‘We Now Have Broken Legs’: Delta Community Protests Over Bad Road, Seeks Intervention

 

The people of Onicha Ukwu and Onicha Okpe  in Ubulu-Uku, Aniocha South Local Government Area of Delta State have protested over a bad road in their area.

The road, which leads to neigbouring Onicha Ugbo in Aniocha North Local Government Area, they claim, was awarded about 40 years ago but was later re-awarded to the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) in 2015.

Bearing placards with several inscriptions, the residents made up of both the young and elderly, however, said the Commission has abandoned it. They called for immediate intervention, saying the road is impassable and has cost them pains for decades.

“We can longer go anywhere. We cannot go to the farm. We cannot go to the church. Many of us now have broken legs,” one of the protesters, Ngozi Onwueme, said. “Our elderly ones are now stationed permanently at home.”

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Residents of the community are calling for government intervention.

 

While singing and marching around the community, they called on governments at all levels to wade into the situation, accusing the NDDC of abandoning the project.

“The NDDC has come, shown face and withdrawn,” a community leader, who identified himself as Ofunne Jacob, added. “But the government made clear remarks of roads belonging to the Federal Government which they have vowed to construct in the interest of the indigenes of the place.”

But the Delta State government says it is helpless on the matter.

“We had thought that NDDC will be able to take up that while we are also concentrating on a number of other roads within that environment,” the state’s Information and Culture Commissioner, Charles Aniagwu, told Channels Television.

“But it is just quite unfortunate that the NDDC has not done what they needed to do and in that wise, we cannot also immediately take over the road because the moment a road has been approved by a particular agency, in this case, the NDDC, if you just wake up and jump into the same road, what if the contractor mobilises to site tomorrow?”

While the state government’s response may do little to assuage residents of the communities, they may have no option but resort to self-help and reach out to the NDDC to address the issue.

China Puts ‘Aggressive’ Terms On Uganda Airport Loan – Researchers

The Ugandan flag.

 

A top Chinese lender has imposed “aggressive” repayment terms on a $200 million loan to expand Uganda’s international airport, US-based research lab AidData said Monday, criticising the bank for forcing the government to repay its debt before funding public services.

Chinese state banks are the biggest source of infrastructure funding to Africa and have been criticised for their predatory lending practices although details of contracts are rarely made public.

Under the loan from China’s Exim Bank to modernise the Entebbe Airport, the Ugandan government is required to channel all revenue from the country’s only international airport into an account held jointly with the lender, according to the contract published Monday by AidData.

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The government is then required to use part of the revenue to repay the loan each year before it can invest in public services.

“These are (more) aggressive terms than what we have seen earlier,” Bradley Parks, executive director at AidData, told AFP, saying the contract “limits the fiscal autonomy of the government”.

State-owned China Communications Construction Company began repairing runways and building new airport hangers in Entebbe in 2016 and the work is expected to be completed this year.

Chinese creditors — unlike other lenders from developed nations — require governments to deposit some earnings from big infrastructure projects in bank accounts they control to serve as collateral.

But the contract for the Ugandan airport goes further.

“The lender is asking not just for revenues from the new projects they are funding, but also from the underlying asset — or the airport — that already exists,” Parks said.

The airport, built in 1951, was generating about $68 million in annual revenue prior to the expansion project and the money was used to fund public services according to Parks, citing data from the government.

The project led to public outrage last year after Ugandan media reported China will take control of the airport if the government in Kampala defaulted, a claim that Beijing later denied.

China Exim Bank did not respond to a request for comment.

US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen this month said China needs to contribute more to global efforts to provide debt relief for poor nations that are struggling to repay after the pandemic battered their economies.

AFP

19 Killed In Yobe Road Accident

Yobe is situated in North-East Nigeria-yobeeeeeee
A map of Yobe, a state in north-east Nigeria.

 

Nineteen persons have been confirmed dead while two others sustained serious injuries following a fatal motor accident along the Damaturu-Potiskum Road in Yobe State.

The accident, which occurred on Thursday, involved two Golf Wagon vehicles with registration number KHE 454 XA and BKD 74 SB both bearing Jigawa State plate number.

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Speaking to Channels Television via telephone, some eyewitnesses blamed the accident on over speeding by both drivers of the vehicles.

It was gathered that eight of the victims who are from the same family were heading for a wedding at Azare in Bauchi State when the incident happened.

The Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) said they are yet to receive the news of the accident but pledged to address journalists.

However, the agency had yet to do so as at the time of filing this report.

NNPC To Reconstruct 21 Federal Roads At N621.23bn – FEC

A file photo of the Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, at a briefing in Abuja.

 

The Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved the reconstruction of 21 roads covering a total distance of 1,804.6 kilometres across the six geo-political zones.

These projects are to be undertaken by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) through the deployment of its own tax liabilities.

Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, announced the approval on Wednesday while briefing State House correspondents at the end of the FEC meeting held in Abuja.

In July, FEC approved the award of a contract to Dangote Industries for the construction of five roads totalling 274.9 kilometres at the cost of N309.9 billion, advanced by the company as tax credit.

“Earlier this year, there were five other roads – the Kaduna Western bypass, the Lekki Port road, the road from Shagamu through Papalanto, and a couple of others, and there is one road in Maiduguri. That was about N320 billion,” Fashola said.

“So today (Wednesday), we have another player. We have all the interested players who are still showing interest, but we haven’t concluded. We have another player who has shown interest and commitment to deploy taxes. It’s the government corporation known as NNPC.

“So, NNPC has identified 21 roads that it wants to deploy. Now, the instructive thing about this is that this initiative helps the government to achieve many things, including ministerial mandates three and four, which we discussed at the last retreat. ministerial mandates three and four, if you recall, was energy sufficiency, electric power and petroleum energy distribution across the country.

“Of course, petroleum energy distribution is being impacted positively and negatively, as the case may be the transport infrastructure which is the ministerial mandate four. NNPC has sought and the council has approved today that NNPC deploys tax resources to 21 roads, covering a total distance of 1,804.6 kilometres across the six geopolitical zones.

“Out of those 21 roads, nine are in North Central, particularly Niger state. The reason is that Niger State is a major storage centre for NNPC. NNPC is doing this to facilitate the total distribution across the country.”

Fashola gave an assurance that in the South-West, the Lagos-Badagry Expressway, the Agabara junction, Ibadan to Ilorin (Oyo-Ogbomoso section) will be fixed.

Three other roads are located in the North-East, two in the North-West, and two others in the South-East.

The Odukpani-Itu-Ikot-Ekpene road, the minister said, has now been fully covered to resolve the problem of financing regarding the execution of the road projects.

Speaking about the South-East, he stated, “You have Aba-Ikot Ekpene in Abia and Akwa Ibom States. So that’s a major link, then you have Umuahia to Ikwuamo, to Ikot Ekpene road and so on and so forth.

“In the North-West, it is Gada Zaima-Zuru-Gamji road, and also Zaria-Funtau-Gusau-Sokoto road. In the North-East, it is Cham, Bali Serti and Gombe-Biu road.”

There will be no more financing problems regarding the execution of roads, said Fashola.

Kabba-Omuo Ekiti Traffic: FRSC Advises Motorists On Alternative Routes

A portion of thethe Kabba-Omuo Ekiti Highway in Kogi State. Credit: FRSC

 

Motorists travelling to and from the South-West through the Kabba-Omuo Ekiti Highway in Kogi State have been advised to use alternative routes.

The Federal Road Safety Corps which issued the advisory on Saturday said a section of the road at Ikoyi under the Iyara Local Government Area of the state had failed, leading to a poor flow of traffic.

FRSC Public Education Officer, Assistant Corps Marshal Bisi Kazeem, asked road users to use Kabba/Asaya/Ogidi/Ikare as an alternative route to or from South-West.

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“Members of the motoring public and general commuters travelling from or to Southwest, through Kabba- Omuo Ekiti Federal Highway are hereby notified of a failed section of the road at Ikoyi under Iyara local government area of Kogi State,” the statement partly read.

“This development has led to lack of free flow of traffic at the said portion of the road.

“In view of the foregoing, motorists, travellers, and the general public are hereby advised to use Kabba/Asaya/Ogidi/Ikare as an alternative route to or from South-West. The Federal Ministry of Works and Housing is already activating appropriate action to ameliorate the situation.

“The Federal Road Safety Corps solicits maximum cooperation of the motoring public on this development. The Corps will also continue to update the public periodically on further developments.

“Meanwhile, operatives of FRSC are on the ground controlling traffic.”

