Osinbajo Flags Off Lagos-Ibadan New Rail Project

Yemi Osinbajo Flags Off Lagos-Ibadan New Rail ProjectNigeria’s Acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, on Tuesday performed the ground breaking for the commencement of work on the new Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge rail project.

It has been another busy day for the Acting President who flew into Lagos State for the commissioning, shortly after swearing-in the new Chief Justice of Nigeria, Walter Onnoghen.

Speaking at the ceremony which took place at the Nigerian Railway Compound in Ebute Metta, Professor Osinbajo restated the Federal Government’s resolve to revive and modernise rail transportation in order to ease pressure on the nation’s roads.

The Acting President, in statement made by public by his spokesman, Laolu Akande, said: “I am extremely pleased and honoured to be here this morning for the ground breaking ceremony of the Lagos-Ibadan section of the Lagos -Kano standard gauge railway project. This is an epochal moment in our national life in many ways.

“First, it signals the determination of our President and Commander-in- Chief, President Muhammadu Buhari, to modernise the national rail system in keeping with his promise to the Nigerian people. If there is a project close to the heart of the president, it is the rail project which he promised the nation upon assumption of office. The President himself made a visit to China, and reopened the negotiations on the Chinese support for this project.

“Second, this ceremony also marks the commencement of our plan to move speedily to improve links between Lagos, which is the national economic nerve centre and major port to other state capitals and towns across the country.

“Thirdly, our ground breaking today reflects the plans of the Federal Government to build a globally competitive economy with first grade infrastructure. The critical role of infrastructure, and for this purpose railways, in this strategy is underscored by our Economic Recovery and Growth Plan, as well as the 2016 and 2017 budgets. We have made provisions for matching funds in the 2016 budget to complement the concessionary loans taken from the Peoples Republic of China, and our appreciation goes to the Chinese Government and the Chinese Exim Bank, who are, and have always proved to be reliable partners to Nigeria.

A Boost To Economic Activities

“And some may be aware that we have the entire Lagos-Kano standard gauge track as well as the Lagos-Calabar railway track in the 2017 budget, negotiations on the Kaduna-Kano portion of the track is now completed and this phase is next in line.

“We have already provided our portion for funding Lagos-Calabar rail as well and we expect that negotiations on the foreign component of the funding will be finalised in the next three months and that the Lagos-Calabar project as well will come on stream.

“An active and vibrant railway system confers many benefits on the society and our ultimate goal is to restore a railway-using culture for both commercial and personal transportation. We are confident that the national rail project will create up to half a million jobs and facilitate the movement of over 3.2 million tonnes of cargo per annum.

“It will also reduce the burden on national highways, thus reducing the deterioration of the road network and increasing the lifespan of our roads. Indeed by helping to reduce freight cost, the railway network will support efforts to diversify the economy and enhance our export potential.

“Just as several of our cities are being known as railway towns in the past, we expect a boost to economic activities along the railway lines that will eventually cut across the entire country. To achieve this objectives, the Federal Ministry of Transportation has completed visibility studies for up to 13 routes which has been identified for connecting state capitals and major commercials centres to the rail network. We should begin to see significant activities in this regard very shortly.

Fast And Efficient Train Service

“It is important however, to have viable self-sustaining and self-improving railway service. It should be one that is not reliant on government funding which may not be available at all times. It should be one that could be upgraded and improved over time and not left to decay due to management issues or lack of attention. This is why the Federal Government supports the replacement of the 1955 Railway Act with a legal framework that opens railway projects in the country for greater private sector participation. In this way, we expect to ensure the resources and management to run efficient modern and reliable train services.

“Let me conclude by acknowledging the vigorous and energetic efforts of the Honourable Minister and his team in the Ministry of Transportation to get us to this point. The Honourable Minister of Finance also deserves to be commended for the efficient and competent handling of financial negotiations.

“But I think it bears repeating: that Rotimi Ameachi’s bulldozing approach to ensure that we are here today on this first day of construction so quickly!

“I am confident that we will see the same zeal and result in project executions so that the construction of the railway lines will be completed on schedule. Just for emphasis, as a reminder to our excellent partners and manufacturers CCECC, we are looking forward to a fast and efficient train service between Lagos and Ibadan within the projected time frame, which is on or before December 2018”.

