MATTERS ARISING: Environment: N120bn spent on roads in two years
The Federal Government recently revealed that it had spent N120bn on 32 road projects across the country in the last two years. The Minister of Works, Mr. Mike Onolememen, who disclosed this said the cost of repairing the 32 road projects was N126bn, but the Federal Government through his ministry had so far paid N120bn.
According to him, “The Federal Ministry of Works, under my leadership, has been able to make momentous improvements on the rehabilitation, reconstruction and expansion of federal road network in the past two years. Thus far, we have completed 32 road projects covering about 2,000 kilometres. The cost of constructing the 32 road projects is N126bn, and so far, the Federal Government has paid N120bn. The total cost of delivering those 32 roads cumulatively came to about N126bn. But I will like to emphasise that out of that sum, the Federal Ministry of Works has paid about N120bn for those projects.”
The minister noted that before the inception of the present administration on May 29, 2011, Nigerian roads were seen as death traps. He however, stated that travel times between origins and destinations on most of these arterial routes had now been drastically reduced.
Politic/Policies: INEC warns politicians over 2015 campaign
Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has warned politicians and political parties to desist from 2015 campaigns now, saying doing so is heating up the polity. The body’s Chief Press Secretary in a recent statement said “It is observed that campaign posters are being indiscriminately displayed, while electioneering broadcasts are being aired outside the statutory provision for campaigning towards elections into various elective offices.” He added that “This trend is unhealthy and portends ill for the political process. Indeed, it is a threat to Nigeria’s democracy.”
Posters of President Jonathan, Governor Sule Lamido and his Rivers state counterpart Rotimi Amaechi were recently seen in Abuja for 2015 presidency. While posters of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar were also sighted in Kaduna.
The commission thereby reminds stakeholders of the provision of section 99(1) of the Electoral Act 2010 (As Amended), which states as follows: “For the purpose of this Act, the period of campaigning in public by every political party shall commence 90 days before polling day and end 24 hours prior to that day.”
ICPC Arrests 41 Officials With Forged Certificates
The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) recently arrested 41 officials with fake credentials. These officials were arrested at a promotion exercise conducted by the National Identification Management Commission (NIMC).
According to a statement signed by the ICPC’s Head of Media, the preliminary vetting carried out by NIMC through the Ministry of Education indicated that some of the tertiary institutions contacted to verify their certificates, confirmed the certificates to be fake.
The statement reads, “One of the suspects presented a certificate which was “doctored” to indicate Second Class degree rather than the earned Third Class degree. Others presented forged certificates whereas they still had pending carry-overs. Preliminary investigations by ICPC indicated that some of the certificates emanated from some of the illegal degree awarding mills and outreach centres recently sealed by ICPC.’’
The commission will further probing the complicity of those involved in the graduation as one of the suspects with a degree in Engineering from an approved university who could not express himself in writing. ICPC advised tertiary institutions yet to respond to the earlier inquiries sent to them by the Federal Ministry of Education to do so immediately.
Maritime: Ports Security: U.S. Gives Nigeria 90-Day Ultimatum
The US has given Nigeria government 90-days ultimatum to improve on its ports security system or face the stoppage of sail of vessels to Nigeria. General Manager in charge of security at the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Col Jamil Tahir (Rtd) who confirmed the report said a Diplomatic Note was issued to the foreign affairs ministry to protest the poor state of security at the ports, particularly the Tin-Can Island Port.
He stated that the ports authority has swung into action, following a stakeholders’ meeting called by NPA to sensitise everybody on the need to be pro-active on the security challenges currently facing the ports. He said that the authority has already secured an approval to install counter terrorism equipment in strategic areas in and around the port premises. According to Tahir, the 90-days ultimatum started last month and will expire at the end of August.
Agriculture: Nigeria Targets Global Dominance in Cocoa
The cocoa industry in Nigeria is re-positioning, not only to compete favourably in the world market, but also to rise to the peak of the global market of the commodity. This was disclosed by the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akin Adesina, at the 23rd partnership forum recently organized by the World Cocoa Foundation in Washington, DC.
At the forum, titled ‘Meeting Tomorrow’s Demand: Productivity, Quality, and Farmers’ Livelihoods,’ Adesina told the stakeholders how Nigeria, is “developing a sustainable vehicle built on a public-private partnership platform to coordinate the whole cocoa sector that will be public sector-enabled but private sector-driven with all stakeholders playing active role.”
To demonstrate the commitment of Nigeria in developing the cocoa industry, the minister disclosed the plans on rehabilitation of “200,000 hectares over the next four years through an aggressive plan developed in partnership with private sector to provide employment for skilled professionals called ‘Professional Cocoa Doctors and Grafters’ over the next five years who would be able to deploy their skills to earn a decent living and rehabilitate at least 200,000 hectare cocoa farms in Nigeria.” He said, “With the support of MARS Incorporated, some personnel were sent to Indonesia to study Indonesia’s impressive cocoa plantation rehabilitation strategy.”
Politics: Mark warns on overheating the polity
The President of the Senate, Senator David Mark has cautioned former Head of State, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd) and other stakeholders in the nation’s polity, to stop over heating the polity through their unguarded utterances and drums of war ahead 2015 general election.
Mark’s admonition to the perceived polity heaters, was contained in a speech he delivered recently in Abuja to mark the end of 2nd Session of the 7th Senate.
He regretted that two years after the 2011 election that saw the present administration come into power, some politicians who could not secure the peoples mandates are still nursing their wounds and threatening to pull down the nation for their own selfish means, through their unguarded utterances.
“Now, it is time to speak out once again. Elections are two clear years away yet the collision of vaulting personal ambitions is overheating the polity and distracting the onerous task of governance. Overheating the polity is unnecessary, diversionary, divisive, destructive, unhelpful and unpatriotic. Into this vitriolic mix is being thrown a spate of mindless and distempered effusions that add no value whatsoever to the quest for national cohesion and development.
According to him, “Those beating the drums of war should realise that no nation can survive two civil wars in one lifetime. These trends must stop, and we must all remember that the nation is greater than a sum total of its parts.