MATTERS ARISING: Cont’d Roads: FG Borrows $330m to Keep Working
If there is one ministry that is walking the talk under the present dispensation, it is the ministry of works. To support its on-going work and planned projects, the federal government has opted for a loan at the World Bank. Disclosing this recently in Abuja, Minister of Works, Arc. Mike Onolememen said the loans were necessary not only to ensuring a speedy completion of the numerous on-going projects in various parts of the country, but because the interest on such loans are negligible. “We have so far received the sum of $300 million from the World Bank for federal roads development. We are negotiating the second phase. We are in talks with the African Development Bank (AfDB) for the same purpose because of the regional highway from Lagos to Abidjan. The interest is quite low sometimes as low as 0.05 % or less.”
Providing a breakdown of the projects, Onolememen said that the ministry has a total of 195 on-going projects amounting to a portfolio of N1.397 trillion; some of which include the North Central 31 with a project cost of N262.3 billion. North West; 30, with a project cost of N332.9 billion; and North West; 23, with a project cost of N255.5 billion.
Adamawa, Borno, Yobe goes under siege
In an attempt to put an end to terrorism insurgence which has been prevalent in the Northern part of the country, President Goodluck Jonathan recently declared a state of emergency in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states. In a nationwide broadcast, The President said the state of emergency is a necessary step to halt the insurgency of the dreaded Boko Haram members who have turned down the offer of dialogue and amnesty extended to them by the Federal Government.
The Boko Haram sect has been terrorizing Nigerians, notably residents of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa States; raiding security and government establishments. The Boko Haram conflict which started in Kanama, Yobe State in 2009, is estimated to have cost 3,600 lives; including killings by the security forces.
Under the state of emergency, the state governors though retained, are no longer in charge of security of the state; as the soldiers will take directives from the Chief of Defense Staff or the President. While certain rights of individuals in these states will also be curtailed.
Politics, Cause of Insecurity – Jonathan
President Goodluck Jonathan has described the violence and insecurity in the country as a fall-out of the negative politics being practiced by politicians.
The President, who was represented by the Minister of Information, Mr. Labaran Maku, at the launch of a book titled: ‘Guide to Youth Self Employment’, in Abuja, said the incessant security challenges in the country had its roots in negative politics and decline of values. “We must reduce the bitterness in politics, many politicians have an army of youths, they arm them, and at the end of the election they abandon them. If God does not give you power, don’t go and promote tribalism and religious violence in the name of politics,” he said. It’s time our politicians draw the line between politics and governance.
Neglect of NIMET Warning; Senate Springs into Action
The Senate recently expressed concerns over the perceived indifference by the federal and state governments to imminent flood disaster in the country this year despite the prediction of 100 per cent increase in rain fall by the Nigeria Metrological Agency (NIMET).
The upper chamber therefore mandated its Senate Committees on Water Resources, Environment, Marine Transport and Special Duties to “as a matter of urgency conduct a public hearing on the state of preparedness of the federal and state governments, ministries of water resources, environment, health and National Inland Waterways as well as the National Emergency Management Authority (NEMA) to contain the predicted flooding and excess rainfall and report on a continual basis to the Senate.”
Art and culture: Fashola Pleads the Cause of Artisans
Lagos State Governor Babatunde Fashola, recently urged the Federal Government to create a conducive environment for tradesmen and artisans in the country. Fashola who stated this at the fourth grand finale Tradesmen and Artisans’ Week and graduation in Ikeja, Said the development is the only way the country can achieve the seven per cent economic growth proposed by the United Nations Development Programme for African countries, especially Nigeria in 2015.
According to the governor, “If we talk about an expected seven per cent growth in the African and Nigerian economy, and we fail to provide opportunity for tradesmen and artisans to thrive; that economy will not perform. Our population is growing daily and the wealth of the nation can only be built by artisans. It is the artisans that have helped to build all the great nations of the world. Any nation that must prosper must pay attention to what the artisans are doing.”
He said the state government would continue to partner with artisans to improve on the state’s economy. “As part of this, we have engaged 2,000 artisans and tradesmen for an eight-week intensive training programme, to help them compete with their peers from other countries,” he said.