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Inside Abuja

Kept in darkness by abandoned projects

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Imagine the experiences of people that live in an environment where there is no form of any electric power when the sun sets and when it is night. The once told story of unpleasant experiences and dilemma occasioned by lack of electricity is a now reality for more than 4,000 people of Pasepa, Zhito, Pazamu, Giope and Ijea Pisa rural communities of Bwari Area Council of the Federal Capital Territory.

For Nuhu Maidoki, the hope of his three children lifting his family in future out of poverty is being jeopardized due to lack of electricity in Zhito village. Maidoki had expected that his children would have the privilege of going to school in an environment with electricity, but the only primary school attended by his children has yet to be electrified.

He said his children were not doing well at school because they could not read at night, attributing it to lack of electricity in his home.

According to him, the fear of health hazards associated with the use of inefficient light had restrained him from encouraging his children to study at night with kerosene lantern.

“There is no doubt that the hope of raising ICT compliant children, innovators, inventors in sciences from our community is threatened because of lack of electricity’’, Maidoki said. For micro business owners such as Ahmed Manga, who runs a grocery shop in Pasepa village, the absence of electricity impacts negatively on his business.

Manga had bought a deep freezer with his many years of savings made from proceeds of his agricultural produce to increase his chances of making more money for the upkeep of his family.

But absence of electricity in the village to power the freezer has restricted him from selling cold drinks and packaged water, among other items that required electricity to boost sale. Ahmed is also worried like many other members of the communities as absence of electricity prevents him from preserving some perishable food items.

That in no small way had made life frustrating for him and members of his family. The ordeal of Alima Dogo, a young widow of 38, with two children is pathetic. Alima sells farm produce to fend for her two children. Part of her produce entails the sale and supply of grinded corn to members of the community.

But lack of electricity supply leaves her and other corn dealers with no choice but to travel eight kilometres to mill the corn.

This, according to Alima is very challenging. There is also the challenge of insecurity in the villages as some families, individuals, young females had been attacked, molested by bandits in the night. For decades, these communities have been left completely in the dark with kerosene lamps providing light for them, while fire wood remained the only source for cooking.

The communities are perfect examples to understand what life without electricity is, as most of the inhabitants are so poor that they cannot afford, even the cheapest generating sets, to power their houses at the night. To them, life is frustrating and sometimes inhuman as many of them are traumatized by the absence of electricity, especially in this era of technological advancement.

They had expected that their proximity to the capital territory would have accelerated electrification of their villages, but this is far from been realised. More worrisome is that their hope of getting electricity is being stalled because of an abandoned electrification project awarded by Bwari Area Council in 2011.

Verifiable sources infer that the abandoning of the project was largely due to the disagreement between the contractor and the authorities of Bwari Area council over issues of disbursement of contract fund.

The investigation revealed that the contract for the electrification of Pasipa, Zhito communities was awarded on July 7, 2011 for N21.7 million to complete in eight weeks.

But seven years after, there was no trace of any form of electricity supply to these communities. On site assessment, less than 50 per cent of the project is executed with visible erection of electric poles in the communities and unutilised transformer left at an isolated part of the community. However, Alhaji Isyaku Kajuru, Managing Director of Sanbel Kajuru Enterprises Nigeria Ltd.

— the contractor– said the contract was awarded to his company in 2011 in the sum of N21 million. He said out of the total contract sum, N9 million had been paid to him after he concluded the initial work on the project but the council had yet to mobilise him with the balance of N12 million. He explained that he had utilised the nine million naira in the community to procure electricity poles, a transformer and other items for the project.

According to the contractor, he had also begun the process of procuring other required equipment using his personal fund. He urged the current management of the council to mobilise him with the balance N12 million of the contract fee to complete the project.

But Mr Momoh Ogwu, Head of Works Department in Bwari Area Council, said the council had requested the contractor to move back to site, insisting that the council was not indebted to the contractor because N9 million was paid for the initial job. He, nonetheless, said plans were on to revoke the contract after inspection, if the contractor refused to return and complete the project. Ogwu said the payment of the balance of the N12 million to the contractor would be made on the completion of the electrification project by the contractor.

