NEWS ACROSS THE STATES
Fashola Commissions 60MVAR 132KV capacitor bank
The Honorable Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola SAN has commended the effort and commitment of the Transmission Company of Nigeris (TCN) in ensuring the numerous achievements in the power sector.
The Minister stated this during the commissioning of a 60 MVAR 132KV capacitor bank at the Apo transmission substation in Abuja.
The Minister said it is not only the quantity of power do we improve but also the quality of its supply. “Those of you here and the general public can testify, the most agitated and chanted slogan of change in Buahri led administration is coming though, slowly but surely’.”
He also commends the untiring effort of his colleagues at the Ministry of Power and Transmission Company OF Nigeria (TCN) for their role in carrying out the numerous project of the federal government in order to better the lots of Nigerians.
“In the past, the population grew astronomically without commiserate power supply to meet the every day needs. The capacitor bank will improve the voltage and benefits areas of Apo, Garki, Lokogoma, and some parts of Maitama.”, said the Minister.
Mr Sadanobu Kusaoke, the Ambassador of Japan to Nigeria stated that the government of Japan has extended her aid of 1.313 billion Japanese Yen which is equivalent to 14.4 million US dollars to the government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. He added that Japan through Japan International Co-operation Agency (JICA) supports the project to improve and install power capacitor bank at the current Apo and Keffi substations in Abuja and Keffi Nasarwa state in order to increase and stabilize the power supply to approximately 7,000 households in Abuja.
The Japanese emissary further highlighted that the government and people of Japan hope that the project in the FCT will enable more Nigerians to have access to quality power supply thus, ensuring continued sustainable development and poverty reduction in the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
FG approves N47bn for 3 road projects
The minister of works, power and housing, Babatunde Fashola, has stated that the federal government has approved the sum of N47bn for three road projects – The projects include the Baban Lamba-Sharam Road in Plateau state, Lagos- Otta- Abeokuta Road for 22 billion and the Enugu–Port Harcourt Road for 6.309 billion.
He said: “The Ministry of Power, Works and Housing got approval for three memos. One was for Baban Lamba-Sharam Road in Plateau state for the contraction of 44.625 kilometers for N19.392 billion. “The second was for Lagos-Otta-Abeokuta Road, 81 kilometers. That road was first awarded in year 2000 and it has since been left uncompleted because there was no budgetary provisions for it. This administration in trying to move this contractor to site, stated the revision of the rate. “So the revised rate were brought to council today and a revision of N22 billion was approved for the 81 kilometers road, bringing the total contract price to N56.701 billion.
The third approval was for the section four of the Enugu-Port Harcourt Road, the part between Abia and Port Harcourt, particularly in Port Harcourt that has been problematic and has failed severally. “We have a contractor there but we needed to change the design because of the storm water drainage needs and the high water tables there, so that the road does not fail. So that requires a revision of the scope of work to include retaining side-lanes and also drainage facilities in the sum of N6.309 billion.”
Nigerian Govt Blacklists Degrees from four Countries
The Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, has disclosed that the federal government has blacklisted degrees from questionable institutions especially from Republics of Benin, Togo, Ghana and Cameroon.
The minister made the disclosure during the inauguration of a 16-member committee to screen 40, 000 Nigerians with degrees obtained from foreign tertiary institutions.
Media report had indicated that universities in Benin Republic hire agents in Nigeria to visit both public and private universities to get students on probation, or those withdrawn and lure them to Cotonou to get the quick degrees.
Mr Adamu said the blacklisting applies to both the government and local job markets in Nigeria.
According to him, the need arose in view of reported cases of fake foreign degrees obtained by Nigerians from substandard institutions.
Mr Adamu said preliminary assessment by the Ministry of Education shows that no fewer than 40,000 Nigerians are either holding or currently studying as undergraduates in various tertiary institutions across some African countries.
Against this background, Mr Adamu inaugurated a 16-man committee to set the criteria for evaluation of foreign certificates.
He said the ministry had also established mechanism to streamline students seeking government approval to study abroad.
“The recommendations that will be given by the committee will prove crucial to the well being and future of those that acquired the qualifications and foreign certificates,” he stated while inaugurating the committee.
