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FG Plans Tolling On 12 Highways

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In its bid to ensure the regular maintenance of its road network across Nigeria, the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing plans to concession no fewer than 12 federal highways to private entities to manage.
The arrangement would enable the private companies to introduce toll gates on the 12 highways and collect revenue which they would use and regularly maintain such roads.
This information is contained in a document made available to newsmen, yesterday, from the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing in Abuja.
The 12 highways to be concessioned under the ministry’s “Highway Management Development Initiative”, are: Benin-Asaba, Abuja-Lokoja, Kano-Katsina, Onitsha-Owerri, Shagamu-Benin and Abuja-Keffi-Akwanga.
Others are: Kano-Shuari, Potiskum-Damaturu, Lokoja-Benin, Enugu-Port Harcourt, Ilorin-Jebba, Lagos-Ota-Abeokuta and Lagos-Badagry-Seme Border.
The roads, according to the ministry, come under the pilot phase of the HDMI to be managed by selected private sector investors under its Value-Added Concession (VAC), arrangement.
The 12 highways according to the document reviewed by Vanguard represent merely 5.6 percent or 1,963kilometres of the country’s 35,000km federal highway network.
The document estimates that not less than N1.34trillion of private sector investment would flow into the highways while no fewer than 50,000 direct jobs and 200,000 indirect jobs would be created by the concessioning of the highways to the private operators.
“It’s not really about revenue; it is about the expected injection into the economy. The estimated private sector investment required for the development and maintenance of the 12 routes is N1.34trillion and the impact such investment will have on the economy cannot be overstated.
“The anticipated private sector investment will stimulate thousands of job opportunities for Nigerians as the Highway Economy comes alive along federal highways. A minimum 50,000 direct jobs and over 200’000 indirect jobs are envisaged to be created spanning construction works, installations, steel fabrication, security, hospitality, vehicle repairs, waste management and administrative work as the Value Chain along the Highway Economy is activated. The combined impact of this mini economy will be a significant boost to our national GDP as productivity and earnings are enhanced,” the ministry document boasted.
Beyond the Value-Added Concession (VAC) arrangement, the FMWH is also planning to use another vehicle known as the Unbundled Assets Approvals Initiative (UAAI), to maximize the use of its assets on the highways. Under this category, the ministry plans to issue approvals/permits to individuals to use assets on the right of way on a build, operate and or maintain basis.
Both the VAC and the UAAI, according to the ministry aim to provide adequate highway services through the development of revenue-generating assets along the highway.
“This is key to maintaining the functionality of the highway as well as engaging and generating wealth for indigenous small and medium enterprises,” it says.

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FBI, S’African Police Nab Nigerian Scammers In Cape Town

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Eight Nigerians aged between 33 and 52 were, yesterday, arrested for Internet scams, money laundering and international-wide scale financial fraud in Cape Town.
According to reports, those arrested were members of the Black Axe that preys on widows or divorcees and scammed them out of their millions.
Six leaders and the founder of the Black Axe organised crime group’s Cape Town chapter were amongst those arrested.
The group is believed to be behind hundreds of thousands of romance scams.
Spokesperson for South Africa’s Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI), otherwise called Hawks, Col. Katlego Mogale said the operation involved the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), United States Secret Service (USSS) Investigations and Interpol.
They were assisted by the Hawks Serious Commercial Crime Investigation unit, Crime Intelligence (CI), K9, National Intervention unit, Special Task Force (STF), Tactical Operations Management Section (TOMS), Criminal Record Centre and Cape Town Metro Police.
According to reports, Mogale said the operation was initiated based on the Mutual Legal Assistance from Central Authorities of the United States of America that was approved by the Republic of South Africa.
She said all suspects were arrested during a large-scale operation in the early morning hours of yesterday, and would be charged with a variety of financial crimes, including conspiracy to commit wire/mail fraud/mail and money laundering.
“The suspects in this investigation are alleged to have ties to a transnational organised crime syndicate originating in Nigeria,” she said.
It was alleged that those suspects allegedly preyed on victims, many of whom were vulnerable widows or divorcees who were led to believe that they were in genuine romantic relationships but were scammed out of their hard-earned money.
The suspects used social media websites, online dating websites to find and connect with their victims.
Other modus operandi used by the suspects includes business email compromise, where email accounts are diverted in order to change banking details.
They assumed fake names and trolled dating sites.
Mogale said once they had ingratiated themselves with their victims, they allegedly concocted sob stories about why they needed money – taxes to release an inheritance, essential overseas travel, crippling debt, etc. – and then siphoned money from victim’s accounts to the amount of R100million.
She said the crimes allegedly committed by the suspects hit close to home.
Neighbours, parents, friends and family would be targets of this organisation.
“The fraudsters intimidated and berated their victims, ruined their lives and then disappeared. We are confident that this investigation will have a significant impact on this region and beyond,” Mogale said.
The FBI estimates that more than 100 people lost more than R100million in romance scams from 2011 till date.

