By Prudence Arobani
New York, Aug. 1, 2017 (NAN) The governor of Niger, Alhaji Abubakar Bello says his administration has done a lot in the last two years to provide the dividends of democracy to the people.
Bello told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in New York on Tuesday that his administration inherited huge developmental challenges on assumption of office.
He said that they inherited so many uncompleted projects from previous administrations over the last 16 years but had spent the last two years completing.
“In the education sector, we met a completely dysfunctional system, bad infrastructure and what we are doing is to fix all our secondary schools back to the way we used to know them.
“So we are fixing the whole school system to ensure that we have proper infrastructure in our schools. Having done that, we also appreciate that we needed teachers.
“We have scarcity of teachers both in primary and secondary schools. So, we’re currently establishing three Teachers Training Centres – one in each zone – and a Teachers Training Institute at the Headquarters (Minna).
“This is to get the qualified teachers and to regulate on the teaching practice and to ensure training and retraining of teachers over time.
“We need to, from time to time, upgrade their (teachers) skills when it comes to their profession,” the governor said.
According to him, the state was also carrying out a total overhaul of the state’s health facilities.
“While we renovate the secondary facilities, we are emphasizing more on the primary healthcare because once you have a very functional primary healthcare, then you reduce pressure on the secondary healthcare.
“We have 274 wards so we set up an agency at the headquarters that will regulate the activities of all the primary healthcare agencies.
“We hope at the end of the day to have one functional primary healthcare centre in each ward; it has been a very slow process because of the amount of investment required
“But I have no doubt that is the right position and once that is done, definitely we would see some reduction in terms of pressure on the secondary healthcare facility.”
Bello also regretted that water had been a major challenge in Minna, the state capital but that his administration was presently carrying out a complete renovation of the water works.
“We’ve replaced a few pumps and we’ve ordered some other pumps. By the end of the day, we hope to do complete turnaround maintenance of the water system in Minna.
He said: “there have been improvements in terms of water supply in Minna; we have started seeing water in some areas but unfortunately, most of the pipes have been blocked.
“Some of the pumps have been built on and in some cases, because there hasn’t been water in 10 to 15 years, the moment we release water, most of the pipes burst”.
The governor, however, said the state government had embarked on complete replacement and reticulation of some part of Minna.
“I hope by this time next year, we should be able to address the water situation in Minna, Kontagora, Bida and Suleja towns.
“These are the major urban areas that have been massively affected by lack of adequate clean water. The process has started and hopefully, by next year, we should see some positive results”.
According to him, works are ongoing on existing and new roads across the state to boost economic activities.
“We have tried to repair and maintain existing roads and at the same time, we have tried to intervene towards constructing new ones, especially in the rural areas.
“In the cities, especially Minna, we are trying to ‘resurface’ most of the roads that have been abandoned for many years and that has made movement easy in some areas,” Bello said. (NAN)