The inauguration was performed on the sidelines of the 33rd meeting of the National Standing Committee on Evaluation and Accreditation of Foreign Qualifications.
Part of the terms of reference for the committee includes to consider and recommend criteria for recognition of degrees obtained outside Nigeria.
Another looters’ list coming
The Minister of Information and Communication, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has said that list of alleged treasury looters released by the federal government so far is a tip of the iceberg.
The minister said that “very soon” another list of looters list would be released, adding that no amount of “intimidation from any side” could stop the release of the list.
Speaking with journalists on Sunday afternoon on his way to Abuja after his condolence visits to Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed, the people of Offa, The Kwara State Police Command and the victims of armed robbery killings in Offa last Thursday, the minister said that, “We are not going to ask anybody not to go to court, but what we are telling them is that they should re-examine themselves because when the government came out with its list, it was confident of the evidence it has.”
He also said that “no government worth its salt would be challenged and would not come out to prove that what it’s saying is correct.”
“When it comes to evidence it’s for the courts to decide, but we want to make it clear that no amount of intimidation from any side would prevent the government from releasing the next batch of looters lists and what you have seen so far is a tip of the ice bag when the list comes out.
“You will see that many people that Nigerians did not suspect partook in the national looting.”
Alhaji Lai Mohammed also explained that the release of the looters list by the federal government should be understood from its content, in that the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo was challenged when he said that a few days to the hand over of the former President Goodluck Jonathan, about N100 billion was shared by the members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
He said, “Interestingly, we have people saying that they are going to court, you see, courts are for the accused and the accuser, courts are for the rich and the poor, courts are for the government and the governed so anybody that says that he’s going to court, that shouldn’t frighten anybody,” he said (Nigerian Tribune)
Okun Yoruba Speaking Musician of Kogi State honoured
These are definitely best of times for popular Okun Yoruba Musician from Kogi State in Kano, Ojo Ayedero when he was honored as the musical ambassador at a recent Pillars of Omokun Unity Awards organized by a socio-Cultural Group of Okun Development Association ODA Kano Chapter. Musical Ambassador Ojo Ayedero of Okesili International Band was amongst the 20 others including two professors and successful business tycoons that won the Pillars of Omookun Unity Awards at a most exquisite, splendid and star – studded event held at the Kings Banquette Hall in Sabon Gari, Kano where he was formally decorated.
Yes, the glitter and gloss of galaxy of celebrities pale to the radiance of Okun Music dailect by digging deep with beautiful dance steps tirelessly into the rhythms and medleys of Ambassador Ojo Ayedero and Okoseli International Band tunes. His commitment to the promotion of his brand of Music has endeared him to thousands of Yoruba fans who invite him for gigs at their social functions. Ambassador Ojo Ayedero who hails from Bunu Kabba Local Government of Kogi State, expressed his happiness for the recognition by his people. He told the audience that the award would be dedicated to his Late Father from whom he inherited the songs despite that he was born and bred in Kano.
Ekiti 2018: Fayemi formally declares ambition
The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Kayode Fayemi has declared interest in contesting the July 14 governorship election in the Ekiti State.
Mr Fayemi who was governor of Ekiti State between 2010 and 2014, told journalists in an interview at his Ishan Ekiti country home that he would follow due process, starting a formal notification of his intention to the leadership of the APC and the state secretariat of the party.
This he said would be followed by a public declaration rally at a date to be announced.
“Yes, I will run for the governorship of our state. As a leader of the party, I am going to follow the due process as laid down by our party and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). This include formal notification of the leadership of the party, presentation of letter of intent at the state secretariat and a public declaration.”
Mr Fayemi said he was aware of various speculations about whether he would run for the governorship or not. He, however said that, with the last week release of guidelines and time table for the July election, the right time for him to make a formal declaration and join the race has come.
He said the state government’s controversial White Paper could not stop him from contesting the governorship election, as designed by the PDP government.
INEC has scheduled April 15 for the commencement of electioneering process for the July election.
