By Adedapo Adesanya
The Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Matthew Kukah has admonished President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration for its handling of Nigeria’s security challenges.
The Bishop in his 2021 Easter Message titled Before our glory departs seen by Business Post claimed that, “Boko Haram terrorists are consuming the nation under President Muhammadu Buhari’s watch.”
He recalled that President Buhari had in 2015 described Boko Haram insurgents as a typical case of small fires causing large fires.
The statement reads in part, “On May 29, 2015, President Muhammadu Buhari, at his swearing-in as President of Nigeria, said: Boko Haram is a typical case of small fires causing large fires.
“Now, before his watch, the fires are consuming the nation, and in many instances, they indeed start small.
“In all, Nigeria’s troubles are growing by the day, but our hands must remain stretched out in supplication.”
Bishop Kukah also blamed those in power for the increasing cases of banditry, kidnapping, terrorism and armed robbery in the country, noting that insecurity keeps deteriorating because the ruling class pays more attention to rehabilitating bandits and kidnappers than the victims.
He expressed concerns over the killing of security operatives and the increased fear among citizens, saying: “Taunted by Boko Haram, ravaged by bandits, kidnappers, armed robbers, and other merchants of death across the nation, there is collective fear as to whether Nigeria’s glory is about to depart! Retired military and intelligence officers lament over what has become of their glorious profession as they watch the humiliation of our military personnel.
“Traumatised citizens are tortured daily by bandits. The nation has since become a massive killing field, as both government and the governed look on helplessly.
“A thick and suffocating cloud of desperation, despondency, desolation, gloom, and misery hangs in the hot air. We have no message and have no idea how long this will last.
“Our people seek solace and protection, but frustration and darkness threaten to drown them. Is their government on AWOL?,” he questioned.
Bishop Kukah full statement:
NIGERIA: BEFORE OUR GLORY DEPARTS
EASTER MESSAGE, April 4th 2021
By Matthew Hassan KUKAH, Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese
If a religious leader is afraid to say what is right, what else can his silence mean but that he has taken flight? Hiding behind a wall of silence is like taking flight at the approach of the wolf.
Pope St. Gregory the Great (540–604 AD).
1: Easter Sunday is here again. But first, let us step back to Friday.
Good Friday was a Kairos moment for the beleaguered followers of Jesus, a defining moment that separated truth from falsehood and light from the darkness. At Golgotha, Jesus remained silent when the first thief taunted Him, and when bystanders scornfully asked him to demonstrate His divine powers by coming down from the cross. Everything about Christ–the prophecies of His birth, His life on earth, the miracles He performed, the sermons He preached, His torture and subsequent death–now hung languidly on a wooden cross on the hill of Golgotha. There were two types of persons at Golgotha: observers and waiters. The observers had two characteristics, derision and curiosity.
The waiters were characterised by hope, fear, and anxiety. Both sides watched and waited with bated breath. After His ignominious death, everything now depended on the third day. After all, He had said He would rise after three days (Mk. 9:31).
2: Let us pause and look back at the earlier events in the life of Jesus. Let us look briefly at the drama of the three temptations of Jesus by the devil as recorded by St. Matthew. First, the devil has a sense of perfect timing when he approached Jesus. He knows that Jesus had fasted for forty days and nights without food and was hungry (Mt. 4:2). Prove that you are the Son of God: turn these stones into bread, he said (Mt. 4:3). In response, Jesus says: Man will not live on bread alone (Mt. 4:4). Here, Jesus insists that there are higher goals for us to live or die for. The devil had hoped that like the dictators of today, Jesus could seduce the people with the bread of temporal power to gain cheap followership. No, Jesus says, you must set a higher moral goal.
Second, the devil asks Jesus to throw himself down the cliff. After all, he tells Jesus, the Angels of God will hold you (Mt. 4:6). Here, Jesus is called to take a shortcut to fame.
Why travel the hard road of suffering, sacrifice, exclusion, and powerlessness? Succumb to the seduction of the dreamer, the charmer, climb the actor’s shoulder. And then what next? Jesus rejects this temptation. Why? Because God demands more than theatrical performances from us.
