Ambode Pledges to Construct 181 Roads in 2017
By Dipo Olowookere
Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State has promised to consolidate on its administration’s infrastructural renewal drive with the construction of 181 local government roads in the current fiscal year, saying the process for the award of the contract would commence next week.
Mr Ambode made this known on Thursday while speaking at the first Quarterly Town Hall Meeting for 2017, the sixth in the series, held at the Ajelogo Housing Scheme, Ajelogo Market Road, Akanimodo, Mile 12.
The Governor noted that the 181 roads is an improvement on the 114 roads, two in each local government, which his administration promised to embark upon every year.
Acknowledging that most of the requests made by residents during the interactive session at the Town Hall Meeting were majorly on roads owing to the success of the 114 roads delivered in September 2016, the Governor said his administration thought it wise to ensure that the roads captured for 2017 are key roads that would have economic impact on the people living in that axis, hence the increase to 181 roads.
“I want to pronounce here that you should watch out next week in the newspapers, we are advertising 181 roads which would be done in all our local governments.
“What we have found out is that if we decided to continue with two, some of those roads are not linking each other to the main road, so most likely you would see that if we are supposed to do some road in some local governments, it would only make economic sense if there is a linkage.
“So you would see in the advert that some local governments would have like three, some would have four roads, but the average is that 181 if you divide it by 57 that would be a minimum of three roads from each local governments,” Governor Ambode said.
He said that the choice of the roads to be constructed had been made by the local governments in conjunction with the engineers, assuring that before the end of the year when the road would be delivered, the people would be better for it.
Giving his account of stewardship in the last quarter, Governor Ambode said the choice of Akanimodo, Mile 12 as venue for the meeting was to show that the axis has not been left behind in the developmental progress ongoing in the State, saying he had come to listen to the needs of the people and where government intervention was in dire need.
He said in the last quarter, his administration kicked off its “Rent-To-Own and Rental Housing Policy” aimed at providing affordable units across the three Senatorial Districts, disclosing that there are 4,355 housing units available with over 500 applicants prequalified so far, while allocation would commence next week.
On the agricultural sector, the Governor said his administration was already looking to build on the first fruits of its partnership with Kebbi State government with the launch of LAKE RICE in December 2016, adding that in the current quarter the government would embark on the rehabilitation of the Oko-Oba Abattoir and Lairage Complex, Agege in line with the promise to increase meat production output, develop the red meat value chain and restructure the complex for improved operations.
Governor Ambode also said that the Neighbourhood Safety Corps would become operational in the current quarter with the recruitment of 5700 personnel, while 100 would be deployed to each of the local government to complement the efforts of other security agencies in policing the State.
Expressing optimism that 2017 holds great expectations for Lagos, especially as the State gets set to mark its landmark Golden Jubilee on May 27, his administration would continue with its urban regeneration initiatives, building new infrastructure and maintaining existing ones.
He listed some of the key projects to be done to include Agric-Isawo-Arepo Road in Ikorodu, Ajelogo–Akanimodo Road Rehabilitation, Oshodi to Murtala Mohammed Airport Road, Ketu-Alapere Inner Roads Phase II, Oke Oso–Araga–Poka in Epe, Topo Garage to VIP Chalet in Badagry, Ladipo Market Road and Multilayer Car Park , Mushin and establishment of Bus Terminals and depots in Yaba, Ikeja, Oyingbo, Anthony, Ketu and Toll Gate, while more beneficiaries will receive funding from the N25bn Employment Trust Fund in January.
Oba of Lagos, Mr Rilwan Akiolu, in his remarks urged the Governor to give priority to the construction of Adeniji-Adele Road and ensure the construction of other roads that deserve utmost attention in the area.
He also urged the Governor to improve the standard of markets in the area to enviable standards, while urging total reconstruction of non-approved and unauthorised buildings already built within major markets in Lagos Island.
Mr Akiolu further urged Lagosians to continue to cooperate and support the present administration as well as desist from any form of clandestine meetings that may undermine the progress of Governor Ambode’s administration.
Responding to questions that bordered on security, Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Mr Fatai Owoseni said with the continued support of the State Government, the Command increased the number of personnel in Ketu-Epe Police Post from two to seventy to effectively combat kidnapping and other crimes in Agbowa, Itoikin and environs, as well as transformed the hitherto abandoned Iyun Police Post to anti-kidnapping unit, while two gun boats were moved to Ejirin.
Mr Owoseni, however, urged traditional rulers and community elders to caution their subjects especially the youths on the need to be law abiding, shun all forms of criminal activities, and only be engaged in lawful means of livelihood.
NDDC Seeks Partnerships to Reduce Dependency on IOCs, FG for Funding
By Adedapo Adesanya
The Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) has disclosed plans not to rely on oil multinationals and the federal government to raise funds for development projects in the region but instead pursue Public-Private Partnerships arrangements to drive development in the Niger Delta region.
According to the NDDC Managing Director, Mr Samuel Ogbuku, this PPP model would ease the financial burden of the central government.
