Senate urges FG to improve funding for border communities

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The Senate on Wednesday urged the Federal Government to improve funding of the Border Community Development Agency (BCDA) to salvage the plight and improve welfare of Nigerians living in border communities.

The call for funding of BCDA was sequel to a motion on the need to pay attention to the plight of border communities in Nigeria.

The motion was sponsored by Sen. Sadiq Suleiman (APC Kwara) and co- sponsored by 21 other senators.

Presenting the motion at the plenary, Suleiman recalled that BCDA was established in 2003 by law to cater for the plight and development of border communities in Nigeria.

He noted that the agency had a counterpart funding mechanism on the platform of the BCDA Act 2003 to ensure effective delivery of service for development of the communities.

He said that the border communities were in dire need of development in areas of infrastructure, health, education, ,water and access roads.

He said the BCDA had not been able to cater for the needs of the communities because of insufficient funding.

He said that 84 school children were drowned in a river from Bukuro, a border community in Bartuten Local Government in Kwara while going to school in neighbouring border community in Benin Republic.

He said that it was a concern that indigenes of border communities in Nigeria were at the mercy of other countries for their medical and educational needs, among other needs.

He said there was the need for comprehensive government intervention in infrastructure for the communities for them to feel sense of belonging in the Nigeria.

Sen. Isa Jibril (APC Kogi), said that there was the need to provide an intervention fund for the BCDA.

He also said that it would not be advisable to deduct fund due to BCDA from the state governments, given the level of debts by some of the states.

The Senate in its further resolution, however mandated the 21 border  states to dedicate 1.5 per cent of consolidated revenue fund and 30 per cent ecological fund to the development of border communities.

It also mandated its Committee on States and Local Government to carry out a holistic investigation on the level of compliance with the act establishing the BCDA.

Also, the Senate at the plenary considered 12 bills for first reading.

It also considered for second reading four bills for establishment of tertiary institutions.

The bills are Bill for the establishment of Federal College of Education Giwa, Kaduna, sponsored by Sen. Sani Uba (APC Kaduna), Bill for establishment of the Federal University of Gusau sponsored by Sen. Ya’u Sahabi (PDP Zamfara).

Others are Bill for establishment of City University of Technology Auchi , sponsored by Sen. Alimikhena Francis (APC Edo) and Bill for establishment of Federal College of Education, Usugbenu Irrua sponsored by Sen. Alimikhena Francis (APC Edo).

The four bills were referred to the Senate Committee on Tertiary Education and TETFUND for further legislative inputs and to report to plenary in four weeks.(NAN)

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