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FEC approves N10.7bn for 10 new rice mills

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…N68.6bn for Lagos-Ibadan, Kano-Bauchi roads

 

The Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved a total of N10.7 billion for the establishment of 10 new rice mills across the six geo-political zones of the country.

 

Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development, Senator Heineken Lokpobiri, disclosed this yesterday while briefing State House Correspondents after the FEC meeting at the presidential villa, Abuja

Heineken, who was joined at the briefing by the Ministers of Water Resources, Health, Power, Works and Housing as well as the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, said the new rice mills will be handed to private sector operators through a due diligence selection process.

 

The rice mills, which are expected to be set up in Ogun, Anambra, Bayelsa, Benue, Kebbi, Zamfara, Kogi, Kaduna, Niger and Bauchi states have each, a milling capacity of 100 tonnes per day.
He said: “Few years ago, it was reported that this country needs a minimum of 100 large mills. As at today, we have about 21. But the Federal Government, in its wisdom, decided that today we should approve the establishment of 10 new rice mills at the total cost of N10.7 billion.
“This will be given to the private sector to manage which will be paid back within a given timeframe as will be agreed between the Bank of Agriculture and the rice mills.

 

“The state will be 10. You know in Nigeria, over 30 states are growing rice. In today’s memo, the 10 rice mills will be located across the six geopolitical zones including Kebbi, Zamfara, Benue, Kogi, Bayelsa, Anambra, Kaduna, Niger, Ogun, Bauchi. The capacity of the rice mills is 100 tons per day each,” he stressed.

 

The Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, also told reporters that FEC approved the licencing agreement between the National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NAPRED) and May and Baker Plc.
The minister said council also approved the construction of a Trauma Centre at Federal Medical Centre, Owerri at the cost of N840.817 million and this must be completed within 48 weeks.

 

“We expect that it will serve as a first class centre of care for accident and trauma cases along Port Harcourt, Owerri, Enugu axis and will really change the dynamics of care in these areas,” Adewole said.
On the ongoing strike by health workers, the minister explained that the Federal Government has actually constituted a high level body to look into all aspects of demand, including the financial implications and also to plan for the management of consequences of addressing those demands.
The minister, however, said that government has never been into agreement with the health workers as being claimed by its officials.

 

In his remarks, the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, said Council also approved the award of contract for the construction of Subaila-Falala-Bini-Baku-Bauchi Road that connects Kano and Bauchi States. The contract is worth N4.578 billion.

Fashola said Council also approved additional works on section one of Lagos – Ibadan expressway. The road, extending over 43.6 kilometres at the cost of N64.108 billion, include pedestrian bridges, toll plazas for that section will accommodate the changing nature of that road.
According to Fashola, “Since its conception, so many new structures, religious institutions, factories, universities, increased human activities have come up along that road.
“The inherited design didn’t provide for these at all and also to modify the quality of bitumen.”
He said the first section is handled by Julius Berger. The second section under RCC, which covers over 80 kilometres, will come to council to incorporate similar works, including drainage works when we finish the procurement.
Council also approved the sum of $460 million for the completion of different construction projects at the Lagos and Abuja airports, including passenger and cargo terminals awarded by the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan.

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Jonathan warns Buhari against rigging Ekiti poll

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Former President Goodluck Jonathan has cautioned President Muhammadu Buhari against succumbing to pressure to subjugate democracy by rigging the Ekiti State governorship election, in favour of the All Progressives Congress (APC), stating that such action would haunt him at the end of his tenure.

 

Dr. Jonathan also advised him against bowing to any such pressure to use presidential powers negatively, but urged President Buhari to use his powers to strengthen democracy in Nigeria. The former President, who gave this advice during the inauguration of the first over-head bridge in Ado- Ekiti, the Ekiti State capital, warned that President Buhari would be haunted by posterity if he does “because what you go with is the name that you leave behind.”

 

His words: “I don’t believe anybody can defeat the PDP in Ekiti if election is going to be held. I want to advise President Buhari not to deploy power to truncate Ekiti election. Though as a President, you have the power, but don’t do that because of posterity. History will record whatever you do and the power of a leader is determined after leaving office and not when he is in the office.

 

“The will of the people must be allowed to stand at all times, because power belongs to them and we must respect their verdict through the ballots. I am using this opportunity to call on Mr. President. I was there, and

 

I know (that) when you are there, there is so much pressure from everybody to use all the powers you have to subjugate democracy,” he said. He, therefore, called on Buhari not to bow to pressure by attempting to subjugate democracy in Nigeria, as doing that would amount to undermining the country’s path to greatness.

 

Jonathan said that advanced countries of the world today achieved greatness from the selfless sacrifices made by both leaders and followers. Part of the sacrifices, he said, made by their leaders includes not interfering with the democratic process that brings in successive leaders into office.

