Stakeholders from Abia and Akwa Ibom have called for completion of the Obehie-Akwete-Azumini- Ukanafun road to ease movement of farm produce and business activities in the areas.
The stakeholders spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria in separate interviews on Monday in Aba.
NAN reports that the Federal Government awarded the contract for dualisation of the 50-km highway linking Abia to Akwa Ibom with a diversionary link to Rivers at the cost of N34 billion.
The contract was awarded to Chinese Civil Engineering Construction Company (CCECC) Nigeria in 2010, by the Ministry of Niger-Delta Affairs.
Mr Uzoma Abonta, the member representing Ukwa Federal Constituency at the National Assembly said the road was a regional one, which should be taken over and completed by the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
“That road, initiated by me was awarded many years ago through Federal Executive Council to CCECC.
“And the Chinese company is waiting payment of compensations on the road.
“I have written to the Ministry of Niger Delta to please pay the Chinese company who claimed they are owed to continue and complete the road.
“The federal constituency is an Oil Producing Area. But till now, the people have been subjected to unbearable hardship because of the nature of that road which is difficult to drive through during the rainy seasons,” Abonta said.
The lawmaker said he had also written letters to NDDC to take over and complete it, noting that the road was important to the people of the area who contribute to national wealth.
He said that he and Sen. Enyinnaya Abaribe had written to the ministry which promised to add the road to it budget.
”But when the was completed, the Niger Delta ministry budgeted very little amount for the road,’” he said.
Abonta said that the last budget of the ministry for the road was only N200 million which could not accomplishe much.
He noted that they (senators) asked for budget upgrade to N1billion but it was not honoured.
Mr Mao Azunna, the Chairman, Grand Council of Niger-Delta Youth Leaders, Abia State chapter said that the Chinese company did only 500 meters of construction at Okeikpe area in Ukwa West, since 2012 till date and had yet to complete it.
Azunna stressed that the road had subjected Ukwa people, neighbouring Annang and Ogoni to economic hardship.
He said it was regrettable that property worth millions of naira were destroyed by the company in the course of executing the project, but less than seven per cent of the people affected received compensation.
However, commuters decried the deteriorating state of the road and pleaded with the government to complete it.
Mr John Uko, a retired teacher and native of Ukanafun, said his car broke down midway at Ohambele, while going to Akwete due to deteriorating state of the road.
According to him, the bad road is detrimental to peace and security in the area.
“I don’t know why we love doing things wrongly in this country while ignoring the right ways.
“A motorable Obehie-Akwete-Azumini-Ukanafun road will change people’s lives and create new commercial centre in the middle of Rivers, Akwa-Ibom and Abia.
“If there’s any road in Nigeria that can improve agriculture in terms of moving farm produce to cities, improve trade and commerce between rural and urban areas it is this road,” Uko said.
Recall that the road contract was awarded in two separate sections to the same company.
The first section being the stretch from Obehie junction beginning from Enugu-Port Harcourt expressway to Akwete town spanning 20 km was awarded in March 2010 for about N12.3 billion.
The second section stretching from Azumini to Ukanafun in Akwa-Ibom spans 30 km was awarded in November 2010 for about N21 billion
Although part of the Azumini – Ukanafun road was done to an extent, the Akwete – Obehie road project, which was abandoned has failed badly and turned into a death trap.
Edited By: Chinyere Bassey/Grace Yussuf (NAN)
Mobile Police Training School, not personal asset of I-G – Police
The Police say the Mobile Police Training School in Nasarawa State was a national security legacy project and not a personal asset of the Inspector General of Police (I-G), Mr Mohammed Adamu.
The Force Public Relations Officer (FPRO), Mr Frank Mba, disclosed this in a statement on Tuesday in Abuja.
Mba said establishing the school in Endehu, Nasarawa State, was informed by overriding national security consideration on the need to strengthen the operational capacity of the special forces of the Nigeria Police Force.