“The contract sum is N21 million. He did some job and the total job he did was valued at N9 million and we paid for that. So, if he did not do any other job, how do we pay him?

“Government does not pay in advance. It is when you work they pay you’’, he said. Commenting further, Mr Peter Jagaba, Supervisory Councillor for Works in the council, also said the project was awarded by the last administration to the contractor.

“We have called the contractor several times that he should resume to site and he has not. “Now we have written to him officially to resume. If he does not resume to site, we are going to revoke the contract from the past administration and give it to another person, because the people cannot continue to suffer.

“We gave him one month notice since November to resume work and we have also been telling him verbally since past three months’’, Jagaba said.

Shedding more light on the development, Alhaji Bulus Wakili, the traditional ruler of Zhito community, said he saw the contractor three years ago and he pleaded with the management of Bwari Area Council to find out what was responsible for the non completion of the project.

Similarly, Alhaji Aliyu Pasepa, the General-Secretary for the communities, said that, “the electricity poles and the transformer were brought years ago by the contractor to our community.

“You see these poles mounted, it was the community and the councillor that contributed money to mount the poles three years ago. “The project is a Bwari Area Council project.

The contractor was given some mobilisation fee that was what he used in buying the transformer and the electric poles. “We have over 4,000 people living in these communities and the poles mounted in three communities of Pasepa, Zhito, Ijea pisa, while Pazamu and Giope have no poles.” He explained that the noncompletion of the project was telling on members of the communities.

“There are a lot of effects.

We have been carrying our corn to other villages for grinding. That is about eight kilometres distance from our village. This has been frustrating all this years. “We cannot charge our phones and use other electrical gadgets and this place is supposed to be with electricity because it is part of FCT.

“It has also affected the primary school because the teachers and the students don’t even have access to computer not to take of using it because of absence of electricity.

“Teachers posted to this place refuse to report because of lack of electricity and access road.

“The clinic is also adversely affected because most of the minor treatment cannot be done here as equipments that required electricity cannot be put to use.

“Drugs are not kept in the clinics because there is no electricity to keep the drugs in the refrigerator. “I want the council to complete the project because if by 2019 the project is not completed, we will resist the bringing in of ballot boxes into the community.

“We have not seen the dividend of democracy from the council and the FCT management in general because they abandon us. “If they don’t want to give us electricity and other social amenities such as roads and others, let the boundary adjustment be made before 2019.

“So we can be moved to Niger State and leave FCT, because we are tired of making request that fall on deaf ears of the government’’, he said.

The tale of these communities is not different from the ugly experiences of many other rural communities grappling with the challenges associated with absence of electricity.

But perceptive electricity analysts are of the view that various agencies of government at the Federal, state and local governments must intensify efforts at energising rural communities, using various options, especially the mini grids potential.

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Inside Abuja

VIDEO: Sunday Igboho steals show as Moshood Adeoti declares to succeed Aregbesola

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One of the leading aspirants in the race to Abere government house for the September 22nd governorship election in Osun state, Alhaji Moshood Olalekan Adeoti popularly addressed as “SHEU” by his admirers has officially declared his intention to contest for the post of the governor, to succeed his boss, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola under the platform of the All Progressives Congress APC.

He made his intention known when he visited the state secretariat of the party in Osogbo, accompanied by his teeming supporters, loyalists and well-wishers gathered from all local governments of the state, in his words at the occasion, “Mr. Chairman, I have come forward today as a disciplined and active party member of APC to declare my interest in contesting for the governor of Osun, I have gathered valuable experience over the years, starting from my humble political background as a councilor in Iwo to the state party chairman of Action Congress AC, Action Congress of Nigeria ACN, and now the secretary to the state government in the last eight years, i am most experienced and qualified among all the contestants from both the PDP and APC ” he said.

My interest primarily is to make success out of everywhere Governor Rauf Aregbesola has failed as we have many shortcomings as an administration but government is a continuum, our party APC made many promises which we cannot fulfill but I vow to fulfill all of them if elected as governor. I also want to align with the six integral action plan of Aregbesola and I am totally committed to fulfilling them all provided the APC will give me the platform to contest as its flag bearer, he stressed further.

