The Africa regional manager, International Road Federation (IRF), Dr Patrick Amoah Bekoe, has lamented that over 85 million Nigerians residing in rural areas are grappling with high unemployment, poverty, income inequalities, high rural-urban migration, poor health care, high maternal and infant mortality rate and among others.
To this end, he proposed the establishment of Rural Development Authority (RDA) to initiate, plan, coordinate and monitor rural development projects and programmes with the aim of bringing the required development in rural areas. He stated this in Abuja yesterday at the pre-investiture colloquium of Engr. Adekunle Mokuolu, as the 31st president of Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE) with the theme, “Strategies for Achieving Accelerated Rural Development in Nigeria”.
Bekoe said that there is a need for an accelerated rural development to stem the tide of rural poverty even as he advocated the adoption of labour intensive public works approach for rural infrastructure development. He pointed out that federal government has prioritised poverty alleviation as part of its developmental agenda in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). On his part, the director, Physical Planning & Development, Micheal Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike, Engr. Chris Chukwurah, called for enhanced rural hygiene and creation of research extension officers.
He suggested that each local government should designate some rural communities as model villages adding that Rural Development Agency (RDA) should be created in each state. Chukwurah lamented that lack of synergy between professional bodies led to large scale rural urban migration, abject rural poverty and wide disconnect between national development objectives and miserable rural reality in Nigeria. While appealing to governments to build modern low cost housing in rural areas, he called on Association of Professional Bodies (APB) to work with NSE for enhanced development. Chukwurah further solicited for appropriate application of technology and synergy within Scientific, Technological, Engineering and Management (STEM) professional communities.