Third, the devil says he will give Jesus all the kingdoms of the world (money, power, territory) only if He bows and acknowledges him (Mt. 4:8). Wow! No better evidence that the devil is a liar. He knows he has no kingdom and what he has is his kingdom of darkness and lies. It was in this same manner that the devil deceived Eve at the Garden of Eden by mixing a concoction of lies. At the base of this temptation is the seduction of pride and power. God knows that the day you eat it, your eyes will be opened and you will be like God (Gen. 3:5). Think of the many who have sold their souls for ephemeral power, those who have denied Jesus by action so as to ascend the throne of power. By His resistance to the devil, Jesus shows that following His path will require tremendous sacrifice.
3: It’s now Saturday night. The clock is ticking. Will He or will He not rise as He said?
No one knows what to expect. Will Jesus be exposed as a fraud? The Apostles are retired, desolate, forlorn, woebegone, and despondent. Has it all come to nothing? Have they lost everything? Has it all just been an illusion? Was Peter right when he asked what their reward would be, having forgone everything to follow Him? (Mt. 19:27) Has this been one wild goose chase? Where would they turn to now? The sun gradually sets on Saturday. The night has in its womb, a combination of the derision and curiosity binding the observers and waiters. A cloud of trepidation envelopes everywhere. The Roman authorities have built a concrete wall of military security around the grave. They sealed the stone and placed heavy military guard just in case, as they feared, His followers come and steal the body and pretend that He had risen (Mt. 27: 64).
4: Sunday morning would seal the fate of everyone on both sides.
As it turns out, the world forgot that: He who guards Israel neither slumbers nor sleeps (Ps. 121:4). Before daybreak, a woman, Mary Magdalene, visits the grave to perform a simple ritual. To her shock, she finds an empty tomb! (Jn. 20:1). Slowly, painfully, unbelievably, the words go out: They have taken the body of the Lord away and we do not know where they have put Him (Jn. 20:2). They will soon realise that, indeed, His resurrection is only a fulfilment of what He had promised during His lifetime. The devil has been defeated, and the Lord has the final word. Truth has drowned falsehood. Light has overcome darkness. Good has triumphed over evil. Life has defeated death.
5: The Roman soldiers who stood guard over the grave were like dead men (Mt. 28:3).
However, rather than face punishment, the Roman authorities offered to bribe them and asked them to lie that the Lord’s body had been stolen while they were sleeping! (Mt. 28:13). It is too late: The Lord is risen indeed! World history succumbs to the power of the Creator of heaven and earth. Time and space have merged. History’s calendar is split into two. Henceforth, everything will be marked by whether it happened before or after the resurrection of Jesus Christ! This is what Christians celebrate today. But what is the implication of all this for us in Nigeria today?
6: Nigeria’s current predicament reminds me of Israel’s situation that led to the death of Eli, the great High Priest of Israel. Israel’s defeat in the hands of the Philistines led to the death of 30,000 soldiers. The two sons of the 98-year-old priest – Hophni and Phinehas – died in the battle. Eli’s two sons had foolishly carried the Ark of the Lord into the battlefield for protection, only for it to become a trophy for the victorious Philistines.
The high priest, Eli, collapsed and died after hearing this horrible news. Elsewhere, on hearing about the death of her husband, her father- in-law, and the loss of the Ark, Eli’s daughter-in-law went into premature labour. She was delivered of a baby boy–a call for great celebration in Israel! Strangely, she responded by naming her newborn son “Ichabod,” meaning, The glory has departed!
7: Taunted by Boko Haram, ravaged by bandits, kidnappers, armed robbers, and other merchants of death across the nation, there is collective fear as to whether Nigeria’s glory is about to depart! Retired military and intelligence officers lament over what has become of their glorious profession as they watch the humiliation of our military personnel. Traumatised citizens are tortured daily by bandits. The nation has since become a massive killing field, as both government and the governed look on helplessly. A thick and suffocating cloud of desperation, despondency, desolation, gloom, and misery hangs in the hot air. We have no message and have no idea how long this will last. Our people seek solace and protection, but frustration and darkness threaten to drown them. Is their government on AWOL?
