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FEC approves N38.4bn for completion of road projects in 5 States

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By Gistflash News

Sept 15, 2021

The Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved N38.4 Billion for the completion of some inherited road projects in five States of the federation.

Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola made this known when he briefed State House correspondents at the end of the Council meeting, presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday in Abuja.

According to him, the benefiting States include Benue, Bayelsa, Anambra, Imo and Nasarawa.

He added that all the affected projects were inherited from previous administrations.

“They are not new projects, they are projects that we inherited and we are trying to complete. So essentially they relate to cost revision because of the ages of the contracts and the prices of goods that have changed.

“The first one was the contract for a 13.5km spur of road from Onitsha-Owerri road through Okija-Ihembosi-For Ugbor to Ezinifite in Nnewi South Local Government Area of Anambra.

“That contract was awarded in 2011 but wasn’t funded until this administration came in so the contractor is asking us to revise the contract by a review of N488, 980, 891 and an additional completion period of six months and the council approved that review of price and the extended completion period,’’ he said.

The Minister further revealed that the second contract was that of the completion of a 20km road in Bayelsa.

“The Second one is the 20 kilometer dualization of Yenagoa road junction to Kolo and Otuoke and Bayelsa Palm in Bayelsa State.

“That contract was awarded in Dec. 2014 on the eve of the tenure of the last administration and it couldn’t even take off because of militancy issues at the time and also very limited budget provisions.

“It is one of the contracts that we have since activated with the Sukuk Bond.

“So, the dualization is progressing but there is some additional work that needs to be done.

“There are also results of further investigations that support a revision of the contract by N7.947 billion and this was approved by the council,’’ he said.

He said the third contract was for the completion of a road linking Nasarawa and Benue States.

“The third one is the 74 kilometer Nasarawa to Loko Road – that is the road that was awarded, I believe, in 2006, so it’s 15 years today, 74 km and it has not been completed.

This road links the Loko-Oweto Bridge, which we inherited and which we have completed and that Loko-Oweto Bridge links Nasarawa to Benue, across the River Benue and also connects to the Oweto to Oshogbedo Road, which we also inherited, which we have completed.

“The complete lane from Otukpo to Nasarawa ought to be facilitated by this 74km road.

The contractor has struggled with just about five kilometers of it since 2006, and a small bridge.

“So, what we’ve proposed was that instead of going through the long process of termination and all of that, we proposed and Council agreed that the contractor who finished the bridge and the contractor who finished the road, because they were all awarded to different contractors before we came, should join this contractor and take up the remainder.

“So, we’ve limited the contractor who was originally awarded this road to just 10.8,  that’s all he will do.

“So, we’ve awarded 42 kilometers to the contractor who did the Oshogbedo-Oweto Road and we’ve then awarded 21km, which is the part joining the bridge directly, to the contractor who completed the bridge.

“So, all of these totaling a revised project sum of about N30 billion, shared amongst the three contractors,” he said.

The minister noted that the completion of the road would also save travel time for its users, especially those travelling from Otukpo in Benue to Abuja.

“What is instructive is that once we finish this last part of the road, although it is being used now, but is not tarred, commuters are using it because it cuts off three hours from the journey from Otukpo to Abuja.

“Motorists don’t have to go through Lafia, if you climb the Oweto Bridge across the River Benue, land in Nassarawa, you’ll be landing around Keffi.

“So, it’s cutting off 103 from that journey from Otukpo to Abuja, which is about three hours. It used to be six hours plus.

“This is strategic also for providing prosperity, lifting people out of poverty because if the saying that time is money is true, everybody who saves three hours has three hours’ extra productivity and also consumes three hours less fuel and travel time and so on.

“So, Council approved this memo and we hope that sometime next year we can complete that linkage.

“But as you know, those of you who went with me, commuters are already using the road in spite of that path not being complete,” he said.

Also addressing the correspondents on the outcome of the meeting, the Minister of Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu disclosed that the Council approved N10.7 Million as augmentation for the completion of Middle Rima Valley Irrigation Project in Sokoto State.

“The federal Ministry of Water Resources presented a memo to council for the revised total cost of phase II of the construction of middle river valley irrigation project.

“That is the completion of the middle Rima valley irrigation project in Goronyo, Sokoto State.

“This contract was started in 1999 by the military administration then, first phase was completed, comprising 873 hectares.

“The phase II was started in 2007 and that is what we have been struggling to complete. It is also an inherited project.

“The total scope of the phase II is 404,333 hectares out of which about 80 per cent of the work has been done.

“So, this memo is seeking a revised cost of the project, with an augmentation of about N10.7 million so that we’ll be able to finish the project, hopefully before the expiration of this administration in 2023,” he said.

According to Adamu, the project has a potential of generating employment for almost 50, 000 people as well as enhancing food production.

“It’s expected to provide, by the time it’s completely finished, a production of 39,000 tons of rice, 195,000 tons of vegetables per annum and it will generate employment for not less than 47,000 people and their families.

“So, Council graciously approved this memo with an additional completion period of about 24 months.

“Like I said, our target is to try to complete this project by 2023. This is in line with what we’ve been doing since the inception of this administration in my ministry; to complete ongoing, inherited and abandoned projects,” he stated.

The minister said out of the government’s target of completing the 116 inherited projects, 34 had so far been completed.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Council meeting was preceded by the swearing-in of three National Commissioners of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

Those sworn-in include Dr Baba Bila representing the North-East, Prof. Sani Adam, North-Central and Prof. Abdullahi Abdu, representing North-West zone.

