Nigeria’s Infrastructure: Obasanjo Advocates Strong Public-Private Partnership

Olusegun Obasanjo, Nigeria, Public-Private Partnership, infrastructureFormer President Olusegun Obasanjo has identified the public and private sector as the two legs for Nigeria’s socio-economic development, hence one cannot work effectively without the other.

He lamented that both the present and past governments in the country have not paid sufficient attention to work together with the private sector to develop the sector.

The former president made the remark at a seminar organised by the Kaduna Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture at the International Trade Fair Complex in Kaduna State.

The audience at the one-day seminar cuts across the business community, students, academia and political class.

Obasanjo, who was the chairman of the occasion, decried that Nigeria has not been able to harness her natural potentials in order to be at the same pace with other nations.

He faulted the reversal of the sale of refineries by the Umaru Yar’adua administration, which he said was largely responsible for the instability in the oil and gas sector.

The former president further stressed the need for government at all levels to collaborate with the private sector, in order to get Nigeria out of its present economic recession.

Need To Concession Critical Assets

A former Minister of Finance and National Planning, Dr. Shamsudeen Usman, also presented a paper with the theme: ‘Promoting Public-Private Partnership (PPP) as Panacea for Accelerated Growth and Development’.

Dr. Usman emphasised the need for government to concession some of its critical assets like the sea port terminals, airports and roads to enable them work effectively and also reduce financial burden on government.

He explained that a smooth public-private collaboration must have the highest political support, credible reward sharing formula and transparency.

The former minister added that most of the successful PPP projects were done during the Obasanjo-led administration, due to strong political will.

The host governor, Mr Nasir El-Rufai, on his part, highlighted some of the collaborative efforts of his administration with the private sector to be able to finance its multi-year plan in the major sectors of the economy.

Participants at the event noted that infrastructure in Nigeria is poor, due to old age, overburden or poor management, to meet the needs of over 170 million population.

They added that the competing needs of the economy have placed a huge burden on the government which they said cannot solely provide all the services required.

Angry Youths Attack Emir’s Convoy in Southern Kaduna

Irate Youths Kill Shiites in KadunaThe Traditional ruler of Jema’a Chiefdom in Kaduna State, Alhaji Muhammad Isa Muhammad II, was on Wednesday attacked by rampaging youths in Samaru Kataf, Zangon Kataf Local Government Area of Kaduna State.

An eyewitness and a member of the emir’s cabinet, said the emir was returning to Kafanchan after attending a security meeting with the state governor, Nasir El-Rufai in the state capital when he was attacked.

He told reporters that the meeting had centred on issues relating to the recent Southern Kaduna killings.

Although the traditional ruler was not injured during the attack, three of his cars which were in the convoy in which he was travelling were destroyed by the attackers.

“When we reach Samaru Kataf, some armed youths surrounded us with all kinds of weapons and started attacking our convoy. We immediately turned back to Kachia for our safety,” he narrated.

He asked the government to fully investigate the Southern Kaduna crises holistically, adding that the people behind the crises should be punished without fear or favour.

He also called on both Muslims and Christians in the state to embrace peace, as all religions teach peace, in order to move the state forward.

When contacted, the Kaduna State police command’s spokesman, Aliyu Usman, said security have been deployed to the area to forestall any further breakdown of law and order.

The youth may have been angered by renewed attack on the community that claimed the lives of three persons earlier in the day.

Some other persons were injured the attack on the southern Kaduna community.

The deaths occurred when gunmen suspected to be herdsmen launched an attack on the community.

The Kaduna Police spokesperson, Aliyu Usman, who confirmed the incident did not speak on the casualty.

But an indigene of the area told Channels Television that the attack occurred near a market on Tuesday night, shortly after the state government relaxed the 24-hour curfew that was imposed on the Local Government by the State Security Council in December 2016.

