Dr Zakka Bonat of the Department of History, Kaduna State University (KASU) has applauded the proposed allocation of N125 billion in the 2018 proposed budget to fund capital projects in the Niger Delta. Bonat gave the commendation in an interview with the Newsmen on Thursday in Kaduna.
He, however, called for proper monitoring of spending in the area for any meaningful development to be achieved. The lecturer noted that while huge resources had been allocated for various projects in the Niger Delta, the area ‘’is still plagued with poverty, militancy and environmental degradation.’’ President Muhammadu Buhari had on Tuesday, presented the 2018 budget to the Assembly put at N8.612 billion. In the budget, N53.89 billion was earmarked for Niger Delta Ministry and N71.2 billion for Niger Delta Development Commission for capital projects.
According to the don, Nigerians, especially those from the region should be interested in what is happens to the funds allocated to the region, if developmental challenges in the area must be addressed. “You will recall that N34 billion was allocated to Niger Delta Ministry and N61 billion for Niger Delta Commission in 2017 and the allocations have increased in 2018.
“Nigerians should be interested on how these funds are being spent by demanding accountability from the leaders, with a view to ensuring that monies are spent where they are required. “Since the country still depends on oil revenue to funds its budget, then the security, development and environmental protection and regeneration in the Niger Delta should be the interest of all,” he said. Bonat advised the Federal Government to allocate more funds for productive capital investment, to drive the economy, boost productive activities and create jobs.
He also said that the allocation of N818 billion for the power, works, housing and transport showed that a lot of funds would be spent on construction. “For example, about N300 billion would be spent on construction and rehabilitation of strategic roads. But my worry is that the quality of road construction is very low in this country. “Roads that last for about 50 years in other countries after construction only last for about five years in Nigeria. ‘’This is why we are not progressing because we keep spending resources on the same thing year in year out. The lecturer urged government to pay attention to quality of job.