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FG Confirms N1.14bn Donation To Niger Republic To Procure Vehicles

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Amidst speculations of a N1.14 billion donation to the Republic of Niger to aid in the acquisition of some operational vehicles, the Federal government on Wednesday justified the approval.

Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed confirmed the purchase while fielding questions from reporters, shortly after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting presided over by the President, Muhammadu Buhari.

Following the outrage generated by the approval exposed by a popular social media influencer, David Hundeyin, on Wednesday, the minister argued that even though Nigerians have the right to question the rationale for such donation, President Muhammadu Buhari, who approved the purchase, also has the right to make his own assessment on situations and act accordingly.

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The document released by the media influencer showed that the president approved the release of the fund on the 22nd of February this year.

The contract to supply the 10 units of Toyota Land Cruisers was awarded to IFO Kaura Motors Nig. Limited.

But justifying the funds, Zanaib noted that the President reserved the right to take decisions in the interest of Nigeria, insisting that “this was not the first time the country is providing such interventions to her neighbours.

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“Let me just say that over time, Nigeria has had to support her neighbours, especially, the immediate neighbours to enhance their capacity to secure their countries as it relates to us. This is not the first time that Nigeria had assisted the Niger Republic, Cameroon, or Chad.

“The President makes an assessment as to what is required based on the request of their Presidents. Such requests are approved and interventions are provided.

“It is to enhance their capacity to protect their countries, as it relates to security and also to Nigeria.”

She added that “Nigerians have the right to ask questions, but also the President has the responsibility to make an assessment of what is in the best interest of the country and I cannot question the decision myself.

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“I have said this is not the first time and that Nigeria as a country has provided intervention to our neighbours. It is in the best interest of Nigeria to do so.”

Reports had emerged that the President approved about 10 Toyota Land Cruiser vehicles to the Republic of Niger but did not, however, specify the purpose for such approval.

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Tinubu Appoints New MD, Board Chairman For NPA

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President Bola Tinubu has approved the appointment of a new Managing Director and Board Chairman for the Nigerian Ports Authority.

This is contained in a statement issued on Friday by the President’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Ajuri Ngelale, titled “President Tinubu appoints new Managing Director and Board Chairman for the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA).”

Tinubu appointed Dr. Abubakar Dantsoho as the Managing Director of the NPA while Senator Adedayo Adeyeye was appointed the Board Chairman.

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Dr. Dantsoho holds a Doctorate in Maritime Technology from Liverpool John Moores University, United Kingdom, and a Master’s degree in International Transport from Cardiff University of Wales, United Kingdom.

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“Before his appointment, he had served in various roles in the Nigerian Ports Authority as assistant General Manager; Technical Assistant to the Managing Director; Port Manager, Onne Port; and Principal Manager, Tariff & Billing,” the statement partly read.

Adeyeye, a seasoned lawyer, journalist, and politician, was a former Minister of State for Works and former Senator representing Ekiti South Senatorial District.

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The statement added that “the President expects the new leadership of this pivotal agency to deploy excellence in the discharge of their duties to enable efficient port services and improved industry outcomes.”

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Politicians Must Allow NDDC To Breath – Jonathan

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The former President of Nigeria, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan has urged politicians not to over stretch the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, as this could adversely affect execution of projects and retard development in the Niger Delta region.

Jonathan noted that as an interventionist agency for the oil producing states, the NDDC holds the mandate of bringing development closer to the people and that the agency came as a child of necessity with a strategic role to improve the environment, provide infrastructure and improve the livelihood of the people of the region.

He recalled that the first leadership of the NDDC led by Onyeama Ugochukwu as MD and Chief Timi Alaibe as the executive director finance and administration, EDFA, showed some clear leadership and that the people of Niger Delta began to see some clear direction.

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Speaking at a 3-day Niger Delta Stakeholders Summit 2024 organized by NDDC in Port Harcourt on Friday, former President Jonathan who was the chairman of the occasion said that after that leadership, the activities of the Commission began to slow down and its impact was not well noticed.

READ ALSO: Travellers Suffering On East-West Road, Diri Tells Tinubu

“But with the present leadership, people from the Niger Delta have seen some light. Having listened to the conversation of this summit from Wednesday interrogating issues, I was impressed that things have taken a different look in the Niger Delta. It shows clearly that the current leadership intends to move NDDC to a proper direction.

