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We’ll complete Lagos-Ibadan road, 2nd Niger Bridge before 2023 – Buhari

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President Muhammadu Buhari says the second Niger bridge, Lagos-Ibadan expressway and other key projects under the Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund (PIDF) will be completed before 2023.

Buhari said this on Monday, in Abuja at the opening of a two-day mid-term ministerial performance review retreat organised to assess the progress made towards the achievement of the nine key priorities of the administration.

According to a statement by Femi Adesina, presidential spokesman, the president used the occasion to highlight some of the federal government’s achievements in the past two years.

“On transportation, we are growing the stock and quality of our road, rail, air, and water transport infrastructure,” Buhari said.

“The PIDF projects are also advancing remarkably. These include the 11.9km Second Niger Bridge, 120 km Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, 375 km Abuja – Kaduna – Zaria – Kano Expressway and the East West Road. Most of these projects are expected to be completed within this 2nd term of our Administration.”

The president also said his administration had made tremendous progress on railway projects in the country, adding that upgrading the railway network is being extended with the recent completion of Lagos–Ibadan line.

“Work is expected to commence very soon on the Port-Harcourt Maiduguri line and Calabar – Lagos Coastal Line to connect the Southern and Eastern States of our Country. Progress is also being made on the upgrading of our Airports, with the state-of-the-art facilities in line with world-class safety standards,” he said.

On the economy, the president said the nation witnessed three consecutive quarters of growth, after negative growth rates recorded in the second and third quarters of 2020.

On security, Buhari announced that the ministry of defence has been instructed to create a modest military-industrial complex for the local production of weapons to meet some of the requirements of the country’s armed forces.

He said the establishment of the industrial complex will address Nigeria’s over-dependence on other countries for military equipment and logistics.

He said the project is being implemented under the Defence Industries Corporation of Nigeria (DICON), a military department responsible for arms manufacture.

“As part of the efforts towards strengthening our national security, we have increased investments in arms, weapons and other necessary equipment; expanded the National Command and Control Centre to nineteen states of the Federation; and established a Nigerian Police Trust Fund, which will significantly improve funding for the Nigeria Police Force,” he said.

The president warned all ministers and permanent secretaries to take seriously all issues relating to the implementation of their mandates towards the attainment of the objectives of the government.

The president also unveiled the presidential priorities performance management system.

He said the system and dashboard, which has been in effect since January, had provided him the opportunity to track projects in real-time with live data.

“In our continuing drive to ensure accountability, we have incorporated a Performance Management Framework into the functions of the Central Delivery Coordination Unit for ease of tracking of the Ministerial Deliverables along the lines of the 9 priority areas of this administration,” Buhari said,

“This initiative has provided me the opportunity to track the performance of all Ministries and by extension my Administration.

“This process has been in effect since January 2021 and today it gives me great pleasure to unveil the Performance Management System and Dashboard to track projects in real-time with live data and early warning system to proactively resolve bottlenecks.”

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Canadian Town Builds Mosque To Retain Muslim Doctors

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The town of Gander in the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador, is working with its local Muslim community to establish the town’s first mosque and to retain Muslim doctors.

The town’s mayor, Percy Farwell, and Dr Mohamed Barasi, director of the Central Newfoundland Islamic Community, said Wednesday they hope a mosque will encourage Muslim doctors to stay in the region.

Farwell said there were several internationally-trained Muslim doctors working in Gander, and that in the past, the town has had difficulties convincing them to stay.

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“Doctors are parts of families, and families have needs that go way beyond the professional life of the physician,” Farwell said in an interview. “The rest of the community needs to be part of that.”

Barasi, an orthopaedic surgeon, said his community has been working with the Town of Gander for over a year to establish a mosque.

Working together, they’ve since identified a suitable plot of land, he said.

He said his group is now stuck in the paperwork process of establishing itself as a registered charity so it can begin fundraising to buy the land.

Gander has a population of about 11,600 people and it is home to a busy regional hospital and health centre. Farwell estimated the local Muslim community to be about 55 residents, but he said that figure is closer to 100 if surrounding communities are factored in.

 (thestar.com)

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$418m Paris Club Refund: Govs Tackle Malami, Say Action Fraudulent, Self-Serving

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Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami

The Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) on Wednesday described the positions of the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, on the controversial $418 million Paris Club contractors’ fee as “fraudulent and self-serving.”

