET), said Buhari’s administration made an in-road into infrastructural development and a modest achievement in the agricultural sector.

Muraina said Buhari’s administration, which had pride itself as champion of the anti-corruption crusade had not achieved much in the fight against corruption.

“Under his watch in the last eight years, Nigerians have witnessed the siphoning of large sums of money by individuals in government just as press freedom was largely compromised,” he said.

On his part, Mr. Gbenga Ayeni, Manager, Gasflame Limited, Lokoja, said that in the Oil and Gas Sector, I was able to manage availability of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) even though at high cost.

“But in the area of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG), Buhari did not do well, because before 2015, LPG was not taxable.

“But when Buhari assumed office, his government introduced tax duty on LPG and even back dated the tax duty.

“That is why the 12.5kg of LPG which was sold between N3, 500 to N4, 000 is now being sold between N8, 000 to N9, 000 as the case may be, “he said.

He urged the incoming administration to summon the courage to remove fuel subsidy, if it would resolve the problem of fuel scarcity and privatize our refineries.

Dr Omakoji Oyiguh, former chairman, Nigeria Medical Association (NMA), Kogi Chapter, said under Buhari, the health sector recorded the exit of many medical doctors for greener pasture.

In Niger, Alh. Idris Abini, Chairman, Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN), Niger chapter, scored the administration high in agricultural intervention towards improved production.

Abini said that the Buhari government was able to increase rice production from 3.1 million hectares to 4.3 million hectares across the country.

He said that there was a dearth of reliable data on how much progress Nigeria has made in its “rice revolution”.

Abini said that the FAO said that the development was encouraged by high local prices and input assistance programmes under the country’s self-sufficiency drive.

“Notable in this regard is the Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP) of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), which has extended support to farmers across the country,” he said.

Alhaji Abubakar Yahaya, a rice farmer in the state said that the low quality and high prices of many locally parboiled rice in the country, have continued to dampen the successes recorded in rice production.

“In spite farmers increasing rice productivity per unit area in the past seven years and mills expanding, the quality of many local brands have remained perpetually low, thereby increasing consumer’s preference for foreign varieties.

Yahaya said that the high cost of production, has made Nigerian rice unable to compete favourably with varieties from India and Thailand among others.

“The quality of our local rice production is still an issue. You find stones in some local varieties and many are still not good enough to prepare certain dish,” he said.

Alhaji Shehu Galadima, Chairman, All Farmers Association (AFAN), scored the ABP low because of the bottlenecks associated with the programme that was difficult for local farmers to fulfill and participate.

“Today many of our farmers did not participate in the ABP which is meant for them,” he said.

Galadima said that the Federal Government meant well with the programme but for the implementors, the CBN failed the farmers.

He said that there was the need for the government or implementors of such programme to carry the major stakeholders along.

NAN reports that a 50kg of local parboiled rice sells for an average of N36, 000 for the top brands, while 50kg of long grain foreign rice sells for N34, 000 and short grains for N32, 000.

In Nasarawa, Mr. Ezekiel Baba, a lecturer at the College of Agriculture, Science and Technology Lafia, said the administration had performed well in road infrastructure.

He said that the dualization of Keffi-Akwanga-Lafia-Makurdi road would ease the long suffering of motorists travelling from Abuja to Makurdi.

Baba said that apart from decongesting the highway, it would also address cases of insecurity often recorded on the roads.

He said that the completion of the Federal Secretariat in Lafia, completion and inaugurated of the sub-power station in Akurba, Lafia among others, were a plus for the administration.

He, however, said that the increase in prices of goods and services as well as growing insecurity in some parts of the state was a minus for the administration.

Aliyu Ahmed -Tijani, former Secretary to the Nasarawa State Government commended the President for construction of Loko-Oweto Bridge and the road linking Northern and Southern parts of the country.

He said that the Loko-Oweto bridge has shorten travels from the Northern to Southern parts of the country by six hours.

Ahmed-Tijani said that the women and youths in the state benefited immensely from the administration’s social investments programme of the administration.

Mr Salihu Adamu, Nasarawa State Chairman, National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), said when completed, the ongoing dualization of Keffi-Akwanga-Lafia-Makurdi road would ease the suffering of motorist.

He appealed to the incoming administration to construct more roads in the country to ease movement of vehicles across the country.

Mallam Aliyu Gusau said the recent discovery of oil well in the state would create job opportunities for the people of Nasarawa and Nigeria at large.

“Also the Lafia Cargo Airport taken over by the Buhari administration will also provide jobs when it becomes operational,” he added.

Mr Istifanus Nathaniel said the rail infrastructure put in place by the Buhari’s administration has transformed the transportation landscape of the country.

“If it’s infrastructure I will score the administration 8/10. The Buhari administration has really impressed with physical Infrastructure.

“For the first time our railway began to work and offer Nigerians a veritable option to road transports.

“Without the efforts of the Buhari administration to put in place the railway infrastructure, we won’t be enjoying what we are enjoying today,” he said. (NAN).