Fashola Pushes For More Patronage Of Made In Nigeria Goods

FasholaThe Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, has expressed commitment of the Federal Government to developing local capacity by using made in Nigeria items in national building plans.

Mr Raji Fashola made the statement at the 5th National Council on Lands, Housing and Urban Development held in Ilorin, Kwara State.

He also assured Nigerians of the government’s determination to improve the power sector.

Addressing the gathering, Mr Fashola took his time to dwell on theme of the council meeting, which is “Building Adequate Capacity of Professionals, Artisans and Tradesmen in the Built Environment”.

He said that building local capacity of professionals in Nigeria was part of efforts of the present administration to diversify the economy from mono-economy to multi-economy.

The minister also pointed out that there could not be capacity without opportunities, explaining that using made in Nigeria items in the national building plans, would encourage professionals in the building and construction sector to showcase their talents as well as develop the nation’s economy.

He tasked Nigerian professionals on evolving made in Nigeria products especially paints, doors, keys and other building materials, assuring the them that his ministry would continue to patronise the locally made products in the building sector.

Earlier, at a meeting with the Kwara State Governor, the Minister said the Federal Government had set out road map towards expanding opportunities in the power sector to boost power supply.

According to him, the government had identified problems in the sector and resolved to increase and stabilise power supply in Nigeria.

Mr Fashola explained that the government had signed a number of agreements to develop hydro, solar and gas sources of power generation.

The minister also assured Nigerians of the determination of the Federal Government to improve the nation’s roads to ensure proper distribution of goods.

Responding, the state Governor, Abdulfatah Ahmed, commended the effort of the Federal Government in improving power supply, assuring the Minister of the determination of the state to partner with the Federal Government in that regard.


Buhari Plans Revitalisation Of Vocational Training Centres

Muhammadu Buhari on Vocational Training
President Buhari with Director and leader of Julius Berger delegation, Mr Mutiu Sunmonu and Director Mr George Marks.

Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari, on Friday directed some ministries to urgently prepare and present for approval and implementation, a plan of action for the speedy revitalisation and expansion of the nation’s vocational training centres.

The President issued the directive to the Federal Ministries of Works and Lands, Housing and Urban Development.

A statement by a spokesman for the President, Mr Garba Shehu, said that Mr Buhari gave the directive after a meeting with the Board of Directors of a leading construction company in Nigeria.

At the meeting, President Buhari was told that the shortage of competent construction workers and artisans had forced construction companies to bring in skilled workers from abroad.

Producers Of Skilled Workers

Observing that the practice was very detrimental to his administration’s commitment to boosting employment opportunities for young Nigerians, President Buhari pledged that his administration would move quickly to address the shortage of skilled construction workers.

The President demanded a report on the current status of existing vocational training centres established by the Federal Government.

He said that his administration would take all necessary action to rapidly reposition them as efficient producers of skilled workers for Nigeria’s building and construction industry.

President Buhari assured members of the Board of Julius Berger Nigeria Plc that his administration would act swiftly to ensure that the Building Craft Training School and Skill Improvement Centre in Lagos were fully revamped, staffed and equipped to produce more skilled electricians, brick and block layers, carpenters, painters, welders, fabricators, plumbers and other artisans.

Reaffirming his administration’s commitment to the proper education and training of Nigerian youth for the current demands of the labour market, the President said that the Federal Government would act expeditiously to remove all impediments to the fulfilment of its promise of more jobs for unemployed Nigerians.

He also assured the Julius Berger Directors led by Mr Mutiu Sunmonu that in spite of the present funding challenges, the Federal Government would continue to do everything possible to settle genuine outstanding payments due to contractors.

Jonathan Commends Defence HQ, NEMA Over Swift Response In Baga Town

President Goodluck Jonathan has commended the Military High Command, the National Emergency Management Authority (NEMA) and the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development for their swift response to his order for immediate action to investigate the incident in Baga, Borno state, assist and rehabilitate the victims, and make all necessary findings available to the government.

