Amaechi said this on Friday evening while briefing journalists after the inspection of the project.
He inspected the project in company of the Managing Director, Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC), Mr Fidet Okhiria and Chairman, Board of Directors, NRC, Malam Ibrahim Al-Hassan-Musa.
Amaechi commenced the inspection at 8:50 am by visiting Costain area where a bridge is being constructed and later moved to inspect the over pass at Asade level crossing at Agege.
The minister also inspected construction works at the 10 stations along the 156-kilometre rail line corridor which included Apapa, Kajola, Papalanto, Abeokuta and Omi Adio, among others.
Amaechi, however, expressed dissatisfaction with the level of work done in most of the sites visited and advised the contractor, China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC), to speed up work on the project before his next visit on Sept. 23.
The minister said that the slow down of work was too visible at the Lagos end of the project, saying it was due to lack of approval of extra works that were needed to be done.
“They (contractors) cannot commence work until they get those approvals. We will go to the cabinet quickly and get those approvals so that they can continue with their construction,” he said.
He also cited delays in payment as another reason for the slow down, saying that the contractors were waiting for a minister to approve their payments.
“Our appeal is that they should please hurry up and get into the sea ports so that we can evacuate the goods at the sea ports, we should at least be able to reduce what people refer to as Apapa gridlock.”
The minister denied giving December as the deadline to deliver the project, saying that he only wished that the project would be completed by December this year.
“If the contractors have been given money earlier and secure those approvals, the pace of work would have increased and my wish would have been a reality.
“What we are saying is that they (contractors) need approvals from the cabinet and luckily that cabinet is in place now for the President to approve.
“We will request for those approvals for the extra work they need to put in place. Once we get those approvals, the speed will increase,” he added.
“We also agreed with them (contractors) to have between September and October, two major ground breaking ceremonies, one is the University at Duara, the University of Transportation which we think it is going to be in September and then a ground breaking ceremony at Kajola.
“We are insisting that they (contractors) cannot continue to manufacture coaches, locomotive and wagons in China and be giving to us.
“So, as party of one of the benefits we get out of the contract we have given them, they will build a factory in Kajola by October where they will begin to manufacture wagons for now.
“From then, they will progress from wagons to locomotive and coaches and Nigerians will understudy them.”
Osun lawmaker distributes clothing materials to 300 widows, aged
Mr Tunde Olatunji, the Chief Whip of Osun House of Assembly, on Friday, distributed clothing materials worth millions of naira to 300 widows and the aged in his constituency.
Olatunji (APC-Ife North), while distributing the materials under his ‘Social Support Programme’ in Edun-Abon, said that the gesture was aimed at putting smiles on the faces of the less-privileged in the society.
According to the lawmaker, since Yuletide is approaching, it is a period that such gesture becomes appropriate.
“As an individual, I am practically unable to reach out to everyone, but giving such items to a total of 300 people is to spread happiness to a large number of our people.
“This little gesture will further connect us with our people, reminding them that they are perpetually in our mind and that we treasure their mandate, because the essence of government is for their welfare and wellbeing”, Olatunji said.
The lawmaker also said that plans were on the way to train 100 youths under his skill acquisition programme, tagged “Tunde Olatunji Skill Acquisition Project.”
He said that the programme, whose enrolment would commence on Dec. 15, was aimed at raising young entrepreneurs in various skills.
Olatunji said that trainees under the programme, upon successful completion, would be given working tools.
He also promised free SME development training, financial training for successful business management and fully-funded graduation for trainees after completion of their programmes.
“The skill acquisition project, which targets the youth, is based on my conviction that their empowerment is a potent force in fighting poverty and building a functional society.
Some of the widows and the aged, who spoke at the programme, commended the lawmaker for the gesture, saying that it would indelible in their mind.
Edited by Tayo Ikujuni and ‘Wale Sadeeq
Group cautions health students against unethical conducts, social vices
The Community Health Practitioners Registration Board of Nigeria, on Friday, cautioned health students against engaging in unethical conducts and acts that could mar their professional reputation in the future.
The board’s Chairman, Mr Sule Galadima, stated this at the end of a two- day workshop, organised by the Association of Community Health Students of Nigeria (ACHSN), in Karu Local Government Area of Nasarawa State.
The Nigeria News Agency reports that the workshop, with the theme, “Community Health: Our Concern”, is being attended by health students from various colleges of health technology in Northern states, including the Federal Capital Territory.
