The Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, has advised communities yearning for infrastracture to be ready to give up some land to pave way for the constructions.
Fashola said this at the inspection of the new 1.2km two-lane Ikom Bridge, which is to replace the old one-lane bridge built during the colonial era, on Monday in Cross River.
He said the objective of the Buhari administration was to expand, renew and upgrade the quality of Nigeria’s infrastructure, including rail, airport, seaport, roads and bridges.
He explained that the old bridge had a low head roof and for that reason some of the big cargoes, vessels and trucks could not evacuate in Calabar.
“Some places had been damaged on head roof as a result of the impact by trucks, so this bridge solves that problem and so you will expect more trade and shipment coming to Calabar now.
“Because this is the A4 axis from Calabar to Maiduguri through Ogoja and it is no accident that Cross River bears its name; there is actually a river that names the state, and that opens to the sea and to the Gulf of Guinea for high impact international trade.
“It is infrastructure consistent with the Buhari economic recovery and growth plan to increase trade and improve the ease of doing business.
“And for those who still have any doubt, the first bridge we went to is by an African Development Bank loan and this one we are standing on was largely funded by Sukuk.
“So you see what government is doing with the money it has raised,” said the minister.
On Calabar-Itu road, Fashola said there were two contractors there, adding that the contractors are able and willing; what is needed is cash backing.
“Our contractors have the experience but the real deal is the cash and also let me use this opportunity to say along that axis there are compensation issues by the communities.
“So, those who want infrastructure must be ready to give some land; we are not taking your land away, we are just asking for a right of way to pass.
“So, when you start making compensation claims almost equal to the cost of construction where are we going to get the money from.
“The President has said that if you need infrastructure you should be able to give up land and these lands belongs to the state and the communities.
“I want to appeal to the communities along Calabar-Itu aaxis to allow us pass. We will leave reasonable amount for the crops so we expect to see more cooperation along and this is the way forward,” Fashola said.
Offering more insight on the projects executed by the government, Mr Bassey Nsentip, the Controller of Works for Cross Rivers, said the Calabar-Oban road had been completed.
“They are of two sections; Calabar to Oban is about 60km and it has already been awarded.
“And then between Oban and the Cameroon border; Ekan because from Calabar to Ekan and the border is about 128km, so 60km has been awarded now.”
Speaking also at the inspection, Gov. Ben Ayade of Cross Rivers, appreciated all the effort the Federal Government was putting into building infrastracture in the state.
Ayade was represented by Mr Daniel Osimatsu, the state Commissioner for Works.
“We really appreciate the government, out of 11 sections A projects in Cross Rivers state this is the seventh and adding the other two makes it nine.
“To name a few, Ikom-Alesi road completed; Mge-Ebiase road completed; Ebiase to Urugbane junction, the award of the Calabar East road to Julius Berger and the TransAfrican highway.
FG Sets Up To Recover Illegally Refined Crude Oil
In a bid to block revenue leakages, the Federal Government, yesterday, inaugurated an Inter-Ministerial Committee to tackle illegal refining of crude oil in the Niger Delta region of the country.
Members of the committee, who took their oath at the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami, SAN, were drawn from the Ministry of Defence, the Nigerian Army, the Navy, Defence Headquarters, the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), as well as from the Federal Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Environment, the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), and the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA).
The Solicitor-General of the Federation (SGF), and Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Justice, Mr Umar Mohammed, who represented the AGF at the event, said the major mandate of the committee, was “the recovery of illegally refined petroleum products (crude oil) in the dug-up pits found around the creeks of the Niger Delta”.
According to the SGF, “In line with the policy of the current administration on security and economy, as well as the preservation of the environment from negative hazards.
“The office of the Honourable Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, in collaboration with all stakeholders, have put in place a mechanism for effective and efficient management of illegally refined products recovered from dug-up pits found around the creeks of the Niger Delta.