Mr Ogbuku, speaking during an Executive Management and staff meeting at the commission’s headquarters in Port Harcourt, announced that a summit was in the offing to enable stakeholders to explore opportunities for collaboration.
He stated the NDDC would not relent in its PPP campaign to bring sustainable development to the Niger Delta region.
“We intend to leverage our PPP initiative during the summit, which will take place in April. It will help us to showcase what we can offer and show the world the future of NDDC.
“We cannot continue to rely on international oil companies and the federal government to raise funds for development projects. We intend to show the world that NDDC has been rebranded.
“We will take the campaign to all relevant organisations. Last week, we were at the meeting of the Oil Producers Trade Section, OPTS, of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Lagos. Henceforth, NDDC will be attending the OPTS quarterly meetings.”
The NDDC boss further stated that the commission would also focus on capacity building for youths in the region.
“We are going to focus on youth development programmes; we have come up with a new concept of working with the Niger Delta Chamber of Commerce in the training of our youths and young entrepreneurs.
“We will show the world that we have young entrepreneurs. The various Chambers of Commerce will help us to make the programme sustainable. We will focus on empowering young people because the government cannot employ everybody.”
On NDDC’s commitment to its contractors, Mr Ogbuku affirmed that the Commission was engaging them to arrive at practicable ways of liquidating the debts saying, “We have been meeting with the contractors, and gradually, all legitimate debts will be defrayed.”
The NDDC boss said there was a need for reform within the Commission in order to bring it in line with the NDDC Establishment Act. For instance, he said, “we are reorganising the directorates to bring the number to only 13 provided for in the Act.”
Aremu Tasks CBN, NLC on Dialogue Over Cash Scarcity Strike
By Adedapo Adesanya
The Director-General of the Michael Imoudu National Institute of Labour Studies (MINILS), Ilorin, Kwara State, Mr Issa Aremu, has advised the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to engage the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) in a social dialogue to avert the planned strike over the continued cash scarcity.
Mr Aremu made the call on Thursday in Ilorin on the sidelines of the Interfaith Prayer organised to mark the 40th anniversary of the institute.
Recall that Business Post earlier this week reported that the president of the NLC, Mr Joe Ajaero, directed affiliate unions of the group to be on standby for a picketing exercise across all branches of the CBN nationwide.
The directive, according to the trade unionist, became imperative following the expiration of a one-week ultimatum given to the apex bank to make cash available for Nigerians.
Speaking on the development, the MINILS head said it was unprecedented that the labour union is threatening to picket the CBN, tasking the apex bank to use every means at its disposal to ensure monetary stability in the country.
The DG, who was once a labour leader, noted that depositors had been subjected to a lot of hardship in recent times over the CBN financial policy.
Mr Aremu said that CBN must be more transparent and engaging and look at the overall policy’s impact on the growth and development of the nation’s economy.
He said that this would ensure the confidence of Nigerians in the banking system.
Mr Aremu explained that such a cashless policy should be gradually introduced after the appropriate infrastructure had been put in place.
“It also requires mass sensitisation and awareness, and there is a limited time for implementation of the policy for Nigerians,” he said.
The institute’s head lauded the CBN’s Anchor Borrowers Programme, saying it “provides loans (in kind and cash) to smallholder farmers, which had boosted agricultural production, especially rice”.
He, therefore, insisted that picketing of the apex bank by labour leaders was avoidable and preventable, advising CBN to address all concerns by organised labour.
On the 40th anniversary of the institute, Mr Aremu said, “This gathering is all about appreciation to Almighty God in the Holy Month of Ramadan, in which Catholic lent also runs. Both Christianity and Islam stress gratitude. Gratitude pleases Allah, while ingratitude displeases Him.”
“Glory to Almighty for sparing our lives to continue the institutional building that started with President Shehu Shagari’s formal inauguration in 1983,” he said.
Nigeria to Get 25,000 Tonnes of Wheat from Ukraine
By Adedapo Adesanya
Nigeria will get about 25,000 tonnes of wheat from warring Ukraine, with the federal government designating Port Harcourt as the target location for the grains.
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mr Mohammed Abubakar, disclosed this on Wednesday during a briefing after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting chaired by President Muhammadu Buhari at the State House in Abuja.
Mr Abubakar revealed that the Rivers State capital had been selected as the hub for the 25,000 metric tonnes of wheat expected from Ukraine, as Russia also extends its supply of grains to the country through a United Nations arrangement.
He explained that the wheat consignment from Ukraine is on the high sea.
The agriculture minister stated that the hub would create economic activities in the area.
As part of the Black Sea Grain Initiative, Ukraine exported 6.9 million tonnes of wheat, 20 per cent of which was sent to African countries. Out of this, Nigeria will get about 1.8 per cent.
Some 2.67 million tonnes of wheat, or 43 per cent, was transported to the poorest countries and those with incomes below the average.
The grain initiative will allow Ukraine to remain a top agrarian nation and will allow Ukrainian farmers affected by the Russian war, which started more than a year ago, to sow and be able to receive income from their harvest.
The grain initiative was launched on July 22, 2022, with the first bulker carrying Ukrainian food commodities leaving the port of Odesa on August 1.
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