8: Two weeks ago, I came across a video in which a very frustrated Muslim cleric, addressing a Muslim audience, lamented: If you killed 200 chickens in the farm of any of the big farmers, you will be dealt with. But today, we are being killed. It is your fault. On the day of elections, you say, it is Jihad! Christians will take over Nigeria! Ok, the Christians did not take Nigeria. It has been left in the hands of those who sit and see us being killed. If we are killed, the head says, God forbid! He was not elected to say God forbid. This imaginary jihad won the elections now where are the jihadists? The lesson here is that politicians will use religion to mobilise for elections, but they cannot use it to govern.
9: The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria weighed in with a strong statement on February 23, 2021, titled, We Must Pull Back from the Brink of Collapse. Part of the statement read: The very survival of the nation is at stake. The nation is pulling apart.
Widespread serious insecurity for long unaddressed has left the sad and dangerous impressions that those who have assumed the duty and authority to secure the nation are either unable or worse, unwilling to take up the responsibilities to their office.
Patience is running out. Sadly, all of these warnings are still falling on deaf ears.
10: It may sound strange, but for us Christians, the celebration of the resurrection of Christ is the greatest assurance that all these will pass away. This is not a call for us to simply sit on our hands or believe we can pray our crises away. As pointed out above, the sufferings of Jesus and His Cross provide us with the perfect mirror of our hope. St. Paul reminds us: We are hard-pressed on all sides, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted but not forsaken, struck down but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body (2 Cor. 4:9). These are the hallmarks of our faith. We must remain steadfast.
11: I appeal to Christians to continue in the spirit of the Gospel, the teachings of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. St. Paul says: Though He was God, he humbled himself, became man and remained obedient up till death (Phil. 2:6ff). Following in His steps, we Christians have lived through the life of martyrdom. Jesus taught us how to pray for our enemies (Mt. 5:44). Although His teachings are hard (Jn. 6:60), it was not the guns of a powerful army that brought down the walls of Jericho. The prayers of the priests did (Jos. 6:20). Jesus defied the temptations of coming down from the Cross. He knew there was a higher truth deferred. It was fulfilled on Easter day. No matter the provocation, we must arm ourselves with the weapons of truth, the Word, the Spirit, and love. At the heart of Christianity is the Truth and Love.
12: Today, many of us erroneously speak about the trial of Jesus by Pilate on Good Friday. In reality, it was Pilate who stood trial, not Jesus. Pilate sat on a throne to judge what he himself was ignorant of–the truth. Chained by ignorance, the powerful often grope around a twilight zone between truth and lies. At the mention of the word “Truth” by Jesus, Pilate was jolted from his chair. In trepidation and apprehension, the mighty man says, Truth, what is that? (Jn. 18:38). Pilate was looking for the Truth but did not recognise it when it stood right before him. In every age, the seduction of raw power tends to blind the Pilates of this world to the truth.
13: When governments face legitimacy crises, they fall back on serving the sour broth of propaganda, half-truths, and outright lies. They manufacture consent by creating imaginary enemies, setting citizens against one another by deploying religion, ethnicity, region, and other platforms while appealing to the base emotions of patriotism. We forget the reality that without truth, the throne of power often turns into a cage, and the occupant is turned into a prisoner. In reality, the truth needs neither a judge nor a witness. The truth is its own judge and witness. Without the truth, as the old song says, all else is sinking sand!
14: Recently, according to the World Happiness Report, we are one of the unhappiest nations in the world. This is unacceptable but understandable. Our clay-footed fight against corruption has not moved the needle of transparency forward. Of course, being the poverty capital of the world comes with its rewards such as banditry, violence, death, sorrow, blood, poverty, misery, and tears. Our cup of sorrow is permanently full; hence the exponential rise in the frustration curve across the country.
15: Sadly, human life is haemorrhaging so badly in Nigeria, but the greatest tragedy is the death of empathy from those in power. Mysteriously, the government is investing billions of naira in rehabilitating so-called Boko Haram repentant members and their other partners in crime in the belief that they want to turn a new leaf. These criminals have waged war against their country, murdered thousands of citizens, destroyed infrastructure and rendered entire families permanently displaced and dislocated. Why should rehabilitating the perpetrator be more important than bringing succour to the victims?
