Vandals Disrupt Progress In Construction of Abuja Light Rail

Railway-NigeriaAbuja residents who look forward to having a functional railway line as alternative means of transportation within the city next year, may have their hopes dashed.

This is because the Abuja Light Rail System project expected to provide alternative means of transport is at the mercy of vandals.

A tour of the facility by Channels Television show that unknown persons are digging up and carting away communication cables buried along the rail tracks.

The Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Mr Musa Bello, noted that “cables are being vandalised” adding that “two weeks ago, vandals dug out cables and cut them off.

“This is something government cannot do alone, because we have deployed members of the civil defence along the tracks and in the city, but citizens also have to be conscious of that”, he said.

According to him, the stretch of roads from airport to barracks will all be completed., even as he pledged that the Abuja light rail project, which is now 70 per cent done would be completed by December 31, 2017.

The Minister noted that his plan was to upgrade the slums in Abuja through urban renewal programme and not to demolish them.

The cables, which have already been replaced, are to serve as tools for communication across the trains and various stations.

Technical Head of Supervisory Team, Valentine Obumeyan declined to comment, maintaining he does not have clearance to do so.

The first phase of the project which is said to be about 70 percent complete will link the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport with Abuja city centre.

FEC Approves Seaport For Badagry

Nigeria's Ports
Aerial view of Nigeria Ports Authority

The Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved the establishment of a seaport in Badagry, Lagos to bring in big vessels into the country.

Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, disclosed this to State House correspondents after the meeting presided by President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory.

He stated that the new port would cost $2.58 billion and would be completed in five years.

Ministers of Transport and Information, Mr Rotimi Amaechi and Mr Lai Mohammed respectively, described the seaport as a viable infrastructure.

The Badagry seaport was said to have been started by the past administration and was abandoned midway.

He said that the approval was consistent with the Federal Government’s macroeconomic policy to emphasise on tax income following a fall in the oil revenue.

Slain Evangelist: FG Assures On Freedom To Practice Faith

bomb victimsThe Federal Government on Saturday promised to ensure the right of every Nigerian to worship and practice his or her faith in the country.

The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Babachir Lawal, said this during the funeral service for Deaconess Mojisola Olawale who was murdered while evangelizing in Kubwa, a suburb of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

He also promised that the federal government will ensure that the perpetrators of the heinous crime face justice.

Born on the July 23, she was buried on her birthday 42 years later, Deaconess Mojisola Olawale is considered by many here as a hero, a Christian who died at her post.

FG Promises To Improve Health Care Facilities Across Nigeria

Health-workers-strikeThe Federal Ministry of Health on Thursday promises to improve primary healthcare facilities across the country.

The move, according to officials, is to reduce child mortality and guarantee universal access to health care for all Nigerians.

At an inaugural Global Midwifery Conference in Abuja, local and international health officials underscored the importance of deployment and training of midwives in Nigeria.

The Wife to the Deputy Speaker, Gimbiya Dogara, said the first lady has vowed to partner with midwives, encouraging them to enforce a change in the profession.

Other stakeholders were quick to align with the professionals, who they maintain are the key to reducing maternal and child mortality in the country.

In spite of the many gains of the midwifery profession, it still faces many challenges that many believe can be surmounted with the right political will by the government.

Channels Television’s Gloria Ume-Ezeoke reports that state governments have for long tried to contain the burden of maternal and child mortality in communities, however, the sudden death of a mother or a child owing to the absence of a midwife or sheer ignorance by the people has brought huge concerns to the government, local and international experts.

House Summons Minister Over Breach Of Constitution

2016 budget-HouseThe House of Representatives has summoned the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory over an alleged breach of the 1999 Constitution in the implementation of the Federal Capital Territory Internal Revenue Services Act 2015.

The sponsor of the motion, Rep Abdulrazak Namdas, informed the House that the Minister has signed an agreement with the Federal Inland Revenue Service to collect taxes for the FCT, in breach of the existing law.

The Minister is to appear before the House to explain the reason for taking such a step and why his decision must not be reversed.

The Committee on FCT has been mandated to look into the matter and report back to the House in two weeks.

INEC To Conclude FCT Elections On Wednesday

INECThe Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) will tomorrow, Wednesday, April 13, conclude the cancelled Chairmanship and Councilorship elections in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

The Commission said the Saturday, April 9 elections in the areas were cancelled due to non-compliance with the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended), and the approved INEC guidelines and regulations.

The elections were cancelled for three reasons namely: violence, over voting and non use of the Smart Card Reader (SCR).

A total of 39, 647 registered voters are expected to participate in tomorrow’s elections.