Speaking at the short ceremony, one of the notable personality who accompanied Adeoti to the ceremony, Chief Sunday Igboho Adeyemo, a chieftain of PDP in Oyo State and a former ally of former Governor, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola who affirmed his total readiness to work assiduously for the emergence and success of Adeoti at the polls categorically assured that all known and prominent thugs within and outside Osun will be mobilized to support the ambition of Adeoti. Igboho, a known confidant of Senator Rashidi Ladoja said he has gotten approval of Ladoja to support the APC aspirant.

Watch Video:

One of the party elders from Ejigbo who accompanied Adeoti to the event but prefers to stay anonymous expressed shock about the missed opportunity and lack of cohesion displayed by the grassroot politician of Adeoti caliber, this was an opportunity for Sheu to itemize his manifesto to the party and people, prove bookmakers wrong that he has the capacity needed to administer our state, he also failed to showcase to the public the achievements of the administration in which he served as SSG for eight years, instead was hammering on areas of weaknesses and failures of Aregbesola, the former AD councillor lamented.

“We have over 50 party leaders here, and Sunday Igboho who is not a resident, citizen or voter in Osun state was the one of the persons recognized by the SSG to address the gathering, Igboho that was in Osogbo 2months ago for the PDP state Congress where Adagunodo was elected chairman, this is an insult to our collective sensibility in Osun, the septuagenarian questioned.

When asked when he will resign his present appointment, he simply answered, there is no place in Nigeria or APC constitution where it was written that I have to resign because I want to contest for governor, I’m still the SSG, he boasted.

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Business

Nigeria: Soaring investment inflow amid deficit, insecurity

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Nigeria’s investment profile is rising based on data from the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC) and The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS). Ironically, infrastructure gap and insecurity are threatening the investment landscape. Abdulwahab Isa reports

 

Nigeria’s exit from economic recession has spurred investors’ appetite. They have, in recent months, upped their investment stakes while potential ones are at various stages of taking decisions.

Investment data from key agencies, the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC) and National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) attest to increase in this regard.

Latest chart by NIPC revealed that inflows totaled $17.88 billion in first quarter of 2018 while NBS put it’s own at $6.3 billion. The figure is higher than that of 2017.

 

Outlook

With a population of over 190 million, Nigeria is unarguably a darling for discerning investors.

For instance, NIPC’s investments record shared recently with the media revealed that of the $17.88 billion investments recorded in the first quarter of 2018, they were spread across 32 projects in eight states of the federation.

The figure surpasses the $6.38 billion investment flow in six projects across four states recorded in the first quarter of 2017.

Further scrutiny of NIPC data showed that most of the investments and sources of their finances came from the United Kingdom, accounting for $59.000 million, followed by Nigeria with $212.00 million, United States $2,357 million and China $1.200 million.
Others are Switzerland with $847,00 million, while $262,00 million came from other sources respectively.

In a similar data by National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), first quarter 2018 saw a continuous growth in total capital importation into Nigeria.

The total value of capital imported in the quarter stood at $6.30 billion, which is a year-on-year increase of 594.03 per cent and a 17.11 per cent growth over the figure reported in the previous quarter.

This increase in capital inflow in Q1, 2018 was driven mainly by portfolio investment, which grew from $3.47 billion in the previous quarter to $4.56 billion, accounting for 72.42 per cent of the total capital importation during the quarter.

Further analysis of the report showed that foreign direct investment stood at $246.62 million, dropping by 34.83 per cent from the figure reported in the previous quarter, and growing by 16.67 per cent on a year-on-year basis.

“Foreign Direct Investment in Nigeria was still weak when compared to Portfolio Investment and Other Investment, representing only 3.9 per cent of total capital imported,” NBS capital investment flow data revealed.

While presenting investment data to the media in Abuja, NIPC Chief Executive Officer, Ms. Yewande Sadiku, listed oil and gas sector, transport, construction, ICT, manufacturing and solar plants as areas mostly favoured.

Sadiku listed Lagos, Kano, Niger, Ogun as preferred destinations.

