This Day (Lagos)

Nigeria: Insecurity - Guard Against Loopholes, Minister Urges South-East Leaders

Umuahia — Minister of information, Mr. Labaran Maku, saturday called on the South-east geopolitical zone to guard against creating any loophole that could create insecurity in the region in order not to interrupt the ongoing development in the region.

He gave the advice at a citizens' forum held in Umuahia, Abia State capital, to cap the National Good Governance media tour of the state, saying the North was already paying dearly for security lapses that have plunged the region into violence and pushing development backward.

Recalling the security challenges that Abia encountered in 2010, Maku noted with satisfaction the manner it was handled by the state government in collaboration with the federal authorities, adding that the prevailing peace and security in Abia has become a reference point and solid foundation for development to thrive.

The minister noted that while a lot has been achieved in terms of execution of developmental projects, such achievements would not be possible in a state of insecurity, adding that "the North is crying today because of what terrorism has done to the region."

He described security as the "intangible that makes development possible" hence every state governor must see it as a very important ingredient of development. Maku therefore advised other state governors to take a cue from Abia State governor, Chief Theodore Orji, on the effective way of handling insecurity problem.

He lauded the state governor for the completed and ongoing people- oriented projects across the state, especially the new Industrial Market and youth empowerment projects that provided avenue for employment generation.

Minster of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, said that so many projects have been done in Abia through the collaborative efforts of the state and the Federal Government, adding that more projects have already been planned.

"This year, 2013 is a year of delivery for the Federal Government and also for Abia State government given that we know we can do more and we plan to do more," she said. There was a general verdict of good collaborative performance between the Federal Government and Abia State Government in the execution of developmental projects as members of the tour team, who spoke expressed their satisfaction at the level of development in Abia.

President of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Mohammed Garba, said he was convinced that "there is good governance in Abia", adding that the projects on ground "are viable and of high standard and I believe the projects will change the face and image of Abia".

President of Radio, Television and Theatre Arts Workers union (RATTAWU), Yemisi Bamgbose, corroborated his NUJ counterpart, saying the projects in Abia are wonderful and people oriented but he advised the government to give attention to arts and culture.

Governor Orji used the occasion to answer questions posed by citizens on issues of development in the state.

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