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Anambra Guber: Stakeholders Set To Sign Peace Accord, Nov 4

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Ex-Head of State and Chairman of National Peace Committee, Gen Abdusalami Abubakar, has disclosed that a peace accord by various political parties and stakeholders in the forthcoming Anambra State governorship election would be signed on November 4, ahead of the exercise slated for November 6, 2021.
This came as the committee appealed to various contending interests in the election to eschew violence and all other actions inimical to a peaceful democratic process in the state.
In a statement, yesterday, on behalf of the group adjudged to be greatly responsible for the nation’s ongoing peaceful democratic transition, the former Head of State said the peace-signing accord would take place at the Prof. Dora Akunyili Women Development Centre, Awka.
“As Ndi Anambra prepare for the November 6, 2021, Governorship Election in Anambra State, the National Peace Committee (NPC) wishes to announce that a peace accord will be signed by the various political parties and stakeholders on November 4th, 2021, at the Prof. Dora Akunyili Women Development Centre, Awka,” the statement read.
He tasked key stakeholders to come forward to contribute their quota to the peace and stability of the country, particularly before, during and after the Anambra election.
The state read in part: “In ensuring the effective discharge of its objectives, the NPC has been carrying out back-channel negotiations and private meetings for peace amongst political stakeholders across party lines.
“We call on all key stakeholders to come forward and contribute their quota to the peace and stability of the country, particularly before, during and after the Anambra Governorship Election.
“The NPC also wish to reiterate that as an apolitical body, the peace, unity and tranquillity of the country is of paramount importance which cannot be over emphasised.
“Considering the orgy of violence witnessed in Anambra State in recent time, which in particular, has claimed the lives of notable personalities in the state, we therefore, call for the collaboration of all stakeholders as we work towards achieving our desired goal,” Abdulsalami said.
The National Peace Committee further urged all stakeholders to eschew violence before, during and after the election so that Anambra State will come out of the election stronger and live up to its name as the ‘Light of the Nation.’

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Fashola, Kyari, Others Headline Editors’ Confab On Security,’Morrow …Govs, CBN, UBA, Glo, NNPC, Others Boost Summit

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All is now set for the 17th All Nigeria Editors’ Conference, starting tomorrow, with Publisher of Premium Times, Mr. Dapo Olorunyomi; Editor-in-Chief of Leadership Newspaper, Azu Ishiekwene; Minister of Works, Mr. Babatunde Fashola; Group Managing Director, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Malam Mele Kyari; Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Lucky Irabor, and other security chiefs, scheduled to lead discussions at the conference.
A statement signed by the NGE President, Mustapha Isah; and General Secretary, Iyobosa Uwugiaren; indicated that some state governors with security challenges, including Dr Ifeanyi Okowa (Delta); Malam Nasiru el-Rufai (Kaduna); Alhaji Yahaya Bello (Kogi); Engr. Seyi Mankide (Oyo); Alhaji Bello Matawalle (Zamfara); Prof Babagana Zulum (Borno), and Chief David Umahi (Ebonyi) have also been scheduled to be part of the conversation.
Others state governors expected at the event include, Oluwarotimi Odunayo Akeredolu, SAN (Ondo); Prof Adegboyega Oyetola (Osun); and others.
The conference with the theme, ‘’Media in Times of Crises: Resolving Conflict, Achieving Consensus’’, would bring together editors and media owners across the country, as well as their foreign colleagues to discuss the security challenges in the country and agree on the solution to the raging strife.
Sponsored by corporate moguls, including Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), United Bank for Africa (UBA), Glo, Zenith Bank, Access Bank, Air Peace, and Trustfund Pensions Limited, the conference would take place at the Nigerian Air Force Conference Centre, Kado area of Abuja.
Other promoters are Nigeria Deposit Insurance Company (NDIC), Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), and the Yobe State Government.
Olorunyomi, an accomplished internationally acclaimed investigative journalist and journalism teacher, would give the keynote address that would be discussed by security chiefs, including Monguno; Irabor; Director-General, Department of State Services (DSS), Mr. Yusuf Bichi; and the Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Usman Baba.
The NGE said Kyari would be the special guest of honour, while the President, Newspapers Proprietors Association of Nigeria (NPAN), Malam Kabiru Yusuf, would be the guest of honour.
‘’A doyen of the media, Mr. Ray Ekpu, would chair the opening session with Fashola and others, including President, Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Comrade Chris Isiguzo, and foreign ambassadors giving goodwill messages.
‘’Besides the opening session, the conference would have three others; the second session for the Day 1 of the conference has a paper titled, ‘Conflict Reporting: The Editor as a Mediator’, to be delivered by the Editor-in-Chief, Leadership Newspapers, Mr. Azu Ishiekwene.
‘’The paper would be discussed by Editor-in-Chief, 21st Century Chronicle, Dr. Mahmud Jega; Director-General, Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN), Mr. Mansur Liman; and another leading journalist, Mr. Emmanuel Yawe. Notable broadcaster, Ms. Kadaria Ahmed, would chair the session’’, the statement added.
The statement said that the morning session of the Day 2, would have Managing Director, Nigerian Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agriculture Lending (NIRSAL), Mr. Aliyu Abdulhameed, presenting a paper, ‘’Accessing Capital for Alternative Career Development for Editors.’’
Discussants at the session to be chaired by the Managing Director/CEO, Access Bank Plc, Mr. Herbert Wigwe, are former NGE President, Mrs. Funke Egbemode; Managing Director of New Telegraph Newspapers, Mr. Ayodele Aminu; and Executive Director (News), FRCN, Mr. Sani Suleiman.
The afternoon session with the theme, ‘’Security Challenges: Recovering Lost Grounds’’, which the statement explained, would be attended by state governors, would be chaired by the Minister of Defence, Maj-Gen. Bashir Magashi.
“The conference is to be rounded off in the evening with the induction of new fellows and members of the Guild,” the statement stated.
Over 300 editors and media owners – from print, broadcast stations and online newspapers have registered for this year’s conference.

By: Nelson Chukwudi

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