FEC Approves N454bn For Kano-Niger Republic Rail, Others
The Federal Executive Council, on Wednesday, approved the sum of N453.90bn for the procurement of rolling stock, operation and maintenance equipment for the Kano-Maradi standard gauge rail line currently under construction.
The amount also includes N510.93m meant for procuring four customised fire service/search and rescue vans in seaports at Port Harcourt, Lagos Port Complex, Tincan Island port and the Marina headquarters of the Nigerian Ports Authority.
The Minister of Transportation, Mu’azu Sambo, disclosed this to State House correspondents after this week’s Council meeting chaired by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
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Kicked off in 2021, the 248km rail line will traverses Kano other cities such as Kazaure in Bauchi State, Daura and Mashi in Katsina State; Dutse in Jigawa State, the border town of Jibia, before terminating in Niger Republic’s trade and agricultural hub of Maradi.
According to a former Transport Minister, Rotimi Amaechi, the line has 15 stations along its path with a forecasted daily traffic of 9,364 passengers and approximately 3000 metric tons of cargo.
However, the project has been fraught with resistance, especially from lawmakers.
In November 2021, The PUNCH reported that the National Assembly Joint Committee on Land and Marine Transport faulted the proposed rail project.
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But speaking on Wednesday, Sambo explained, “The memorandum sought council’s consideration and approval for the award of contract for the procurement of rolling stock, operation or maintenance equipment for the Kano-Maradi standard gauge rail line that is currently under construction.
“The contract was awarded to MSSRs Mota-Engil Nigeria Limited, who are the contractors handling this particular project in the sum of $984,722,302.5 inclusive of seven and a half per cent VAT with a completion period of four years.”
Sambo also revealed that the Transport ministry presented another memo on behalf of the Nigerian Ports Authority “for the award of contract for the construction and supply of four customised Fire Service search and rescue vans for extrication of accident victims for Rivers Ports in Port Harcourt, Lagos Port complex, Tincan Island Port and the Marina headquarters of the NPA, all in Lagos.
“Council considered the memorandum and approved the award of the contract as recommended and reviewed by the Bureau of Public Procurement in the sum of N510,934,600 inclusive of seven and a half percent VAT with a completion period of nine months in favour of Messrs All Works Commercial Company Limited.”
Also speaking was the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mohammed Abubakar, who said his ministry secured the council’s approval for a revised 2022 National Agricultural Seed Policy memo.
He said Nigeria had been operating the 2010 policy revised in 2015 before the latest revision in 2022.
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Abubakar said the current revision was to meet up with globally approved standards in terms of seed quality and also to ensure food security.
He explained, “With the continuous technological development, seeds are constantly being upgraded, standardized four to five with several vitamins. There’s also the issue of genetically modified organisms or seeds.
“So, this revision seeks to conform with global best practices in yield. Our farmers must have access to the best quality seeds that have been fortified, seeds that can produce the yield that will be worth their while, seeds that can produce again, the produce that can compete in the world market. This is the basis for this particular policy.”
Govs Back Tinubu On Subsidy Removal
State Governors on Wednesday expressed strong support for President Bola Tinubu’s decision to end fuel subsidy payments in the country and other early policy initiatives of the administration.
The governors, under the aegis of the Nigerian Governors Forum, NGF, expressed their support to President Tinubu during the first meeting the President was having with them at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The state chief executives, who took turns to speak at the meeting were led by the NGF Chairman and governor of Kwara State, AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, who expressed happiness with the President’s subsidy-removal decision, all-inclusive leadership and statesmanship.
They congratulated President Tinubu for tackling the fuel subsidy behemoth, promising to work with him to ameliorate the short-term impact of the decision.
President Tinubu had earlier called on the governors to collaborate with the Federal Government in tackling the menace of poverty in the country, saying the level of impoverishment was unacceptable.
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The President advised the political leaders to downplay their differences and jointly focus on alleviating the sufferings and pains of the people.
“We can see the effects of poverty on the faces of our people. Poverty is not hereditary, it is from the society. Our position is to eliminate poverty. Set aside partisan politics, we are here to deliberate about Nigeria and nation-building,’’ he said.