The commendation was contained in a statement by the Special Adviser to the president on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati.

President Jonathan gave the commendation after receiving preliminary reports of the investigations carried out by the Military High Command and NEMA into the incident.

President Jonathan also welcomed the plan by the National Human Rights Commission to carry out independent investigations.

Thanking the Military High Command and NEMA for the reports, President Jonathan said that investigations must continue, and assured them of his fullest support.

He further reiterated his earlier position that where any kind of misconduct is established, the Federal Government will not hesitate in ensuring that due sanctions are enforced and that justice is done.

The President said that what happened in Baga, was most regrettable and unfortunate. He reaffirmed his full commitment to doing all within the powers of the Federal Government to speedily end the intolerable threats to national security which have necessitated such confrontations.

President Jonathan will continue to work with the Borno state Governor, Alhaji Kashim Shettima whom he conferred with last week, to ensure that the people of Baga receive every possible relief and support to facilitate their speedy rehabilitation.

In its preliminary report to the President, the Defence Headquarters stated as follows:

(a)        That the military team involved in the confrontation with Boko Haram elements was the Multinational Joint Task Force. The MNJTF’s initial mandate was to conduct military operations in the Lake Chad Region and to facilitate free movement of the member states of the Lake Chad Basin Commission across their common border.  The mandate was expanded in April 2012 to include the fight against terrorists. The Task Force’s activities are therefore legal and needs to be sustained.

(b)          That whereas media reports averred that the incident of the alleged confrontation between the MNJTF and the Boko Haram Terrorists occurred on April 19, 2013; the incident actually occurred on Tuesday, April 16.

(c)           On April 17, MNJTF troops carried out mop up operations at the scene of the attack and recovered the following items abandoned by the fleeing Boko Haram terrorists: rocket-propelled grenade launchers, rocket-propelled grenade bombs, AK 47 rifles, assorted ammunition, several improvised explosive devices and damaged Land Cruiser jeeps.

(d)          That whereas it was  alleged that 185 people were killed by the soldiers of the MNJTF in Baga, Borno state; the assessment team received a briefing from the Commander of the MNJTF on April 24, 2013, during which he stated that 30 terrorists were killed in action. However, six bodies were recovered in Lake Chad about 3 km away from the action spot.

(e)           Furthermore, some locals were asked if they could take the assessment team to the mass graves where 185 people were allegedly buried, but the people denied knowledge of such graves. The Chairman of Kukawa LGA was approached on the same issue, he also did not know of such graves.

(f)             The Chairman had earlier informed the team that Muslims do not bury more than one body in a grave.

(g)           The media also announced that about 3, 000 houses were burnt. However on the spot assessment revealed that though some houses were burnt, but they were certainly not up to the number quoted. It is pertinent to note that the houses in question are mostly thatched roof houses that could easily catch fire. It is on record that the terrorists employ the tactics of arson wherever they attack.

(h)          There was also the allegation that aid workers were denied access to Baga. This is incorrect as the Red Cross and NEMA officials were already in the town before the Defence Headquarters team arrived. The officials of the two organizations interviewed by the team confirmed that no one prevented them from moving into Baga.

The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), in response to the President’s directive, sent a team to Baga to pave way for immediate humanitarian relief.

It reported as follows:

(a)            That the agency identified and set up an Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camp in Baga where 642 persons were registered as at April 25, 2013. More people who had earlier fled the community are returning due to improved security and the establishment of various IDPs by the Agency.

(b)            To provide immediate succor to the affected persons, the agency distributed relief materials.

(c)             That the 185 deaths being speculated in the media cannot be substantiated.

(d)            The NEMA team visited the two graveyards in the town, and could only identify in both places, a total of 32 fresh graves.

(e)             That a number of buildings and business premises were destroyed in the affected area, but the total number of houses in the town is far less than 1,000.

(f)             That there is a lot of misinformation being peddled about the situation in Baga.


World Bank To Give FG N300 Milion Credit For Mortgages

The World Bank is to provide N300 million credit line to the federal government to support the setting up of a mortgage refinancing company that will create over 200 mortgages for housing development in the country.