Earlier, the minister had addressed a crowd of party leaders from all the 177 wards of the state at the APC leaders meeting held in Ishan Ekiti, where he urged them to be united in the battle to unseat the incumbent PDP-led government.
The state chairman of the party, Jide Awe; deputy chairman, Kemi Olaleye; and state secretary, Paul Omotosho led other state, local government and ward executives as well as elders of the party to the quarterly meeting.
Saying that the huge number of aspirants jostling for the APC ticket was a good development for the party, Mr Fayemi urged all aspirants and their supporters to pursue their ambitions in a very decent manner, emphasising their credentials and plans to lift the state from its present state.
He said it was obvious the PDP-led government in Ekiti was bereft of ideas and does not have anything good to offer the citizens of the state, stressing that the July 14 election would be an opportunity to halt the brigandage and maladministration going on in the state.
Apparently referring to his formal presentation of letter of intent, Mr Fayemi had told the cheering crowd of his plan in the coming weeks to visit the party secretariat to commence the process. “I will come to the party secretariat in Ado-Ekiti and do the needful.
He said while the the new APC government in the state would restore all the local Council Development areas (LCDAs) created by his administration, and which was cancelled by the PDP government.
“Our people clamoured for the creation of these LCDAs and they were created for them. But the PDP cancelled all of them. I can assure you all, the new APC government would restore your LCDAs because that is what the people want.”
Buharists of CPC in APC convene Elders Team in Kano
A meeting of top Buharists in Kano held Sunday at Murtala Muhammad Library on Ahmadu Bello Way to inaugurate the firat wave of Elders with a view to unify the numerous Buhari supporters and support groups under a common umbrella. The focus of the Legacy Group is to do all it can to raise the level of mobilisation to a height beyond the 2015 poll. It aims to debunk all the propaganda that has been unleashed on unsuspecting common voters.
The meeting held under the auspices of APC Legacy Unity Group made up mainly of Buhari supporters in CPC. The CPC is the core Legacy Party that fused with two others, ANPP and ACN to form APC, while taking on the Governors led faction of the PDP. Many associates and supporters of General Muhammadu Buhari dating back to his entry into full scale partisan politics in 2002 were in attendance.
The twenty three Elders were invited after advocacy and senstisation visits by the Legacy Group’s leaders. Those who attended the public presentation and inauguration are: AIG Muktar Abbas Takai mni, Senator UK Umar, Alhaji Mato Bangare, Honorable Ali Yahaya Bichi, Honorable Ada’u Rano, Alhaji Hamisu Buhari Daura, Alhaji Shehu Dalhatu, Dr. Shehi Ali, Alhaji Ibrahim Marmara, Senator Rufa’i Sani Hanga, Legacy Chairman AS Bacha and Deputy Kabiru Gwangwazo.
Other members of the 23 member first wave of Buharist Elders are: Malam Ado Muhammad Hisbah, Prof. Munzali Jibrin, Alhaji Yusuf Hassan, Dr. Baffa Abdullahi Bichi, Brig-Gen. Lawal Jaafaru Isa, Prof. Aliyu Jibia, Alhaji Abdulmajid Danbilki Kwamwanda, Sen. Isa Yahya Zarewa, Hon. Sale Shehu Kuidawa, Hajiya Maryam Ado Gwaram, Senator Sule Halilu, Barrister Aisha Ibrahim Dankani MFR mni and Alhaji Sadisu Buhari.
The Legacy Unity Group led by Chairman, Alhaji Abdulsalam Salisu Bacha called the meeting to provide a platform that would lead the way to corral all Buhari supporters of whatever status to rededicate themselves to the onerous task of getting the President back to office at the 2019 elections.
In a welcome address in which he introduced some of the 23 Elders invited, Deputy Chairman of the APC Legacy Unity Group, Malam Kabiru Muhammad Gwangwazo lamented that the bulk of committed Buharists and Kano and the North have not receieved deserves attention of the Governmwnt in the past three years because of a failure to pull together and design a workable agenda for Mr. President to work with. Malam Kabiru Gwangwazo was Chairman of the ANPP in Kano state when General Buhari first joined full scale party politics. Earlier on, he was elected Chairman of Kano Municipal Local Council. An experienced politician and journalist, Malam Kabiru urged the Elders and other stakeholders to learn from the efficient use of a properly articulated agenda the Yoruba south west is effectively and efficiently reaping the rewards thereto.