According to Galadima, it is imperative for the students to always adhere strictly to the ethics of their profession and be conscious of their importance in the society.
“The importance of this association to the development of human health, especially in rural communities, cannot be overemphasised.
“I want to call on you to be serious in your studies, in order to excel in your academic pursuit.
“You must also shun unethical conducts and other sharp practices in the course of your study, in the interest of the health of our people,” he said.
Galadima described the workshop as timely, considering the challenges being faced in rural communities in accessing healthcare delivery.
He also enjoined the students to always confine themselves to the specified guidelines, adding that it would assist them in making reference and referrals in the course of their assignments.
Also speaking, the board’s Registrar, Mr Mohammed Adebayo, said that the workshop was meant to further equip the students with additional knowledge in community health’s best practices.
He called on the organisers to sustain the workshop in the years ahead, since it was being organised for the first time in the history of the association.
Earlier, Mr Yunusa Kutigi, the National President of ACHSN, said that the workshop was being attended by delegates from all the 65 accredited colleges of health technology in the 19 Northern states.
Edited by ‘Wale Sadeeq
Buhari felicitates with Nigerian Tribune at 70
President Muhammadu Buhari has felicitated with the board, management and staff of the Nigerian Tribune Newspapers on its 70th anniversary.
In a statement by his spokesman, Mr Femi Adesina in Abuja on Friday, the President extolled the founder, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, whose legacies in almost all sectors had continued to speak of his patriotism, intellect and unusual wisdom.
Buhari believed that the Nigerian Tribune, founded at the height of nationalist movement in 1949, had played a crucial and historical role in Nigeria’s struggle for Independence.
According to him, the Nigerian Tribune has sustained the same activism in the post-colonial era by holding leaders to account and consistently providing information that empowers citizens to demand accountability in all spheres of national life.
The President recalled the pungent and articulate editorials as well as columns of the oldest Nigerian private newspaper, which served as resource materials for individuals, businesses and academic institutions.
He further noted that the newspaper editorial had shaped policy direction of successive governments in the country.
Buhari affirmed that the conceptualisation of the media house with a ‘people-first’ philosophy had continued to inspire its reach and influence.
He, therefore, urged the board and management to consistently keep faith with the vision of the founding fathers.
The President joined the Nigerian media generally in celebrating the milestone attained by the Nigerian Tribune.
Edited by Ismail Abdulaziz
Supreme Court decision on PDP appeal, affirmation of popular will of Nigerians – Presidency
Abuja, Nov. 15, 2019 The Presidency has welcomed the elucidation of the Supreme Court ruling in the PDP petition, saying the final verdict is an affirmation of popular will of Nigerians.
The President’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, made this position known in a statement in Abuja on Friday.
He stated that the final verdict had reiterated that “the onus of proof must necessarily fall on those that challenge the vote.
“Allegations must be substantiated if they are to hold, and this requires producing credible witnesses that verify key claims. As the Supreme Court has stated, the case failed this test.’’
On the issue of qualifications, the presidential aide maintained that President Buhari had a long history of service to the nation, saying “the questioning of this fact seems to fly in the face of all evidence’’.
According to him, now it is time for the PDP to take up the service mandated by this election.
He said: “The legislative agenda of the ninth assembly is ambitious in both size and scope.
“It is critical the opposition is there to scrutinise bills and policies, rather than preoccupy themselves with unsustainable court cases.
He commended the leadership of the opposition for taking the legal option in the pursuance of their grievances over the outcome of the 2019 general elections.
Shehu also lauded the courage of the courts to arrive at “the right conclusion given manifest and subtle pressures to do otherwise’’.
He added: “We appreciate the PDP and their candidate for taking these claims to courts rather than expressing them in other ways, but now Nigeria needs a robust and rigorous opposition. The nation needs to move on.
“While it is correct to give credit to the courts for affirming this electoral victory-and we commend the courage of the bench to arrive at the right conclusion given manifest and subtle pressures to do otherwise.
“The reality is that courts were convinced by arguments from the lawyers representing the APC and its candidate, President Muhammadu Buhari that results reflected the true wishes of a majority of our citizens.
“No serious electoral observers have challenged this result. And now the Supreme Court has explained why the PDP appeal is unsubstantiated. We hope this finally puts the matter behind us.
“We should now grasp this moment to move forward – together.’’
NAN reports that the apex court on Friday ruled that President Buhari was “eminently qualified” to contest the Feb. 23 presidential election.
The Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Tanko Muhammad, prepared the full judgment of the apex court which is being read by Justice John Okoro.
The full judgment delivered on Friday was to provide explanations for the apex court’s summary decision of Oct. 30 which dismissed the appeal by the Peoples Democratic Party and its presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar challenging the victory of Buhari at the Feb. 23 presidential poll.
In the full judgment of the apex court affirmed the decision of the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal which held that Buhari possessed the requisite educational qualification to contest the poll.
NAN also reports that it held that the Nigerian Constitution only required a candidate contesting the presidential election to be educated up to secondary education even when the candidate does not possess the certificate.
edited by Sadiya Hamza
World Bank disburses N529m for projects in Borno communities
The World Bank has disbursed N529 million for execution of development projects in 54 rural communities in Borno.
Mr Chiroma Usman, Programme Manager, Community and Social Development Programme (CSDP), made this known on Friday during the disbursement of the funds at the Government House, Maiduguri.
Usman said that the benefiting communities are located in Bayo, Jere, Kaga, Konduga, Maiduguri and Magumeri Local Government Areas of the state.
He said that the projects would be executed under the Local Empowerment and Environmental Management Project (LEEMP), and Community-Based Poverty Reduction Project (CPRP).
Usman listed the projects to include water, health, education, environment, shelter and livelihood support services.
“CSDP has so far disbursed N659 million to communities under its various programmes in the past two years.
“Some 46 communities participated under the Community Driven Investment (CDI); 24 benefited from Group Driven Investment (GDI) while 149 others under Micro Project Scheme (MPS),” he said.
According to him, the participating communities were selected based on poverty prevalence index and other criteria set out by the bank.
Usman added that fund were disbursed to the communities based on the need assessment exercise, to enable them to execute projects of their choice, to improve their social and economic wellbeing.
The CSDP manager said that the project had encouraged enrolment and retention in schools, reduce infant and maternal mortality rate, reduced water-borne diseases and encouraged growth of small enterprises.
He said that other achievements of the programme included construction of access roads to ease movement of farm produce to the markets as well as flood, erosion and desertification control.
The state deputy governor, Alhaji Usman Kadafur, said the gesture would go a long way to improve the social and economic wellbeing of the people in the state.
Kadafur reiterated government’s commitments to collaborate with the bank and other development organisations to facilitate execution of viable projects in the state.
Edited by Bayo Sekoni/Ismail Abdulaziz
Ijaw Elders Forum, others call for credible, violence-free elections in Bayelsa
The Ijaw Elders Forum, Lagos, in collaboration with Ijaw Professionals Association, Ijaw Nations Forum, Ijaw Women Connect and Embassara Foundation, have called on the people of Bayelsa to exercise their civic responsibility by voting the next governor of the state through a peaceful and credible process on Saturday.
“We are alarmed at the recent turn of events on Wednesday Nov. 13 at Ogbolomabiri, in spite of the numerous workshops we organised on Peaceful and Credible Elections and affirmations by major political stakeholders.
“We call on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to suspend elections in any ward where political violence occur in the days leading to the elections or threatens the peace during elections.
“We condemn in very strong terms the violence and loss of lives experienced in Ogbolomabiri on Nov. 13, 2019.
“We wish to also call on INEC to reject results from any ward or local government areas with reported cases of violence, ballot box snatching or riggin,” Bribena said.
“Accepting results and declaring same from wards where violence or other election malpractices are perpetuated will be tantamount to incentivising violence and malpractices during elections.
“We will like to use this opportunity to draw the attention of The Nigerian Human Rights Commission and other relevant institutions of the state to the violence that occurred in Ogbolomabiri.
“The incident should be investigated and the perpetrators and their sponsors brought to book.
“We call on INEC and all relevant institutions of the state to maintain neutrality during the elections and ensure peaceful and credible elections as the people of Bayelsa troop out on Saturday to elect their Governor.
(Edited by Emmanuel Okara/Peter Ejiofor)
- Stakeholders strategise to prevent measles outbreak in Ondo
- Osun lawmaker distributes clothing materials to 300 widows, aged
- Abia Controller of Corrections warns new intakes against illegal transactions with inmates
- Group cautions health students against unethical conducts, social vices
- Buhari felicitates with Nigerian Tribune at 70
- Bayelsa Poll: Appeal court orders INEC to maintain statusquo.
- Supreme Court decision on PDP appeal, affirmation of popular will of Nigerians – Presidency
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- World Bank disburses N529m for projects in Borno communities
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