The Northern Elders Forum (NEF) has written to President Muhammadu Buhari in a 10-paragraph letter, alleging that the 2016 Budget lacks equity and that their region was short-changed in the budget.
In the letter, the forum claimed that the North was being marginalized under the current government, stressing that Buhari needed to allocate massive projects to the North in the next three years to ensure that the economy of the area is enhanced.
The letter endorsed by elder statesman, Ambassador Yusuf Maitama Sule, read: “We convey to Mr. President our sincere felicitations and pray God to continue to guide you as you steer our national affairs through these difficult times. We have consulted a broad spectrum of opinions in the North, and decided to meet with you and present advice and suggestions that will assist your administration. This is our token contribution to your efforts, and it is made with sincere intention to assist you”.
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The forum maintained that government’s spending on recurrent aspect of the budget was also skewed against the North, alleging that 75 per cent of the civil service was made up of citizens from the three geo-political zones in the South.
They also said, “We advise Mr. President to review the proposed allocations in consultation with the National Assembly. We wish to draw Mr. President’s attention to the fact that over 75 per cent of all federal government public service employees are from the three geo-political zones in the South. This means that virtually the same percentage of recurrent spending will go to Nigerians from the South”.
The letter concluded with, “Finally, we advise Mr. President to flag agriculture and water resources and exploitation of the North’s natural resources and rehabilitation of its infrastructure as priorities for the budgets of the next three years.”