NAN

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Northern Youths inaugurate Yahaya Bello Presidential Network

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By Gistflash News

Sept 22, 2021

Youths from Nigeria’s 19 northern states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) have inaugurated a political pressure group that will work for the realisation of the presidential ambition of Gov. Yahaya Bello of Kogi.

Known as the Yahaya Bello Network (YBN), the group said it would be supporting the governor to emerge the nation’s next president in 2023.

The YBN said Nigerian youths wanted one of them as the nation’s next leader.

At the inauguration on Wednesday in Kaduna, YBN spokesman, Bello Mohammed, said gone were the days when Nigerians talked of politics of region and ethnicity.

“We are supporting Gov. Bello not only because he is our own from the north, but because he is young, vibrant and energetic and has what it takes to lead Nigeria to the promised land.

“There are agitations everywhere, but it is not constitutional as politics is a game of number and Yahaya Bello is a man of quality.

“Nigeria’s presidency is something that has to do with quality and has nothing to do with your religion or background,“ Mohammed said.

The inauguration of the YBN comes barely 72 hours after the Northern Elders Forum (NEF) declared that the region would retain power beyond 2023 as it has the voter population to win the presidential election in 2023.

Inaugurating the executives and ambassadors of YBN, Mohammed described the call by the southern governors for power to return to the South as unconstitutional and uncalled for, insisting that politics is a game of numbers.

He said the leadership of his group would embark on a tour of the 19 northern states to canvass support for the candidature of Bello as Nigeria’s next president.

The Special Adviser on Youth and Student Affairs to the Governor, Ahmed Jibril, said it was a good development that Nigerian youths were now coming on board to identify with a youth like them and seek his election to the exalted position of Nigerian President.

“It is only a plus for us as youths to be calling on Gov. Bello to come and be the number one citizen of Nigeria,” he said.

On the agitation for power shift to the South, Jibril said it was part of democracy.

“Everybody has the right to call for what he wants and it is his opinion.

“If people have seen the youth in Gov. Bello, if they have seen a leader and a unifier of the country in him, then he shall be the President by the grace of God because man proposes but God has the final say,’’ Jibril said.

YBN Secretary-General Salisu Mohammed inaugurated the executives and ambassadors of the group, including notable Kannywood actors and actresses.

He called on them to go and spread the message to others in their respective states.

NAN

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INEC begins nationwide display of voters register Sept 24, says Ebonyi REC

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By Gistflash News

Sept 22, 2021

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says it will commence the first quarter display of Voter Register (VR) across the country on Sept. 24.

Dr Joseph Chukwu, the Ebonyi INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), who stated this at a news conference in Abakaliki, on Wednesday, added that the display will run from Sept. 24 and end on Sept.30.

He urged those that took part in the registration exercise to use the opportunity to cross-check their biodata and any other relevant information and make corrections, where necessary.

Chukwu noted that the exercise was sequel to the end of the first quarter of the Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) that began in June.

The REC, who commended eligible voters for participating in the civic exercise appealed to the citizenry to continue supporting INEC’s activities that would lead to credible elections in 2023.

“Following the completion of the online and physical registrations, which began on June 28 and closed by 11.59p.m on Sept. 21.

“The display of voters’ register for claims and objections will hold effective from Sept. 24 to Sept. 30 for the first quarter.

“The exercise will take place in all the 13 local government offices of the commission, including the two centres at the state headquarters.

“The register will also be on display simultaneously across the 774 local government areas and the Federal Capital Territory, as well as other designated centres.

“All registrants are, therefore, advised to visit centres where they registered or made corrections to check for the correctness of their particulars”, Chukwu said.

He explained that the second quarter of the CVR exercise would begin on Oct. 4 nationwide and end on Dec. 20, while third phase of the exercise would start by Jan. 3, 2022 and close on March 4.

The fourth quarter would begin by April 11, 2022 to end on June 30, 2022.

“Let me on behalf of the Chairman of our commission, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, express our gratitude to all critical stakeholders for their cooperation before, during and after the first quarter of the exercise in Ebonyi.

“Except occasional disruptions by rain, we did not encounter any security breach during the entire exercise throughout the state,” Chukwu said.

NAN

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Ganduje condoles with Gaya Emirate over Emir’s death

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By Gistflash News

Sept 22, 2021

Gov. Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano State has said that he received with sadness and deep feeling, the news of the passing away of the Emir of Gaya, Alhaji Ibrahim Abdulkadir.
Abdukkadir died on Wednesday at the age of 91 and left behind three wives, 28 children and many grandchildren.
The Commissioner for Information, Malam Muhammad Garba, stated this in a statement he issued to newsmen on Wednesday in Kano.
“Despite his ailing condition, the monarch’s uncommon leadership qualities earned him respect as traditional ruler since his days as Sarkin Gaya and until his death as First Class Emir in Kano.
“The death of the Emir in one of the oldest Emirates in Northern Nigeria, has created a vacuum difficult to be filled considering his contributions to peace, stability and progress of his domain and the country,” he said.
The commissioner revealed that Abdukkadir was one of the four Emirs elevated to First Class Emirs by the Gov. Ganduje administration after the creation of Rano, Gaya, Bichi and Karaye Emirates in 2019.
“Gov. Ganduje, who is away in Abuja when the Emir’s death was announced said the demise of the monarch is a big loss to his immediate family, Gaya Emirate, the government and the entire people of Kano state,” he said.
He, therefore, prayed to Allah in His infinite mercy to forgive his sins and grant him Aljannah Firdausi.
Garba also quoted the governor as calling on the people of the emirate to bear the loss with the spirit of acquiescence to God’s will.
The governor also urged them to take solace in the fact that endurance was not the measure of a good life but the sense of fulfilment.
NAN
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