The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development, Ibrahim Mahe, made this known while briefing state house correspondents after presenting details on the performance of the ministry in the last one year to the Federal Executive Council (FEC).

Mr Mahe told the council that bearing the challenges in the past year, the ministry was able to provide 8, 069 houses to Nigerians in 2012 using the two agencies within the ministry and the private sector.

He further revealed that the ministry has also entered into partnership with eight states to build 6, 000 housing units across the country.

The states are Kaduna, Gombe, Benue, Anambra, Cross River, Osun, Bayelsa and Lagos.

The Minister of Information, Labaran Maku while defending the ministry’s scorecard told the council that over the last one year his Ministry had developed a strategy that made it possible for Christians and Muslims to live together despite provocations by terrorists.


Imo State Govt.To Revoke Unexecuted Contracts

The Imo State Government has vowed to revoke contracts from contractors who do not deliver their job on time as stipulated in the contract agreement between the parties.

The Commissioner for Lands, Housing and Urban Development; Mr Uche Nwosu disclosed this during a scheduled inspection to some state government’s monumental projects within Owerri, the Imo State capital.

He said it has come to the notice of the state government that some contractors after mobilization by the Government do not move to site as at when due, which in turn delays the completion of the project.

He said apart from the economic importance of these projects, they are also aimed at providing job employment to the unemployed youths in the state. He however warned all contractors to go back to site immediately to prevent any breach of contract.

FEC approves 5year imprisonment for human trafficking

The Federal Executive Council (FCE) has approved the Trafficking In Persons’ Prohibition Enforcement and Administration Bill 2012 for transmission to the National Assembly for passage into law.

The new law states that trafficking in persons in the country will now attract five years imprisonment.

According to the Minister of Information, Mr Labaran Maku, the existing law on the matter is fraught with deficiencies and grossly inadequate to effectively combat the scourge of human trafficking in Nigeria.

The objective of the bill is to provide a more comprehensive legal and institutional framework for the prohibition, prevention, detection, prosecution and punishment of human traffic offences in the country.

Council approved the bill to reposition the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking In Persons (NAPTIP) for effective delivery on its mandate.

Cases of collapsed building have been very rampant in the country without proper prosecution of contracting offenders. The Minster of Lands, Housing and Urban Development announced the delisting of the contract of ECOBA Industrial Limited, which was handling the Nigerian Navy building in Gwarimpa which collapsed and killed two people, wounding several others.

The delisting follows the revised report of the committee headed by the Minister of Housing, Ms Amal Pepple.

Council also declared that the contractor must not practice anywhere in the country.

The federal government has also promised to review the National Building Code that will screen all contractors, hoping that enforcement by all professional bodies will nip the incidents of collapsed building in the bud.

Meanwhile, FEC continued the review of the performance of the various ministries in the last year. Focus this week was on the Ministry of Education and Defence.

While the Defence Ministry beats its chest for looking inwards in the area of equipment and training of its officers, the Ministry of Education emphasised on improved access and quality of education.

Jonathan gives Ministers two weeks to vet Ribadu’s report

In a bid to fulfill his pledge that recommendations made by the controversial Ribadu Report would be looked into, President Goodluck Jonathan has set up white paper committees to prepare Draft White Papers on the reports of the Petroleum Revenue Special Task Force and two other reports on the nation’s oil sector.

The others are reports presented by the National Refineries Special Task Force and the Governance and Controls Special Task Force.

A statement by the Special Adviser to the President on Media, Dr Reuben Abati on Thursday announced the appointment of the latest committee to probe the nation’s oil sector.

According to Dr Abati, “the committees are to study the reports, review the issues raised and prepare Draft White Papers for the consideration of the Federal Executive Council within two weeks.”

The white paper committee on the Petroleum Revenue Special Task Force report-now known as Ribadu report-will be chaired by the Minister of Labour, Chief Emeka Wogu, with the Minister of Interior, Comrade Abba Moro, Minister of State for FCT, Chief Jumoke Akinjide, and the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Dr. Nurudeen Mohammed as members.