The NGF Chairman and governor of Ekiti State, Dr Kayode Fayemi, disclosed the position of the forum in a communique issued at the end of its meeting, held at the Conference Hall of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

Fayemi, while reading the communique to journalists, said the governors had resolved to pursue the issue, which is before the law court, to a logical conclusion so as to know the next steps to take on the matter.

The governors, who insisted that the deductions for the payment of said consultancy were illegal, especially as the matter is before the courts, said Malami was not acting in public interest.

“The forum extensively reviewed the purported attempt by the Attorney-General of the Federation and the Minister of Finance to circumvent the law and a recent judgment of the Supreme Court, to secure the approval of the Federal Executive Council, to effect illegal payment of the sum of $418 million to contractors who allegedly executed consultancies in respect to the Paris Club Refunds to state and local governments.

“The forum set up a committee comprising the Chairman, the governor of Ekiti State, the Vice Chairman, the governor of Ondo State, the governor of Plateau State, the governor of Nasarawa State and the governor of Ebonyi State, to interface with the committee set up by Mr. President to review the matter.

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“But the position of the Governors’ Forum is clear and unequivocal. Although this matter is sub-judice and we are very reluctant to get in the way of a matter that is still being pursued in the courts, we are constrained by the manner in which the Honorable Attorney-General has been going around various media houses and purporting to create the impression that this is a liability to which governors have committed themselves to and agreed to, even though he is very much aware that that’s not the case.

“We reject all of the claims that he has made on these issues and we also insist that states will not give up on insisting that these purported claims are fraudulent and will not stand, as far as governors are concerned, and we will take every constitutional and legal means to ensure that these purported consultancies are fully litigated upon by the highest courts in the land.

“If the courts now find governors and the Nigerian Governors’ Forum and states liable, then we’ll cross that bridge when we get there. As far as we are concerned, this is a matter that governors feel very strongly about and we do not believe that the Attorney-General of the Federation is acting in the public interest. We believe he’s acting in personal, selfish interest, that would ultimately become clear when this matter is fully addressed in the law courts,” he said.

The governors, who also deliberated on the prevailing economic and security situation in the country, agreed to intervene by engaging with the federal government and other stakeholders to deliberate, suggest immediate action plans on ameliorate the current situations.

“The Forum extensively discussed the state of the Nigerian economy and security, following a presentation by Mr. Bismarck Rewani, member of the President’s Economic Advisory Council, the Forum resolved to immediately engage with the federal government and other critical stakeholders; Labour, the presidential candidates of political parties, and corporate actors on finding resolutions and suggestions to implement a set of immediate actions to ameliorate the worsening economic conditions in the country”, he said.

On the industrial action by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), the communique said “on the prolonged strike by Nigerian universities, the forum encourages the federal government and the Academic Staff Union of Universities to find meaningful resolutions to the lingering impasse and as proposed to engage with both parties, just as we have done in the past, in a bid to ending the strike”.

The communique further revealed that the Forum discussed several other issues, ranging from resolve to increase funding for the health care sector to encouraging fiscal transparency in states.

Daily Trust
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Ex-IBB spokesman, Duro Onabule, dies at 83

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Duro Onabule, former Chief Press Secretary of former Military President, General Ibrahim Babangida, has died at the age of 83.

The veteran journalist reportedly died on Tuesday evening.

A close associate of Onabule’s family, Chief Eric Teniola, broke the news of the foremost journalist’s death, saying, “Chief Duro Onabule died this evening”.

He Onabule was presidential spokesman for the greater part of Babangida nine-year administration when the government shut down many newspapers and magazines and slammed their publishers with temporary proscription to make them comply with the code of conduct set up by the administration.

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He was born in Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State, on September 27, 1939 and graduated from CMS Grammar School and School of Journalism, London.

He started his first media work as a reporter at the Daily Express in 1961. Three years later, he joined the Daily Sketch and spent some time there before going back to his previous employer, Daily Express.

In 1969, he served as the London correspondent of the Express. In the mid-1970s, he worked for the Daily Times and later became a deputy editor of the Headlines magazine.

Onabule was appointed features editor when the late MKO Abiola started Concord Press and in 1984, he became the editor of Concord newspaper.

He was a columnist at the Sun newspapers until his death.

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