Vice President Yemi Osinbajo says the Rail Wagon Assembly Plant construction in Nigeria will generate about 5,000 direct and indirect jobs when completed and boost socioeconomic activities.
Osinbajo made this disclosure while performing the Official Ground Breaking Ceremony for the construction of the plant in Kajola, Ogun on Saturday.
“The plant which is a private investment to be undertaken by Messers CCECC, is central in the production of rolling stock, spare parts and maintenance of equipment needed for the railway modernisation programme being implemented by this administration.
“This ceremony is not just another event, it is a historic turning point. For us, the railway is not only an alternative and comfortable mode of travel.
“It holds the master key to transforming commerce in Nigeria and across the continent. By linking our ports to rail lines and now, building the rolling stock locally, import and export business within, into and out of Africa’s largest market will never be the same.
“When completed, it is expected that the plant would produce some parts of the wagons for the Lagos–Ibadan and Abuja-Kaduna rail lines, but also for the central rail lines and to satisfy the needs of other rail operators within the West- African sub-region.
“The plant would offer an important platform for engineers, technicians, artisans and other professionals to gain the specialized skills required for the production and maintenance of rolling stock.
“This will invariably conduce to spin-off businesses in the region of operation and across the country wherever rail networks are in existence.
“The plant is expected to generate about five thousand (5,000) direct and indirect jobs,” Osinbajo said.
According to him, the siting of the plant here in Nigeria and the commitment to hiring Nigerians and Nigerian businesses affirms the Presidents directives in Executive Order 5.
The vice president said that the Order was prioritising Nigerians and Nigerian businesses in the innovation, production and procurement of Engineering projects and services.
He added that plant would offer an important platform for engineers, technicians, artisans, and other professionals to gain specialised skills required for the production and maintenance of the rolling stock.
According to Osinbajo, the message from President to CCECC is that the company should move “very quickly to the next phase of this project, which is the assembly and construction of coaches and locomotives.
“This for us will be a significant breakthrough and we look forward to hearing from you as quickly as possible when this will come to operation as well.”
Osinbajo highlighted that the Federal Government after completing Abuja-Kaduna standard guage rail line in 2016, moved to Lagos–Ibadan standard guage rail line construction in 2017 which is near completion.
He said that Federal Government had also moved into rehabilitation and completion of the abandoned Itakpe-Ajaokuta-Warri rail line started over three decades ago.
“We signed an agreement with Messrs China Railway Construction Company International to construct the Itakpe-Ajaokuta rail line, which will be extended from Itakpe to Abuja through Baro Inland Water Port in Niger State with a branch line to Lokoja in Kogi State.
“This rail line will link into the new Warri sea port being constructed under the agreement, ” Osinbajo said.
Osinbajo said that the Federal Government had optimised the Lagos–Ibadan standard rail line by extending it to the nation’s busiest port in Apapa for movement of cargos from the ports to various destinations.
The vice president said that the extension would expedite imports and export flow, decongest the port and removed pressure on the road.
“Also, we are putting all mechanisms in place to achieve the swift completion of the Ibadan Inland Dry port, which will off- take containers and cargoes from Apapa port through the Lagos – Ibadan rail line,” he said.
Osinbajo appreciated the support of the host community, Kajola, saying that the continuity of cooperation remained imperative in safeguarding and protecting the project.
In his welcome address, the Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi said that the Federal Government awarded contract for the procurement of rolling stock to meet the increasing demand of both passengers and freight services.
“The Ministry of Transportation realizing the need of the advantage to set up this type of plant considering the potential need in view of the ongoing rail projects in the country and the sub-region, encouraged Messrs CCECC to establish this plant.
“It is expected that the plant would generate job opportunities for Nigerians and as well facilitate the much-desired objective of the government towards the local content capacity development.”
“This will be the first of its kind in Nigeria and the first batch of the wagons to be assembled from the production line of this plant will form part of the rolling stock for Lagos – Ibadan and Abuja – Kaduna Railway operations,” he said.
According to him, with this, the country will be able to conserve her much needed foreign exchange, which can be deployed to other areas of development.
“It is cardinal to mention that the sustainability of our railway modernisation projects would depend on our ability to develop local capacity to construct, maintain and manage our new railway system.
“It is on this note that we feel that this project is germane to the railway development in Nigeria and that Messrs. CCECC should be given every reasonable support to actualise this investment.
Remarking, the Managing Director of CCECC, Mr Jiang Yigao said that the company would continue to cooperate with communities and government at all level in its commitment to develop state-of-the-art railway system.
The Nigeria News Agency reports that the event was witnessed by several government functionaries, community, religious and traditional leaders.