UN Security Council Meets With Osinbajo

UN Security Council Meets With OsinbajoNigeria’s Acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, has assured the visiting United Nations Security Council mission that steps are being taken to ensure that human rights culture is institutionalised in the Nigerian Military to avoid negative reports of human rights abuse.

Professor Osinbajo said this during a closed door meeting with the UN delegation at the Presidential Villa in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory.

He, however, noted that it was time for the international community to take another look at the international legal instruments and conventions that govern warfare and conflicts in the light of the unconventional and brutal operations of terrorists and insurgents around the world.

“We must, on a global scale look again at how to deal with these new challenges.

“We need to look at the governing conventions, as well as what type of legal categories and recognition of law we should give them.

“We need to re-examine how to deal with these individuals according to law,” the Acting President said in a statement issued on Monday by his spokesman, Laolu Akande.

He also assured the UN team that the Federal Government would progressively review the Rules of Engagement by the military and across the nation’s security system while taking human rights issues into consideration.

Professor Osinbajo added that President Muhammadu Buhari’s Social Investment Programmes which include the Conditional Cash Transfer, the GEEP Micro Credit scheme and the N-Power job programme would cater to the developmental needs of the northeast.

He said “we are already disbursing the cash transfers in some Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps and host communities,” adding that the present administration was implementing a micro-credit scheme while using the Social Investment Programmes to resuscitate the local economies, including through the Anchor Borrowers’ plan for farmers.

The Acting President further urged the international community to support the Federal Government in the area of humanitarian response, describing the challenge as “massive”.

He hinted that the government was also in the process of passing a Northeast Development Commission bill that would deal with some of the long term developmental issues.

The Security Council members were led to the Presidential Villa by the UK Permanent Representative to the UN, Ambassador Mathew Rycroft.

The team comprises of all the five permanent members and 10 non-permanent members of the Security Council.

Speaking earlier at the meeting, Ambassador Rycroft praised the Nigerian Government for its handling of the humanitarian challenge in the Northeast.

He called for a long term developmental outlook in the region to address the issues of good governance, human rights, women’s participation, economic revival, education and jobs.

The delegation is leaving Nigeria with a pledge that the United Nations Security Council would play its role well in assisting the Nigerian Government to tackle the challenges in the conflict zones.

Briefing State House correspondents after the meeting, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Geofrey Onyeama, said the Federal Government is pleased with the tour of the northeast by the Council.

He assured the team that Nigeria would leverage on it to access all the funds needed for the rehabilitation of the IDPs in region.

The meeting was attended by some members of the Federal Executive Council and top government officials including the Minister of Defence, Major General Mansur Dan-Ali (rtd), and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama.

Others are the Minster of Budget and Planning, Udo Udoma; Minister of Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu; Minister of State for Environment, Ibrahim Jubrin; the National Security Adviser, Major General Babagana Monguno (rtd), and the Chief of Defence Staff, General Gabriel Olonisakin.

FG Redeploys Federal Permanent Secretaries

Winifred Oyo-Ita, Yemi Osinbajo, Shehu Ahmed, Bukar Hassan, Permanent SecretariesNigeria’s Acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, has approved the redeployment of some Federal Permanent Secretaries.

The redeployment was disclosed in a statement signed by the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Mrs Winifred Oyo-Ita.

According to the statement, the Permanent Secretary of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Shehu Ahmed, has been posted to Environment.

The Permanent Secretary of Environment, Dr. Bukar Hassan, was also redeployed to Agriculture and Rural Development.

The statement further directed that the processes for handing and taking over should be completed on or before Friday, March 10.

Acting President Tasks Civil Servants On Efficiency

Civil Servants, Acting President, Yemi OsinbajoNigeria’s Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo, has appealed to civil servants to be productive and efficient in their work, as a way of ensuring positive change in the country.

Professor Osinbajo made the appeal on Tuesday at the launch of the 2017 – 2019 Strategic Plan for Civil Servants in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory.

He emphasised the need for public servants to be productive and never to use their offices for personal gains.

The strategic plan launched by the Head of Service, Mrs Winifred Oyo-Ita, is aimed at finding innovative ways for ministries and their parastatals to generate revenue for the government.

Mrs Oyo-Ita highlighted the four cardinal objectives of her administration to include capacity development and performance management for civil servants.

She also stressed the importance of innovation in the face of government’s dwindling revenue.

Some participants, who perceived the civil service as unproductive and inefficient, expressed hope that the new strategic plan would help to change the narratives.