In Abaji Area Council, the Commission will conclude Chairmanship and Councillorship elections in two Polling Units of two (2) Wards, namely: Nuku and Gawu, with a total of 3,513 voters expected to participate.

In Bwari Area Council, Councillorship elections will be concluded in two (2) Wards and three Polling Units with a total of 5,522 registered voters.

The Commission will conclude Chairmanship election in one Ward (IBWA) and two (2) Polling Units in Gwagwalada Area Council with a total of 1,881 registered voters.

In Kuje Area Council, Chairmanship and Councillorship elections will also be concluded in 12 Polling Units of eight (8) Wards, with a total of 13,368 voters. The Wards are: Gwargwada, Kwaku, Kuje Central, Chibiri, Gudunkarya, Rubochi, Yenche and Kabi.

The Commission will conclude Chairmanship and Councillorship elections in six (6) wards and fourteen (14) Polling Units of AMAC.

The affected wards are: Karu, Garki, Gwarinpa, Gui, Karshi and Nyanya. A total of 15,363 voters are expected to participate in the elections.

The Area Councils affected are Abaji, Bwari, Gwagwalada, Kuje and Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC). Chairmanship elections will be concluded in four (4) Area Councils of: Abaji, Gwagwalada, Kuje and AMAC while Councillorship elections will be concluded in four (4) Area Councils.

FCT Police Warns Against ‘One Chance’

NigerThe Federal Capital Territory Police Command has warned criminally minded persons who specialize in ‘One Chance’ – robbing passengers through the use of cabs – to steer clear of the nation’s capital as any one caught engaging in such will be severely dealt with.

Speaking in Abuja at a meeting with officials of the Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria, the FCT Police Commissioner, Mr Wilson Inalegwu, said the activities of ‘One Chance’ robbers is on the decrease but the Police command is working towards ensuring that other criminals do not have their way in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

National President of the Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria, Mr Abubakar Sadiq, blamed the activities of one chance robbers on owners of unpainted taxis and operators of illegal parks within the FCT‎.

FEC Approves N50 Billion Contracts In FCT

FECThe Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved over N50 billion for the execution of five contracts in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

The Council also approved is 43 billion  for the upgrading of a section of the East West Road in the southern part of the country.

Briefing State House Correspondents after the council meeting, presided over by President Goodluck Jonathan, the Supervising Minister for the Ministry of Information, Dr Nurudeen Mohammed, said the five contracts in the FCT include the 14 kilometer one service carriage way of the inner northern expressway from Ring Road Two to Ring Road Four in the Abuja Industrial Park for the sum of N7 billion.

He said the council reviewed upward the contract sum for the provision of engineering infrastructure for Wuye District by N3.4 billion.

He said the sum was increased from N39.7billion to N43billion to accommodate the construction of a flyover bridge at Wuye District.

The Ministry of Water Resources got approval for the revised estimated total cost of the contract for the upgrading of the Molete Water Works in Kwara State.

The Council also approved the upgrading of the 15 kilometer Port Harcourt-Onne Junction Road in Rivers State.


Abuja Development Control Commences Demolition Of Uncompleted Buildings

DemolitionOfficials of the Abuja Developmental Control, an agency of the Federal Capital Territory have embarked on the demolition of uncompleted buildings in the city centre.

According to officials of the agency, the exercise was carried out to reduce security risk and prevent collapse of  buildings in the nation’s capital.

Over 500 owners of uncompleted buildings within the city are at risk of losing their property to the exercise.

The demolition commenced after over four months of publicity and notices were sent to owners of the uncompleted buildings in the Federal Capital Territory from the Development Control Department of the Federal Capital Development Authority.

While some property owners complied with the agency’s action, others found it hard to do so.

According to the agency, most of the over 500 uncompleted buildings have failed quality tests and had become threats to the residents of the capital city.

The agency explained that it was acting within a legal framework which property owners are aware of.

Beware of Unscrupulous Estate Developers In FCT, EFCC Warns

EFCC_NewThe Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) wishes to alert the general public to the activities of unscrupulous estate developers in the Federal Capital Territory, who are in the habit of defrauding aspiring home owners through bogus offers.

A Statement by the Head, Media & Publicity Unit of the anti-graft agency, Wilson Uwajuren, noted that “in recent weeks the Commission has recorded an upsurge in the number of reported cases of individuals, mostly low and middle income earners , who have been swindled after they responded to advertisement for subscription to own properties in many of the estates being promoted by unscrupulous developers in the FCT.

“Usually, the so called developers, once they are able to secure land allocation from the FCDA, create gorgeous computer-assisted designs of prototype estate and launch aggressive media blitzs for prospective home owners to subscribe for different categories of houses at attractive prices.

