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Ember months: FG commits N75.8 bln to road rehabilitation

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Ember months: FG commits N75.8 bln to road rehabilitation

… As Reps mull N500bn increase for road infrastructure for 2022 Budget***

The Federal Government on Wednesday, says it will commit N75,765,087,178.28 to carry out palliative works on collapsed portions of roads across the country.

This, according to the Director, Highway Construction and Rehabilitation, Federal Ministry of Works and Housing, Mr Folorunso Esan, is to ease movement of people and goods during the Ember Months.

Esan disclosed this in Abuja at the meeting of stakeholders in the transport sector to plan and prepare making the roads motorable and ensure the safety of lives on the country’s highways.

He said the rainy season had affected many sections of the road across the country, hence the need for urgent palliative works to avoid further deterioration.

He said such bad roads have been identified, indicating that the affected roads had been mapped out and contracts for the repairs would be awarded to contractors as part of preparation for the ember months.

According to him, the total cost for the repair works is N75,765,087,178.28.

In his address, the Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, appealed to stakeholders in the road sector to rededicate their efforts towards improving safety and sanity on the highways.

Fashola said that government is doing all it can to move Cargos by rail as it was fast and make the roads more durable.

“The President Muhammadu Buhari administration is making efforts to ensure that overloaded trucks no longer ply the nation’s highways.”

According to him, a measurement scale device installed on a computer will be put in place around the nation to ensure that trucks and haulage vans do not convey excess goods.

“You may not be aware of this, the government is building the Kano, Lagos and the Abeokuta pipeline and we want to see petrol tankers, timber going on railway and we hope this can relieve pressure on the road.

“I want to appeal to road users, NUPENG, NATO, NURTW and FRSC that we have to work together. Our responsibility is to ensure safety of the road users.

“All the data that we have about the road show us that most of the accidents on the road are as a result of speed violation.

Fashola said speed violation usually leads to loss of control, adding that traffic light violation, dangerous driving, wrongful overtaking, among others, are the causes of all road crashes across the country.

“We are going to start our restrictions with overloading. We are going to start it in Lagos at the tollgate.

“If your vehicle is overloaded, you will pay fines, so the reason we have done that is that we want to make it cheaper to comply and make it very expensive to break the law.

“That way, we hope that people will choose to comply instead of paying excessive penalties,” he said.

On his part, the Corps Safety Engineering Officer of the Federal Road Safety Corps, Mr Rindom Kumven, said safety campaign are being launched in all our sectors and zonal commands across the country to create awareness for all road users.

“Along side road condition, surveys are being conducted to see the real conditions of the road and the report will also be forwarded to the ministry.

“We are also identifying the black spot which we have identified over time which can possibly pose a challenge to us.

“All these areas have been identified and are being addressed so that all Nigerians will have a safe travel throughout the ember months and beyond,” Kumven said.

Also speaking at the meeting, NUPENG Deputy National Chairman, Lucky Osezuwa, appealed to the government to make good the promise to fix the roads.

Stakeholders in attendance include representatives from the National Road Transport Owners, NARTO, National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, NUPENG, National Union of Road Transport Workers, NURTW, Federal Road Safety Corps, FRSC.

Others are the Federal Road Maintenance Agency, FERMA, and contractor handling the various road projects in the country, where they have promised to fix failed portions of critical roads across the Federation.

In another development,  Rep. Abubakar Kabir, Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Works, has underscored the need for upward review of the proposed allocation for execution of various road projects across the country.

Kabir said this during the debate on the general principles of the 2022 budget estimates on Wednesday in Abuja.

This is against the backdrop of the 2022 Appropriation Bill presented by President Muhammadu Buhari before the joint session of the National Assembly.

The newsmen report that N481,964,861,868 was proposed for the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing in the 2022 budget.

The lawmaker,  while expressing concern over the state of federal roads and the need for adequate funding, said there was need to upscale the budget for the ministry of works.

According to him, the proposed budget showed that the sums of N15,050,141,513 is for personnel; N16,885,462,684 for overhead; and N450,029,257,671 is for capital expenditure.

Hr pointed out that the allocation to the Ministry of Works was inadequate, adding that only N280 billion was allocated in the 2022 budget.

He added that currently the country had about N640 billion certificates owing contractors.

“So, if we apply N280 billion against N640 billion for our outstanding certificates, that means in 2022 there is nothing we can see in any road infrastructure such as bridges and construction of roads.

“Of course the President has done very well in terms of initiation of SUKUK, NSIA, HDMI, they are doing very well.

“But honestly we need more funding, at least additional of N500 billion for massive development in road infrastructure,” he urged

He also called for the adoption of the policy on Tax Credit Scheme, where companies would be allowed to develop road infrastructure with tax holidays to the tune of the cost of the project.

 

 

Health and Safety

Troops Neutralise 192 Terrorists, Apprehend 341 Others In 1 Week – DHQ

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Troops Neutralise 192 Terrorists, Apprehend 341 Others In 1 Week – DHQ

The Defence Headquarters says troops have in the last one week neutralised 192 terrorists, apprehended 341 others and rescued 62 kidnapped hostages.

It also said a total of 122 ISWAP/JAS terrorists surrendered with their families.

The Director of Defence Media Operations, Maj.-Gen. Edward Buba said this at a news briefing on operations of the Armed Forces of Nigeria across the country on Thursday in Abuja.

Buba said the troops also recovered 211 assorted weapons and 6,288 assorted ammunition within the week.

He said the recovered items comprised 128 AK.47 rifles, 26 Dane guns, 1,301 rounds of 7.62mm NATO, 3,260 rounds of 7.62mm special ammo, 1,325 live cartridges, and 140 rounds of 9mm ammunition among other items.

