Proposed Niger Delta Rail Network
The Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, appears to be putting the scandals, shame and turpitude of the past eight years behind, moving towards a new future of strategic visioning.
The signing of a Memorandum of Understanding, MoU, worth $15 billion between the Commission and Atlantic Global Resources of Atlanta, Georgia, USA, reportedly an international infrastructure financing firm, in Lagos last week raised the hope that better days may well be ahead. The MoU is for the construction of a railway network that will cover all the nine states of the Niger Delta – Abia, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, Edo, Imo, Ondo and Rivers states.
Definitely, the implementation of such an ambitious project will bring much economic development and social integration for which railways are famous all over the world. It will attract a lot of investments and reduce youth unemployment and restiveness in the nation’s oil-producing region. The completion of the project will have a liberating effect on the region because it will no longer be just a place to exploit and abandon.
We hope this deal will not end up like the much vaunted East-West (Lagos to Calabar) railway network touted under the Muhammadu Buhari regime which never went beyond the verbal announcement. All we saw was the completion of the Abuja-Kaduna rail, the continuation of the Lagos to Kano rail line started by the Olusegun Obasanjo government, and the illegal construction of the rail line from Kano through Daura to Maradi in Niger Republic with borrowed funds to be repaid by Nigerians.
However, for this project to succeed, there must be attitudinal change by the elite, politicians, traditional rulers and youths of the region towards the need to develop the area. Too much selfishness, greed, violence, criminality and nonconformity are responsible for the over 13,000 projects abandoned in the region, according to former Minister of the Niger Delta, Senator Godswill Akpabio.
READ ALSO: $15bn Rail Project To Connect N’Delta States Not Started Yet, Says NDDC
Communities throughout the right of way of the rail network must commit fully to co-ownership of this project and guarantee safety of the contractors and their workforce. Not only that, they must also play their role in securing the tracks and stations. They must end their unwholesome practice of holding contractors to ransom and extorting money from them, sometimes at gunpoint. Unless these stop, the Niger Delta will never be able to develop.
It is unfortunate that the Federal Government spent the last eight years chasing shadows in the Niger Delta. Had this idea come at the beginning of the regime in 2015, we would be talking about finishing touches and full commencement of service. With this initiative coming less than a month to the end of this government, we hope the next administration will accord it the needed priority.
This is a welcome idea.
VIDEO: Dismantle EFCC, Sack Bawa For Successful Anti-corruption War – Agbakoba
Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Olisa Agbakoba, has asked President Bola Tinubu to dismantle the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, in his bid to have a successful anti-corruption war.
Agbakoba stated this while speaking in an interview on The Morning Show of Arise Television on Wednesday.
The legal luminary also urged the President to relieve the EFCC chairman, Abdulrasheed Bawa of his job, in order to have a fresh leadership for the agency in the new administration.
He said, “We need to talk about anti-corruption. The anti-corruption process is not working. I have challenged the constitutionality of the EFCC. The EFCC is a behemoth and it needs to be dismantled.
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“Mr. Bawa needs to go because what he’s doing is not attracting people’s confidence. He needs to go. He’s always in battles with everybody. Now, he’s battling Metawalle. That’s not the way to fight corruption.
“We need to see Mr. Bawa step aside honourably so that the anti-corruption process can be seen to be genuinely fought by the President without any equivocation,” he said.
Tinubu needs to dismantle EFCC, sack Bawa for successful anti-corruption war – Agbakoba
Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Olisa Agbakoba said President Bola Tinubu needs to dismantle the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, in his bid to have a successful… pic.twitter.com/CJXdhlw2SI
— Vanguard Newspapers (@vanguardngrnews) May 31, 2023
NAPTIP Sacks Director, Four Officers For Misconduct
The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons has dismissed a deputy director and four other officers for various offences including bribery, corruption and leaking confidential information to suspects.
The Press Officer of the NAPTIP, Vincent Adekoye, disclosed this in a statement on Wednesday.
Adekoye explained that the offences range from corruption to demanding and receiving bribes from suspects and relatives.
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According to him, other offences committed by the officers were leaking confidential information to suspects that endangered the lives of colleagues, violating the oath of secrecy, stealing and alteration of official records and being absent without official leave.
He said, “These offences are all contrary to provisions of the Public Service Rules and other extant laws and regulations. Two other officers were demoted by two ranks for soliciting bribes from a suspect of human trafficking, while one officer was demoted by one rank for negligence of duty.
“The disciplinary actions followed the approval of the Governing Board of the Agency at its meeting of May 25, 2023. At that meeting, the board considered and ratified the decision of the agency’s Senior Staff Committee which earlier sat on the disciplinary matters in accordance with the Public Service Rules and other extant laws and regulations.”
READ ALSO: NAPTIP Rescues Three Babies Rented For Begging In Abuja
Adekoye also announced that a Federal High Court sitting in Sokoto State convicted a law enforcement officer and sentenced him to prison.
He said the officer was convicted on two counts of trafficking, contrary to section 26 (2) of the Trafficking in Persons (Prohibition) Enforcement and Administration Act (2015) and was sentenced to five years on each count.
He added, “This is NAPTIP’s 37th conviction and counting for the year 2023.”
Otti Suspends Transport Levies In Abia
The Abia State Governor, Alex Otti, has suspended all transport levies imposed on commercial drivers in the state.
This was contained in a statement by the special adviser to the governor on Media and Publicity, Ferdinand Ekeoma, on Wednesday.
He stated that the directive was in line with the campaign promise of the governor to sanitize methods of revenue collection in the state and stop all kinds of extortion, intimidation and harassement of motorists.
The statement read, “The governor has directed the immediate suspension of all kinds of transport levies payable to Abia state government and imposed on Tricycles (Keke), Buses, taxis and other commercial vehicles plying Abia roads.
“This suspension takes immediate effect, and will remain until government reviews these levies and makes public its arrangements for the smooth, organized and transparent collection of such transport levies in a manner it would not lead to extortion, intimidation and violation of rights and privileges of Abia residents.
READ ALSO: Otti Freezes Abia Accounts, Sacks Boards Executives
“The government believes that the present method is archaic and very harmful to the lives of the people and the economic well-being of the state, and thus should not be allowed to continue.
“In the light of the above decision, the governor has asked all those involved, directly and indirectly to please discontinue forthwith, or face the wrath of the law, as security agents have been briefed and directed to apprehend and bring to justice anyone found violating this directive”.
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