“This mechanism was agreed by the relevant stakeholders and submitted to the Attorney-General of the Federation, who considered and approved the establishment of the Inter-Ministerial Committee for the purpose of implementing the Mechanism known as Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) For the Recovery of Illegally Refined Petroleum Products (Crude Oil) in the Dug-Up Pit found around the creeks of the Niger Delta”.
The SGF said the Federal Ministry of Justice would coordinate the process and the Secretariat of the Inter-Ministerial Committee.
“The responsibility of the Inter-Ministerial Committee is to detect, report, evacuate, assess and ensure transparent disposal of the product with due consideration to the environment.
“The Inter-Ministerial Committee shall be guided by the SOP, developed for the project.
“The content of the SOP is drawn from the provision of the Asset Tracing, Recovery and Management Regulations 2019.
“It is my hope that the proceeds from this exercise will be a source of additional revenue for the country”, the SGF added.
FRSC Threatens Sanction Against Fleet Operators Over Speed Limit
The Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) says it will sanction any fleet operator found sabotaging the implementation of the Speed Limit Device.
Corps Marshal Boboye Oyeyemi said this during the 2021 annual safety managers retreat yesterday in Abuja.
The retreat aimed at sensitising safety managers on the implementation of the Road Transport Safety Standardisation Scheme to attain best practices in fleet operations.
The theme of the retreat is: “Assessment of Speed Limit Device Implementation in Nigeria: Prospects and Challenges”.
Oyeyemi, represented by Deputy Corps Marshal, Motor Vehicle operations, Mr Hyginus Foumsuk, said that the corps would also sanction Speed Limit Device vendors identified for complicity.
The corps marshal expressed concern on the spate of road accidents and needless loss of lives, especially involving fleet operators.
“These, according to many experts investigations, could have been avoided if the concerned safety managers had been responsive in their duties,” he said.
Oyeyemi said that recent findings by the corps have also revealed a low level of compliance on the installation of Speed Limit Device and associated sharp practices among some fleet operators.
He noted that these practices included tampering with Speed Limit Device and connivance with vendors to deceive enforcement operatives.
This, he said, was with compliance certificates without actual installation of the device, calibration above the approved speed limits and others.
According to him, these shall no longer be tolerated as the corps will not hesitate to sanction violators henceforth.
Oyeyemi urged relevant stakeholders to address the decline on the proper vehicle maintenance as well as implementation of the passenger manifest by fleet operators and the drivers’ recruitment policy.
“We all know the essence of the passenger manifest and the significance of its proper implementation. You are therefore urged to take these issues seriously in the interest of safety.
“Passenger manifest is considered pivotal, thus its enforcement should continue along other traffic offences to compel the needed compliance. It is therefore pertinent that strict adherence to the existing policies be sustained,” he said.
“There is need for fleet operators to introduce improved practices to ensure the safety and comfort of their passengers in compliance with traffic regulations.
The Director-General, Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, Mr Babatunde Irukera, commended the efforts of the corps on road safety.
Irukera noted that injury and fatality on the road were caused by speed, describing speed as a catalyst, aggravator and mitigator.
He urged motorists to take cognisance look into installing Speed Limit Device to avoid road traffic crashes and save lives and property.
He, however, assured FRSC of the commission’s support to punish violators, saying that excessive speed attracts a penalty.
Sokoto Assembly Approves 2021 Virement Request Of N155m
The Sokoto State House of Assembly yesterday approved Governor Aminu Tambuwal’s request of N155 million virement warrant on some capital projects in 2021 approved budget.
This approval followed the consideration of a letter by the state governor presented at the plenary by the Speaker, Alhaji Aminu Achida.
Alhaji Bello Ambarura, the All Progressives Congress (APC) leader in the assembly, had moved a motion asking the lawmakers to consider the request at its plenary session.
Ambarura said that the request was necessitated by the present administration’s commitment to addressing a number of developmental projects.
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