The North-East Governors’ Forum (NEGF) said on Friday that it is planning to launch of a regional commercial airline, and has moved to an advanced stage.
Prof. Babagana Umara Zulum, the forum’s chairman and the governor of Borno State, made the announcement at the start of the forum’s seventh meeting, which was held in Gombe.
In order to increase the sub-regions’ financial independence and assure reduced reliance on statutory allocations from the Federation Accounts, he said that the governors are considering floating the airline, which will be known as “North East Regional Air Shuttle Limited.”
Prof. Zulum noted that significant progress has been made in that area and that the work will be successful once certain financial and technical prerequisites are satisfied.
“The Forum has so far been concentrating on efforts to prioritize and develop our vast natural resources, and other economic potentials to strengthen our financial independence and ensure less dependence on statutory allocations from the Federation Accounts.
“The Mambila Hydroelectric Power Project, for instance, is set to commence as soon as some legal and administrative encumbrances are cleared,” he said.
The governor also appealed to the Federal Government and the National Assembly to incorporate into the 2023 budget, the reconstruction and rehabilitation of many federal roads in the North East region, “which have been in deplorable condition for years.”
Zulum decried that the North East has the least federal budget allocation for roads construction, “and it is fair and reasonable for the Federal Government to inject the needed funds for the construction and reconstruction of federal roads within the region.
“So, on behalf of my colleagues, I am calling on the National Assembly, particularly the Senators and Representatives from the North East Zone to, as a matter of urgent priority, include the repairs and construction of network of federal roads within the zone, in next year’s budget, in order to achieve some semblance of parity with other zones of the country.”
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