What Has Changed in Plateau in One Year?

Victoria Ojiako 

 It has been a year of good tiding for citizens of Plateau State since the State Governor, Caleb Mutfwang took over the reins of leadership on May 29, 2023. Despite the initial challenges due to the distractive court case and insecurity, the Governor remained focused on delivering on the social contract he has with Plateau citizens who voted for him overwhelmingly. 

 As he clocked a year in office last month, citizens testified that Plateau has moved forward in the last year compared to what was obtained in the recent past. From transport to health to education, to road network, among others, the Governor has spread development to the admiration of all. 

 In the transport sector, Governor Mutfwang introduced the Tin City Metro project to address the transportation needs in the urban centres with 15 units of modern MAN-Diesel buses. 20 units of Toyota Sienna vehicles were purchased and branded with security features and trained new drivers for the Jos-Abuja route. 

20 units of 14-seater Toyota Hiace buses were refurbished and fully equipped with enhanced security features like; tracking devices with audio-enabled devices and launched into service. In the health sector, to ensure a centralized body to oversee the procurement, warehousing, distribution, and monitoring of drugs and medical supplies in the State government-owned hospitals and clinics, Governor Mutfwang revived the comatose Plateau State Drugs and Medical Commodities Agency (PS-DMCMA) to ensure the availability, accessibility, and affordability of essential drugs and medical commodities. 

 To improve the aesthetics and tourism potentials of the State, the Governor has begun revamping abandoned monumental buildings dotting the State which have become eyesores. He stated, “We need to do something to rescue these buildings and make sure that their dignity is restored and we also put the buildings to very effective use. We cannot allow government assets to keep wasting.” 

 Insisting on the need for everyone to make the land of Plateau green through agriculture, he directed the cultivation of 900 hectares of land for farmers in Mangu, Riyom, and Barkin Ladi local government areas of the State; distributed N3.6 billion worth of fertilizer for dry-season farming. To drive the agroforestry, the administration also introduced the Coconut and oil palm plantations. 

 The gains in gardening are also being harnessed as florists are engaged to expand horticulture and floriculture to increase the export potential of the State. With the determination to create road networks across the 17 local government areas of the State, the Governor directed the resumption of construction works across several kilometres of roads. 

 There has been the remobilization and resumption of work on the 6.9km road network from the Rukuba Road Satellite Market-Tudun Wada- Sabon Gari with a spur to Mado; Wildlife Park. Work is ongoing on the 5.65km Utonkon-Nunku-Keana link road with the extension to the Akila Machunga road. Excited citizens appreciate the construction of a 7.14Km road network at Chwelnyap, linking to Three Container, Yan Trailer, Main Market, Sarki Street, St. Michael Street, Dutse Uku, and St. Michael’s Loop behind Baptist Church Nasarawa Gwong. 

 The rehabilitation of the 24.10km road network within Jos South Local Government Area and upgrading of major slum areas within Raku Belleng, Ramun Gyel, Rohol Kak, and Gyel Bukuru totaling 13.5 km in the Jos South LGA and others are ongoing. In the last year, there has been a stable payment of salaries and monthly pension; implementation of Salary Table, implementation of Hazard allowance for Medical Doctors, Nurses, and Health Workers (CONMESS/CONHESS). Lost hope was revived as the Governor approved the payment of gratuities, Death Benefits, and Pension Arrears from 1986 to 2009 and the verification of the next phase of beneficiaries from 2010 to 2018 is ongoing while the minimum pension for retirees has been increased from N5,000 to N20,000.  

In January 2024, the implementation of the upward review of monthly Pension commenced and the implementation of Promotions has also been done to motivate staff. There is a constant payment of Checkup dues to the respective Unions. The payment of Overhead to MDAs has been restored. 

 On Social welfare protection; there has been the establishment of the Gender and Equal Opportunities Commission to drive the processes of the implementation of the Violence Against Persons Prohibition, VAPP Laws, and Child Rights Laws. In education, the Governor ensured Academic Courses are accredited for the State-owned institutions which include the Plateau State University, Bokkos; College of Health Technology, Pankshin; College of Nursing and Midwifery, Vom; College of Agriculture, Garkawa; College of Education, Gindiri. There have also been the payments for 2022, 2023, and 2024 IJMB Examinations for College of Arts, Science, and Technology, Kurgwi; settlement of 2023 and 2024 Law School Students Fees for Plateau State indigenes; 300% upward review of Scholarship for Plateau State Students studying in Higher Institutions in Nigeria. 

 Through the Adolescent Girls Initiative for Learning and Empowerment (AGILE) project, this administration has so far intervened in 170 schools with widespread renovation, WASH facilities, ICT equipment, and school furniture. There has been the renovation of 682 classrooms, drilling of 385 motorized boreholes, construction of 578 VIP toilets, and the provision of furniture, etc. 

 There have also been special grants of over N100 Million which were distributed to 15 secondary schools for projects like Perimeter fences, construction of new classrooms, renovation of blocks of hostels, block of classrooms and provision of wash facilities, and in most cases, work has reached 98% completion, and some have been commissioned by the Governor.

There has been the restoration of employment of 989 Teaching and 200 non-teaching staff to fill existing shortages in manpower in the public schools and a backlog of school fees for six years amounting to Forty Million, Six Hundred Thousand Naira (N40,600,000=00) for Plateau State indigenes schooling at National Mathematical Centre Abuja has been paid. With all these and more in the offing, citizens commend the Governor’s efforts and charge him not to relent in delivering good governance to the people.

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