See more photos below:

12 Die, Six Injured In Kaduna Road Accident

A map showing Kaduna, a state in Nigeria's North-Central region.
A map showing Kaduna, a state in Nigeria’s north-west region.

 

Twelve persons have died with six others injured in a motor accident along the Kaduna-Abuja on Monday.

The accident occurred around Nasarawa Doka, along the highway in Kachia Local Government Area of Kaduna State.

Kaduna State Commissioner for Internal Security and Home Affairs, Samuel Aruwan, confirmed the incident to Channels Television in a statement.

The commissioner explained that the accident involved a lone Toyota Hiace bus conveying 18 passengers from Kaduna to Abuja.

He explained that one of the bus tyres exploded due to brake failure with twelve passengers dying on the spot.

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According to him, six others sustained injuries and were rushed to hospital for treatment.

On his part, Governor Nasir El-Rufai expressed sadness over the incident and extended his condolences to the families of the victims.

While wishing the injured a quick recovery, the governor asked citizens to continue to drive safely, pay attention to the condition of their vehicles and observe traffic rules as they ply major highways.

The latest accident comes five months after the state recorded an accident at the Kateri axis of the highway.

The commissioner had on March 22 said a commercial DAF trailer carrying 53 passengers was on high speed, lost control and veered off into the bush.

No fewer than 19 people died with 34 others sustaining varying degrees of injuries.

At Least 15 Dead In Pakistan Passenger Van Inferno

 

At least 15 people were killed when a passenger van travelling in southern Pakistan crashed and caught fire, officials said Sunday.

The van was carrying passengers from Karachi to Hyderabad city when it struck an object and careered off the road late Saturday.

“The death toll in the unfortunate accident has reached 15,” Owais Shah, the transport minister of Sindh province, told AFP.

Five other people were injured, three of them critically, he said.

Most of the bodies were burned beyond recognition, said Faisal Edhi, head of the non-profit Edhi Foundation which runs the morgue the bodies were taken to.

Investigators were looking to see if a natural gas cylinder aboard the bus had contributed to the inferno.

Such incidents occur frequently on Pakistan’s roads, where speeding, dilapidated vehicles, and badly maintained roads all contribute to the accident rate.

Ogun Officials Inspect Roads, Water Channels In Isheri

 

Officials of the Ogun State government have been visiting coastal areas in a move to ascertain the condition of existing water channels and their effectiveness in controlling flood.

The state Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure, Ade Akinsanya as well as the special adviser to the governor on environment, Ola Oresanya, led other officials on tour of the Isheri boundary community to inspect the drainage system and the on-going road rehabilitation on Channels TV avenue.

The commissioner explained that the reconstruction is targeted at fixing bad portions on the 3-kilometere road, beginning with the first phase from the entrance of the community to the LSPDC estate.

We Have A Major Road Project Going On In Every State – Osinbajo

A file photo of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.

 

 

The Muhammadu Buhari administration has an ongoing major road project in all states across the country.

The Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, stated this while delivering a keynote address at a Christian gathering on Saturday in Lagos.

Outlining the contributions of the present administration in various sectors, he noted that the Federal Government’s interventions through the various reforms would yield greater results.

“Our focus in the last few years has been on investing in roads, rail, and power; we have a major road project going on in every state of the federation,” the vice president was quoted as saying in a statement by his spokesperson, Laolu Akande.

He added, “Some of the road projects scheduled for substantial completion in 2020/2021 include the dualisation of Suleja-Minna Road, Ilorin-Jebba-Mokwa/Bokani Road, Nnewi-Oduma-Mpu (in Enugu)-Uburu (Ebonyi), Yenagoa-Okaki-Kolo-Nembe-Brass Road, Bodo-Bonny Road – with a bridge across the Opobo channel, the rehabilitation and expansion of Lagos-Badagry expressway and, of course, the Lagos-Ibadan expressway.”

Professor Osinbajo revealed that 19 other road projects measuring about 800 kilometres have been prioritised in 11 states across each of the six geo-political zones.

These projects, according to him, will be done by 10 local companies who have applied to join Dangote and NLNG in the Investment Tax Credit Scheme of the government which encourages private sector investments in infrastructure.

Benefits Of The Finance Act

The vice president also spoke about the new Finance Act, saying it was the government’s fiscal response to the issues of limited revenue sources and the need to improve the business environment, especially for small and medium businesses.

