VP’s Interactive Session With Stakeholders At Kano Government House
INTERACTIVE SESSION WITH STAKEHOLDERS AT GOVERNMENT HOUSE IN KANO ON THE 13TH OF JANUARY 2020
Let me first thank very much, the Governor of Kano State for very kindly hosting me yet again. Just as the SSG has said, aside from Lagos State where I live and Ogun State where I am from, Kano is possibly the State I have visited the most in this country, so I think I have the right to claim citizenship of Kano.
I bring you very warm greetings from the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari, who as you know, not only regards Kano as his home, but his strongest political base. And I am happy to say that he is extremely excited about the developments going on in Kano State, some of which I am here to see and to commission.
Earlier on today, I went to a few places to commission some of the landmark infrastructural projects that are going on in the State. I earlier commissioned the Alhaji Alhassan Dantata bridge which I’m told is the longest flyover in Nigeria at the moment (2.5 km). We note that it is not the longest bridge yet but the longest flyover, the longest which is in Lagos was built by the Federal Government but this is built by the State Government so this is the longest flyover built by the State Government which is really impressive.
I also commissioned the underpass – the Tijanni Hashim underpass, which is also another wonderful architectural piece and is worthy of celebration. We were there physically to see it, I think it is one of the very important landmarks that will stand out as an infrastructural achievement here in Kano.
I laid the foundation stone for the ??? bridge which is the one right in front of the Murtala Mohammed Hospital. We hope that it will be completed soon. As a matter of fact, we were told it would be completed in three months from now. Every one of the promises that had been made by the Governor about the completion of projects I have found out that he is very accurate about it, so I expect that this should be so.
With all of what we have seen in Kano, the State stands out as one of those States that are keying into the agenda of the Federal Government. And it is important to point this out because one of the most important aspect of our programme is infrastructure. In a few years, as a matter of fact, in two budget cycles, we invested almost N2.7 trillion on capital alone which is the highest in the history of the country despite the fact that we are earning almost 60% less than previous governments. So, there is no question at all that for President Muhammadu Buhari, infrastructure is key.
Of course, you know that one of our signature projects is the Lagos-Kano rail which has gone now as far as Abeokuta and we are hoping that we will be able to complete the Lagos-Kano rail in the shortest possible time. We expect that the infrastructure projects of the Federal Government including the Mambila hydro project, the second Niger bridge and several others, will be completed in our second term. We hope we are able to complete as many as possible before the end of our term.
Infrastructure is key to anything that we intend to do, it is key to resolving most of the pending issues that confront our country, especially the economic issues. We need to be able to connect the economic zones of Nigeria. We need to be able to connect the south, the south-south, the south-east, the south-west to the north. All other areas, all the zones of this country have to be connected in order to realise the economic objectives that we set for ourselves.
But I want to say also that the Kano State Government has also set the pace in achieving the educational objectives that President Muhammadu Buhari has set for us. On June 20th while inaugurating the National Economic Council, the President announced that the Federal Government will enforce free and compulsory education for the first 9 years of the school life of a child. And almost immediately we found that the Kano State under the able leadership of the Governor, launched the free primary education programme for Kano State and I was here to specifically launch the programme. The governor has also shown that there is need for us to be innovative and focused in the education of children – that is the future of our country.
I think the Governor has done exceedingly well, especially with the integration of the Qur’anic schools and with ensuring that they have the benefit of education in Mathematics, English and some of the important subjects along with Qur’anic education. I think that it is very important strategically for us as a country and I am very pleased to see that this is going on in Kano State.
The number of out-of-school children going down is a very important development and we must not overlook it. Sometimes when we hear about out-of-school children, it is the Federal Government that is usually blamed for the situation. But the truth of the matter is that primary education belongs to the States and it is the States that ensure that children go to school. And so, I am pleased to see again that the governor of Kano State has blazed the trail, has shown the example of educating our very young people.
Poverty, as the Governor pointed out, remains one of the major issues that confront our people. And the President again on June 12, made the declaration that it is the intention of our government to take 10 million people out of poverty every year till the next decade, that is 100 million people in ten years.
Now, that may sound ambitious but I must say to you that we are extremely committed to achieving it and we are extremely focused. This explains why we launched the Social Investment Programmes. Any country of our size that does not have a social investment programme or establishes a social safety net for its people will be acting irresponsibly. So, that is the reason why we launched the programmes.
Under that SIP, today we are feeding 9.5 million children everyday as part of our Homegrown School Feeding programme, that of course has a multiplier effect for agriculture and for those who cook the food, asides from the children and those who are connected one way or the other. We have also given out loans in excess to 2million individuals, petty traders under our Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP) that is under the TraderMoni or MarketMoni scheme being done by the Bank of Industry. We have also given Conditional Cash Transfers to the poorest in our midst, assisted by the World Bank, and we are now reaching about a million of such people.
Asides from that, we have engaged over 500,000 people under our N-Power programme so that in every Local Government Area of Nigeria we have our N-Power beneficiaries. These young men and women serve all over the country in the schools, some of them are extension workers in farms.
The SIP is only at its beginning, we are not able to do as much as we want to do now but we must ramp it up and we are doing so. You cannot have a situation in the country where so many are really poor, and it is one of the major concerns of Mr. President, that we must bring people out of poverty, as many as possible, that is why we started giving out the loans to petty traders, the loans to farmers under the Anchor Borrowers’ programme where almost a million farmers have benefitted. We intend to give more farmers under the next phase so that we are able to create another economy around agriculture and the entire agriculture value chain.
It is important for us that Nigerians are taken out of poverty and I am really pleased to find that again, the government of Kano State has always keyed into the SIP and also does several of its own empowerment programmes for many of our people who require the assistance of government.
I want to say again that Kano State remains one of the very best examples of what is going on but in particular, I want to commend you for the peace that has reigned in Kano State. It is very important that you experience peace and I am glad to see that you have also been able to deal with all the issues that you have there and here like banditry, kidnapping and others.
The Federal Government is committed to ensuring that there is peace and security in Nigeria and one of the ways is by the community policing strategy. We expect that when the community policing strategy is fully rolled out, we will experience even greater peace in our country because policing must be local so that local individuals are able to see to the security of their locality.
So, again I want to thank you, your excellency for the warm hospitality and to thank you all very much for making the time to come and we believe very strongly that this State will continue to do better and that there will be greater progress for this State and our country.
God bless you all.