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FG approves N87.5bn for Abuja, Oyo-Ogbomosho road projects

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The Federal Executive Council on Wednesday approved N87.54bn for the construction of some roads in parts of the country.

The roads include the Oyo-Ogbomosho expressway and some critical Abuja highways.

The Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Muhammed Bello; and the Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, told journalists about the approved road contracts at the end of a meeting of the council presided over by the President Muhammadu Buhari.

According to Bello, Messrs Gilmor Engineering Nigeria Limited was awarded the road contract for Abuja in the sum of N30.69bn.

He said the contract was about the full scope development of Umaru Musa Yar’Adua Way to the Northern Expressway (Murtala Mohammed Way) popularly known as Kubwa Expressway.

He said the project area was within Phase II of the Federal Capital City, serving as boundary road between the adjoining districts of Mabushi, Kado, Katampe and Jabi.

Fashola spoke on the approval of a variation of N47.5bn for the completion of the 52 kilometre-Oyo-Ogbomosho Highway, which is a part of the Ilorin-Ibadan 145 kilometres highway.

He said the variation had increased the cost of the contract to N105.04bn.

The minister explained that the variation was necessary because of the need to adjust the thickness of the pavement from 500mm to 560mm; to change the asphalt to polymer-modified bitumen and change the shoulders from surface dressing to fully-asphalted inside and outside shoulder.

He said, “All these required changes in prices of N47.5bn. This was the revision that we presented which council approved.

“This road was awarded in 2010. As I said, Sections 1 and 3 were completed. We are trying to complete Section 2 which we also inherited.”

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Child abuse: Protesters storm Lagos gov’s office, accuser’s aides ‘arrested’

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Concerned parents, teachers and old students of Methodist Girls High School on Friday protested at the Lagos State Governor’s Office over an alleged sexual abuse case.

The PUNCH had reported that a teacher, Adewale Bakare, was remanded in Kirikiri prison for allegedly defiling a nine-year-old pupil.

The father of the pupil, Mr Adebisi Arewa, also complained that his domestic aides were arrested on Friday.

However, the Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, Benjamin Hundeyin, denied knowledge of the arrest.

“My security guards and housemaid have been arrested. The police escorted those that arrested them. This is illegal. It shows desperation,” he told our correspondent on the telephone.

The protesters complained about Bakare’s detention, saying that he should be freed.

There was also a protest at the Lagos State Police Command over the matter on Thursday.

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Among the inscriptions on the placards displayed by the protesters are ‘say no to weaponised rape accusations’, ‘Lagos State, we say no to statistics, yes to justice’, ‘False accusation is a crime’, ‘rape is not a joke, do not accuse people to score a point’, and ‘rescue the Arewa girl’.

The PUNCH gathered that Bakare had been remanded in Kirikiri prison pending Lagos State’s Directorate of Public Prosecutions’ advice.

It was learnt that while in prison, Bakare’s wife delivered a pre-matured baby who is currently in the incubator at a federal hospital in Lagos State.

48-year-old Bakare, who denied the allegations against him, had been a teacher for 21 years. He was a former principal of an international school where he worked for 10 years before joining Methodist Girls High School.

Counsellor for junior school, Methodist Girls High School, Adesoga Mary, said, “We want justice for Adewale. We appeal to the governor to ensure justice. The governor should intervene. We are here to support him as a colleague that we trust. Why was Bakare denied bail? What is special about the case?”

The lawyer of the protesters, Toyin Taiwo-Ojo, urged the Lagos State Government to execute a court order that Arewa’s children should be taken over from him.

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29, mostly children, drowned in Sokoto boat accident

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Twenty-nine persons including a bride-to-be have died in a boat mishap that occurred on Wednesday in Shagari River at Gidan Magana in Shagari…

The victims, mostly children between nine and 17 years old, were crossing the river to a nearby bush to fetch firewood which they sold in their community.
Findings revealed that there were 35 of them in the boat when it capsized around 8am.
The village head of Gidan Magana, Malam Muhammadu Auwal, who lost five of his children in the mishap, said the deceased were 23 females and six males.
He, however, said six of the passengers were rescued alive.
“You know the kind of situation we are in. There is a serious shortage of firewood which we use to cook our meals. The children used to go to the nearby bush across the river to fetch firewood for their parents while some of them sold it to get some money.
“The incident happened shortly after the boat took off. The sailor lost control because of strong water waves and the boat capsized,” Auwal said tears flowing down his face.
He explained that the tragedy occurred when many of the elderly people in the village were resting at home after the dawn prayer.
“I was already asleep when some youth came to my house to inform me about the accident. I mobilised the people of my community, including our local divers but before we got there, many of the children have died.
“I lost five of my children and two younger sisters of my wives. I also lost my niece whose wedding was fixed for one week after Sallah.
“This is the greatest tragedy that has ever happened in our community. We pray Allah to grant their souls eternal rest and give us the fortitude to bear the loss,” Auwal added.
Aliyu Muhammad who lost a 12-year-old daughter, Rufaida, in the accident said his child was healthy before she left for the bush.
“I was going to the farm when my wife told me that my daughter was going to fetch firewood for us.
“When I was coming back, I heard people shouting and screaming for help that a boat had capsized in our river.
“When I reached home my younger children told me that Rufaida was among those on board the canoe, so I rushed to the riverside only for me to meet her lifeless body lying by the river bank,” he said in an emotion-laden voice.
The Chairman of Shagari LGA, Aliyu Abubakar Dantani, said he heard about the accident from the councillor representing Dande Mahe and he immediately called the divisional police officer and they came to the village together.
“We counted 28 bodies at the scene of the incident and they are all from the same village,” he said.
According to him, this was not the first time such an accident was recorded in his area as around June last year, a total of 13 people, including women, were killed in a similar circumstance at Gangi village which is just five kilometres from this village.
The deceased were given a mass burial in accordance with Islamic rites around 4pm.
Condoling with the residents of the village, Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, who was accompanied by his deputy, Manir Dan’iya; the state chairman of PDP, Bello Goronyo, and some commissioners, prayed Allah to grant the deceased Jannatul Firdaus.
Three victims of the boat mishap, Asma’u, Na’ima and Hadiza, 10, 9 and 8 years old, respectively, told Daily Trust how they survived the accident.
Asma’u, said after the boat capsized, she started swimming to the river bank before she was rescued by her elder brother.
While Na’ima and Hadiza, said they were rescued by local divers.
Asma’u however listed some of her friends who did not survive the mishap.

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We’re investigating cause of national grid collapse – FG

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The Federal Government says the cause of the collapse of the National grid is being investigated.

The grid collapsed on Friday, plunging the nation into darkness.

But in a statement, the Ministry of Power said efforts were in place to tackle the problem.

It said the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), the operator of the national grid, is in the process of restoring supply.

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“We wish to notify the general public of the incidence of a system collapse which occurred at 1830hrs on April 8th, 2022 resulting in power outages in many parts of the country. While a detailed investigation into the immediate and remote causes of the recurring grid failure is currently ongoing by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission and System Operator (the operator of the national grid), the process of restoring supply is ongoing with some sections of the national grid already energised and supply restored to consumers.”

“We wish to assure Nigerians that the Federal Government is working assiduously to deliver on the much-needed reforms and investments, including SCADA, that are critical to improving the capacity and reliability of the national grid. This is in line with the Mr. President’s directives on closing infrastructure deficits in critical sectors of the Nigerian economy.”

The collapse is the third in a month, but the Federal Government assured that it has taken steps to address the problem.

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