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Amaechi under fire in National Assembly accused of bias in railway construction

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Minister of Transport, Rotimi Amaechi
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The The National Assembly joint Committee on Land and Marine Transportation have accused the Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi of bias in railway lines construction across the country.

The joint Committee frown at the proposal of the Minister of Transport, Chibuike Amaechi for no constructing standard rail gauge for Kano-Maradi in Niger Republic while constructing old narrow gauge for other parts of Nigeria.

The protest was sequel to the presentation of 2022 budget proposal before the Joint National Assembly Committee on Marine Transport.

Amaechi said “Construction of the 284 kilometers Nigeria-Maradiv (Niger Republic) standard guage, rail line enabling interconnectivity with countries in the West Africa sub region for the promotion of trade and commerce”.

“This important contribution by Nigeria would be mutually beneficial by adding to the economic growth of the two countries, Niger and Nigeria”

Chairman of the Senate Committee on Marine Transport, Senator Danjuma Goje and House Committee Chairman, Hon.Pat Asadu kicked against the marginalization of other regions of the country in the construction of rail lines.

Both Chairmen queried the Minister why not constructing uniform rail lines across the country instead of giving Kano-Maradi modern standard rail line and constructing old narrow Rail line to other regions.

The Chairman Committee on Port, Hon Pat Asadu who opened the floor after the Minister presented its budget to the Committee asked why constructing Modern rail line for one place and constructing old rail lines to other parts of the country.

He queried, “Why won’t you construct narrow gauge across the country so that we can develop equally. I can’t sit down and approve this. These are done with such impunity, my heart bleeds .This had been reoccurring.”

The Senate Committee Chairman on Marine Transport supported the observation of Hon. Asadu.

He asked, “why you will give us old rail line and spending a lot of money procure through foreign loans to construct standard gauge to Maradi in Niger Republic”.

Ameachi while responding to issue raised by the committee members said that difference between the Narrow gauge and Standard gauge is speed adding that the country may not get the money to construct standard gauge across the country.

He said that the negotiation for loan for the construction of Kano- Maradi standard gauge line is about to be completed.

On the economic justification for constructing the $1. 3bn Kano-Maradi rail, Ameachi said the project was not based on sentiments but economic benefits for the country.

He said on completion of Kano-Maradi and Kano to Lagos railway, all national cargoes from Niger Republic, like uranium and gold, would be moved through Nigerian sea port from that corridor.

This, he said, would translate into huge economic benefits for Nigeria.

“What I will do before leaving office is to ensure that we move from verbal agreement with the government of Niger to written agreement,” he added.

He also clarified that his ministry was yet to get money for Kano-Kaduna, Port Harcourt-Maiduguri railway projects. “The only money we have gotten is $1.4bn for Lagos-Ibadan rail project,” he said.

In his opening remarks, Senator Goje emphasized the important of marine Transport across the globe saying Marine Transportation is an essential components to the world economy as over 90 percent of the world trade is carried by sea and it is the most effective way to move huge volumes of goods and raw materials around the world .

 

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5000 LAGOSIANS GET FREE HEALTH INSURANCE ON SANWO-OLU’S BIRTHDAY

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Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu
Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu
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No fewer than 5000 Lagosians are to be enrolled in the Ilera Eko Social Health Plan – courtesy of the Lagos State Executive Council.

The gesture is to celebrate Governor Sanwo-Olu’s 57th birthday on June 25 and in the spirit of his compassion for the indigent and vulnerable.

Beneficiaries will have access to quality health care services and drugs under the ILERA EKO Standard Plan at no cost to them.

Nominees will be selected from the Lagos State Social Protection Register. An equal number of the 5000 eligible beneficiaries are to be selected from the five IBILE divisions of the State and will enjoy Universal Health Coverage.

These beneficiaries have been identified using a multi-dimensional poverty index tool, which includes the poverty means-testing to ensure accuracy, reliability and validity of the data generated.

ILERA EKO is the State Social Health Insurance Plan managed by Lagos State Health Management Agency (LASHMA), which offers the basic minimum health plan that provides quality and affordable healthcare for all Lagos residents, especially the middle and low-income earners as well as the vulnerable.

