By John Okon
President Muhammadu Buhari has urged the 36 states government to join hands with the Federal Government to fight the common challenges of insecurity, poverty and unemployment ravaging the country.
He made the plea at the inauguration of the National Economic Council, NEC, in Abuja on Thursday.
He congratulated the Council for what he considered very significant progress in the last fours years during which it held, “an unprecedented total of 38 meetings and setting up 10 Ad-Hoc Committees to address various issues of national concern with a total of 173 resolutions, cutting across eight areas, namely; Agriculture and Solid Minerals; Investments Promotion and Industrialization; Monetary and fiscal stability; Infrastructure; Health and Education; Revenue Generation; Security and Support for States.
According Buhari, while the resolutions were designed to energize the various sectors of the Nigerian economy to which the eight areas relate, “the NEC resolutions are either implemented already or at different stages of implementation across the country.
“I therefore urge the NEC Coordination Team to press forward with key initiatives that will strengthen the implementation mechanism, enhance cooperation across States and further promote joint deliberations, peer learning and experience sharing, under a very strong Monitoring and Evaluation Framework, “he said.
He urged them to pay “special attention to the four major issues of security, education, health and agriculture in the coming years of this tenure. As you are no doubt aware, our successes in these four areas will go a long way in lifting our people out of poverty and secure our future for sustainable growth and development.”
Called for cooperation among the three tiers of governments in resolving the grave insecurity to life and property posed by “the remnants of terrorists, bandits and other criminals across the country.”
He harped on the need for governments at all levels to heed and comply with the dictates of the relevant portions of the Constitution, such as Section 18(3) of the 1999 Constitution as amended which “places on all of us here an obligation to eradicate illiteracy and provide free and compulsory education. Section 2 of the Compulsory, Free Universal Basic Education Act provides that every Government in Nigeria shall provide free, compulsory and universal basic education for every child of primary and junior secondary school age. “
He said the Federal Government would continue to sustain its school feeding programme and urged state governments and local governments, through state coordination, to key into the Universal Basic Education scheme by providing relevant materials and equipping teachers for the job. The governments, he said, can cooperate to reduce poverty in the land through participation in the FG Basic Healthcare Provision Fund, mechanisation and agro-allied industry, both by government and the private sector, increased internally generated revenues, improved VAT collection and ensuring that broadband infrastructure is made available all over the country.