By HILARY Y. KASMI
Plateau State Governor and Chairman of the Northern Governors Forum Simon Bako Lalong has reaffirmed his commitment to broaden the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as well as the Paris Agreement on climate change in the State so as to improve the living standards of citizens.
This was contained in a press statement issued by the Director of Press and Public Affairs to the Governor, Makut Macham, a copy of which was mailed to THE NIGERIA STANDARD in Jos, Saturday.
The statement quoted Governor Lalong saying this while speaking at a round-table discussion on the role of sub-national governments in achieving the SDGs and the Paris Agreement on climate change held on the sidelines of the 74th United Nations General Assembly in New York said that his administration is making serious progress in many of the SDG goals.
The Governor said he has the understanding that the challenge of implementing these crucial programmes is huge, but is determined to see to it that he finds solutions within and outside the country to ensure that the SDGs are fully implemented for the benefit of the people of Plateau State.
He explained the various initiatives of his Rescue Administration that are tailored towards attaining the Sustainable Development Goals that are spread across education, health, human capital development, job creation and infrastructure development.
He said one of the goals that is central to his administration is goal 16 which seeks to promote peaceful and inclusive society for sustainable development as well as providing access to justice for all to build effective accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.
“When I came into office, I was confronted with a state that was ravaged by crisis and we had to settle down to create a peaceful society. This saw us establishing the Peace Building Agency which is the first in the country and one that has become a model for peace initiatives in the country.
“Today, Plateau State has regained its place as the Home of Peace and Tourism and there is more dialogue and conflict resolution and prevention among the various ethnic and religious groups in the State”, he remarked.
The Governor also said that with peace restored, “we have also been able to focus on infrastructural development where we have completed most of the abandoned projects and embarked on new ones that are spread in all parts of the state. There are road, school, hospital and other development projects ongoing in the 17 local governments of the State”.
He also cited some of the SDG complaint initiatives to include the creation of the Plateau Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency (PLASMEDA), which he says has continued to create job opportunities for the youths and women in the state where as many as 50,000 idle hands have been removed from the streets thereby reducing the temptation to engage in crime and other nefarious activities.
Governor Lalong also said the establishment of the Plateau State Disability Commission, Plateau State Primary Healthcare Development Agency, Plateau Rural and Urban Water Agency, ICT Agency and the commencement of the Lalong Legacy Projects are all geared towards ensuring that the government delivers on basic key drivers of the state’s human and economic development needs.
On the implementation of the Paris Climate Change Agreement, Lalong said “Our commitment to the Paris Agreement on Climate Change is aligned to Nigeria’s nationally determined contributions to the objectives of the Agreement through mitigative and adaptive Actions. In this regard, we are working on reducing the emission of CO2, increasing the use of energy-efficient appliances and Machines and increasing the ratio of renewable energy in our energy programme in the State”.
He explained that the Renewable Energy Strategy and a Rural Electrification Plan will energise over 550 communities using Solar Mini-Grid Electrification. The state has already commissioned the first two pilot plants supplying 100Kw to two communities in the state while it has also identified 28 potential Small Hydro-Power points with generating capacities ranging from 1MW to 60MW on the Plateau.