16: When kidnapped or killed, victims and their families are left to their wits. They cry alone, bury their loved ones alone. And our government expects us to be patriotic? The victims of violence need empathy, which the dictionary defines as the ability to understand and share the feelings of the other. A critical deficit of empathy on the side of the government makes healing almost impossible for the victims. We have not heard anything about a rehabilitation programme for the thousands of schoolchildren who have been victims of abduction. We seem to assume that their return to their schools is sufficient. Left unaddressed, the traumatic effect of their horrors will haunt them for a long time. Tomorrow’s parents, military generals, top security men and women, governors, senators, and ministers will come from today’s pool of traumatised children.
The security quandary is the greatest indictment of this government.
17: There is a time for everything under the sun (Eccl. 3:1). Perhaps, we can paraphrase this by saying there is a time for war and a time for peace. There is a time for poverty and a time for wealth. There is a time for stealing and a time for returning what has been stolen. There is a time for politics and a time for governance. There is a time for tethering to the brink of chaos and a time for recovering the soul of a nation.
There is a time for the collapse of morality and a time for moral recovery. There is a time for leadership and a time for statesmanship. There is a time for losing greatness and a time for achieving greatness. Nigeria must now ask itself: What is left of our glory? Where are the values that held us together?
18: On our national Coat of Arms, we profess our motto to be: Unity and Faith, Peace and Progress. But let us ask ourselves: Is Nigeria united today? Do citizens still have faith in the country? Where are the signs of peace or progress? Today, before our very eyes, these words have been emptied of their flavour and have lost their resonance and capacity to summon our citizens to patriotism. St Augustine once said: Remove justice, and what are kingdoms but gangs of criminals on a large scale? He further said that: A gang is a group of men (and women) under the command of a leader, bound by a compact of association, in which the plunder is divided according to an agreed convention. This is the fate of our nation today. Day by day, Nigeria drifts irreversibly into a dark tunnel. Things are falling apart with unnerving rapidity because those who govern have only a pact to protect their interests. Politics is merely its conveyor belt of ambition. Nigeria has a date with destiny. If we do not turn around, The axe is already laid to the roots of the tree (Mt. 3:10).
19: With some chance, we might pull through this, but it is getting tougher each passing day. Does anyone remember where we started and how we got here? On May 29, 2015, President Muhammadu Buhari, at his swearing-in as President of Nigeria, said: Boko Haram is a typical case of small fires causing large fires. Now, before his watch, the fires are consuming the nation, and in many instances, they indeed start small. The rumblings over the wearing of a hijab in Kwara State suggest that we have not seen the end of individuals sacrificing national cohesion to feed their personal ambitions by starting small fires. Most politicians hardly think through the long-term effects of these pyrrhic victories of using religion. What started as a small fire with the adoption of Sharia in Zamfara in 1999, spread across the northern states. Ordinary people broke into ecstatic joy. Today, what has become of the north? What are the lessons?
20: In all, Nigeria’s troubles are growing by the day, but our hands must remain stretched out in supplication. Prophet Isaiah’s words should give us hope and consolation. He said: When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze (Isaiah 43:2). We shall lift our eyes to the mountain because we know that our help shall come from the Lord (Ps. 121:1). As Christians, we do not trust in God because we cannot revenge. We do not revenge because we trust in God. The Lord will fight for you; you need only be still (Ex. 14:14). Just as the chains of death could not hold Jesus in the grave, so shall we triumph. Break into shouts of joy together, O ruins of Jerusalem; for the Lord has consoled his people, he has redeemed Jerusalem (Isaiah 52:9). Have hope and be cheerful (Rom. 12:12).
Nigerian Navy Acquires Tools to Fight Crude Oil Theft
By Adedapo Adesanya
The Nigerian Navy has acquired 172 patrol boats, four helicopters, four ships and 14 unmanned aerial vehicles to aid its fight against crude oil theft and sea piracy within the country’s territorial waters.
This was disclosed by the Navy spokesperson, Mr Suleman Dahun, who noted that the agency has made significant progress in the recapitalisation of its fleet, with dozens of vessels commissioned since 2020 and more on the way.
These acquisitions, according to the Nigerian Navy, came as the service attempts to deal with a continued spate of pirate attacks in the Gulf of Guinea, as well as oil thieves and other criminals in the Niger Delta region.
Mr Dahun, in a statement, said that France’s Ocea shipped the third and fourth C-Falcon interceptors (P273 and P274) to Nigeria via cargo ship earlier this month, explaining that the first two (P271 and P272) were delivered at the end of 2020.
