East-West road, 43 others to be completed without delay – Fashola
All 44 road projects in the approved phase two of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC) Road Infrastructure Tax Credit Scheme including the East-West road will be completed without any delay or break.
The Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola (SAN), stated this, stressing that sustainability of funding for the critical infrastructure in Nigeria would be guaranteed.
Fashola, who spoke in Abuja, noted that unlike in the past, when there was inadequate funding of infrastructure, the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari had secured alternative sources of funding that could guarantee sustainability from the beginning of the projects to their completion.
He said the tax credit scheme remained a new model that encourages partnership with private companies where taxes are paid in advance to enable the government invest in notable projects that would be beneficial to its citizens.
The minister said the Federal Government had focused on nine major axes of Nigeria, adding that the A1 – A4 axis covered the Northern part of the country, while the A5-A9 axis covered the East and West of the country.
He said the successful completion of all the roads would lead to sustainable mobility for Nigerians.
“The roads like Akure – Ado –Ekiti and East-West which people have been complaining about would be adequately catered for with the approval of the second phase of the NNPC Tax Credit Scheme,” he said.
On payment of compensation, Fashola noted that it would not be paid to anyone occupying the government’s Right of Way (RoW) and appealed to members of the communities occupying the areas to vacate.
Permanent Secretary of the ministry, represented by the Director overseeing the Office of the Permanent Secretary, Folorunsho Esan, said in line with the Executive Order 7 (2019), phase one was approved on October 27, 2021.
He stated that with the completion of phase one, the Federal Executive Council (FEC) has also approved phase II of the scheme to fund 44 critical road infrastructure to the tune of N1.96 trillion naira.
Esan said that as it was done with phase one, phase two would be governed by a set of guidelines to be issued to each contractor, adding that there would be a funding intervention agreement to be implemented in addition to the standard condition of the contract governing the execution of the projects.
He said that the availability of this new funding window will ensure steady cash flow and a timely completion of projects.
He also stated that the NNPC intervention which began in October 2021 with phase one has now occupied the top of the log with a portfolio well in excess of N2.6 trillion.
On the part of NNPC, the Group Chief Executive Officer, Mallam Mele Kyari, who was represented by the Chief Financial Officer, Umar Aliya, said that funding would not be an issue anymore as the company is committed to fully funding the next phase.
“We are committed to setting aside funds for phase II. Funding would not be a problem. What is important to us is that our consultant will need to validate the value for money and the quality of work. We will not compromise the quality and timely completion of work,“ he said.
“There is no need for excuses. As for us, on our part, we are committed and we implore the contractors to do quality work and do it on time so that the road projects can be open for use to Nigerians,” he added.
The Executive Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Services (FIRS) Mohammed Nami, explained that most of the roads captured by Executive Order 7 to be executed by the NNPC were mostly road projects inherited by the administration of Muhammadu Buhari.
“So, we are appealing to Nigerians to trust Executive order 007 so that government will continue to provide the physical infrastructure that our people need,“he said.
Keyamo seeks arrest of Peter Obi over alleged incitement
Minister of State, Labour and Employment, Mr Festus Keyamo (SAN) has petitioned the Department of State Services, demanding the arrest and prosecution of the Labour Party presidential and vice presidential candidates, Peter Obi and Datti Baba-Ahmed, respectively, for allegedly making comments capable of causing rebellion.
In the petition addressed to the Director-General DSS and dated March 23, the minister who is chief spokesperson for the All Progressives Congress, APC, Presidential Campaign Council, PCC, said in a post-election period such as this, there was a need to soothe frayed nerves, lower the temperature and begin the healing process.
“The President-elect, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, issued a statement to this effect a few days ago.
“However, it appears the presidentila and vice-presidential candidates of the Labour Party, Mr Peter Obi and Datti Baba-Ahmed are not prepared to toe this conciliatory path for the sake of peace and national cohesion, whilst exercising their rights to pursue duly laid down constitutional means of addressing their grievances,” he stated.