It will be recalled that President Jonathan, after the rancour between members of the committee during their submission of the report, gave the assurance that despite the rancour , his administration will look into the report and prosecute any one alleged of misappropriation in the nation’s oil sector.

The Chairman of the Petroleum Revenue Task Force, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu and a member of his team, Steve Oronsaye traded words at the presentation of the committee’s report to the President with the latter alleging that the report was flawed with unconfirmed figures.

The white paper committee on the report of the Governance and Controls Special Task Force will be chaired by the Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development, Ms. Ama  Pepple.

Other members of the committee are Minister of State for Defence, Erelu Olusola Obada, Minister of Transport, Senator Idris Umar, and Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development, Mallam Bukar Tijani.

The white paper committee on the report of the National Refineries Special Task Force has Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Architect Mohammed Sada as chairman, and Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, Minister of State for Health, Dr. Muhammad Pate and Minister of State for Education, Mr. Ezenwo Nyeson Wike as members.

According to the statement, the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation will provide a secretariat for the committees.

The statement further adds that the President has made the move “in furtherance of his declared commitment to doing all within his powers to ensure greater accountability, probity and transparency in Nigeria’s oil and gas industry.”

Jonathan pledges to address Nigeria’s housing deficit

President Goodluck Jonathan has reaffirmed the determination of his administration to address over 17 million housing deficit in the country through equitable access to land and housing revolution.

The president made the pledge at a one day retreat on the nation’s housing sector at the Presidential villa.

He commended efforts made by the Minister of Housing in the formulation of the new housing policy and called on the ministry to translate the policies into a road map that will revolutionise housing in the country.

The president noted that the National Housing Policy and National Urban Development Policy that were launched in June are appropriate for a coordinated and reinvigorated response to the nation’s housing sector.

These policies, he stated “will be translated into a road map to achieve a housing revolution.”

The new housing policy seeks to construct one million houses every year across the country

This is coming just as the Nigerian Institute of Estate Surveyors and Valuers (NIESV), last week urged the federal government to build on the new housing policy by creating an enabling environment for the private sector to develop housing units that will help bridge the housing deficit.

Executives of the NIESV, also advocated easy access to land and mortgage finance for mass housing in Nigeria.

Despite the dictates of the Nigerian constitution that demands suitable and adequate shelter for all citizens, over the years the delivery of adequate and affordable housing in Nigeria has not met the expectations and this President Jonathan noted is a major concern for his administration.

63 million not properly housed

According to the Minister of Finance Nigeria, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the county is experiencing huge urbanisation that is not matched with adequate housing.

She expressed her astonishment asking the question “why the deficit in housing in a country of over 167 million people.”

She further lamented the state of the nation’s mortgage system, revealing that “the country has issued just about 20,000 mortgages as at today,” adding that “and we do not have a sustainable mortgage system that can reach a wide number of Nigerians.”

The Deputy Governor, Financial System Stability, of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr Kingsley Moghalu, recently claimed that about 63 million Nigerians are not living in proper houses due to under-development in the housing sector.

“Paradoxically, with a huge population of 150 million people, 63 million of which are not properly housed and a rising demand for housing finance, the Nigerian housing mortgage sector remains grossly underdeveloped,” the CBN executive said at a stakeholders’ roundtable on Housing and Mortgage Finance in Abuja.

“Housing demand is estimated at 14 million housing units resulting in a funding deficit of N49 trillion” he added.

Some of the challenges the retreat will tackle include poor incentives for the provision of affordable housing, inadequate budgetary allocation, prevalence of unskilled local personnel and artisans in the building industry, poor land administration, non-availability and high cost of building materials.

These issues, according to the Minister of Lands, Housing and urban development, Mrs Amal Pepple, are of great concern, hence the need for a housing policy recently launched.

The retreat also featured talks and papers from experts in housing and urban development in the private sector.