“I will request for us who are the political class not to over stretch the NDDC so that they can perform. I am happy that Godswill Akpabio is here. He is the most senior politician. He has to work with others so that NDDC is not under too much of stress. I know what I am talking about”.

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Jonathan expressed delight over the present management of NDDC, adding that one of the greatest problems of the NDDC is the issue of abandoned projects. “Infrastructure projects that were done by NDDC and were abandoned have become a curse. NDDC must have a way of managing its infrastructure when completed.

“They can on their own continue to maintain their roads. Alternatively, they can liaise with the governors for the states to take over the maintenance of the roads. We should begin to see how to build the Niger Delta without hydrocarbon”, he said.

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On his part, the Senate President, Dr. Godswill Akpabio blamed some Niger Delta stakeholders from the Ogoni extraction of Rivers state for frustrating the completion of work on the East West road through a petition to the then President, Muhammadu Buhari.

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Akpabio said that the Ogonis led a delegation to the President when he was the Minister of the Niger Delta Affairs and told him that the East/West road project should be removed from the Ministry to the Ministry of Works.

According to the Senate President, about N75billion was procured from the Sukuk funds for work on the project but since it was transferred to the Ministry of Works which had no funds to work on the project, the money could not be utilized for the purpose it was secured.

Akpabio expressed satisfaction with the work the leadership of the current NDDC is doing to move the region forward. “We in the national Assembly

 

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Travellers Suffering On East-West Road, Diri Tells Tinubu

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Governor of Bayelsa State, Senator Douye Diri, has lamented the collapse of the East-West road, calling on President Bola Tinubu to hand over the reconstruction of the road to the Niger Delta Development Commission if the contractors engaged by the Federal government would fail in delivery.

Diri, who acknowledged the President’s approval of the Lagos-Calabar Coastal Road project, said that though the approval was commendable, the reconstruction of the East-West Road was a priority.

“Our region is in dire need of development. Everything has been said by everybody here, and for me, there is just one thing that I would say.

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“Prior to today, the journey between Yenagoa and Port Harcourt is either one and a half hours or one hour. For those of us who even come with the convoy, one hour you are in Port Harcourt, but today, I travelled four hours between Yenagoa and Port Harcourt. Our people are suffering. That road has collapsed.

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“So, while we appreciate Mr. President for the coastal road, there is a need to immediately go into the East-West road. If that contractor does not have the capacity, please Mr. President, hand over that road to the Niger Delta Development Commission,” Diri said in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, on Friday at the 2024 Niger Delta Stakeholders Summit themed “Renewed Hope for Sustainable Development in the Niger Delta Region”.

Diri, who said he was devastated by the experience of travellers along the road, said he chose to shelve aside his planned trip by air from Yenagoa to Port Harcourt for the summit to personally witness the nightmare of users of the road.

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“I was arranged to travel by air and I told myself ‘those who are traveling on that road are Rivers people, are Bayelsa people and Niger Delta people and if they are suffering, let me go and see their suffering’ and I couldn’t believe what I saw today.

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“Some people have been there for one week. Some have been there for two days. That is not the Niger Delta that we want to be. That is not the Niger Delta our forefathers dreamt about. And so I appeal particularly to our own son who is here representing Mr. President to take this message to Mr. President and let them act fast on the East-West road,” Diri said.

The President of the Senate, Godswill Akpabio, represented Tinubu at the summit on Friday.

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Diri, however, appreciated the President for “prioritising the Niger Delta by appointing a board on time and a management team on time.”

He called on Tinubu to ensure that there is a complementary approach to the execution of the project to ensure there is concurrent construction from both ends in Lagos and Calabar.

READ ALSO: Four Female Niger Delta Teen App Developers For World Tech Summit In USA

“We have also witnessed recently the construction of the coastal road that is going to run from Lagos to Calabar. And we want to appreciate and thank the President for that.

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“However, I would like to appeal that as the construction is commencing from Lagos, let it also have a concurrent commencement from the Calabar axis of the road,” he said.

The Lagos-Calabar Coastal road project will traverse nine states along Nigeria’s coastal shoreline while linking the A1, A2, A3, and A4 highway corridors vertically crossing the western, central and eastern regions of the country, north to south.

Starting from Lagos and terminating in Cross River State, the over N15 trillion highway project will include a spur to the north-central part of the country.

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