Another resident of Samaru Kataf described the latest incident as a reprisal attack by the Fulani Herdsmen to avenge the killing of some of their people by the locals in the same area in November 2016 .

The governor of the state, Mr Nasir El-Rufai, had in December said the attackers of locals were foreigners Fulani Militias who were avenging the deaths of their kins.

Governor El- Rufai also said that his administration had established contacts with some leaders of the Fulani communities in those countries with a view to bringing the attacks to an end.

El-Rufai Flags Off Construction Of Potato Factory In Kaduna

Kaduna, Nasir El-Rufai, Potato Factory Kaduna State Governor, Mr Nasir El-Rufai, has flagged off the construction of a Potato Farm and Processing factory worth $120 million, in line with his administration’s economic diversification programme.

The factory, said to be the first of its kind in West Africa, is expected to be completed in the next 18 months. It is located at Manchok in Kaura Local Government Area of the state in northwest Nigeria.

The proposed factory is being constructed in partnership with Vicampro International, an agro-based company with branches in several countries.

At the ground breaking ceremony for the proposed factory on Saturday, Governor El-Rufai said the processing facility would earn foreign exchange and reduce over-dependence on oil.

He stated further that the state government was committed to promoting agricultural practices to fast track development, diversify the economy and boost Internally Generated Revenue.

Reduction Of Poverty

The Governor appealed to the host community to support and cooperate with Vicampro, in order to pave way for the attainment of its mission.

He expressed the belief that the return of vibrant economic activities and the reduction of poverty among the populace would drive prosperity and reduce the divisions that became pronounced as the state’s economy entered dire straits from the late 1980s.

In his remarks, the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr Godwin Emefiele, spoke on the issue of access to finance, which he said remained a major challenge of most investors.

He pledged that the issue was being addressed to ensure that investors with viable ideas were given the necessary support.

Need For Diversification

The CBN Governor, who said the drop in oil prices had affected Nigeria’s economy drastically, suggested further diversification as the only alternative to overcome the economic crisis.

He assured the people that the CBN would collaborate with the Kaduna State government to translate the idea to reality for the benefit of all.

On her part, the Minister of State of Trade and Investment, Mrs Aisha Abubakar, described the development as a giant stride towards moving the nation’s economy forward.

Giving the details of the project, the Executive Secretary of Kaduna State Investment Promotion Agency (KADIPA), Gambo Hamza, explained that to successfully run the plant, the factory would need about 10,000 hectares of land for potato cultivation.

He added that upon completion, the factory would have the capacity to process 2,500 tonnes of potatoes daily and create at least 30,000 jobs.

In his remark, the Managing Director of Vicampro, Michael Agbogbo, said the company would produce French fries, Irish flakes and biscuits for local and international consumption.

The residents of Manchok on their part, lauded the investment and expressed hopes that it would improve their community’s economy and provide jobs for them.

Amosun Advocates Promotion Of African Culture

Ibikunle Amosun on African cultureGovernor of Ogun State, Ibikunle Amosun, on Thursday called for the promotion of the African cultural heritage.

The Governor says a smooth blend of religion, culture and tradition is a way of enhancing peaceful coexistence and national development.

He made the call during the celebration of an annual festival in Ijebu-Ode, Ojude Oba, in Ogun State, southwest Nigeria.

Among the dignitaries at the event are the governors of Bayelsa State, Mr Seriake Dickson and his Kaduna State counterpart, Mr Nasir El-Rufai.

Kaduna To Demolish Over 1,000 Illegal Buildings

Religious Bill
Kaduna State Governor, Mr Nasir El-Rufai.

Over one thousand illegal residential buildings illegally erected on the Kaduna Polytechnic land at Gbagyi Villa in Chikun Local Government Area of Kaduna State have been pencilled down for demolition.

The state governor, Mr Nasir El-Rufai, who stated this after visiting the community to assess the level of encroachment by the residents, said his administration will not tolerate any form of land speculation or encroachment of public lands by individuals or groups.

