The Niger State Government, the World Bank and French Development Agency have committed N9.4 billion to the construction of rural roads under the Rural Access and Mobility Programme in the last seven years. Under the tripartite funding arrangement over 403 kilometres of rural access roads were constructed across the 25 local governments of the state. According to the State Coordinator of the project, Alhaji Hassan Baba Etsu who briefed newsmen on the activities of the programme in Minna, the state capital Thursday, the donor agencies involved the funding of the scheme had given the state a pass mark as such approved that it should move to the next stage of the programme which is RAAMP 111. Etsu said the RAAMP would focus more on development of agriculture in order to create employment for teeming Nigerian unemployed youths and those in the rural areas. “This programme will boost employment and food production not only for local consumption but for export” the state coordinator said before adding that so far Niger and Osun states were the two states cleared for participation in RAAMP 111 though a few other states were now being considered. Etsu disclosed that the Niger State Government had decided to carry out the “surface dressing of some of the roads constructed in order to increase their lifespans and accessibility, ” saying that Governor Abubakar Sani Bello had approved the release of N6 billion for the aspect of the project. Some 187 youths were also employed to maintain some of the roads, adding that they were placed on a N20,000 monthly stipends to do the job.
While commending the Niger State Government for being committed to its counterpart funding of RAMP projects, Etsu said that ” very soon movement of goods and services from the rural areas to the urban centres that have witnessed a lot of problems will be a thing of the past. “The construction of these rural roads has increased school enrolment and created more access to health facilities by people in the rural communities of the state” The state coordinator said..