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BRACED Commission Governors Council urges regional connectivity, security reforms

Subheading: Meeting in Yenagoa, Bayelsa state, governors emphasize infrastructure development and military accountability

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In a pivotal gathering marked by calls for enhanced regional cooperation and security reform, the 12th meeting of the BRACED Commission Governors Council convened in Yenagoa, Bayelsa state on Tuesday, 30th April 2024. Addressing pressing issues facing member states, governors underscored the imperative for improved connectivity and robust infrastructure investment across the BRACED region.

Foremost among the deliberations was the urgent need to bolster regional interconnectivity through comprehensive road, rail, water, and air systems. Emphasizing the significance of infrastructure development, governors urged member states to prioritize projects aimed at fostering seamless movement of goods and people throughout the region.

The council particularly called upon the Federal Government to accelerate efforts on the East-West Road while commending the commencement of construction on the coastal road from Lagos to Calabar. Notably, it appealed for swift initiation of work from the Calabar end to expedite completion, a move pivotal for economic growth and accessibility.

Amidst discussions on economic advancement, the council lauded the establishment of the National Agriculture Fund (NADF) by the Federal Government. Expressing readiness to collaborate with the agency, governors expressed optimism in leveraging agricultural entrepreneurship to propel economic development and ensure food sufficiency across the region.

However, the meeting did not shy away from addressing grim realities. Condemning the tragic killing of 17 military officers, the council extended heartfelt condolences to the bereaved families and called for a thorough investigation to prevent future occurrences. Additionally, it urged a clearer delineation of military missions in the region, stressing the importance of avoiding involvement in non-operational matters and allowing affected communities to resume normalcy.

Commending local initiatives, the council hailed Bayelsa State’s collaboration with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNDOC) to combat crime and promote peace. Discussions centered on expanding such programs to other states, underscoring the collective commitment to fostering security and stability.

Recognizing the role of entrepreneurship in driving economic growth, governors endorsed ongoing efforts to promote financial literacy and skills acquisition, particularly among women and youths. The council directed sustained support for small and medium enterprises, crucial for regional prosperity.

Despite advancements, challenges persist, notably in the power sector. Governors lamented the persistent electricity deficit and called for closer collaboration between power companies and state governments to enact reforms outlined in the new Electricity Act of 2023. Additionally, they urged the Federal Government to undertake a comprehensive review, particularly focusing on transmission infrastructure.

In conclusion, the council expressed gratitude to Governor Douye Diri of Bayelsa state for his hospitality and Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo state for his leadership. Acknowledging the contributions of the Commission and its Director-General, governors affirmed their commitment to advancing the BRACED region’s prosperity and security through collective action and cooperation.

The BRACED Commission was established in 2010 under Article 14 of the BRACED Agreement and signed on June 13, 2011. Its objective is to promote economic cooperation and regional integration, among the South-South States, contributing to the increasing standards of living of the people of the region.

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