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FG to commit N295bn to road construction, rehabilitation across the country

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The federal government Tuesday sheds more lights on mechanisms  for funding her N8.6 trillion 2018 appropriation budget in respect to road construction, expansion and maintenance across the country which over N295 billion is appropriated for.

 

This is, as it hinted that consumption of alcoholic drinks and tobacco products attract higher exercise duty next fiscal year in a bid to ramp up more earnings from non- oil sources.

 

Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma said yesterday in Abuja at 2018 public presentation of 2018  budget breakdown.

 

While admitting that the  N295  billion is inadequate and paltry amount to fix roads across the country, he said the amount excludes  contribution by the private  sector.

 

” Works are in progress in many of these roads as most them are in 2017 budget. N300 billion is not sufficient, but we are using Public Private Partnerships ( PPPs) and private investors will bring their contributions. To fix Nigeria’s road requires trillion naira budget “, he said.

 

Some of the Nigeria’s road listed in 2018 budget for construction and rehabilitation include, Lagos- Shagamu- Ibadan dual carriageway, Ilorin- Jebba- Mokwa- Bokani road, Abuja- Abaji road and Kano- Maiduguri road.  Others are,  Enugu- Port- Harcourt dual carriageway, Odukpani- itu- ikot Ekpene road, Sokoto – Tambuwal- jega- Kontagora- makera road; dualization of Obajana junction to Benin, Calabar- Ugep- Kastina Ala road, Onitsha- Enugu dual carriageway, Abuja- Kaduna- Zaria- kano dua carriageway way.

 

Udoma said the government has taken bold initiatives towards maximizing its revenue from oil to non- oil sources inline with provisions of Economic  Recovery and Growth plan ( ERGP).

The government, the Minister added will review the Fiscal Responsibility Act to enforce fiscal discipline on erring Ministries, Department and Agencies ( MDAs) of government, that are in habit of pocketing their revenue and  remit pittance to government coffers.

” We have taken on board some of key reforms initiative contained in ERGP in 2018 budget, e.g deployment of new technology to improve revenue collection, upward review of tariffs and tax rates where appropriate tighter performance management framework for State Owned Enterprises ( SOEs)”, he said.

The Minister said government clearly mapped out projections for improved revenue earnings to execute the  N8.6 trillion budget.

 

He said government intends to sell some power assets and other related as part of outline plans to fund the budget.

” A total of N306 billion is expected from the privatisation of and N5 billion from sale of other government’s property to part finance the deficit “, Minister of budget explained.

Other areas of reform initiative with a view to improving revenue collection in 2018 fiscal budget as itemised by the Minister include, new funding mechanism for Joint Venture ( JV) operations, allowing for cost recovery in lieu of previous cash call arrangement; additional oil- related revenue like royalty recovery, new/ marginal Field licences; early licencing renewals, forward sale arrangements of government’s share of future oil production, as well as NLNG dividends to improve liquidity and external position as well as reviewing fiscal regime for oil production sharing contracts.

Other priority projects  of federal government in 2018 include power, where government set aside N9.8  as counterpart fund for the Mambilla hydropower project, N12 billion counterpart funding also earmarked for transmission lines and substations; N2.8 billion for the construction of 215 MW LPFO/ gas power station in Kaduna and N4 billion for Kashimbilla transmission.

In health sector , federal government in 2018  plans to invest  N6 billion as strategic joint venture investments in selected tertiary health institutions with Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority ( NSIA), another N9 billion for procurement of RI vaccines and devices, N3.5 billion for counterpart funding including global fund, health and GAVI N1 billion for health emergencies and contagious diseases outbreaks ( meningitis, measles, yellow fever, monkeypox ,etc); N1 billion allocated for midwives service scheme, N1.2 billion for eradication of polio initiative.

 

On transportation, in 2018 federal government is providing a counterpart funding in the sum of N162.28 billion for various projects including ongoing Lagos- Kano railway project, Calabar- Lagos, Ajaokuta- Itakpe ongoing railway project. Others are, Port- Harcourt – Maiduguri ( new), Kano- Katsina- Jibya- Maradi in the Niger Republic ( new), Abuja- Itakpe and Aladja( warri)-  Warri Port and refinery including Warri New Harbour ( new). N2.03 billion construction of a terminal building at Enugu Airport, N8.32 billion construction of second run- way of Nnamidi Azikwe international airport, Abuja.