The meeting had most members of the executive of the Legacy Group and leading subcommittee members in attendance.
The Elders Secretariat team was also unveiled at the event with five members including Legacy Group Deputy Chairman as Chairman of the Secretariat Team, the Legacy Group Secretary, Director, Research and Documentation, Director Contacts and Mobilisation and secretary, Legacy Group PRO, and Kano Central contact and mobilisation secretary.
NEWS ACROSS THE STATES
Health workers insist on nationwide strike
Leadership of the Medical and Health Workers Union of Nigeria (MHWUN) says its nationwide strike will commence on April 17, as planned except the Federal Government meets their demand.
The union is demanding the implementation of the adjustment in the Consolidated Salary structure for Health Workers (CONHESS) in the country.
National President of MHWUN, Biomelemoye Josiah, told reporters, in Katsina on Thursday that, “The union is prepared to shut down Nigeria’s health sector from April 17, unless the Federal Government signs and implements the circular on the implementation of the adjustment in the CONHESS.”
Josiah, who is also Chairman of Joint Health Sectors Union (JOHESU) said that he was in Katsina to mobilize health workers in the state for the proposed strike.
According to him, “We are in Katsina for mobilization for the strike. The strike will be total and the whole health sector throughout the country will be shut down from April 17. “The only step that will prevent the strike is if the Federal Government issues a circular and implements the CONHESS adjustment. That is the flagship of our demands.
“On Skipping which we won in the court and which government is yet to pay the arrears, we can concede that. But if government loves Nigeria and I believe that if the President Buhari is properly briefed, he will not allow April 17 to materialize by seeing to the implementation of our demands.
“ But if for any reasons, the government thinks it cannot treat our matter with the same way and with the same speed it has treated our brothers’ case, we have no choice than to shut down the health sector completely from April 17.”
Chairman of the Katsina state branch of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Tanimu Saulawa, who also spoke at the programme said that, “we appeal to the Federal Government to meet the demands of the health workers in the interest of industrial peace in the health sector.
“The health workers have been waiting patiently for the government to meet their demand.”
Dangote, others boost wheat production with threshing machines
Dangote Flour Mills of Nigeria Plc and other key stakeholders in the flour milling industry have donated 50 units AMAR multi-crop threshers to wheat farmers in the country, as part of their commitment to aid self sufficiency in wheat production.
The General Managing Director, Dangote Flour Mill Plc., Thabo Mabe, at the presentation of the multi-crop threshers to the wheat farmers association of Nigeria, urged the beneficiaries to prioritise breeding quality to suit the specification for confectionary purposes like bread or spaghetti.
He noted that the with threshers, the current output of wheat production would be doubled reducing the current 4.5million metric tonnes importation of wheat into the country.
He lamented that 70 per cent of wheat used by flour millers are imported despite huge potential in the country’s wheat sector, adding that the multi-crop threshers would enhance yield, empower more farmers and save foreign exchange.
“The current unsustainable ways of threshing is the reason why majority of the wheat in the country is imported. We are trying to drive Nigeria to self sustainability since we have huge arable land that can be used for the benefit of the country.
“We are now mechanising the way we are threshing wheat. Our poor men and women do this manually but this equipment will mechanise, reduce cost and improve yield. That increases the amount of wheat produced per hectare. Once the yields are up, cost comes down and then the consumer is happy and prices will be sustained”, he added.
According to the stakeholders, the threshers were specifically designed to suit wheat threshing and would be initially allotted eight units each to Kano, Jigawa, Kebbi and Katsina while Sokoto, Bauchi, Kaduna and Zamfara would subsequently receive four units each.
Also, the chairman, Flour Milling Association of Nigeria (FMAN), John Coumantaros, who was represented by Group Managing Director of the company, Paul Gbededo, said the initiative would effectively accelerate the government’s drive at attaining internal sufficiency in wheat production while saving foreign exchange.
