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FEC approves N84.6bn for road, airports’ projects

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President Muhammadu Buhari
President Muhammad Buhari
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The Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved over N5 billion for various contracts in Lagos, Abuja, Kano and Katsina airports.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the meeting of the Council, which was presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja on Wednesday, also approved the dualisation of the Odukpani-Itu-Ikot Ekpene road at the cost of N79.649 billion.

Special adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, and the Minister of Works, Babatunde Fashola, revealed this while briefing State House correspondents on decisions reached by the Council at the weekly cabinet meeting.

Adesina said: “The Minister of Aviation presented a memo for the approval of the award of contracts at the Murtala Mohammed international airport Lagos, Nnnamdi Azikiwe international airport Abuja, Aminu Kano international airport Kano and Katsina airport in Katsina State.

“For Lagos, it is for the expansion of the terminal building at domestic terminal GAT for the sum of N2, 817, 579, 271.99. For the Katsina airport, it is for the expansion of the airport’s apron awarded at N527, 353, 095.12.

“There is also the expansion of Lagos cargo apron areas awarded at N1,982. 943, 242.31.

“Council also approved the expansion of Abuja domestic apron areas at N795, 976, 947.34 and also the expansion of Kano apron area at the cost of N1, 059, 120, 254.37,”

Adesina said when completed, the contracts would go a long way in improving the air transportation network in the country.

On his part, Fashola revealed that the Council approved the dualization of the Odukpani-Itu-Ikot Ekpene road at the cost of N79.649 billion.

According to the minister, the approved contract is in relation to the section from Oku Iboku Power Plant to Abak of about 26 kilometre stretch.

“The Ministry of Works and Housing presented the memorandum for the completion of the dualization of the Odukpani-Itu-Ikot Ekpene road. And this is in relation to the section from Oku Iboku Power Plant to Abak of about 26 kilometre stretch.

“Council approved the award to Messers Sematech Nigeria Ltd for N79.649 billion to be executed over 16 months.

“So, this will help complete the dualization gaps between the one awarded to Julius Berger and the section awarded to CCECC.

“When this is done, motorists in that area will now have an option of the dual carriageway instead of the existing single carriageway.

“And this is in recognition of the heavy cargo that passes through that area from the South-South through to the North Central, Benue through Katsina Ala through to the South East to Abia. It’s very very important trade link for the country.”

Asked to give an update on the 2020 contract award for the same project, Fashola expressed regret that there had been paucity of fund to implement the project.

He said: “Okay, first of all, it’s important for us to have a common understanding of the area – that is the rain forest area of Nigeria, mangrove areas, very high water table and rains in seven, eight months of the year.

“So, when we awarded the first section, from Odukpani-Itu to Julius Berger  in 2016, they could not move to site because of the limited budgetary requisitions.

“So, that slowed down work in that area and they didn’t move to site until 2018.

“And the second section, which was from Abak to Ikot Ekpene was awarded in last year, February 2020. We have had to mobilise some Sukuk resources to the area.

“Sometime last year, you might recall that I was there visiting with the governor, I  actually went twice and we focused first on the link road from Alese Ugep area because that was a very big bad one, that one used to take like, three, four days to traverse a 70 kilometer road.

“Now, we have that under control, resolved, motorable in the first phase to Odukpani. That has reduced the journey time there to less than two hours, from days. So, again, it’s a work in progress.’’

On the recent collapsed of a section of the Lokoja-Kabba road, the minister attributed the incident to natural causes.

He said: “As we go through the rainy season, this is the context in which to locate the Lokoja-Kabba.

“It’s a failure caused by nature and aging. And, again, an opportunity to share with you what we have. We expect that these things will happen, but we don’t know where it will happen every time.”

While noting that his ministry was often unable to respond to such failures, he called for the setting up of a contingency maintenance fund, which he said should have a sizable amount.

“So, we’ve been proposing that Nigeria should have an emergency provision in the works budget, but we haven’t been successful enough.

“There must be a contingency, a sizable sum, because when we see failures, last year, we had a problem like that in Kebbi, where roads were washed away.

“We couldn’t respond because we didn’t have the resources. But we will lean on FERMA.

“Well, traditionally back in Lagos when I was governor, I think we used to provide about five per cent of our capital expenditure as a contingency fund for emergencies. Something between three and five per cent varies across the world,” he said. (NAN)

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Deborah Samuel: NBA Calls For Swift Prosecution Of Suspects, Postpones Conference In Sokoto

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The Nigerian Bar Association has condemned extra-judicial killings in any part of the country, describing them as reprehensible, barbaric and unacceptable.

A statement signed by the President of the bar, Olumide Akpata also called on security agencies to do more to stem these ugly developments, and to ensure that the perpetrators of these heinous acts are made to face the full wrath of the law.

Citing the specific cases of a young man (simply identified as David) in Lagos who was reportedly lynched by commercial motorcyclists around Lekki; and the incident in Sokoto involving the murder of Miss Deborah Yakubu, a 200-level student of Shehu Shagari College of Education, Sokoto by some of her school mates for alleged blasphemy, the NBA asked government to immediately commence the prosecution of all suspects involved in these brutal and arbitrary killings in order to send a strong signal that such acts will no longer be tolerated in Nigeria.