 

I Guide Nigeria

To consolidate the process, NIPC has come up with an investment guide, a sort of compendium on investments for investors.

I Guide Nigeria is meant to open Nigeria investment opportunities to foreign investors. It was launched by NIPC in collaboration with United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) and the United Nations Conference on Trade Development (UNCTAD) to showcase country’s investment opportunities.

It houses all the vital investment information, which gives details of the business opportunities in Nigeria as well as steps for engagement from registration to land acquisition to would be investors.

Speaking at the occasion, Sadiku said the online platform showcasing Nigeria business environment would assume the position of the country’s investment voice, saying it was important to give Nigeria business environment a voice

“The I Guide online platform is such a simple investment tool, yet very useful. I Guide is an easy-to-use online platform providing investors with up-to-date and pertinent information on the processes, procedures and basic costs of doing business in Nigeria, to enable investors get access to the basic information they need to make better informed decisions on Nigeria as a preferred investment destination.

“The platform provides information on starting a business, labour, production factors, land, taxes, investor’s rights, growth sectors and opportunities. It is a marketing tool as information on Nigeria investment processes and procedures are on one platform for easy access,” she said.

Sadiku said the platform provides information on local data, which “contains information on labour costs, taxes, rent values, utility prices and transport cost as well as information on relevant laws and regulations as well as contact of ministries and agencies responsible for the issuance of licences/approvals.”

 

Bottlenecks

While investment horizon looks pretty good and decidedly certain for Nigeria, the country is contending with huge infrastructures gap and protracted insecurity challenge – the two are vital indices that influence investors’ decision.

Experts in infrastructure postulate that the country needs to spend $3 trillion on economic infrastructure over the next 30 years, if it must meet its ambitious development goals.

Nigeria’s major infrastructure challenges border on poor power supply, bad roads, and inefficient railways.

Relatedly, security is intractable challenge and a draw back to investment. Kidnapping, banditry, Boko Harram attacks and other crimes cast a spell on investments flow.

Whatever quantum of investments that came into Nigeria during the period under review, a higher figure of investments flow would be attained under a better atmosphere.

Interestingly, the Federal Government said its faith on investment flow was undaunted, notwithstanding security and infrastructure challenges.

Minister of Industry Trade and Investment, Okechukwu Enelemah, said the Federal Government was aiming first to 100th position on the World Bank ranking on the ease of doing business with the launch of I Guide.

According to the minister, Nigeria appreciated 24 places in the recent ranking of the World Bank’s ease of doing business presented last year, moving from 169 places to 145 among 190 countries.

Enelemah expressed optimism that with the government’s efforts to improve ease of doing business, Nigeria would fair better in 2018 ranking.

 

Last line

While the country’s investment outlook is very attractive and irresistible to investors, the onus is on government to upgrade its various infrastructure facilities and curtail the current high level of insecurity.

A work on these two infrastructure will certainly put Nigeria in league of first top investment destinations.

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Inside Abuja

Coping with economic realities in Abuja

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Times are hard and the role of women in many families are changing. In Abuja, many women have dumped their traditional status as housewives. DEBORAH OCHENI reports

 

The economic hardship in Nigeria has unleashed a silent revolution in many homes in Abuja. The rate at which women financially support their families to make ends meet is now unimaginable.

Gone are the days when women were contented with keeping the home as housewives and their husbands were meant to carter for all the needs of the family. In some homes today, women have become the bread winners, particularly where the husband has lost his job due to the job cuts, down-sizing and lay- offs in various work places in and around the Federal Capital Territory. Nowadays, it’s very difficult to find a “stay at home mum” in Abuja.

But this is not only attributable to the hardship but also to the growing population of women who have acquired western education and have got the skills to seek paid employment or be self employed.

These educated women try to force their way into one organization or the other no matter how little the salary might be, while the semi-educated acquire vocational skills such as catering, tailoring, soap making and petty trading to assist their husbands in running the homes. Indeed, many women, who were once mere housewives are now in the business of selling provisions and food stuffs in Abuja.

