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Road, Rail, Port Top BRACED Agenda As Obaseki Hosts Commission

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Move to forge better regional economic bloc gained fillip after meeting of BRACE Commission where Edo State governor, Godwin Obaseki, emerged chairman. The commission is made up of the Niger Delta States of Bayelsa, Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Cross Rivers Edo and Delta, hence, by implication, Edo will remain chairman even at the expiration of Obaseki’s tenure later this year.

Speaking at the meeting of the commission where governors of the state were present in Edo, BRACED agreed that there is need to urgently it to streamline basic areas of cooperation and present a common front to negotiate with federal government.

“We have agreed to collectively engage the Federal Government on the development of key infrastructure in the region particularly roads, rail development and the decentralization and rehabilitation of seaports in the region as well as management of security in the Country at large.

We have agreed to collectively engage the Federal Government on the development of key infrastructure in the region particularly roads, rail development and the decentralization and rehabilitation of seaports in the region as well as management of security in the Country at large,” the commission said in a communiqué after the meeting, read by Governor Obaseki, host of the occasion.

The meeting held at the Edo State Government House, in Benin City and had in attendance Governors Douye Diri of Bayelsa; Sim Fubara of Rivers; Umo Bassey Eno of Akwa Ibom, and Sheriff Oborevwori of Delta State, represented by his Deputy, Monday Onyeme.

The Commissioners of Budget and Planning from the six States were also in attendance.

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The host, Governor Godwin Obaseki, was elected as chairman of the Commission at the regional meeting which was held behind closed doors.

Addressing journalists after the meeting, Chairman of the Commission and Edo State Governor said the meeting which was the first in the new dispensation, became necessary to address and proffer solutions to the critical challenges facing the region.

In the communiqué, Obaseki said the meeting was held at a critical time in the history of Nigeria as the country faces enormous challenges.

“It’s against this background that the South-South region must redefine its place and roles in the economic development of Nigeria and for the benefit of our people.

“The Director General of the Commission made a presentation briefing the members of the work done by the Commission since it came into inception, briefing the Commission of work done in the areas of agriculture, power, education, environment and sports.

“The Council members spoke of the compelling need to collectively accelerate the development of the States and affirmed their support for the imperatives of the South-South economic cooperation and integration as a practical step towards the creation of a zone of economic development.

Arising from this, the Council expressed determination and commitment to drive the process for cooperation and integration in the zone and pledged to address the challenges faced by the BRACED Commission.

The communiqué further reads, “Accordingly, the Council resolved as follows: To foster regional economic cooperation and integration with a view to achieving sustainable development through the development of a strong regional economy for the collective benefits of the people of the South-South and invigorate the process of regional economic cooperation and integration.

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“To establish and inaugurate the BRACED Business Council. This Council should endeavor to forge a closer partnership with the business council and utilize it to provide an improved business climate to attract businesses and investors into the region.

He continued: “To engage the NDDC to ensure its activities benefit the BRACED States.

“To direct the Commissioners of Environment and Attorney-General of States to meet on climate issues affecting the States, particularly mangrove swamps.

“To forge a closer and cordial relationship with other regions for the creation of economic corridors that will be beneficial to the region.

“To pledge our commitment to work with the President of the Federal Government of Nigeria to improve the standard of living of the people of the South-South region. The Governors commit to work with and support each other for the purpose of improving the well-being and welfare of the people of the South-South.”

Obaseki added, “Finally, we directed the DG to take steps to implement all the decisions that we took today and report back to the Council before our next meeting in March 2024 in Bayelsa State.”

 


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