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NRC is a Bedrock of Social Economic Development – Transportation Minister 

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NRC is a Bedrock of Social Economic Development - Transportation Minister 
Maritime First Newspaper

…As Sambo says Buhari has laid down 25-year Infrastructure Plan***

The Minister of Transportation, Mu’azu Jaji Sambo has described the Nigerian Railway Corporation as a bedrock of social-economic development which has touched many lives.

Sambo stated this while on a working visit to the Nigerian Railway Corporation corporate headquarters in Ebute – Metta, Lagos. 

The Minister who commended the support of stakeholders in the Transportation Sector said he wished that President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration had come earlier to help kickstart the Railway modernization programme. 

Sambo also noted that the Nigerian Railway Corporation has a rich history of unifying the people and impacting so many lives. 

“The Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) has a very rich history and a lot of us who are our age know the impact the railway corporation has had on so many families in this country.

“Some people speak Igbo because their parents worked in the Railway corporation, some people speak Hausa because their parents worked in the Northern part of the country at a point or the other in their lives all because of their employment with the NRC, indeed this corporation has done well in unifying the country. 

“It is so unfortunate that this bedrock of social-economic development was allowed to die, to be laid comatose. At a time when we discovered oil and at a time when we even said at one time that we didn’t even know what to do with money. 

“Honesty, I wish the incumbent President had come much earlier. However, it is better late than never. The foundation is laid and there is no going back. I don’t think any government will come after this and not continue with the Railway modernization program of this administration, which has been very robust.” he said.

Sambo further commended the effort of the former Minister of Transportation, Honourable Rotimi Amaechi and other members of staff for their achievements in the Rail sector. 

*The Minister of Transportation, Mu’azu Jaji Sambo on a working visit to the Nigerian Railway Corporation Corporate Headquarters, in company of the Minister of State, Prince Ademola Adegoroye, the Permanent Secretary, Dr. Magdalene Ajani, Directors of the Federal Ministry of Transportation, NUR Workers and staff of the Corporation.

He acknowledged their support and prayed for their continuous cooperation so as to leave a positive and lasting impression in the rail transportation sector. 

“I want to thank those of you that we met on board for having achieved all that we have seen and some of them we are going to see today. The progress in the rail sub-sector is something that we are all proud of. 

“I think the gratitude goes to my predecessor and those of you here who supported him. We must commend him for all the things he did while he was in office. 

“One of those achievements is in the Rail sub-sector. I want to join everyone in hailing my immediate predecessor, Right Honourable Rotimi Amaechi for all he has done, especially in the rail sub-sector. He has indeed left an indelible mark, which you cannot take away from him. 

“Those of us that have come after him, have a very limited time but we have vowed to continue from where he stopped and we can only make an impression. If we get your total support. 

“So far, we have received that support and we hope that the support will continue until the last day which is May 29, 2023, may God spare our lives,” he said. 

Sambo further assured members of staff of the railway corporation that the Ministry would continue to support them by creating an environment where they can work comfortably without any harassment or intimidation. 

“On our own, we will continue to support you as we know that we are all here for the good of the country. I would like to thank you for this warm welcome.

“So on behalf of my colleague, Prince Adegoroye, the Permanent Secretary, the directors, and other members of staff who came from Abuja, I want to thank you and wish all of us a great day and a blessed one. Thank you,” he said.

In another development, the Minister of Transportation, Mu’azu Jaji Sambo has indicated that the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration had laid the foundation for a 25-year infrastructure plan.

Sambo said the infrastructure plan built on a 25-year railway modernization programme essentially features programs that ensure every state capital is linked by rail.

The Minister said that the whole country would be connected by rail while trying to connect every state capital. 

“I don’t have to tell you the advantages that railway brings so by the time that plan is achieved, the whole country would have been connected. 

“Already we have the Eastern line. It’s been rehabilitated from Port-Harcourt to Maiduguri, we have the western line from Lagos to Kano, the narrow gauge is operational and the new standard gauge, Lagos-Ibadan which we are on now is already operational. 

“Abuja-Kaduna is operational, Kaduna Kano is being constructed and other sections and stations are also being constructed. 

“Now we have the central line running from Warri to Itakpe, which is operational and ultimately that same line will also link up with Abuja so that if you live in Delta State, you want to come to Abuja, you have no business going by air or road. 

