Kogi State Commissioner for Rural Development, Hon. Daniel O’Neal Ejigbo, has reiterated the commitment of Governor Yahaya Bello-led administration to fast track rural development across the state.
Ejigbo disclosed this in Lokoja on during an interactive session with members of the Federated Chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Kogi State Council.
Fielding questions from journalists, Ejigbo said the deplorable state of roads across Bassa LGA is of great concern to the state government.
He disclosed that some of the bad roads have been captured in the 2022 appropriation bill that was approved by the state executive council during its weekly meeting on Monday.
He expressed optimism that when passed by the State House of Assembly, the 2022 budget will put smiles on the faces on rural dwellers across the state.
Journalists drew the Commissioner’s attention to the forgotten communities in Lokoja local government area of the state. Newsmen lamented that communities in the interior parts of Lokoja LGA like Kupa, Kinami, among several others, have been “practically abandoned” by successive governments in the state despite being agrarian communities whose products are largely ferried to neighbouring Niger state.
These communities hardly feel government presence as roads connecting them to other parts of the state are not motorable. Also, when these communities experience perennial flood menace, they relocate to Niger state, as there are no provisions for them in their own state.
The Commissioner promised to visit the Kupa and other ‘abandoned communities’ in Lokoja Local Government. He requested that the journalists join him on an assessment tour of these communities. He added that being an agrarian community, Kupa will be an ideal beneficiary of the World Bank RAMP intervention.
“The government is aware of pitiable condition of rural roads. We have issues with transporting our farm produce from rural areas to cities. Governor Yahaya Bello is committed to accelerated rural development and is keen on redressing this so that goods will not perish in our farms,” he said.
He added that state government has entered into partnership with the World Bank to construct and upgrade rural roads.
He explained that Kogi is one of the selected states for the third phase of World Bank’s Rural Assess and Agricultural Marketing Project (RAMP).
Under RAMP, Ejigbo said 503kilometers of asphalt roads will be constructed across the three senatorial districts in the state. Also, over 200 kilometers of road upgrade and river crossing will be executed under the project.
Reeling out the achievements of the state government in the rural areas, the Commissioner said the state government has executed about 28 electrification and 17 water projects in communities across the state.
He described the interaction as the “marriage” between the Rural Development Ministry and journalists in the state in the collective efforts to develop the rural areas and make life comfortable for people at the grassroots.