He said the Flour Millers Association of Nigeria (FMAN) had signed a pact with the wheat farmers in 2016 to purchase all available wheat grain produced in the country in line with standard parameters and prevailing market prices.
The body, a union of giant industrial wheat consumers including Dangote Group, Flour Mills of Nigeria (FMN), Honeywell, Olam and Dufil among others fulfilled its pledge of purchasing over 2,400 metric tonnes of wheat valued at N469million and recently 1,600 metric tonnes valued at N237million.
“As we unveil and present 50 units of the AMAR Multi-Crop threshers, it is with the firm belief that out continued partnership with wheat farmers will see further improvements in the yields of wheat, as we collectively work towards our goals of reaching self-sufficiency in wheat production in Nigeria”, he said.
POLICE NAME SHEHU SANI SUSPECT IN MURDER CASE
The police in Kaduna have identified a serving senator, Shehu Sani, APC-Kaduna Central as a person of interest in an ongoing homicide investigation.
Consequently, Austin Iwar, the police commissioner in the state has written to the senator asking him to appear on April 30 at the Command Headquarters in Kaduna for questioning.
“This is in connection with a case of criminal conspiracy and culpable homicide transferred to this office by 1 Division, Nigerian Army, Kaduna, alongside with exhibit audio CD in which your name was mentioned by the principal suspect,” Mr. Iwar said in a letter to Mr Shehu Sani.
A copy of the letter sighted yesterday said: “This is to enable us fairly and timely conclude investigation into the matter, Mr Iwar said.” The letter was addressed to Senator Sani through the Clerk of the National Assembly.
A copy of the letter was forwarded to Senate President Bukola Saraki.
The Police Commissioner however said the case was not politically-motivated, saying “A case was transferred to me and I am handling the case.”
Mr Iwar said he would not give further details on the matter, nothing that “The matter is currently under investigation and we don’t think we have reached a stage yet where we could inform the public about it.”
Mr Iwar also said Mr. Sani would not be detained if he honoured the invitation, saying the police would have picked him up at the Senate if they had any intention of arresting him.
On his part, Senator Sani blamed the Kaduna State governor, Nasir El-Rufai, for the move by the police, alleging that the Kaduna government had concluded plans to frame him up with a murder case.
“The state government is using the instrumentality of the police to carry out this act”, Mr Sani said yesterday.
According to him, the plan was revealed to him through a letter already prepared by the police inviting him for interrogation on the said murder case.
“There is an attempt to frame me up with a murder case by the Kaduna State Government using the police. A letter has been written from the office of the Commissioner of Police office but it has not been delivered to us,” he said.
Senator Sani said the case for which he was invited by the police was already before the court, adding “This is a case that is before the court of law. The governor wrote the judge expressing his interest in the case.”
President Buhari: Chibok girls will not be abandoned or forgotten
President Muhammadu Buhari has assured the parents of the school girls that were abducted from Government Girls Secondary School Chibok, Borno State, that “their daughters will never be forgotten or abandoned to their fate, despite four long years since they were taken away by terrorists.’’
A statement by the Presidency Friday said President Buhari joined the Borno State government, parents of the children and Nigerians in commemorating the fourth anniversary of the sad incident, praying that the event at the daughters’ school today will go well.
The President urged the parents to keep their hopes alive on the return of their daughters, noting that the recovery of more than a 100 of the girls that were kidnapped should give confidence that all “hope is not lost”.
President Buhari re-affirmed that the government remains focused and determined to see the girls return to their homes, urging the parents to be expectant of more good news in due course.
“We are concerned and aware that it is taking long to bring the rest of our daughters back home, but be assured that this administration is doing its very best to free the girls from their captors.
“Unfortunately, the negotiations between the government and Boko Haram suffered some unexpected setbacks, owing mainly to a lack of agreement among their abductors, whose internal differences have led to a divergence of voices regarding the outcome of the talks. We know that this is not the news parents want to hear after four whole years of waiting, but we want to be as honest as possible with you.
“However, this government is not relenting. We will continue to persist, and the parents should please not give up. Don’t give up hope of seeing our daughters back home again. Don’t lose faith in this government’s ability to fulfill our promise of reuniting you with our daughters.
