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State governors responsible for rising poverty, not FG, says minister

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The Federal Government has blamed state governors for the rising rate of poverty in the country.

Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Clement Agba, gave this position at a press briefing in Abuja on Wednesday after this week’s Federal Executive Council meeting.

He said the governors prioritised the construction of heavy infrastructure such as bridges and airports in cities rather than improving the lives of the rural poor.

According to him, about 72 per cent of Nigeria’s poor live in neglected rural communities.

Agba said the governors had abandoned the critical demography, preferring to spend state resources on the capital cities instead.
He said, “The governors are basically functioning in their state capitals. And democracy that we preach about is delivering the greatest goods to the greatest number of people. And from our demography, it shows that the greatest number of our people live in rural areas, but the governors are not working in the rural areas.

“Right now, 70 per cent of our people live in rural areas. They produce 90 per cent of what we eat. And unfortunately 60 per cent of what they produce is lost due to post harvest loss and it does not get to the market.

“I think from the Federal Government’s side, we are doing our best. But we need to say that rather than governors continuing to compete to take loans to build airports that are not necessary, where they have other airports so close to them, or governors now competing to build flyovers all over the place, we appeal that they should concentrate on building rural roads so that the farmers can at least get their products to the market.”

Citing the findings of a recent survey he conducted across the 109 senatorial districts nationwide, the minister said Sokoto State ranked the highest on the poverty scale, followed by the oil-rich state of Bayelsa.
“The result clearly show that 72 per cent of poverty is in the rural areas. It also showed clearly that Sokoto State is leading in poverty with 91 per cent.

“But the surprising thing is Bayelsa being the second in terms of poverty rating in the country. So, you see the issue is not about availability of money. But it has to do with the application of money,” he said.

Agba lamented that despite the Federal Government’s intervention to alleviate poverty, the results did not reflect the amount of investment made in the area.

He said, “In the course of working on the national development plan, we looked at previous plans and asked why they didn’t do as much as expected. We also looked at the issues of the National Social Investment Programme.

“At the federal level, the government is putting out so much money but not seeing so much reflection in terms of money that has been put into alleviating poverty, which is one of the reasons the government also put in place the national poverty reduction with growth strategy.

“But if the Federal Government puts the entire income that it earns into all of this without some form of complementarity from the state governments in playing their part, it will seem as if we are throwing money in the pond.”

 

Railway

Police arrest two suspected train vandals in Lagos

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The police in Lagos have arrested two men suspected to specialise in vandalising and stealing railway track.

They were said to have been arrested in the early hours of Monday January 30 while conveying in a private car some pieces of cut off rail track to an unknown destination.

Spokesperson for the Lagos State Police Command, SP Benjamin Hundeyin, disclosed the arrest of the two suspects on his Twitter handle.

He stated, ”At about 1am today, a patrol team from Ijora Badia Division intercepted a Mitsubishi Lancer car conveying vandalised railway tracks. The two occupants of the vehicle have been arrested. Investigation is ongoing.”

Some incidents of train derailment in parts of the country have been traced to sudden damage to rail track suspected to have been done by vandals.

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Railway

Updated: Abuja-Kaduna train services to resume Tuesday, says NRC

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The suspended Abuja-Kaduna fast train will resume operations tomorrow, Tuesday January 31, 2023, the Nigerian Railway Corporation has said.

The train service was suspended by the NRC last week after a derailment recorded at the Kubwa Station on Friday January 27.

A statement announcing the recommencement of the train signed by the NRC Director of Operations, Niyi Alli, obtained on Monday, read, “The board and management of the Nigerian Railway Corporation is pleased to announce the recommencement of the Abuja-Kaduna Train Service which was suspended on Friday 27th January 2023 due to the derailment that occured at Kubwa Station on the same date.
“The service will resume on Tuesday 31st January 2023 with the following daily schedule; KA2 departs Rigasa at 0700; Ak1 departs Idu at 10.00; KA4 departs RIGASA at 13.00hrs; AK3 departs idu at 16.00.

“However on Wednesdays only KA2 will depart Rigasa at 0700 and and AK 4 will depart Idu at 16.00.
“The corporation once again regrets any inconvenience our esteemed passengers may have experienced as a result of the temporary suspension of the service.”

 

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Auto

Lagos gov, FRSC boss for Nigeria Auto Awards where Chinese, popular brands will flex muscles

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The Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, and the Corps Marshal of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Dauda Biu, will be special guests at the forthcoming Nigeria auto industry award.

The award scheduled to hold at the Oriental Hotel in Victoria Island, Lagos, on February 9, 2023 will witness the emergence of the car of year (2022), outstanding pickup and best-performing truck in Nigeria, among others, where both popular brands are competing with Chinese products.

According to the organisers, Nigeria Auto Journalists Association, other stakeholders that have also indicated interest to be part of the prestigious award ceremony are Toyota Nigeria Limited (TNL), CFAO Motors, Dangote Peugeot, Kewalram Nigeria Limitedrarf, Mikano Motors and Lanre Shittu Motors.

RT Briscoe, Elizade Autoland, Jet System, Nord Motors, Autochek, GUO Transport, among others have equally confirmed their participation in the formost auto industry event in the country.

Already, finalists have been shortlisted for the auto awards, with GAC GS4, Geely Coolray and Suzuki S-Presso nominated for the ultimate car-of-the-year award category.

NAJA Auto Awards is an annual event that celebrates auto brands across the entire industry value chain in Nigeria.

According to the awards committee, dozens of distinguished automotive journalists from different mediums selected the finalists based on their evaluation of each eligible vehicle as part of their professional work.

In the Truck-of-the-Year category, the contest will involve Sinotruk by Dangote, Shacman truck by TSS and JAC truck from Lanre Shittu Motors.

Innoson, Mikano and GAC will slug it out in the Assembly Plant-of-the-Year category.

In the luxury car segment, Porsche, Mercedes and BMW models are the front runners.

Elizade Autoland (JAC), Stallion Hyundai and CFAO Motors will battle for the outstanding auto workshop honour.

In the SUV category (compact), Kia Selto, Geely Coolray and GAC GS4 have been nominated.

For Large SUV, Toyota Land Cruiser will lock horns with GAC GS8, BMW X7 and Range Rover (Autobiography).

Toyota Hilux, Mitsubishi L200 and Ford Ranger will battle for the Best Pickup award.

Lanre Shittu (JAC truck), TSS (Shacman) and Dangote Sinotruk will also battle again for the truck plant of the year award.

Giving insights into the nominees, Chairman of the 2022 Award Committee, Rasheed Bisiriyu, said all vehicles nominated in the various categories represent exceptional value and designs.

“We are using our respected, trusted platform to recognise and acknowledge best-performing brands in different segments and categories across the entire auto value chain.”

According to him, the award event, which has now become a major industry show, celebrates and rewards automotive excellence.

He also disclosed that the Managing Director of RT Briscoe, Mr Seyi Onajide, and Deputy Managing Director of CFAO Motors, Mr Kunle Jaiyesimi, would be honoured with the Auto Personality of the year in recognition of their immense contributions to the development of Nigeria’s auto industry.

In his own comment, Chairman of NAJA, Mike Ochonma, said the auto journalist body has always believed in bringing together all the stakeholders in the automotive sector to build a stronger community and strengthen consumers’ confidence and trust in the industry and their brands.

“I would like to congratulate all the nominees for the 2022 edition and look forward to their presence at the grand ceremony,” he added.

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