Edited by Felix Ajide
NGO urges Nigerians to demand transparency, accountability from leaders
A Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), Youth Adolescent Reflection Action Center (YARAC), has urged Nigerians to demand transparency and accountability from their leaders at all levels in order to achieve effective change.
The Director of YARAC, Rev. Duke Ogbureke, made the call on Tuesday in Jos during a Town Hall meeting organised by the group for various stakeholders in the state.
Ogbureke said development was possible in Africa, given the example of a country such as Rwanda, but that it could not be achieved without active citizenship.
He said if the citizens were not active in demanding transparency and accountability, “our leaders would mostly likely do wrong”.
He said that for good governance to be achieved, citizens should be involved.
” We need to ask for good governance, because without it being demanded, many a times our leaders fail to deliver on their campaign promises,” the director said.
He said at the end of the town hall meeting, it was believed that the participants would go with a mandate of demanding accountability from their leaders.
The state Coordinator of the National Orientation Agency (NOA), Mr Bulus Dabit, in his remarks, said the programme was apt and very appropriate in view of the low capacity by some state actors to observe the critical values of good governance in service delivery.
He commended the NGO for organising the town hall meeting.
News Agency of Nigeria reports that the objective of the town hall meeting is to sensitise people to the need to deepen and sustain transparency and accountability in Nigeria.
Edited by Abdullahi Yusuf
PHED warns against trading under high tension electricity wires
Mr John Onyi, Manager of Corporate Communications, PHED, gave the warning in a statement in Port Harcourt on Tuesday.
Onyi, who made the appeal during a public awareness campaign organised by the company, also urged the people against erecting structures under high tension lines.
“People should stop trading and erecting structures under high power lines as many lives have been lost due to non-adherence to safety standards.
“In October, a 14-year-old boy lost his life when a line snapped on Abuloma 11KV feeder and rested on top of the building he was in.
The spokesman noted that a safe distance from 11KV feeder was 5.5 metres while the distance from 33KV power lines was 12.5 metres.
“On tolerance, the safe distance for 132kv lines is 25 metres while 0.415kv line is 1.5 metres.
“However, we are dismayed that members of the public have habitually jettisoned the safety rules and regulations.
“So, PHED is calling for concerted effort with relevant authorities to enforce safety standards in order to save lives,” he said.
Onyi said the company was currently carrying out door-to-door safety awareness campaign to discourage the people from trading and living under high tension lines.
According to him, the company should not be held responsible in the event of loss of lives or injury caused by electricity shocks from such power lines.
Edited by Ejike Obeta/Felix Ajide
Foundation empowers 100 market women, herdsmen in Kwara
A group, Isaac Adewale Olorundare Foundation (IAOF), on Tuesday, donated livestock drugs and cash to no fewer than 100 market women and herdsmen in Erin-Ile, Oyun Local Government Area of Kwara.
Mr Isaac Olorundare, the Sole Financier of the foundation, said the gesture was aimed at improving the trading activities and living standard of the beneficiaries.
Olorundare, represented by Mr Muyideen Raji, the Coordinator of the foundation, also said the donation was a fulfillment of his passion toward assisting the less privileged in society.
“It’s part of our social responsibilities and aimed at putting smiles in the faces of our people, especially the less privileged,” he said.
He promised that the empowerment initiative would be a continuous exercise and would also be expanded to cater for more beneficiaries.
“This programme will continue to be a regular exercise with the aim of alleviating the suffering of the masses.
“It’s our own little way of complementing government’s efforts and contributing to the socio-economic development of the state.
Olorundare called on well meaning individuals in the state to support government in its effort to transform the state, saying government had demonstrated its sincerity toward industrialising the state.
“The state has experienced dramatic and positive transformations, especially in industrialisation, job creation, road construction/rehabilitation, provision of qualitative education, health facilities and empowerment, among others.
Alhaja Jemilat Daramasu, who spoke on behalf of the market women, thanked the donor for his foresight and magnanimity.
She described the donation as very beneficial and timely in alleviating the suffering of the targeted beneficiaries.
Also, Mr Bawa Yusuf, leader of the herdsmen in the area, described the gesture as unprecedented in the history of the community.
“This is the first of its kind as far as this community is concerned. We the bororos (herdsmen), have not benefited from such a gesture in the past.
“As bororos, we are ready to reciprocate whenever the donor needs our attention,” he said.
Edited by Ejike Obeta/Felix Ajide
Cleric’s wife tasks women to shun acts promoting child trafficking
Mrs Martha Ibezim, the wife of the Anglican Archbishop, Province of the Niger in Awka Diocese, Most Revd. Alexander Ibezim, has called on women to shun any activity that would promote girl child trafficking.