He warned citizens of the state to desist from acquiring land belonging to government or be ready to face the consequences.

The Governor condemned the alleged encroachment, maintaining that the buildings must go. He, however, asked those with genuine titles of their land to bring them forward for verification.

Reacting to the governor’s demolition order, Chairman of Gbagyi Villa Community Residents Association, Mr Chris Obodumu, said the land was legally acquired from the natives by the occupants.

He explained that former governor of the state, late Mr. Patrick Yahowa resolved the dispute with the polytechnic, and amicably demarcated the boundary between the two parties in 2011.

He also pleaded with the governor to suspend the demolition pending the outcome of a court case instituted by the residents.

The owners of the houses have been served a notice of eviction through the Kaduna State Urban Planning and Development Authority (KASUPDA) since August 5, 2015.

The agency said it based its action on the state’s 1958 Township Building Rules and Environmental Protection Law of 2010.

Pending when the bulldozers will move in, the residents demand that the demolition order be suspended until the court gives judgment on the matter.

Nigerian Air Force To Increase Recruitment Of Personnel

Nigerian Air ForceThe Nigerian Air Force will increase its recruitment from 1,000 personnel annually to 2,500, to increase its support to the nation’s security.

The Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadiq Abubakar, announced the planned increase on Friday during a visit by the Governor of Kaduna State, Mr Nasir El-Rufai.

Air Marshal Abubakar said the Air Force had acquired 10 helicopters and was awaiting 10 other training aircraft in a bid to enhance its operations to adequately support both the internal and external security challenges confronting the nation, in line with globally accepted standards.

Beyond the partnership, the Chief of Air Staff announced ongoing reforms in the Air Force aimed at further contributing to fighting Nigeria’s internal and external security challenges.

At the meeting, Governor El-Rufai expressed his gratitude to the Air Force for its contribution to tackling security challenges in the North-West especially in Kaduna State.

The agreement at the meeting was that Nigeria was better off when the civilian authority and the military worked together for the common good.

Osinbajo Calls For Support To Fight Evil

OsinbajoNigerians who believe in pursuing the good of the nation must come together with the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari in order to fight against evil and those who perpetrate it in the country.

The Vice President of Nigeria, Professor Yemi Osinbajo (SAN), made the call on Sunday during the 2016 Khituk Gwong Day in Fadan Kagoma, Kaduna State.

Restating his clarion call for a ‘new tribe of Nigerians’ drawn from all faiths, tribes and ethnicity to pull together, Professor Osinbajo stressed the need to “separate light from darkness.”

He said that in too many instances, leaders drawn from different areas of the nation’s life have tried to use religion and ethnicity to cause division in a bid to attain political and other selfish ends.

“Sometimes political leaders use religion to divide, they use ethnicity to oppress the people,” the Vice President said, calling for the emergence of a new Nigeria that would include Christians, Muslims, people of all faiths and those who confess no faith.

He said that those Nigerians of the new tribe are those who believe in truth, honesty and justice among other virtues that would advance the right course for the country.

“This new Nigeria must be based on love for each other and must value integrity,” Professor Osinbajo declared, stressing that it is mandated in his own personal faith of Christianity to love everyone including “your enemy”.

He explained that Christians have to love those who hate them and despitefully use them, urging them to even pray for their enemies.

According the Vice President, “When they are stealing the nation’s money they are completely united”.

He also praised the Kaduna State Governor, Mr Nasir El-Rufai, and the Kpop Gwong, His Royal Highness, Paul Zakka Wyom, who were the main hosts of the Khituk Gwong Day celebrations, describing them as good examples of the new Nigeria.

The Senior Advocate said that it was important that those who are doing well for the nation should also work together.

“Those who are determined to do good, we must encourage them and we must not allow any kind of division to blur our determination,” he said.

The Vice President also commended Governor El-Rufai for completing road projects started by the late former Governor Patrick Yakowa, which were abandoned by the subsequent administration.