President Tinubu stated that the nation should be seen as one big family.
“We are a family occupying one house, and sleeping in different rooms. If we see it that way and push forward, we will get our people out of poverty. A determined mind is a fertile ground for delivering on results,’’ he added.
The President said good governance would safeguard the future of democracy.
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“Present in this room is our diversity in culture and politics, but we are one nation. The unity and stability of the country rest upon us.
“We are in a democracy and we have to nurture the democracy. It is a hard-earned system and not easy to manage. If anyone thinks it is easy, look at other nations that are over a hundred years in democracy.
“We have managed ourselves very well to have a democracy. We have campaigned and arrived at our present destination. We must work for our people,’’ President Tinubu told the governors while assuring them that he would maintain an open-door policy.
The President said he was prepared to share ideas, strengthen institutions, and create bottom-up frameworks that will improve the livelihood of Nigerians.
“What do we do in the face of crushing poverty? What do we do with our development goals? We took the bull by the horns by removing the elephant in the room before the nation sinks.
“We need synergy to fight other vices like corruption. We are trying to get smugglers out of the way. How do we work together to galvanize the economy, and put resources in place? We must think and perform.
“After removing subsidy, there must be savings accruing to the Federation Account,’’ he noted.
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President Tinubu said the education sector must be improved as part of efforts to reduce poverty and penury:
“How do we address the unacceptable level of poverty? How much are we investing in education, which is the only tool against poverty? I am ready to collaborate with you.’’
The President also drew attention to the security problems in some states, admonishing the governors that all efforts should be put in place to tackle the security situation, without thinking it’s only for those facing it.
The Chairman of the NGF and Governor of Kwara State, AbdulRasaq, thanked the President for the invitation to deliberate on the challenges of poverty and security, promising that the governors would support the Federal Government in meeting the targets of human development.
“The NGF will follow the tradition of working constitutionally and harmoniously with you,’’ he said.
The meeting, which was attended by Vice President Kashim Shettima and new Secretary to the Government of the Federation George Akume, had 22 governors and two deputy governors from Edo and Niger States, in attendance.
The governors made suggestions highlighting the plight of citizens in their states, assuring the President of their support in proffering solutions through the National Economic Council.
3 Months After Arriving UK, Nigerian Masters Student Arrested For Allegedly [email protected] Minors
A Nigerian man identified as Cyril Kenneth has been arrested by the police after being accused of dating minors in Belfast, UK.
According to a video shared by Warriors of Children, Kenneth who arrived in February for his Masters degree, was arrested after multiple children between the ages of 14 and 15 reported him with evidence of him gr%oming and s£x¥ally hara§§ing them.
In the text messages he had with some of the victims, Kenneth sent his unsolicited indecent pictures, asked some of them for their house addresses, invited one of them to his house for s+x, amongst other di§turbing messages.
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The suspect, however, confessed to the crime and blamed it on temptation from the devil.
He said he contacted the kids because he needed friends as he was new to the country. He was subsequently handed over to the police for further investigation and possible prosecution.
Nicki Minaj Sued For Allegedly Damaging Borrowed Jewellery
American rapper, Nicki Minaj has been dragged to court over alleged unpaid bills for custom jewellery.
A West Hollywood jeweller, Roseark Jewellery store, is suing the rapper after she damaged some bling they loaned her.
Meanwhile, Nicki’s attorney said she’s not responsible, claiming the jeweller is just using her for publicity.
According to a new lawsuit, Nicki’s stylist, Brett Alan Nelson, signed a contract with Roseark Jewellery Store, with Roseark agreeing to loan Nicki jewellery for a public appearance.
The store also said the contract called for Brett to return the bling within a week and pay for any damages the jewellery might incur under his watch.
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However, Nicki’s stylist failed to return 66 pieces of jewellery by the agreed-upon deadline, and, when he finally did, there was noticeable damage to a set of earrings and a leaf ring.
A source close to Nicki told TMZ that everything was returned on time as promised, and it was only after items had been in the jeweller’s possession for some time that the store complained about a missing stone.
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