“The Act has two main purposes with extremely beneficial effects on the Nigerian economy. It addresses the issue of domestic revenue mobilisation on which Nigeria has often paraded quite a low record.

“However, even while achieving this objective for the public sector, the Finance Act is calibrated to improve the ease of doing business in Nigeria and actively foster private sector growth,” he stated.

The event had in attendance the President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Dr Akinwunmi Adesina, and the National Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) in Nigeria, Pastor Joseph Obayemi, among others.

Pastor Obayemi delivered a welcome message while Dr Adesina commended the present administration for the achievements recorded in the agricultural sector.

The AfDB president also noted that the efforts of the Federal Government have revolutionised agriculture in the country.

Five Dead, Dozens Hurt In ‘Horrible’ US Highway Crash

 

 

Five people died and dozens were injured in a “horrible” crash involving a tour bus and three tractor-trailers on a major US highway Sunday.

Pennsylvania State Police said the pre-dawn crash on the busy Pennsylvania Turnpike — billed as America’s “First Superhighway” — happened at about 3:40 am (0840 GMT) in Westmoreland County, east of Pittsburgh.

“There are five fatalities,” the police said on Twitter, adding that 39 people were taken to hospitals.

But Turnpike spokesman Carl DeFebo said “probably dozens of patients, about 60 patients” were transported to local hospitals after the “horrible crash.”

“I personally haven’t witnessed a crash of this magnitude in 20 years,” he told Pittsburgh’s Action 4 News.

Aerial images broadcast by the station showed a bus overturned. “New York” and “Ohio,” it read on its visible side.

A FedEx trailer was nearby, ripped open to expose its load of brown packages, while two other trucks had come to rest against a snow-dusted embankment.

Police said the tour bus “was traveling on a downhill curve and struck an embankment” before the commercial vehicles behind it then hit the bus.

A passenger vehicle was also involved, police said, without giving a cause of the crash.

Asked if weather conditions were a factor, DeFebo replied: “We just can’t say.”

The Pennsylvania Turnpike, which opened in 1940, was closed in both directions, he said.

We Have Placed High Premium For The Provision Of Infrastructural Development – SGF

SGF Boss Mustapha speaks at the commissioning ceremony of operations vehicle at the headquarters of the Federal Road Safety Corps in Abuja on April 12, 2019.

 

The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Boss Mustapha, says the Federal Government has placed the provision of infrastructural development in the country seriously.

Speaking at the commissioning ceremony of the operational vehicles at the headquarters of the Federal Road Safety Corps in Abuja, the SGF explained that the government is increasing its spending on road infrastructure to reduce crashes.

“We have also placed a high premium for the provision of fiscal stimulus for infrastructural development with particular attention to the national road transportation system.

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“Government, therefore, is informed by the acute recognition of the critical place of road transportation in Nigeria’s historical and national life.

“Consequently, the Federal Government designs to invest in all areas designed to promote effective and efficient transportation system,” he stated.

The SGF noted that in 2018 alone, the current administration “constructed and completed an additional 1,513 kilometres of road, several bridges and rehabilitated 1,008 kilometres of roads across the country.”

He believes that the purchase and commissioning of 74 operational vehicles for FRSC will enhance traffic control on the roads, reduce crashes and ease the movement of goods and services across the country.

At Least 19 JOHESU Members Injured In Road Accident

At Least 19 JOHESU Members Injured In Road Accident
This photo shows one of the injured victims of the auto-crash which occurred along the Benin-Auchi Road on May 19, 2018.

 

Some members of the University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH) chapter of the Joint Health Sector Union (JOHESU) were involved in an accident along the Benin-Auchi Road on Saturday.

Nineteen out of the 40 health workers were said to have been severely injured and rushed to the Otibho Okhai Hospital in Irrua, Edo State, where they were being treated by doctors and consultants on duty.

The victims were said to be on their way to a function in Auchi when the accident occurred.

The President of the Association of Resident Doctors at the Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital, Dr Esteem Tagar, who confirmed the incident to Channels Television, said no death was recorded in the accident.

Meanwhile, the health sector union has refused to call off its industrial action which is now in its fourth week.

The union had, however, suspended the strike in Lagos, Kano and Yobe states, where the governments were said to have complied with the demand for salary adjustment.