 

In mines and steel development, N2.1 billion is earmarked for consessioning of Ajoakuta steel company, N544 million for the establishment of mega regulatory agency for the sector, N450 million for reclamation of abandoned mines sites.

 

For agriculture and rural development, the sum of N6.75 billion is earmarked for construction of the rural roads and water sanitation program, N25.1 billion for promotion and development of value chain across 30 different commodities; N5.30 billion for National Grazing Reserve Development and N4 billion for agribusiness and market development.

In the housing sector, the government in 2018 set aside in next budget N35.41 billion for the National Housing program.  The Water Resources ministry is allocated  N3.5 billion for zobe water supply project phase 1&2, another N2 billion for Partnership for Expanded Water, Sanitation and Hygiene ( PEWASH), N1 billion for special intervention for North East and IDPs- portable water, and over N50 billion for water supply, rehabilitation of dams and irrigation projects nationwide.

Senator Udoma stated that, ” our journey out of economic recession has helped us reset our priorities and to focus more on reforms and activities that have both short- and long-term bearings on sustainable economic growth “.

Continuing he said, ” inline with ERGP, we are seeking derivable benefits from oil by restructuring our equity in JV oil assets while we intensify our efforts at accelerating economic diversification and non-oil revenue generation. Already, diversification efforts are yielding positive results with significant growth in non- oil sector “.

 

In attendance at a public presentation of budget breakdown are, Minister of state for budget, Hajiya Zainab Ahmed, Minister of finance Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, that of education Adamu Adamu, Minister of state for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachukwu, Minister of state for Mines and Steel Development Hon. Abubakar Bawa Bwari among others.

 

President Muhammadu Buhari last Tuesday presented 2018 budget proposal of  N8.612 trillion. It  comprised  aggregate expenditure in the following: recurrent costs of N3.494 trillion; debt Service N2.014trillion; statutory transfers of about N456billion; sinking fund of N220 billion (to retire maturing bond to Local Contractors);

Capital expenditure of N2.428 trillion (excluding the capital component of statutory transfers).

 

He told National Assembly members that, ” N456.46 billion  was provided in the 2018 budget for statutory transfers. The 5 percent increase over last year’s provision is mainly due to increases in transfer to Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), which are related directly to the size of oil revenue”.

 

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Prince Kazeem Eletu washes hands off crimes as he launches foundation on 40th birthday 

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Kazeem-Eletu-Odibo

Lagos socialite and philanthropist, Ambassador (Dr) Prince Kazeem Eletu Odibo has washed his hands off the travails of the notorious serial killer, Adeola Williams famously known as Ade Lawyer, who was recently paraded in Lagos by the Nigerian Police for alleged murder.

Ade Lawyer was apprehended alongside former National Union Road of Transport Workers (NURTW) Chairman, Lagos State chapter, Alhaji Rafiu Akanni Olohunwa in connection with the murder of Ganiyu Ayinla, popularly known as Pinero, the Personal Assistant to the NURTW Chairman in Idumota, Azeez Lawal, known also as“Kunle Poly”.

Late Lawal was killed on January 23 during an attack on Kunle Poly in the Idumota area of Lagos Island.

Ade Lawyer, however, confessed during interrogation that he was contracted by Olohunwa to assassinate Kunle Poly.

He also alleged in a video that has gone viral on social media that he had worked for many influential Nigerians, including Prince Kazeem, the youngest son of late popular traditional Lagos Chief, Gbadamosi Bamidele Eletu Odibo.

In a swift reaction, Prince Kazeem, in an Instagram video said; “Nothing can shake me”, after giving some street urchins, popularly known as area boys money, while one of his friends remarked that;“When you give people money like you just did, tomorrow they would lie that they know you”.

Prince Kazeem, who recently celebrated his 40th birthday and launched a foundation, washed his hands off the allegations, stressing that the suspect has never worked for him.