He said that the IGP had not used his office to threaten Mobile Police Commanders into generating millions of naira monthly through illegal means for the project.
”It is on record that the parcel of land where the institution was sited was donated to the Police with the full complement of the Certificate of Occupancy by the Governor of Nasarawa State.
“The acquisition of the land was, therefore, without any financial commitment by the Police.
”The construction of the facility was achieved with the support of the Nasarawa State Government and well-meaning corporate bodies within the context of their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).
”All the support so extended were not in cash but in form of donation of materials,” he said.
Mba said that the only involvement of some Squadron Commanders was to ensure the delivery of some of the construction materials so donated by the corporate bodies.
He said the construction of the project through corporate intervention was a demonstration of the commitment of the Force leadership to meet its obligations to citizens.
According to him, this is not the first time corporate organisations and governments at all levels are assisting the police to bridge operational and infrastructural gaps.
Edited By: Chidinma Agu/Maharazu Ahmed (NAN)
CAS task NAF cadets on core values of integrity, service before self
Abubakar gave the charge on Tuesday night during the regimental Dinner of Direct Short Service, Course 29, at the Military Training Centre NAF base Kaduna.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that regimental dinner was a military tradition worldwide aimed at inculcating one of the rich mess etiquette in officers in order to maintain regimentation and comradeship among other military ethics and tradition.
Abubakar reminded the cadets of vision of the NAF as they looked forward to passing out and begin your service to our fatherland as commissioned officers.
“To reposition the NAF into highly professional and disciplined force through capacity building initiative for effective, efficient and timely employment of air power in responsive to Nigeria’s national security imperatives.
According to him, this is particularly important as the country, in recent time, has witnessed a wide range of security challenges that have stretched the capacity of the armed forces and other security agencies.
Abubakar said the armed forces, particularly NAF, had been involved in operation aimed at finding lasting solution to some of these security challenges.
He added that NAF has also been involved in community out-reach programmes to demonstrate a human approach to finding lasting solution to some of the security challenges.
“As you pass out from training to become commissioned officers, most of you will be assigned various duties in order to restore peace to our nation.
“Such duties will not only require professional competences, but also your ability to lead men in the field.
“Military profession is all about leadership and command, as young officers, you will realise that your men depend on you for inspiration.
“You are, therefore, to ensure that you show good example in both your personal qualities and abilities.
“This can only be achieved by ability to apply NAF core values of integrity, first excellence in all we do and service before self,’’ he said.
Abubakar charged the cadets to always ensure that equipment and resources that would be put at their disposal were maintained and judiciously utilised.
NAN report that the passing out parade of the cadets would be held on Aug. 8.
Edited By: Chidinma Agu/Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)
COVID-19: Nigeria’s total hits 44,433 as NCDC announces 304 new cases, 910 deaths
The NCDC made this known on its official twitter handle on Tuesday.
According to it, as of Aug. 4, 14 deaths were recorded in the country.
Till date, 44,433 cases have been confirmed out of which 31,851 cases have been discharged and 910 deaths recorded nationwide.
Others were Edo (6), Bauchi (4), Kwara (4), Ogun (4), Osun (4), Bayelsa (3), Plateau (3), Niger (3), Nasarawa (2) and Kano (1).
Meanwhile, the agency warned that the coronavirus does not care if a person ‘believe’ in use of face masks or not.
“You may not believe in the virus, but the virus sure believes in you.
“Do not wear masks with valves.
“Why? Because a valve acts as an open doorway, allowing your breath to leave the mask and putting those around you at risk of catching COVID-19.
“Again, there are many ways to wear a mask incorrectly, but only one way to maximise protection; wear a well-fitted mask with gaps.
“Check if your mask fit before going outside, it is really simple.
“Step 1, inhale: Your mask should pull on your face.
“Step 2, exhale: Your mask should expand.
“Step 3, check leaks: There should be no major leaks.
“Readjust your mask if there are leaks for best protection, your mask should fit well,’’ it advised.