Keyamo noted that since the declaration of the presidential election results, the duo have been hopping from one media house to the other making incendiary comments and claims about the declaration of the President-elect by the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC.
According to him, “These comments and claims are made, not just within the boundaries of exercising their rights to freedom of speech and the freedom to air their grievances publicly, but they have since crossed the line to call for the outright truncation of democracy by insisting on the adoption of other processes outside the contemplation of our Constitution.
“In some cases, their privies have even called for the establishment of an Interim Government.
“The latest of such are the comments made by Datti Baba-Ahmed on behalf of himself and Mr. Peter Obi on Channels TV on Wednesday, March 22, wherein he threatened that if the President-elect was sworn in on May 29, it would ‘signal the end of democracy’.
“Posing as an accuser, a judge and a jury all by himself, he unilaterally declared the duly elected President-elect as ‘unconstitutional’ and, in a subliminal manner, threatened mayhem if the President-elect was sworn in on May 29.
“I also have it on good authority that Mr. Peter Obi and Datti Baba-Ahmed have camped some youths in a popular hotel in Abuja with the sole aim of instructing them to push out inciting messages everyday on social media in order to cause panic and fear within the federation and to incite people to riot and social unrest.
“It is noteworthy that Peter Obi and Datti Baba-Ahmed have submitted elections petitions to the courts for adjudication, but their conducts and utterances amount to a subversion of the processes they have instituted in court and a subversion of our Constitution and the laid-down processes for addressing disputes and grievances.
“These conduct and utterances are a build-up to something more sinister and it is important you rein them in now!
“In the circumstance, I submit this petition in my personal capacity as a patriotic Nigerian to invite/arrest, interrogate and after investigation, if necessary, charge both individuals to court for their conduct which amounts to incitement and treasonable felony.”
President-elect Tinubu travels out to rest – Aide
President-elect, Bola Tinubu, has travelled abroad to rest and plan his transition programme ahead of May 29, 2023 inauguration.
His spokesman, Tunde Rahman, disclosed this in a statement on Wednesday.
He also urged the media to stop publishing unsubstantiated claims about Tinubu.
There were reports that Tinubu travelled abroad for a medical check-up.
But Rahman in a statement said Tinubu decided to take a break after the hectic campaign and the election to rest.
The statement read in part, “After a very exhaustive campaign and election season, President-elect, Asíwájú Bola Tinubu, has travelled abroad to rest and plan his transition programme ahead of May 29, 2023 inauguration.
“The President-elect left the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Ikeja for Europe on Tuesday night.
“The President-elect decided to take a break after the hectic campaign and election season to rest in Paris and London, preparatory to going to Saudi Arabia for Umrah (Lesser Hajj) and the Ramadan Fasting that begins Thursday,” he said.
He noted that while away, Tinubu will use the opportunity to plan his transition programme.
Sultan directs Muslims to start Ramadan fast Thursday
President of the Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, has announced the sighting of the new moon signifying the start of the Ramadan fasting.
In a broadcast on Wednesday night, Abubakar who is also the Sultan of Sokoto, said Muslims in Nigeria should commence fasting on Thursday, March 23.
Ramadan is the period when Muslims observe fasting and prayers.
He said the announcement followed reports of the moonsighting received from Islamic scholars and organisations across the country.
He said the reports were duly “authenticated and verified” by the states and national moonsighting committees.
The Sultan said, “Consequently, tomorrow Thursday the 23rd day of March 2023 becomes the first day of Ramadan 1444 after Hijra.
“We, therefore, call on all Muslims to commence fasting accordingly. As we just concluded the 2023 general elections and leaders emerge at the national and state levels by Allah’s will, we, therefore, call on all Muslims to use this holy month to pray in guiding the affairs of our great country.
“We appeal to the well-meaning individuals amongst us to assist the vulnerable and the poor people with food during this holy month of Ramadan to ease the hardship people are going through.”
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