However, in a press release which he personally signed and made available to the media, Prince Kazeem disclosed that he saw him once, when he came alongside some area boys during a dispute over a land boundary.

He said: “It wasn’t even a physical fight. Nobody exchanged blows at all. It was just a verbal disagreement with the man who also claimed the (disputed) land belongs to his family.

“We were surrounded by area boys, some of whom always hail me anytime they came across me and as a kind gesture, I do give them money. So, this bearer (Ade Lawyer) was among them. He came with one NURTW official that day. While the argument was ongoing, the Police from the Ilasan Station at Lekki/Ajah came and invited us to their station.

“That was the first and the last time I met this fellow (Ade Lawyer)”, Prince Kazeem noted.

As for the land dispute, Prince Kazeem said: “We were transferred to Area J Command and both sides were asked to bring relevant documents which we did. At the end, the Area Commander instructed both parties to maintain peace and return to the status quo based on the Supreme Court judgment in favour of our family as the rightful owner of the land.”

Meanwhile, Prince Kazeem, who was recently awarded an honorary Doctorate and United Nations Ambassadorial award in Washington DC, USA on November 18, 2017, said despite the distractions from Ade Lawyer’s claim, he would continue to serve humanity through his newly unveiled NGO.

Last Saturday, February 17, 2018, Ambassador Kazeem staged a colourful 2-in-1 40th birthday and launching of his Foundation at the Civic Centre, Victoria Island, Lagos.

Speaking at the event attended by politicos, eminent monarchs, envoys, career diplomats, academics and celebrities, the Founder and Chairman, Kazeem Royal Properties Limited thanked God for the Ruby Jubilee, adding that the berth of the foundation has come to alleviate poverty and improve the social and economic conditions of the disadvantaged in our society.

No fewer than 40 traders and artisans, including fashion designers, hair dressers and carpenters benefitted from the Prince Kazeem Eletu-Odibo Foundation empowerment distribution during his 40th birthday celebration.

Prince Kazeem called on other non-profit and charitable organizations to partner with him to ensure that the underserved communities in Nigeria are reached with humanitarian assistance.

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Corruption: TI Report Has Vindicated PDP

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The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) says the latest report by Transparency International (TI) showing that corruption has worsened under the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration has vindicated its stand that the current APC-led government is inherently and overtly corrupt.

The party said, by this new TI report, the African Union (AU) must have now realized its error in naming President Buhari as the African Union (AU) anti-corruption champion and should immediately withdraw the conferment.

PDP National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, in a statement on Thursday, said the TI report has exposed the fact that those parading daily as champions of anti-corruption are rather superintending over the worst kind of official sleaze and hypocrisy in the history of our nation.

The party said the APC administration has been deceiving Nigerians with a ‘holier than thou posturing’ and painting others black when it is swimming in forms of corruption that is eminently festered by official concealment by the Presidency.

When the PDP first alerted that the APC and its incompetent Federal Government were swimming in an ocean of concealed corruption, many did not know to what extent.

It is shocking that under our ‘saints’, Nigeria has moved significantly from the 136th it ranked in 2016 to 146th in 2017, with President Buhari presiding on our nation.

This is a government that has been providing cover for its corrupt officials while operating heavily on propaganda, persecution  of opposition members with fabricated charges and toiling to sway the people with false performance indices.

This is a government that offered protection to former APC governors who were accused of stealing money meant for the development of their states to fund the 2015 APC presidential campaign, and even rewarded them with ministerial appointments.

We challenge the APC and the Presidency to speak out on this TI report. What have they to say when the world is now aware that they are complicit in humongous sleazes including the leaked official memo showing underhand oil contracts to the tune of N9 trillion ($25billion dollars) at the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and the Ministry of Petroleum Resources which are under purview of President Buhari as Petroleum minister?

What has the APC government to say when the world is aware that it is complicit in shady oil subsidy deals amounting to trillions of naira by its cabal who has also been fingered to be behind the illegal lifting and diversion of crude worth N1.1 trillion to service APC interests?

The world is now aware of the diversion of billion of naira meant for fight against  insurgency and rehabilitation of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) by the presidency cabal; the concealment of theft, by the cabal, of billion of naira at the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) among other heavy sleazes around the presidency.