“Even if you wear protective mask in public, it is important that you also use other preventive measures, stay at least two metres away from other people.
“Wash your hands frequently with soap and water.
“Avoid touching your face with unwashed hands; cover your coughs and sneezes.’’
It, however, said that coronavirus could not overwhelm Nigerians.
“There’s an end; let’s just do the needful,’’ it stated.
The figures have reduced significantly over the past seven days with the lowest figure over this timeline, being 288 recorded on Aug. 3.
Between June and July, new cases had risen to as high as 790 on July 1.
With the recent trend, the case rate is slowing down in the country.
Edited By: Chidinma Agu/Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)
95% of students in exit classes resume in FCT
Mrs Essien Enewan-Okon, Principal of Government Secondary School, Wuse Zone 3 in Abuja, said that 90 per cent of students in the school’s exit classes have resumed.
“They are all in their classrooms, very happy and we teachers are equally happy to resume; we thank God and the FCT Administration, who have made it possible for us to resume.
“As a government school, we are fully prepared for resumption because the FCT Secondary Education Board gave us all it takes to resume, starting from hands sanitizer, buckets for hand washing to face masks.
“The entire school premises was fumigated, we washed our classrooms and created the two meters distance required for desk spacing in all our 11 classrooms before resumption,” she said.
The principal also said that the school on resumption began by giving the students orientation on the new normal and how to go about their lives in school and at home.
“We even told them the type of food they should eat and pray to God that they should comply with the protocols,” she said.
A student in the school, Daniel Boluwatife said that she was excited to come back to school because the uncertainty of whether or not Nigerian students would be writing the 2020 WASSCE was very disappointing to her.
Also, Michael Oyegoke said, “I am excited to come back to school because there were a lot of distractions at home than in the school environment”.
On whether the teachers would be able to cover their syllabus within the two weeks preceding the WASSCE, both teachers and students were optimistic.
Mrs Felicial Ogbuegebe, head of sciences department in the school said that before they went on lockdown, there was only two weeks remaining before the WASSCE.
“We had covered our syllabus and we were doing revision before the lockdown came.
“All we need to do now is to revise with the students because staying at home for this long, they must have forgotten one or two things.
“Every safety measure has been put in place before the school resumed; so all the teaching staff are joining our hands together to teach the students, especially the sciences – Physics, Chemistry and Biology.
“All the teachers are now involved in preparing the exit class; this time it is not a time for a teacher to say that he teaches only SS 3 or SS 1 classes.
“Whatever class you teach, we are all involved with the SS 3 class now to make sure that they get whatever they need to get before their exams, ” she said.
An optimistic Nuralhuda Mohammed, a female student told the News Agency of Nigeria : “my expectation for WASSCE is that, it will not be hard for me because I have read over and over during the lockdown, so, I am good to go.
“Since my teachers have all covered all their schemes of work and I am not new to the school environment, I have nothing to worry about,” she said.
In another vein, Malam Tamim Yusuf, the chief administrative officer of the Muslim Community Centre, owners of Fau-ad Lababidi Islamic Academy and four other institutions in Abuja, said that, the school was in full compliance with the government directives for resumption.
“In compliance with the directives of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, it is only our SS 3 students that have resumed.
“We decontaminated the entire school premises and an inspection was carried out by the Department of Quality Assurance of the FCT Education Secretariat on arrangement of classrooms.
“They were satisfied with our compliance, so they issued us a certificate for having satisfied all the requirements.
“Today being the first day of resumption, we organized a general orientation both for students and teachers.
“The orientation is in two phases: a medical doctor came from the National Hospital Abuja to give a talk generally on the COVID-19 protocols and an Imam gave another talk on what the Qura’an says about the pandemic and human responsibility.
“Right from the gate, no one is given access to the school premises until they have washed their hands and had their temperature taken; our classes are compliant in terms of social distancing,” he said. .
Edited By: Abiodun Esan/Felix Ajide (NAN)