“At the end of the day, the entire country would have been connected by a network of railways that would make life easier for passengers’ movement in large volumes and movement of goods,” he said.

The Minister emphasised that railway Infrastructure is a bedrock of social economic development and that the next administration should build up on what the present government is doing.

He revealed that a ministerial retreat was also recently held to score the performance and the mandates given to each ministry. 

‘The essential features of this retreat were to review the performance and see what has been achieved and also lay the foundation for a transition for the incoming government. By the way, the President has made it very clear that this government will work every day until May 29., 2023.” he added. 

Speaking on the importance of linking the railway to the ports, Sambo said he recently paid a visit to the Comptroller General of Customs to take him up on several issues that are of concern to the Ministry of Transportation, particularly the Apapa ports.

Sambo said the government is continuous and it is important that a transition plan take place so that subsequent administrations can build on what the present administration is doing. 

“When the Buhari administration came to power, there was no transition plan from the PDP government. Nothing at all to build upon and we felt it was wrong, we needed to correct it as part of governance. 

“Even if you are handing over to an opposition party, give them something to build upon. Government is continuous. So you must prepare for the next coming government.” He said.

The Minister further urged Nigerians to ignore sentiments and commend President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration for his commitment to infrastructure development. 

Sambo said politics should be set aside and honour should be given to whom it’s due, especially when it is obvious that the present administration has completed almost all projects abandoned by previous administrations.

He added that President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration has improved the security architecture of the country and also the revenue-generating power compared to the lad administration. 

“Before this present administration, a lot of communities in the North were under the control of terrorists but look at it now. Business is back to normal and there is peace. 

“Then we would come down from our vehicles and raise our hands while passing by military checkpoints. It’s been a long time since we had incidents of such now.

“You see, we cannot live without challenges but the ability of government to respond to challenges in the interest of the citizens is what is paramount and why shouldn’t we be appreciated,” he said.

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Traffic Flow: COMTUA, PSTT reconcile for Enhanced Efficiency

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Traffic Flow: COMTUA, PSTT reconcile for Enhanced Efficiency

The Council of Maritime Transport Unions and Associations (COMTUA) has reconciled its differences with the Presidential Special Task Team (PSTT), in a bid to ensure enhanced traffic flow.

The Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu has also stressed the need for bi-annual inspection of all boats operating in Lagos waters, in addition to, water guards being present in all jetties to ensure ferry Operators do not overload their boats.

 Announcing the reconciliation at its Annual Congress in Lagos, the COMTUA President, Prince Adeyinka Aroyewun said that COMTUA  purposely left  PSTT because the task force was derailing from its core functions while its performance was being exaggerated.

Aroyewun stated that these allegations made COMTUA pull out of PSTT.

The COMTUA President declared that the associations and the PSTT have now reconciled for effective collaboration in ensuring zero traffic at the port corridor.

 “We left the committee initially because the committee seems to be derailing. But over time, with our criticism and lots of efforts of the Nigerian Shippers Council, I think we are now on track. COMTUA sees the reason to collaborate with them especially when it comes to the area of traffic in the ports access roads. I want to believe that if we collaborate we will achieve more results than what we are seeing”,  Aroyewun stated.

He had earlier in his opening speech noted that the union’s engagements with the government and other stakeholders had led to the disbandment and suspension of several task forces and creation of functional and supportive bodies to assist their businesses. He promised to deliver on the union’s promise to bring everyone on board and attend to the needs of members.

 The National Coordinator of PSTT, Mr. Moses Fadipe, who represented the Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC) at the event, pointed out that the Committee has decided to welcome COMTUA back, for better relationship and engagement in achieving the goals and objectives of the team.

He emphasised that the Rules of Engagement of the team remain unchanged.

Fadipe, however, urged the union to strictly abide by the Rules of Engagement to avoid future disagreements.

“The COMTUA President said some time ago they left the Task Team because they felt they are not doing enough but now they said they are back.

“A father cannot have 20 children and wish that one will be out of the Palace. We have welcomed them back fully as the National Coordinator. I would convey the message to the Presidential Task Team. But be that as it may, our Rules of Engagement remain the same. It has never changed”,  Fadipe stressed.