“Don’t imagine for a moment that we have forgotten about our daughters or that we consider their freedom a lost course,’’ the president said.
President Buhari assured that as long as he remains the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces the Chibok girls will never be forgotten and all will be done to have them reunited with their families.
EFCC arraigns ex-Taraba Speaker, others for N 267M bribe
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Gombe zonal office, on Thursday arraigned a former Speaker of Taraba State House of Assembly, Hon. Mark Bako Useni, and two others before Justice Filibus Bitrus Andetur of the Taraba State High Court, Jalingo over alleged N267.49m poll bribe.
The other accused persons are – Hassan A. Abubakar and John Danjuma Ali, who were Head of Administration and retired staff respectively of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Taraba State.
The suspects are facing a four-count charge bordering on criminal conspiracy to procure benefit for public officers and corrupt receipt of monetary benefits.
A statement issued by the Head of Media and Publicity of EFCC, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren said: “Mark allegedly received the sum of N45million for himself and Arc. Darius Ishaku the then PDP gubernatorial candidate in the state, while John and Hassan received N267.46million from the $115milion from a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, as bribe to influence officers working with INEC in Taraba State.
“The count one of the charge reads: “Mark Bako Useni, being the former speaker and member of Taraba State House of Assembly, Hassan A. Abubakar, the Head of Administration at Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), and John Danjuma Ali, a retired Public Servant at Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), sometimes between March and May, 2015 in Jalingo, within the Jurisdiction of Jalingo Judicial Division of the High Court of Taraba State in such different capacities did engage yourselves in criminal conspiracy to corrupt Public Officers to wit; Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) staff contrary to Section 9 (1) (a) and Punishable under Section 9 (1) (b) of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000″.
“All the defendants pleaded not guilty to the charge
“In view of their plea, the prosecution counsel, Abubakar Aliyu, asked for a date to commence trial.
“While adjourning the case to 26, 27 and 28 June, 2018 Justice Filibus granted bail to all the accused persons. The decision of the judge was hinged on the fact that the EFCC had granted them administrative bail during investigation.”
RAMP earmarks N9B on rehabilitation of roads in Niger
A total of N9 billion has been earmarked for the rehabilitation of 403 kilometers of rural roads in Niger under the second phase of Rural Access and Mobility Project (RAMP), the state coordinator of the project, Malam Hassan Etsu, has said.
Etsu made the disclosure on Friday in Minna after a bidding process which involved 46 companies that indicated interest in the road projects.
“The total cost of rehabilitating these roads measuring 403 kilometers is N9 billion,’’ he said.
Etsu said that out of the 25 local government areas in the state 13 had benefited in the first phase.
According to him, work is ongoing to rehabilitate 104 kilometers of rural roads under the first phase, amounting to N1 billion.
“The remaining local government areas that will benefit in this project are those not affected by urban development,’’ he said.
The coordinator said that rehabilitation of the rural roads would involve expansion, surface dressing, construction of drainage and culverts.
He said that successful contractors would emerge one month after the bidding process and work would immediately start at the various sites and completed in 18 months.
Etsu said that the target was to open up rural areas so as to enhance access to health service thereby maternal and infant mortality.
He added that the project would impact positively on the socio-economic lives of the people.
“Our people can live in the rural areas and work in the urban areas instead of everybody scrambling to live in the city.
“Transport fare will no longer be a burden for the people and farmers transporting farm produce to the market,’’ he stressed.
He explained that the project was a collaboration between the state government and World Bank to improve the lives of rural dwellers.
Earlier, Dr Ibrahim Musa, Permanent Secretary, State Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development said that the bidding was done in a transparent manner with the contractors and civil Society Organisations present.
“This is part of due process to ensure public confidence and transparency in the award of contracts,’’ he said.
Also, Mr Ogunbusola Solomon, Chairman, S and M Nigeria Limited, one of the companies that bidded for the project said that the process was transparent.
“As far as I am concerned the bidding process was transparent, so I will score you 99 per cent,’’ he said.
Five states; Niger, Osun, Enugu, Adamawa and Imo are participating in the RAMP