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Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge railway begins commercial operation Jan – Amaechi

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Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, has said the Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge rail line will commence full commercial operation in January next year.
He said on Friday that the $1.6bn railway project would be fully completed in December this year 2021.
He spoke during a television programme on AIT, which was attended virtually by the Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola.
The transportation minister said he would partner Fashola and Lagos State Government to move cargoes from roads to rail.

Amaechi said this would start with the new Lagos-Ibadan rail line.

He said, “I intend to approach him (Fashola) in January and approach the Lagos State governor so that we can see how we can deal with Apapa. Why I said that is because by December to first or second week in January, we should have completed the Lagos-Ibadan.

“Then if we do, there will be a need to decide what vehicles can go to Lagos and the capacity of such vehicles or trucks.”

Amaechi added, “If we do that, we can then transfer all the cargoes that come from Apapa seaport to the railway. We believe we could transfer that up till Ibadan while we are still constructing the rail line from Ibadan to Kano.”
Apart from movement of heavy cargoes, he said the new rail line would also help decongest major cities in Lagos as many people could live in Ibadan and work in Lagos.
The minister stated that in two to three years, the Ibadan-Kano rail line would have been substantially done to move more cargoes on the rail line.

He said, “In the next two to three years, we will see how much we would have tried to complete the Ibadan to Kano line. The more we are able to move these cargoes out of the road, then we can save our roads.

“Similarly, the same thing will happen from Port Harcourt to Maiduguri. So, I agree completely with the works minister, Babatunde Fashola, and I say to Nigerians to be more patient with us and allow us work to complete the projects.”
Fashola, while responding to a question, said Nigerian roads would not last without functional rail lines.
“I am his biggest champion when he (Amaechi) is presenting his request in the cabinet for the rails because I know that without the rail the roads will not last,” Fashola said.

He added, “The tankers are plying excess cargo; they are moving 60,000 tonnes instead of 33,000, 40,000 or 45,000 tonnes maximum. So, the best way is to move all that cargo into the tracks.

“That is what happens in countries we want to be like and that is where we are heading. So, he (Amaechi) has my support.”

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Obasanjo: I regret making Atiku my running mate in 1999

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Former President Olusegun Obasanjo on Saturday said one of his mistakes in life was picking former Vice President Atiku Abubakar as his running mate during the 1999 presidential election.

He stated this Abeokuta, Ogun State, duringan event held at the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library.

Obasanjo was responding to questions posed by students from selected secondary schools that participated in the final of the National Exhibition and Awards organised by Students for the Advancement of Global Entrepreneurship (SAGE).

Obasanjo and his former number two man, Atiku had a running battle during the build up to the 2003 elections.

He said he had made many “genuine” mistakes in his life, but God made him to overcome.

The former President said, “One of the mistakes I made was picking my Number Two (referring to Atiku) when I wanted to become the President. But because it was a genuine mistake, God saved me.

“The second one (mistake) was when Abacha wanted to arrest me. When Abacha wanted to arrest me, I was told by the American ambassador that they would arrest me and that America had asked that I should be given an asylum. I said no. It could have been a mistake because I could have lost my life.

“I will say there are many things that could have been mistakes but God saved me from them all.”

Obasanjo lamented the current trend of recycling of old politicians in elective positions, stressing that young Nigerians would not have chance to exhibit themselves if the trends continued.

He also spoke on opportunities for the youths to take over the mantle of leadership in the country.

Obasanjo bemoaned the trend of money politics in the country, which he noted would make it difficult for young Nigerians to participate in politics.

He however urged the youths to remain hopeful even in the face of money politics.

He said, “Another thing inhibiting youth from running is the amount of money involved in going into politics. I hope that things should not continue like this.

“I was 39 years old when I became the military Head of State. Twenty years later, I came back as civilian president, but those there now do not want to allow the youths. If things continue like this, I do not know how you can come in.”