 The Governor of Lagos State Babajide Sanwo-Olu stressed the importance of technology in the development of the haulage, logistics and transportation sector at large.

Represented by the General Manager, Lagos State Waterways Authority (LASWA), Mr. Damilola Emmanuel, the governor hinted that a bi-annual inspection of all boats is being carried out, and water guards are in all jetties to ensure people are not overloading their boats. He added that there is the introduction of fuel docks in Lagos, Eastern and Western axis to reduce the risk on the water.

The Special Adviser to the Governor, Lagos State Ministry of Transportation, Hon. Sola Giwa represented by Engr. Ojo Owuro commended the efforts and contributions of COMTUA to the development of transportation in Lagos.

 He announced that the Ministry has issued an approval recognising COMTUA as a single body.

He enjoined members of the Union to shun disunity but work together as a team.

COMTUA later presented awards to  Vice President of the Federation, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu,  Managing Director of NPA, Muhammed Bello-Koko and Executive Secretary of NSC, Hon. Emmanuel Jime.

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Health and Safety

Amotekun Recovers Ak-47 Rifles, Ammunition hidden in Oyo Forest

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Amotekun Recovers Ak-47 Rifles, Ammunition hidden in Oyo Forest

 The Oyo State wing of the Southwest Security Network (Amotekun Corps) has recovered AK-47 rifles, military camouflage and other items hidden in a forest in the state by suspected kidnappers.

Commandant of the corps in Oyo State, retired Col. Olayinka Olayanju, told newsmen in Ibadan on Monday that the corps recovered four AK-47 rifles, four magazines and 50 rounds of 7.62mm live ammunition.

Also recovered were wraps of Indian hemp, raincoats, two Nigerian Army caps, and a beret.

He said the items were recovered while operatives of the corps were combing forests following rising cases of kidnap on the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway.

“Last weekend, efforts of our men were rewarded when the arms and ammunition were found in one of the forests following a tip-off that some gunmen sighted in the area.

“The security network’s agents are still present in the forest to possibly apprehend the criminal elements,’’ he said.

In his remarks, Special Adviser to Gov. Seyi Makinde on Security Matters, retired Commissioner of Police, Mr. Fatai Owoseni, said the governor had directed security personnel in the state to take proactive steps to stop abductions in the state.

Owoseni said collaboration with local hunters and vigilantes assisted greatly in recent successes recorded by the Amotekun corps in the state.

He assured that the state government would provide the equipment needed for the smooth operation of the corps to enhance their performance.

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Health and Safety

Motor Park Attacks: Osun Police Recover 5 guns, Arrest 10 Suspects

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Motor Park Attacks: Osun Police Recover 5 guns, Arrest 10 Suspects

 The Osun Police Command on Monday said it had arrested 10 suspects over the attacks across some motor parks in the state on the premise of the forceful takeover of the parks.

SP Yemisi Opalola, the Command’s Spokesperson, in a statement, said five guns, nine live and four expended cartridges and five cutlasses were recovered from the suspects.

“This is to inform the general public that the Osun State Police Command is aware and frowns at the crises that erupted within the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) in the state in the early hours of today (Monday).

The Commissioner of Police, the Area Commanders, Divisional Police Officers, and other stakeholders had met with the NURTW executive, members and other stake holders to avert the crisis and forceful take-over of the parks in the state.

“All consented to maintain peace, but it was a surprise to learn about the attacks by NURTW members in several parts of the state with attendant destruction of offices and injury to some persons and police personnel.

“The CP, Faleye Olaleye, swiftly charged the Area Commanders, Divisional Police Officers and Tactical Commanders to ensure the situation is brought under control and arrest culprits.

“Consequently, the Police operatives tactical operation led to the arrest of 10 suspects and recovery of one Barretta pistol, two Pump Action guns, two Barrel guns, nine live and four expended cartridges, five cutlasses and charms,” she said

She said the CP was, however, assuring the public that the command was fully on top of the situation as mobile, conventional, tactical and patrol teams had been deployed to curtail the crises.

The CP also advised members of the public to go about their lawful businesses without fear of insecurity or attacks.

He warned that anyone found culpable in the unwarranted violence and attacks would face the full wrath of the law.

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