She urged women to be mindful of the activities of their children, more importantly the girl child as girl child trafficking had become the order of the day.
“It is an abominable act that must be checked by women, all mothers to ensure that they do not engage or encourage such act of inhuman activity against a girl child,” she said.
Ibezim said such act would be curtailed if not eradicated when women resolved to play their active role of home building entrusted into their hands by God as mothers and nation builders.
“Materialism must come last in our list of nation building by prioritising grooming of our children and tending of our husbands,” Ibezim said.
She reminded women of their role as women within and outside the home, as a sacred duty given to them by God, which must not fall below expectation.
Ibezim said that women from all the 17 Archdeaconries in Awka Diocese must be very vigilant in these last days, where craze for materialism was fast taking over the homes and society at large.
“Our goal as women in the Anglican Communion remains to win souls for God and build a home and a nation where Christ reigns for a better society, we must not lose focus,” She said.
He said that women must shun any attitude that would lead to any form of misrepresentation of womenfolk by any form of modernisation or other emerging unbiblical trends of the end time.
Ibezim, as the President, Mothers’ Union, Women’s Guild and Girls’ Guild, Diocese of Awka, listed some of the roles of women to include, companion for the man, nurturing of the husband and children, among others.
“None of these roles must be neglected for the sake of worldly things, women must wake up and stand to fight the good fight of a right way of home building, which results in a safe and progressive society,” she said.
According to her, women play important role in reshaping the future for the society and and mothers should not relent in upholding the basic standard of home grooming.
Ibezim also urged the church to aid women in using the forum to achieve a significant result in both home grooming and contributing to the development of the society.
Centre decries widespread violence in Kogi elections
The Socio Economic Research and Development Centre (SERDEC) has decried what it called, the widespread violence and intimidation that characterised the Nov.16 governorship and national assembly elections in Kogi.
A statement by the Executive Director of SERDEC, Mr Tijani Abdulkareem on Tuesday in Lokoja, said in spite of the process being truncated and disrupted by violence, the people still came out en masse to cast their vote.
According to Abdulkarim, “the just concluded election from available reports from our observers, was marred with serious reported issues that would undermine the integrity of democracy if not critically looked into and resolved”.
He, however, commended the Kogi electorate for their determination and resilience by coming out in their numbers to exercise their franchise during the elections.
He alleged that the elections across polling units in the state witnessed voters’ inducement and vote buying and non use of smart card readers for accreditation in some polling units.
The executive director also said that there were intimidation and harassment of voters, observers and journalists; disruption of voting process and late arrival of election materials in some polling units.
The centre, therefore, called on the police and other security agencies deployed for election duty to explain to the public, the cases of electoral violence that occurred at their duty posts.
He stressed that security men were reported to be helpless as a result of the astronomic height of violence, thuggery, and vote buying which had marred the integrity of the election.
”In an election where the electoral process was interrupted, it is expected that the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) would follow its guiding principles by cancelling and ordering a rerun for the places where ballot boxes were snatched, so as to avail voters the right to vote,” he said.
Edited by Abdullahi Yusuf
Monarch cautions Nasarawa youths against violence, other social vices
Alhaji Mustapha Zubairu, the Gom Mama of Mama Chiefdom in Nasarawa, has advised youths to shun violence and all other negative tendencies in their interest and for societal development.
Zubairu gave the advice on Tuesday when he received Wamba/Farin-Ruwa Youths Movement residing in Lafia, the state capital.
The traditional ruler said that if youths and other Nigerians could shun violence at all times, it would go a long way in not only promoting peace but would also ensure speedy development of the country.
Zubairu also tasked youths on nation building and urged them to continue to contribute their quota positively to national development.
“I want to thank you for the visit and for forming this group aimed at promoting unity and peaceful co-existence among yourselves and other Nigerians.
“This is because peace is the necessary requirement for the development of any society.
“Peace is priceless and non-negotiable; as no society or nation will achieve meaningful progress and development without peace.
“It is in view of this that I want to call on you and other Nigerian youths to always shun violence and embrace peace at all times in the interest of development,’’ he said.
He called on members of the association to continue to preach peace and unity to the people of the area and Nigeria at large in the interest of development.
The monarch urged his subjects and other Nigerians to live peacefully with one another and respect constituted authorities for development to thrive.
Earlier, the President of the association, Mr Solomon Mundung, said that the visit was aimed at seeking the monarch’s blessing and advice to enable them succeed.
Mundung gave an assurance that the association was determined to be up and doing toward promoting unity among its members and other Nigerians.
Edited by Cecilia Odey/Adeleye Ajayi
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