“They target low and middle income earners who cannot afford outright cash purchase of property in the burgeoning capital city. For this category of citizens, such offers are irresistible as they present immediate escape from the burden of prohibitive yearly rent payments”.

It added that fraudsters “embrace such schemes with the hope that the payment spread over many years will provide the  cushion to do other things.

“But no sooner than they pay the initial deposits, they are inundated with various excuses as explanation for the developers’ inability to deliver the properties. Some  have waited for many years hoping against hope for their promised houses to be delivered. While the hapless prospective home owners rue their plight, the so-called developers disappear completely from the radar to enjoy their loot”, the statement said, noting that “those who do not disappear continue to make promises that are never redeemed. The more ruthless amongst them are prepared to wear out the scammed subscribers through tedious litigation, fully aware that many of the low income persons lack the resources to sustain legal actions over a long time”.

Mr Uwajuren further added that “the subscribers who brave the courts and secure legal respite, discover to their chagrin that recovering their money is near impossible. Often, the title to such properties would have long been mortgaged as collateral for loan facilities from some financial institutions by the developers”.

He warned that “it is important that stakeholders in the real estate sector, as well as the regulatory agencies such as the Nigerian Society of Estate Surveyors and Valuers come together to review and firm up the regulatory framework for property development in the FCT to check the activities of unscrupulous private developers.

“It is also imperative for intending home owners to ascertain the credibility and capacity of developers before subscribing to their offers”.
Mr Uwajuren further said the FCDA has a role to play in checkmating the housing and land scams “by ensuring that developers requesting land for mass housing have the capacity to deliver the houses”.

He also assured Nigerians the “EFCC will on its part continue the aggressive investigation and prosecution of all land-related cases in the FCT.

CBN To Commence Nation-Wide Cashless Policy On July 1

cashless_cbnThe Central Bank of Nigeria has put in place modalities to introduce the cashless policy 30 states of the federation having completed phases 1 and 2 of the policy in six pilot states- Abia, Anambra, Lagos, Ogun, Kano, Rivers- and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

The CBN, in a notice by its Corporate Affairs Department to all stakeholders and the general public, said Phase 3 of the policy’s implementation would commence in the remaining 30 States of the Federation on July 1 as scheduled.

The apex bank also said it has mapped out modalities to ensure the cashless policy succeeds in other parts of the state as it did in the pilot states.

The Head, Shared Services at the Central Bank, Mr Chidi Umeano, who was a guest on Channels Television’s daily business programme, Business Morning, said  the apex bank is doing all it can to deploy the needed infrastructure to support the policy.

According to him, the one year waiver of charges on withdrawals is one measure to give time for the infrastructure to be put in place.

He says the Central Bank has carried its sensitisation campaign to the rural communities and is still doing more to sensitise Nigerians.

The CEO, Cowry Assets Management Ltd, Mr Johnson Chukwu, who was also a contributor on the programme, said the cashless policy has benefited the economy in so many ways but urged the Central Bank to do more towards putting all that is needed in place to ensure its efficiency and success.

Kaduna APC Rejects State Congress Result

APC logoMembers of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Kaduna State on Tuesday rejected the result of last Saturday’s state congress which produced a two time member of the House of Representatives, Mr Bala Bantex as the state party chairman, describing the entire exercise as a charade.   

Addressing journalists at the party secretariat on behalf of other chairmanship aspirants, Mr Joshua Ephraim, one of the aspirants,  explained that the results of the congress that were announced by the state congress committee did not in any way reflect the wishes of the delegates who voted during the exercise.

He however insisted that the election should be cancelled by the party’s national leadership to give room for a fresh congress where delegates will freely elect party officials of their choice.

But the newly elected chairman of the party, Mr Bala Bantex described the election that brought him and other officials into office as keenly contested and free and fair.

He urged the other aspirants to bury their grievances and join hands with him in order to move the party forward, adding that his emergence as chairman will propel APC to victory in 2015 elections.

And with barely two days to the party’s national convention, observers say unresolved issues emanating from state chapters of the party will determine the success or failure of the convention.

The Interim National Chairman of the party, Chief Bisi Akande, had last week said the party will hold a rancour-free National Convention.

The party, he said, would examine the complaints and protests over the congresses in some states.

Akande said state chairmen who emerged outside the party’s guidelines would be thrown out.

He was speaking in Abuja during the inauguration of the newly-elected 35 of the 37 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) chairmen.

The APC interim chairman also said issues about the just-concluded state congresses would not be swept under the carpet.

He was reacting to the protests at the ceremony on the outcome of the congresses in Abia and Ebonyi states.