In his response, the Kaduna State Governor said that Professor Osinbajo is indeed “a true friend of Kaduna State in word and in deed,” stressing that he had visited Kaduna State three times since after the 2015 election.

Governor El-Rufai added that the security situation in southern Kaduna had since improved, promising that the state government would remain committed to the APC manifesto that has as already begun.

Also in his remark, the Kpop Gwong said that “This year’s Khituk Gwong is more of thanksgiving and appreciation to God for the many things He has done for us” .

He conveyed the people’s excitement having elected political leaders with foresight and vision who have wiped “our tears in this chiefdom through the change mantra that is affecting us positively”.

Security Chiefs, Northern Governors Discuss Insecurity In Region

Security in NigeriaSecurity Chiefs and eight governors from the north-west and the north-central regions of Nigeria have met to discuss the security situation in the two regions.

The Head of Service, Mr Danladi Kifasi, who chaired the meeting, said it was convened by President Muhammadu Buhari following a request by the Governor of Kaduna State, Mr Nasir El-Rufai.

Mr El-Rufai had asked for a review of the security situation in the states affected by the activities of bandits in forests bothering the states.

Mr Kifasi said that the meeting was held to enable the governors give their views and first-hand information on the activities of the criminal elements in the area to the government at the centre while the Security Chiefs exchanged ideas on how to curb the menace.

In recent times, there has been an increase in attacks on villages and communities in the north-west and north-central part of Nigeria, especially in Plateau and Kaduna States.

The attacks have left many dead and scores injured.

More often than not, these attacks are said to be carried out by unknown gunmen.

Worried by the menace, the Federal Government initiated the meeting to form a collaboration with about eight states in the north-west and north-central to nip the menace in the bud.

Besides the operations planned by the government at the centre in collaboration with the states, the State governors said they would set up internal mechanism in their various states to tackle the issue.

The Federal Government is optimistic that its action would proactively end the various attacks before it escalates.

The affected states are Katsina, Zamfara, Kebbi, and Niger in the north-west and Plateau, Benue and Nasarawa in the north-central.

El-Rufai To Conduct Comprehensive Audit On Kaduna Expenditure

el-rufaiKaduna State Governor-elect, Mr Nasir El-Rufai, says his government will carry out a comprehensive audit of all expenditures by the outgoing administration, as soon as it settles down for governance after May 29 handover.

Mr El-Rufai clarified that the measure would enable his administration recover funds that might have allegedly been stolen by top officials of the outgoing administration in the state.

Speaking when he received the interim report of the state All Progressive Congress (APC) Transition Committee, the Governor-elect described the 16 years of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) led government as a disaster and one that almost succeeded in sending the state into the grave through its maladministration, corrupt leadership and unpopular policies.

He explained how Kaduna State, which was the former capital of Northern Nigeria, lost its glory under the PDP led government from 1999 till date, due to bad governance.

Mr El-Rufai, however, assured the residents of the state that he would restore the state back to its former form, emphasising that the people of Kaduna needed a leadership that would show concern for their welfare and not selfish leaders whose stock in trade was only to enrich their pockets at the detriment of public good.

Lauding the committee for a job well done, he told them that they would be given tough assignments in the nearest future. The Governor-elect also urged them not to turn down such requests.

Earlier in his remarks, the Chairman of the Transition Committee, Balarabe Lawal, told the Governor-elect that critical information from ministries, departments and agencies of government were not provided by the outgoing government.

He advised that the incoming administration in the state must enforce some strong policies and determination, if it must achieve the much needed change for the state.

The Transition committee was set up by Mr Nasir El-Rufai on April 23, 2015, to ascertain the financial status of Kaduna State and over a month after, the committee presented its report to the Governor-elect.

The interim report is intended to provide information on some progress and challenges facing the outgoing administration, and also provide a road map for the new government.