South-south Govs Set to Reposition BRACED Commission for Devt

South-south Govs Set to Reposition BRACED Commission for Devt

Blessing Ibunge in Port Harcourt

Governors from the six states of the South-south region have expressed their commitment to reposition Bayelsa, Rivers, Akwa-Ibom, Cross River, Edo and Delta (BRACED) Commission for the socio-economic development of the zone.

THISDAY recalled that the BRACED Commission was initiated by governors from the South-south zone to serve as the brain-box for the collective development of the six states in the zone.

Meanwhile, the governors, including Siminalayi Fubara (Rivers), Umo Eno (Akwa-Ibom), Douye Diri (Bayelsa), and Monday Onyeme (Deputy Governor, Delta) pledged the commitment for the development of the zone during their regional meeting yesterday, which was hosted by Governor Godwin Obaseki in the Government House in Benin-city.

During the meeting, Obaseki emerged as the newly elected chairman of the commission.

In a communique read at the end of the meeting, it noted that the governors of the six South-south states were poised to reposition the commission after a long period of inactivity.

The governors stressed that the original goal of the commission was to promote regional socioeconomic development and integration that will be mutually beneficial to the states which they are determined to sustain.

They also noted the urgent need for a review of the Nigerian Constitution such that more powers, resources and responsibilities are devolved to the states for faster economic growth and development, security and peaceful coexistence.

The governors stated that the council has an obligation to properly position and strengthen the commission to enable it accomplish the region’s desire to foster economic cooperation and integration among states of the South-south, noting that the region, its people, and the country will be the ultimate beneficiaries.

The communique further stressed that the challenges of the commission were surmountable and asked member states to join hands in addressing the problems as quickly as possible to enable the region restart and accelerate its journey towards economic cooperation and integration.

The governors further resolved “to foster regional economic cooperation and integration with a view to achieving sustainable development through the creation of a strong regional economy for the collective benefit of the people of the South-south region.

“Establish and inaugurate the BRACED Business Council in order to forge closer partnership with the council to improve the business climate and attract investors and businesses into the region.

“To collectively engage the federal government on the development of key infrastructure in the region, particularly roads, rail development (fast train from Lagos to Calabar), the decentralisation and rehabilitation of the seaports in the region as well as the management of security in the country.”

The governors also resolved “to direct the Commissioners for Environment and Attorney-Generals of the states to meet and collectively examine the feasibility of a regional environmental law and environmental blue carbon partnership for the protection of the mangroves forest ecosystems of the region, and to work with the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria for the benefit of the region.”

In a brief report, the Director-General of the Commission, Joe Keshi, stated that since inception, the rationale behind the establishment in 2011 has been to improve agriculture, education, environment, power, security and utilisation of sports to empower youths of the region.

He, however, noted some challenges of the commission, and urged the commission to take prompt actions to address the various issues affecting it.

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