As we speak, the APC administration has increased taxes, levies and tariffs without a transparent remitting regime while funds said to have been recovered in the anti-graft war have not been adequately accounted for.

Instead, the government has been peddling false figures and bogus claims to hoodwink Nigerians while its cabal continues to fritter away funds meant for the good of the people.

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Benue killings: Soldiers providing cover for armed Fulani herdsmen – Tiv leaders 

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Leaders of the Tiv nation has expressed displeasure over the operation of the Ayem A Kpatuma, a military exercise code-named “Cat Race” launched in the state by the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) to restore peace in Benue State communities following attacks by armed Fulani herdsmen.

The leaders accused the army of allegedly providing cover for armed Fulani herdsmen to take over the land naturally given to them by God.

President of the Mzough U Tiv (MUT), Chief Edward Ujege in a statement released to the media, expressed reservations over the emerging trends of the military operation which he said has made the people be apprehensive about the real mission of troops deployed to the state.

But the Deputy Director, Army Public Relations, 707 Special Forces Brigade, Major Olabisi Olalekan Ayeni, in a swift reaction, countered the position of the Tiv leaders saying “Operation Ayem A Kpatuma is not in support of any group”.

Chief Ujege disclosed that since the flag off of the exercise, the military has been circulating pamphlets through its Department of Civil-Military Affairs, Army Headquarters which “confirmed that the military had come to provide cover for armed Fulani herdsmen to take over the land of the people.

The translation on the pamphlets, Chief Ujege emphasized, portrayed a purported dialogue between the Fulani herdsmen and Benue farmers on their alleged resolution to shift grounds one both farming and cattle grazing activities in the state.

Part of the translation of the pamphlets reads:

Tiv farmer: I’m your brother and a farmer; my farm produce is just as important as your cattle.

Fulani herder: I will no longer destroy your farm produce and longer kill your people. You are my brother, we should live in peace.

Tiv farmer: I too will no longer rustle or kill your cattle. You are my brother, let us live in peace.

The MUT President said it was clear from the flyer that the military has acknowledged that the Fulani herdsmen are responsible for the large-scale massacre and massive destruction in of farm crops in the state, and regretted that instead of addressing issues of justice, reparation and compensation, the federal government is compelling people of the state to accommodate the perpetrators of the heinous atrocities.

“Moreover, there is no reference to the Open Grazing Prohibition and Establishment of Ranches Law 2017, which addresses the fundamental issues of making both the farmers and the herders coexist in peace. The military is not only silent on the law but has encouraged open grazing with all its concomitant consequences. This silence on the law points to the fact that they are not in its support and are not ready to ensure its enforcement”.

But the Army spokesman, Major Ayeni said the role of the army in the crisis is to ensure the return of enduring peace in sacked communities and safe return of the Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs.

“All that the army needs to do here is to ensure that no Benue resident is killed or displaced from their homes, that is all we are doing. We want to ensure peaceful coexistence among the herders and farmers. We are not saying the Fulani herdsmen should not obey the anti-open grazing law enacted by the Benue State government”.

“Let me inform you that we had arrested a Fulani herdsman yesterday and two others that wanted to attack Governor Ortom’s farm in Guma and with all these successes you should know that Operation Ayem A Kpatuma is not in support of any group and is not in the pursuit or criticising any group”.

“Our role is to make sure that Benue State is peaceful and one of the ways we are going about it is for the herders to know that either a Tiv man or an Idoma man or Igede man is a Nigerian like him and a herder who is not violent now is their brother”.

“However in the course of the military exercise if we find a violent herdsman that want to kill or displace any person in Benue State, we get him arrested and that is why we arrested two people two weeks ago, and arrested another one for preventing the Tiv people from been peaceful in their own environment”.

“So the way and manner we go in achieving a peaceful environment in Benue State especially in Guma and Logo local government areas of the state and Katsina-Ala local government is by using this psychological method to test these people that we are friends, don’t fight or pursue the other because we are one family. But however, if you saw anyone who want to kill you, report and we will get that person arrested and deal with him according to the law”, said Major Ayeni.

 

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