In the North East, Buba said the troops of Operation Hadin Kai neutralised 71 terrorists, arrested 143 suspects and rescued 58  kidnapped hostages during the week.

He added that the air component conducted air strikes on ISWAP/JAS terrorists’ hideouts and logistics hub, including their food processing unit in Kolleram village, along Lake Chad.

According to him, the Battle Damage Assessment revealed that over 30 terrorists, including senior commanders; Ali Dawud, Bakura Fallujah and Mallam Ari, were neutralised as well as their logistics were destroyed as a result of the strike.

In the North Central, Buba said the troops of Operations Safe Haven and Whirl Stroke neutralised 29 insurgents, arrested 53 violent extremists and rescued eight kidnapped hostages.

In the North West, he said the troops of Operation Hadarin Daji neutralised 62 terrorists, arrested 49 terrorists and rescued 36 kidnapped hostages.

He added that troops of Operation Whirl Punch arrested 14 criminals and recovered cache of arms and ammunition as well as military accoutrements.

According to him, other items recovered are 620 parcels of substances suspected to be marijuana, 10 Yoruba Nation flags, eight mobile phones, and four handheld radios, among other items.

In the South-South, Buba said the troops of Operation Delta Safe had maintained momentum against activities of crude oil theft and recovered 792,660 litres of stolen crude oil and 117,070 litres of illegally refined AGO.

He added that troops discovered and destroyed 31 illegal refining sites with 99 dugout pits, 11 boats, 29 storage tanks, 192 cooking ovens and nine vehicles.

According to him, troops apprehended 27 suspected oil thieves and other violent extremists, recovering five weapons and 162 assorted ammunition.

In the South-East, the defence spokesman said the troops of Operation UDOKA neutralised nine terrorists, arrested 11 violent extremists, rescued 17 kidnapped hostages and recovered weapons. 

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Health and Safety

Joint Security Team Rescues 2 Kidnapped Victims in Kebbi

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Joint Security Team Rescues 2 Kidnapped Victims in Kebbi

A joint security team deployed to Suru and Maiyama local government areas of Kebbi on Tuesday rescued two persons abducted by suspected bandits in the areas.

The operation was conducted by operatives of the Nigerian Army, NSCDC, DSS and vigilante groups.

Confirming the story to newsmen in Birnin Kebbi, the Director in charge of the Security Service, Cabinet Office, AbdulRahman Zagga, attributed the success to the support of Gov. Nasir Idris in providing all the necessary tools to the agencies.

“Following the consistent efforts of the Kebbi Governor, Dr Nasir Idris in supporting the security agencies operating in the state, a joint team of security operatives on Tuesday successfully rescued two kidnapped victims.

“The operation was successful; we were able to follow the bandits from Giro forest to Boma and down to Zugu Liba forest where the victims were rescued,” he said.

The director said that the kidnappers could no longer withstand the security pressure, thereby, abandoning the kidnapped victims.

He explained that the rescued victims were handed over to the village head and the vigilante chairman of Zugu Liba village for them to be reunited with their families.

He called on the people to support the security operatives with useful information that would assist in effectively discharging their duty of curtailing the challenges of insecurity in the state. 

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Health and Safety

NDLEA Destroys 304,436kg, 40,042 Litres of Drugs in Lagos, Ogun

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NDLEA destroys 304,436kg, 40,042 litres of drugs in Lagos, Ogun

The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), on Tuesday in Ibereko Badagry, Lagos, destroyed 304,436 kg and 40,042 litres of illicit substances seized from parts of Lagos and Ogun States.

The Chairman of the Agency, Brig.-Gen. Buba Marwa (Rtd), said the open destruction of the seized illicit drugs was in adherence with court orders.

Marwa called for more public support for the ongoing efforts by the NDLEA and other stakeholders to curb the menace of substance abuse and illicit drug trafficking in Nigeria.

“Though a routine exercise and an established process of removing dangerous substances from our society, the public destruction of confiscated illicit drugs is usually conducted at the end of their related cases in court, “ the NDLEA boss said.

The chairman noted that the exhibits being destroyed were of mixed types.

According to him, they include illicit drugs in solid and liquid states, as well as in various classes such as cocaine, heroin, cannabis, and tramadol, among others.

He said the drugs were seized by NDLEA operatives across different formations of the agency in Lagos and Ogun states, from January 2022 till date, especially at the Lagos seaports, airports, and land borders.

“To be destroyed here today on the order of the court are solid drugs, weighing 304,436.055kg and 40, 042. 621 litres of liquid drugs.

“The sheer volume of the drug haul speaks volumes about the extent of the nefarious activities of the drug underworld,” he noted.

Marwa appreciated the traditional rulers, heads of security agencies, the clergy, members of NGOs and CSOs, as well as other stakeholders, who witnessed the ceremony.

The Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, represented by the Chairman, Badagry West Local Government, Mr Olusegun Onilude, expressed satisfaction with the efforts of the NDLEA in tackling the scourge of illicit drugs in the country.

“Almost all crimes and criminalities are fueled by illicit drugs, so the Lagos State Government appreciates the NDLEA and its leadership in their resolute fight against illicit drugs.

“The volume of illicit drugs being destroyed here today speak volume and every right-thinking person should be worried,” he stated.

Sanwo-Olu also commended the agency for taking the War Against Drug Abuse (WADA) social advocacy campaign to schools and communities across the state.

“No doubt, NDLEA is working, and the state will continue to collaborate with the agency and its leadership,” he assured.

It was reported that Marwa on Monday in Lagos, announced that 50,901 drug offenders, including 46 barons, have been arrested in the last three years.

He also said that within the period, the agency successfully prosecuted and convicted 9,034 of them, as well as seized over 7,561 tonnes of illicit substances.

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