 

“All the great democracies you are seeing in the world, those great countries were built by people who made sacrifices to make their countries great.” Jonathan also used the opportunity to commend Nigerian youths whom he described as great and hardworking people. Although he admitted that the youths were confronted with challenges, especially not being encouraged with creativity, he called on governments at all levels to encourage them to be hard-working. He further stated: “We have challenges – no power for creativity. With the limits we have, we know the great things you are doing.”

 

The former President expressed optimism that with the level of support by the people, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), is a party to beat in the forthcoming election. Jonathan further called on Ekiti people to vote for the PDP in the July 14 governorship polls even as he thanked them for their support to Governor Ayodele Fayose. He commended PDP for choosing youthful governorship candidate and his running mate, adding: “Nigerian youths are not lazy. I don’t believe that, because I have worked with them closely.

They are great people with great potential who should be celebrated by any leader.” In a veiled reference to Buhari’s recent statement abroad, he said “As leaders we must make sure we present a country that will make us proud and not to use our country as a negative example in Africa to the outside world.

 

The idea of portraying Nigerians’ negative manners had occurred on two occasions under this present government. These are mistakes we should not make.” He thanked the people for their support for the PDP since 2015 and urged them to do more in the coming governorship election.

 

“Fayose will never compromise the interest of Ekiti people for anything. He is a leader who speaks truth to power. In fact, Fayose is a leader and he has done well for his people. Any leader who wants to encourage his people must encourage the education of the youth. If you don’t encourage the youths, they will be exploited. “As youths, you have to be aware that we are operating a knowledge-based economy. So you must be proficient in the use of computer. You can’t compromise this if you want to fit into the 21st  century economy,” he said.

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Nigeria more transparent under Buhari –Lai Mohammed

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Solicits TI’s support on anti-graft war

 

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed said Nigeria is more transparent under President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration. The Minister said this to a delegation of Transparent International (TI) led by its Chair, Delia Ferreira Rubio, who visited him in Abuja, saying President Buhari’s  administration is committed to eradicating corruption in the country. “Nigeria has never had a more transparent and more accountable government than the Buhari’s administration,” the Minister said.

 

He regretted that TI and the local civil society organisations affiliated to it have not offered the necessary support to the Federal Government in its anti-corruption war. The Minister, therefore, called on TI to support Buhari’s ant-corruption war, especially in the area of advocacy and capacity building. He noted that when the government disclosed that 55 people stole N1.34 trillion between 2006 and 2013, a section of the civil society alleged that the publication was one-sided, instead of supporting the govern  ment’s action.

 

He tasked TI and its affiliates to show more understanding for the sociological complexities of fighting corruption in Nigeria since the nation operates a federal system of government. The Minister said Nigeria is succeeding in its anti-corruption fight because the fight is led by a President, whose integrity is beyond reproach, noting that his worst critics won’t say he indulges in or encourages corruption.

 

Earlier, Ms Ferreira Rubio had told the minister that her visit to Nigeria, which incidentally was her first in Africa, because the country can set the tone for the continent in the fight against corruption.

 

She added that TI’s mandate is to offer support through civil society organisations and the private sector to foster the fight against corruption. Ms Rubio advised that while the government is doing a lot to fight corruption, it should ensure more transparency and more efficiency in service delivery.

 

“We are not an opposition anywhere in the world. We are just an NGO working in over 100 countries of the world. We are not enemies. We are here to help,” she said.

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Woman appeals to IG over missing husband

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She should check SARS –PPRO

 

Mrs. Adeshina, wife of a Lagos State politician, Mr. Okokuku Adeshina, has called on the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris (IGP), to warn and caution his officers as not only her husband’s life is in danger but all. Tina, who spoke with journalists over the weekend, said Idris should compel his officers and men to stop being instruments in the hands of politicians who use them to harass their opponents.

 

The distraught woman disclosed how some policemen stormed their house at Ikorodu area of the state on Tuesday evening, and without any search warrant, and whisked her husband away to an unknown destination.

 

According to her, she said her husband called her with an unknown number two days after he was whisked away by the policemen, who wore antirobbery jackets over the mufti clothes, and told her to run far away with the children.

 

She said, her husband told her that it was a political big wig in the state that was behind his present travails in order to win him over to his camp. “My husband called me with an unknown number and said I should take the children to a safe place that the policemen that came to arrest him on the pretence over land dispute are actually working for an opposition politician who wants him to join his party,” she lamented.

 

“Yesterday, an unknown number called me again and I quickly answered thinking it was my husband but the person on the line told me that my husband had escaped.

 

I haven’t been able to get through to him on his phone since the day he was taken away and the man that called claimed to be a policeman that helped him escape, while on their way to the hospital. I believe that my life and those of my children are now also in danger and I don’t want to die,” Mrs. Adeshina cried. However, when contacted, the Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, SP Chike Oti said, he was not aware of the arrest.

 

Oti, however, said Mrs. Adeshina should go to SARS office to check if her husband is there. It is only when she has done this that he would then know what to do.

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