Services on the Plan include: General consultations; Specialist Consultations; Management of uncomplicated chronic diseases (Diabetes, Hypertension, Asthma); Maternal and Newborn Care; Normal Delivery and Caesarean Section; Dental Care (with Composite filling) and Eye Care, including glasses.

There are also minor and major surgeries; laboratory tests and scans; HIV/TB Testing services; Emergency Health Services; Cancer Care and the provision of prescribed drugs.

A policy cycle under the ILERA EKO Health Insurance Plan runs for 12 calendar months in which an enrolee’s policy is due for renewal before the 25th day of the 12th month to enable such subscribers have access to care the next month (Start of renewed policy cycle).

The selected beneficiaries will commence access to care from July 1, 2022.

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Senator Ike Ekweremadu, Wife remanded as UK Court denies them bail

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Senator Ike Ekweremadu and his wife
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An Uxbridge Magistrates’ Court in the United Kingdom did not grant bail to Ike Ekweremadu, former Deputy Senate President, and Beatrice, his wife, who were apprehended over attempted harvesting of organs.

It was gathered that the Nigerian couple was detained by the Metropolitan Police when they tried harvesting an unnamed child’s organs.

When the Senator was arraigned on Thursday, the court refused to grant him bail but ordered that he should be remanded till July 7

The Metropolitan Police while confirming the arrest said in a statement that the pair were charged to court on Thursday following an investigation by the police’ specialist crime team.

“Beatrice Nwanneka Ekweremadu, 55 (10.9.66) of Nigeria is charged with conspiracy to arrange/facilitate travel of another person with a view to exploitation, namely organ harvesting,” the statement read.

“Ike Ekweremadu, 60 (12.05.62) of Nigeria is charged with conspiracy to arrange/facilitate travel of another person with a view to exploitation, namely organ harvesting.

They have both been remanded in custody and will appear at Uxbridge Magistrates’ Court later today.

“A child has been safeguarded and we are working closely with partners on continued support.”

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Conditional Cash Transfer: Lagos flags off distribution of ATM card, activation pins

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Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu
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Lagos State Government on Thursday flags off distribution of ATM cards and activation pins to beneficiaries in continuation of conditional cash transfer programme.

Speaking at the event which took place at Agege Local Government, Agege, Lagos, Commissioner for Wealth Creation and Employment, Hon.Mrs. Yetunde Arobieke, appreciated the Federal Government through the National Cash Transfer Office(NCTO), under the Office of the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development (FMHADMSD), who has the mandate to develop humanitarian policies, provide effective co-ordination of national and International Humanitarian interventions, ensure strategic disaster mitigation, preparedness and response and manage the formulation and implementation affair, focused social inclusion and protection program in Nigeria.

She recalled that she was elated that CCT beneficiaries in Lagos State have received the bi-monthly cash stipends from the programme and have been availed with the much needed capacity skills through the Savings and Group Mobilisation (SGM) training, which have been in no small measure of immense benefits to their livelihood, which culminated in the result of the success stories that have been shared across the targeted LGAs /LCDAs.

“It would be recalled that the Federal Government in partnership with the World Bank, established National Social Safety Nets Project (NASSP), have played a pivotal role to help end extreme poverty and promote shared prosperity with a view to ameliorate the lives of the citizenry. The NASSP Project Development Objective (PDO), is to provide access to targeted transfers to poor and vulnerable households under an expanded National Social Safety nets system”, Arobieke said.

She further maintained that the National Cash Transfer Office under NASSP, was given the mandate to implement the Federal Government conditional cash transfer, also known as Household Uplifting Programme.

“The programme since inception has successfully paid beneficiaries via transparent and accountable means that enables the NASSPS programme pay beneficiaries at their doorstep through Payment Service Provisions (PSP)”, Arobieke said.

She also acknowledged the President, Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari and the Governor of Lagos State, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, for being a father of the nation and as well as a proactive governor for putting the programme in place with his audacious vision of lifting 100 million people out of the poverty net in Nigeria .

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