The Senate has urged the Federal Government to improve funding for the Border Community Development Agency (BCDA) to mitigate the communities’ under-development and improve the welfare of people living in border communities.
The call for funding of BCDA was sequel to a motion sponsored by Sen. Sadiq Suleiman and co- sponsored by 21 other senators on the need to pay attention to the plight of border communities in the country.
Presenting the motion at the plenary, Sen. Suleiman recalled that BCDA was established in 2003 by law to cater for the plight and development of border communities in the country, pointing out that the agency has a counterpart funding mechanism on the platform of the BCDA Act 2003 to ensure effective delivery of services required to develop the border communities.
Specifically, the lawmaker explained that the border communities were in dire need of development in areas of infrastructure, health, education, ,water and access roads, lamenting that the BCDA has not been able to cater for the needs of the communities because of insufficient funding.
For instance, the lawmaker cited the unfortunate incident of 84 school children that 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 to prove the sorry state of infrastructure of the border communities
According to him, indigenes of border communities in Nigeria are now at the mercy of other neighbouring countries for their medical and educational needs, harping on the need for comprehensive government intervention in infrastructure for the communities for them to feel sense of belonging in their fatherland.
In his contribution to the deliberation, Sen .Isa Jibril said that there was the need to provide an intervention fund for the BCDA, adding that such fund should however not be tied to state governments given their level of indebtedness currently.
The upper chamber also resolved on the motion by mandating the 21 border states to dedicate 1.5 per cent of consolidated revenue fund and 30 percent ecological fund to the development of border communities.
In addition, the Senate 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 and report on its findings with a view to identifying areas that may require further legislative actions.