Ali’s Task Force Impounds 223 Vehicles, 13 From Senator

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  • As FG Goes after $6.1b loan, to Complete rail projects

Comptroller-General of Customs (CGC),  Col. Hameed Ibrahim Ali’s Special Task Force on  Compliance has impounded 223 vehicles, 13 of which were allegedly recovered from a Kano State Senator, in a  sting operation.

“We sealed the house and retrieved the vehicles and they are now in our custody,” Dole said.

The Compliance task force also said that it seized other items, including foodstuff worth N269.5 million in Kano and Jigawa states within eight months.

The Task Force Zonal Commander, Mr Bala Dole confirmed this in Kano, yesterday adding that the vehicles, belonging to the said senator consisted of 12 new Toyota Hilux and one Land Cruiser Jeep.

Dole, who declined to name the said Senator, said the 13 vehicles were trailed from Maigatari in Jigawa, following an intelligence report.

“Based on the intelligence report, the vehicles were 30 in number but we were able to trail 13 of them, 12 of which were hidden in the senator’s compound.

“We sealed the house and retrieved the vehicles and they are now in our custody,” Dole said.

He said the other items the task force confiscated during special operations include; 9,757 bags of rice, 2,916 of foreign spaghetti, 2,770 cartons of foreign vegetable oil and 999 cartons of macaroni.

He said others were; 889 veils of second hand clothes, 50 used school bags, 110 cartons of new foreign shoes, 956 bags of mosquito coil and six fairly used cars.

“The total value of the seizure made by the task force since it was established in July 2016, excluding the 13 Senator’s vehicles, is N269.5 million.

“We are yet to determine the cost of the 13 vehicles belonging to the Senator“.

In the meantime, the Federal Government has concluded a plan to borrow 6.1 billion dollars from the Chinese Exim Bank to ensure the completion of all rail projects in the country by 2019.

The Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi confirmed this on Monday in Abuja,  through a statement issued by the Ministry’s Director of Public Relations, Yetunde Sunapee.

Revealing this during the Ministry’s 2017 budget proposal defence at the National Assembly in Abuja,  Amaechi highlighted that the Federal Government targets the construction of Lagos – Ibadan, Kano – Kaduna rail projects and the first phase of the Coastal Rail (Lagos-Calabar) in the 2017 budget.

He stated that President Muhammadu Buhari insisted that all rail projects in the country that had been awarded by previous administrations must be resuscitated and completed on or before the December 2019.

“Our plan is to complete the rail projects in 2019″, the Minister said, stressing that the rail projects needed to be completed due to their economic importance and the benefits to be derived from them by the generality of Nigerians.

“Once our borrowing plan of 6.1 billion dollars from the Chinese EXIM Bank is approved by the National Assembly, we will be able to access the loan from the Chinese Government and work will commence in earnest.

“The 2017 total capital budget of the Federal Ministry of Transportation is N243.74 billion.

“The 2016 total capital budget of the ministry was N171. 65 billion out of which N42 billion was released, representing 24.5 per cent,” he said.

According to the minister, some vital projects for the year 2016 considered ongoing includes the completion of the Mainline and Ancillary Facilities with Electric Power Supply, Freight Yards in Idu and Regasa.

He said the Locomotive Workshop, Rolling Stock Deport and provision of operational facilities for Abuja – Kaduna Rail line, remobilisation and resuscitation of the Central Rail line Project of Itakpe – Ajaokuta – Warri has also been captured in the 2017 budget for construction.

Amaechi assured that the ministry will ensure that efforts are directed towards achieving a roadmap with the implementation and development of some key projects, such as infrastructural development through Airport Concession.

“Establishment of National Carrier, Establishment of Maintenance Repair and Overhaul (MRO) facilities, Development of Agro-Allied Cargo Infrastructure and Establishments of Leasing Company, Establishment of Aerospace University with the support of International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) through Public Private Partnership (PPP).

“The essential focus of the ministry’s 2017 Budget is to provide effective and efficient means of transportation for the nation, thereby, contributing to national development.

“The consequent effect of the implementation of this budget is to guarantee mass employment opportunities for Nigerians and to ensure wealth creation, more revenue generation and less pressure on the Nigerian roads,”  Amaechi concluded.