Time For Nigeria, U.S To Deepen Relationship Based On Trust – Osinbajo

Time For Nigeria, U.S To Deepen Relationship Based On Trust - OsinbajoNigeria’s Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo, says the time has come for both Nigeria and the United States to deepen the long-standing relationship between the countries based on mutual trust.

A statement by the Senior Special Assistant on Media & Publicity to the Office of the Vice President, Laolu Akande, on Wednesday, revealed Mr Osinbajo’s position.

According to the statement, he made the call for strengthened relations at the Presidential Villa, while receiving the Commander of the U.S-Africa Command, General Thomas D. Waldhauser and the American Ambassador in Nigeria, Honorable W. Stuart Symington.

“We will be very open and willing to build a relationship based on trust, so that we would benefit from it and of course our relationship as nations would benefit tremendously from it,” the Acting President stated.

He also observed that Nigeria’s relationship with the U.S, was a very important one, “and has been so for many years, even so now at a time like this for us”.

Osinbajo further stated that the Federal Government is appreciative of the U.S’ support over the last few years.

According to him, “it is the belief of the Buhari presidency that the United States is committed to helping us with some of our challenges especially in the Northeast”.

He also explained that issues around human rights concerns in the country, should be viewed against the context of an unusual kind of warfare with terrorists and insurgents.

“The kind of warfare we are engaged with in many ways are unprecedented for our military,” the President said, while noting the sheer brutality and mindlessness of terrorists who he believes are “prepared to kill children in their sleep, abduct girls and prepared to die, even using teenage girls as suicide bombers.”

He restated the readiness of the Buhari administration to end the problems “as quickly as possible”.

While emphasising on the support of the U.S so far, he stated that the Federal Government is open to more U.S military cooperation and also assistance in dealing with the consequent humanitarian situation in the northeast.

“The U.S has been a reliable partner we can trust, especially from what they have done in the past, we want to see how much more you can do for us and the region,” Professor Osinbajo stated.

In his remarks, the head of the U.S Africa Command, expressed the readiness of the government to “accelerate” its contributions, adding that there is a sense that “we want to get on and solve the problem”.

General Waldhauser, also noted that his visit to Nigeria is about developing further “the friendship and trust that we have in common,” while also agreeing with the acting president that the brutality shown by the terrorists is what we have never seen before”.

Also airing his views, Ambassador Symington, said he had just concluded a visit to all the geo-political zones of the country and has concluded that “Nigeria is one of the greatest countries in the world with the potential to change the world”.

Osinbajo Again Reschedules Visit To Ondo State

Yemi Osinbajo, Ondo State, Laolu AkandeNigeria’s Acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, on Monday suspended his planned visit to Ondo State for a second time.

Professor Osinbajo, however, apologised to the government and people of the state for postponing the visit, citing weather conditions for the decision.

The apology was contained in a tweet by the spokesman for the Acting President, Mr Laolu Akande.

The planned visit, said to be in continuation of Professor Osinbajo’s tour of the oil-producing communities, was shifted from Friday to Monday, February 20.

Following the shift, the Presidency extended apologies to the Ondo State Governor, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko, the Governor-elect, Mr Rotimi Akeredolu, traditional rulers and the people of the state.

Osinbajo Asks Military To Shun Divisive Forces

Yemi Osinbajo, Military, Divisive Forces, National Unity, Acting PresidentNigeria’s Acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, has urged the military to resist divisive forces that undermine national unity and economic growth.

Professor Osinbajo made the call on Thursday at a lecture with the participants of Course 25 of the National Defence College in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory.

He had inspected a guard of honour mounted for him before proceeding to the Sani Abacha hall where he delivered a lecture on ‘The Economic Dimension of National Security’.

He noted that divisive forces and corruption were major threats to the unity and economic prosperity of a country.

The Vice President highlighted how the activities of the Niger Delta militants in the southern region and Boko Haram terrorists in northern Nigeria have affected the nation’s economy negatively.

He called on the Nigerian Army to resist any disruptive force that could undermine the unity and economic prosperity of the nation.

The acting president also touched on the government’s economic recovery plans where he called for the rejigging of the civil and criminal justice system.

 

Other speakers at the gathering also appealed to the military to ensure national security in the discharge of their duty.

They noted that that national security and economic prosperity are Siamese twins that cannot be separated.