By; MOHAMMED KAWU, Bauchi
Governor Bala Mohammed of Bauchi State has invited the Dangote Group to be in his state and invest in cement and agricultural production with a view to boosting the economic base of the country.
He explained that Bauchi has the highest deposits of limestones in the Northern part of the country to build one of the biggest cement factories, not only in Nigeria, but in the African continent.
The Governor, who was speaking on Tuesday while receiving a team of Dangote Foundation that was in Bauchi to flag-off empowerment programme for vulnerable women, described Bauchi as a peaceful state where businesses thrive.
He commended the resolve of the Dangote Group to build one of the biggest sugar plantation in Ningi had the proposed Kafin Zaki dam become a reality.
The Governor attributed the inability of the joint Federal Government/Dangote Foundation to construct the multi-billion Naira Kafin Zaki Dam to the fears and aspiration of the down-stream communities in terms of water resources management.
According to him, the resolve of the Dangote Group to build one of the biggest farms for sugar plantation in Ningi would have been realised after the Kafin Zaki Dam would have been built.
Senator Bala Mohammed said that Bauchi has also the best arable land in Northern Nigeria for the Dangote Group to farm, especially with the new federal government’s policy on livestock transformation.
Senator Bala Mohammed commended what he described as historic initiative of the Dangote Foundation conceptualized by Aliko Dangote himself to lend support to the vulnerable women in Nigeria.
He noted that about 20, 000 women in Bauchi State would get about N10, 000 each amounting to N200 million under the cash transfer programme to boost their household income generation, reduce their vulnerability and meet their livelihood needs.
The governor also expressed delight with the distribution template where a beneficiary cannot be short-changed through proper accessibility and delineation, as well as feedback after the distribution.
Speaking earlier, the President and Founder of the foundation, Aliko Dangote disclosed that 1,000 women were drawn from each of the state’s 20 local government areas with each woman receiving N10,000 as start-up capital.
The President represented by Group Executive Director of the foundation, Engineer Masur Ahmed recalled that the initiative was introduced two years ago to empower vulnerable women in the 774 Local governments in the country, saying so far 13 states has benefited including Bauchi.
He described the micro-grants programme as a major component of the economic empowerment pillar of the foundation that provides disadvantaged and vulnerable women to meet their livelihood needs.
Dangote disclosed that apart from the empowerment programme for women, the foundation will introduce schemes and programmes to improve the health of the people by enhancing health facilities in the state.
Alhaji Aliko Dangote revealed that the foundation will also identify and explore investment opportunities that will promote economic activities, thereby providing jobs for unemployed youths in the state.