Invariably, there is no point denying the fact that they are happy at their decision of refusing to be ‘stay at home mothers’, as they can attend to their vital needs and the needs of their family from their income without involving their husbands. Most of these women are no longer contented with the meagre resources they get from their husbands as housekeeping allowances.

They now hustle their way to ensure their contribution to the economic wellbeing of the family is greatly felt in their homes. Inside Abuja went on the streets to interact with some of the financially independent wives.

The interviews showed that they all have diverse reasons for their choice of pursuing additional livelihoods independent of their husbands. However, the underlying factor is the fact that most women are tired of always asking their husbands for money to cater for their needs no matter how little it may be.

Blessing Augustine, a mother of four children, said she decided to enrol in a skill acquisition training programme to enable her acquire the needed skills to do something meaningful for her family. “I only regret not taking this decision earlier.

The worst thing that can happen to any woman is to relax at home and watch her husband providing all her needs. It doesn’t matter if you have to suffer a lot before you can have small gain on whatever legal business you do. It is better you suffer and make your money because it will cause your husband to respect and appreciate you more.

Before now, it’s so difficult for me to feed my children if their father doesn’t provide money for feeding. But those days have passed. I can’t even remember the last time I asked my husband for feeding money but my children are feeding fine and I am happy. I can now do my daily contributions, feed my children conveniently and buy my cosmetics effortlessly,” she said. Ladi Sunday is a provision shop owner in Abuja. She said she was living comfortably but decided to earn a living on her own.

“I thank God I have a husband that cooperates well with me. He said I should stay at home and take care of our children. Although he meets every of our needs timely, he never complained but I was still not comfortable.

I discussed with him how I desire to have a personal source of income and he opened a shop for me. Since then, I feel so fulfilled because I do so many things now without involving my husband.” Sunday said. Joy Akhire, a seamstress, who makes a living from her fashion and designs shop, said it was a decision she had to make because of the realities of the times.

“My upbringing did not allow us to stay completely idle at home no matter how wealthy the husband is. Marriage almost made me a lazy woman but the present condition of the country made me to realize the need to seek for extra income for the family.

I have slight knowledge of tailoring but when the family load became too much on my husband, I decided to perfect the tailoring skill in me and the outcome has been awesome,” Akhire said. Mary Makoji, a mother of four children, narrated to Inside Abuja how she delved into multiple economic activities that made her financial contributions to the family almost equal to that of her husband.

“Initially, I was comfortable using whatever comes out of my husband’s pocket but when we had our second baby, I thought of the high rate of house rent and our children’s school fees and then realized that my husband’s salary cannot handle it.

I saw that if we continued that way, we might not feed well or attend to other things. “Severally, I sold the idea of opening a hair dressing saloon to my husband but he wouldn’t allow me based on what people may say. I started by bringing customers to the house for hair dressing at an affordable rate. Gradually , the level of patronage blossomed but my husband was not aware of all this as he goes to work early and returns late.

I could attend to three customers in a day and I get paid. “As time went on, I was not complaining much in terms of feeding again because whatever he drops for feeding I will add up money and prepare delicious meal while paying my daily contributions. When it’s time to renew our house rent, I suggested to my husband that we should add up what I have saved from the daily contribution to the rental fee to build a house since we already have a land and my husband was shocked to his marrow at the amount that I coughed out.

That was how we built our house. Although, I have not gotten a shop yet, I still do hair-dressing and tailoring in one of my rooms. I sell soft drinks and foodstuffs too. I am relieved of so many things now.

We no longer pay rent. Our four children go to the best school around us and we feed better. My husband loves and appreciates me more now,” she said. Similarly, Veronica Ochanya, mother of three, said she detested being called a ‘housewife’ and decided early in her marriage not to allow herself to be boxed into a corner. “I detest the slogan ‘housewife’ that relegates many women to the house.

We have a lot of potentials that can fetch us better money but men with their ‘I can take care of my wife’ mentality will waste our potentials in the name of marriage. “Thank God for the hype in cost of living in Abuja. It has made my husband to realize the need for me to go out and make extra money for family upkeep and he is enjoying everything now because it’s a great relieve for him,” said Ochanya.

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