The NBA said it believes that the prompt and effective prosecution of the alleged killers will instill confidence in the citizens, promote accountability, and signpost the government’s commitment to the rule of law.

With particular reference to the murder of Deborah Yakubu and related developments in Sokoto, the NBA said it is worried by unconfirmed reports that the suspects have been charged with mere breach of public peace and called on the Sokoto State Government to immediately rethink its prosecution strategy and file charges that truly reflect the gravity of the situation.

On the demand for the release of the suspects by some protesting youths coupled with assault on innocent citizens, burning of worship centres and destruction of property, the NBA said this is worrisome and clearly a test of the will of the State to fully enforce its laws and foster rule of law.

On its annual conference of the Section on Public Interest and Development Law, SPIDEL scheduled to hold next week in Sokoto, the NBA said, having critically reviewed the current security condition in the state, it has become apparent that it cannot guarantee the safety of participants and accordingly, the Conference has been postponed also as a mark of respect for the memory of the slain Deborah Yakubu.

The NBA urged the State Government to fully collaborate with the Federal Government to initiate measures — and where necessary deploy its coercive instruments — to restore peace and order to the State, safeguard lives and property and dissuade vandalism and impunity.

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Accord Party’s comment on award of Osogbo-Okinni-Ilobu road project, unfortunate, illogical – Osun Govt 

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.…says it took over the project to alleviate citizens’ hardship

The government of Osun has explained that it took over the reconstruction of the Osogbo-Okinni-Ilobu road, which is a Federal road, to alleviate the hardship motorists and other road users face daily why plying the road.

The government said the facility had been in a deplorable condition for so long and it could not afford to allow its citizens continue to suffer on the road, adding that it followed due process in taking over the project.

One of the opposition parties in Osun, the Accord Party had in a statement published accused the State Government of taking over a road project that had already been awarded by the Federal Government.

Reacting to the statement by the Accord Party, Mr Ismail Omipidan who is the Chief Press Secretary to the State Governor, described the party’s claims as unfortunate, lame and illogical.

He said while the contract for the rehabilitation of the road had been truly awarded by the federal government on two different occasions since 2012, no concrete work had been done on the project, a development he said forced the State government to take over the project.

“The contract for rehabilitating the road was first awarded by the federal government 10 years ago, but since then, no significant work has been done on the project that has caused so much hardship for our people who use the road.

“It was for this reason that the Governor Adegboyega Oyetola-led administration decided to take over the project to address the needless sufferings and loss of man-hours on the facility,” Omipidan explained.

He further noted that Accord party should be more concerned on how to sell its candidate to the people of Osun rather than engaging in a futile exercise. “The party’s comments on the take-over of the road project by the State government are lame and illogical,” he added.

Omipidan further said: “Accord Party should simply bury its head in shame. Are they saying we should continue to allow the people of Osun to suffer under our administration simply because the road belongs to the federal government?

“If they were discerning enough and if they had listened to Mr. Governor’s speech on the day we flagged off the reconstruction of that road, I am sure they would not bother themselves issuing a statement that lacks substance.

“Mr. Governor said it clearly in his speech that the road contract was awarded about 10 years ago and that as a state government, even though it is a federal government project, we did everything possible to support all the contractors that have had cause to work on that road. But there was no positive result.

“The argument on the timing of the award of the project is preposterous and ill-judged. A government can award a project contract even a week to its expiration, as long as it is in the overall interest of the State and its people.

“We all know that there are processes to take over federal government project that explains why it took us time to start the reconstruction because we have to complete the necessary paperwork.

“During the Governor’s January broadcast, he stated it clearly that though 2022 is going to be an election year but as a responsible governor, he will not allow politics to over shadow governance, so if anything, the Governor should be commended for walking his talk.

“Hon. Lasun Yusuff, the candidate of the Labour Party in the July 16 governorship contest was on air just on Monday, stating how as a former Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, he facilitated the reconstruction of the road. He explained how some persons who were coming for his event from Lagos had to return without getting to their destinations after spending three hours on that road, so he was happy and even commended the State government for taking over the road project and so, are the immediate beneficiaries of the road.

“The benefiting communities and road users who ply the road will definitely not be happy with the position taken by Accord Party. The party has indeed missed its target as it cannot use this project to attack Governor Oyetola who has only done what the people desire.

“The party should be more concerned on how to sell its candidate rather than engaging in a futile exercise because this indeed is an exercise in futility, the people of Osun know Mr Adegboyega Oyetola very well as a man of his words and somebody who walks his talks. He has promised that he won’t allow politics to overshadow governance. As a matter of fact, we will reel out more road projects in the days ahead.”

 

 

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Death Toll Rises To Nine In Kano Explosion

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Scene of the Kano blast
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At least nine persons have died after an explosion rocked Aba Road in Sabon Gari area of Kano, the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs said on Tuesday.

The bodies were recovered from the rubble of a collapsed building beside a primary school.

The police earlier said the explosion was triggered by gas cylinder and not a bomb as being speculated.

“It is not a bomb explosion, it is a gas explosion,” Commissioner of Police, Sama’ila Dikko, said in a voice recording. “A gas cylinder explosion.

“Because there is a welder, just by the place, and he is the first victim in this situation.”

Dikko added that the police, in collaboration with other security agencies, was also investigating what led to the gas cylinder explosion.

He maintained that the scene was under control.

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