 

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Buhari to Boris Johnson: No third term for me — first person who tried didn’t end well

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President Muhammadu Buhari and UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson

President Muhammadu Buhari has told UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson that there is no possibility of him seeking a third term in office.

The president spoke on Thursday during a bilateral meeting with Johnson on the sideline of the 26th Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Kigali, Rwanda.

According to Femi Adesina, presidential spokesperson, the British prime minister had asked if Buhari would run for office again, and he responded by saying: “Another term for me? No! The first person who tried it didn’t end very well.”

The president also denied that Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the proscribed Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB), was not being allowed to see his lawyers.

He said the separatist activist is provided with every opportunity under the law “to justify all the uncomplimentary things he had been saying against Nigeria in Britain”.

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“He felt very safe in Britain and said awful things against Nigeria. We eventually got him when he stepped out of the United Kingdom, and we sent him to court,” Buhari said.

“Let him defend all that he has said there. His lawyers have access to him. Remember he jumped bail before, how are we sure he won’t do it again if he’s admitted to bail?”

Speaking on the Boko Haram insurgency, Buhari said serious efforts are underway to educate the people on the fact that only an “unserious person” could kill innocent people and ascribe it to God.

“And the education process is working, the people now understand Boko Haram as anti-God, and not about religion,” he said.

In his remarks, Johnson expressed delight in the trade relations between both countries, adding that the UK was further reducing tariffs on some goods going to Nigeria.

“I just want to be sure that we are doing enough. It’s a massive partnership for us, and we need to capitalise on it,” he said.

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Buhari rules out bail option for Kanu

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Nnamdi Kanu

The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), on Thursday, ruled out bail for the detained leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu.

He said Kanu, who is currently on trial, was being given every opportunity under the law “to justify all the uncomplimentary things said against Nigeria while he was in Britain.”

This was as he reiterated his commitment to leave office for the next administration in May 2023.

According to a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, the President said this at a bilateral meeting with the British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, on the margins of the 26th Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Kigali, Rwanda.

The statement was titled ‘Another term for me? No! The first person who tried it didn’t end very well.’

On notions that Kanu was not allowed to see his lawyers privately, the President said the detained separatist is being given every opportunity under the law “to justify all the uncomplimentary things he said against Nigeria while he was in Britain.

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“He felt very safe in Britain and said awful things against Nigeria. We eventually got him when he stepped out of the United Kingdom, and we sent him to court. Let him defend all that he said there.”

He said considering Kanu’s jumping of bail earlier, the Federal Government may not consider granting him such a privilege anymore.

Buhari said, “His (Kanu’s) lawyers have access to him. Remember he jumped bail before, how are we sure he won’t do it again if he’s admitted to bail?”

On the keenness expressed by the PM to help Nigeria in the area of security, the President said helping to stabilise Libya could be an initial good step, as the fall of Muammar Gaddafi after 42 years in power unleashed his armed guards on countries in the Sahel, “and they are causing havoc everywhere, as the only thing they know how to do is to shoot guns.”

On the Boko Haram insurgency, Buhari said there is a serious effort to educate the people on the fact that only an unserious person could kill innocent people, “and say Allah Akbar (God is Great). God is justice. You can’t take innocent souls, and ascribe it to God. The education process is working and the people now understand Boko Haram as anti-God, and not about religion.”

On his part, the British PM, obviously not quite familiar with the maximum two-term limit, asked if Buhari would run for office again.

“Another term for me? No! The first person who tried it didn’t end very well,” Buhari said amidst general laughter.

PM Johnson said he was delighted about the good news on trade between the two countries, adding that the UK was further reducing tariffs on some goods going to Nigeria.

He described the relationship between the countries as “very strong attachment,” adding, “I just want to be sure that we are doing enough. It’s a massive partnership for us and we need to capitalise on it.”

Johnson offered condolences on some recent attacks in Nigeria, particularly on churches.

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