“Over the last eight years, Ocea has supplied one FPB 98 Mk I patrol vessel, eight FPB 72 Mk II and two FPB 110 Mk II patrol vessels to Nigeria. Ocea also won three tenders for two additional FPB 110, one OSV 190 SC-WB and four C-Falcon vessels.
“The two additional 35-metre FPB 110 boats were delivered by the end of 2020. In September last year, Ocea launched a new hydrographic survey ship, the Lana, which is expected to be delivered later in April 2021.
“The Nigerian Navy is also expecting four 17 metre Suncraft Manta boats from Malaysia (these were built in 2020) while Damen is set to deliver two 40 metre fast patrol boats. The Damen boats are being built at its facilities in Vietnam.
“On the smaller end of the scale, Suncraft has supplied 25 of its 9.5 metre long rigid-hulled inflatable boats (RHIBs) and 15 of its 8.5-metre RHIBS. Another 90 small boats are either expected or have been delivered to the Nigerian Navy,” he stated.
The Nigerian Navy said acquisitions include locally manufactured vessels, as indigenous construction of a third 43-metre Seaward Defence Boat and two logistic supply houseboats at the Naval Dockyard Limited and Naval Shipyard Limited, were in progress.
“These vessels were expected to join the service in the first quarter of 2021. In addition, about 170 riverine patrol boats were built in Nigeria and more acquisitions are planned.
“On the aerial side, the Nigerian Navy has taken delivery of a single AW139 helicopter from Leonardo Helicopters and is in the process of procuring 14 unmanned aerial vehicles, to enhance response capability, through South Africa’s Epsilon and CACTIC in China.
“These are expected to be delivered within the current year. Over the last six years, the Nigerian Navy has acquired a total of 378 platforms, including 172 patrol boats, 114 RHIBs, two Seaward Defence Boats, 12 Manta class boats, three Whaler boats, three tugs and two barges.
“Other platforms acquired included 22 fast attack boats, 14 UAVs, four helicopters, 14 River Town class boats, 12 houseboats and four capital ships,” he said.
TAWN Echoes Determination to Fight Poverty
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
A non-government organisation known as The African Women Network (TAWN) has reaffirmed its determination to help eradicate poverty among women.
Recently, the group, which was established to help empower African women, organised a free skills acquisition programme at the Waterside community in the Ogba area of Lagos State.
The event was part of activities rolled out to celebrate the 2021 International Women’s Day (IWD) themed Choose to Challenge.
President of TAWN, Mrs Pat Okeahialam, while speaking at the programme, noted that the theme for IWD this year was particularly profound for TAWN as the group remains determined to show up all forms of unfair practices against women in the society even as it remains resolute to impact women with different skills that would benefit them economically.
On the free acquisition programme, she said TAWN was very passionate about women and is desirous to see women, no matter their status in society, excel in their chosen profession using their talents or acquired skills.
It is that passion to help women fight poverty, injustice, diseases, idleness, inequalities in societies that underscored the free training for women in the Ogba community, she stated.
“At TAWN, we believe that people are the greatest asset we have and the greatest infrastructure that we build upon, especially the women.
“And that is why we are determined to ensure that every woman and youth benefit from the policies and programmes of TAWN. We hope to empower women across the continent through targeted initiatives,” Mrs Okeahialam said.
Participants were taught different skills they could immediately use to financially empower themselves and their families like bead making and liquid soap making, handled by Mrs Blessing Njideka Adebola.
Balloon decoration and yoghurt making were handled by Mrs Okeahialam, while tie & dye was taken by Mrs Iyobosa Ikade, the arts teacher in American International School, Lagos.
The beneficiaries of the training commended TAWN for the laudable initiative, assuring that they would utilise those skills because they are very relevant to their financial stability and growth.
Mrs Bernice Mbaolu, who spoke on behalf of the participants, said, “God bless you. We are so grateful for what you people have done for us today.
“What you have taught us can never be forgotten by us. With these new things we have learnt today, we will be able to help our husbands; we will no longer depend on our husbands or children for everything. We can make a living from these skills. Thank you very much.”
Alleged US Terror Watchlist: Pantami Reacts
By Aduragbemi Omiyale
Nigerians woke up to reports on social media alleging that the country’s Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Mr Isa Ali Pantami, has been put on the United States terror watchlist.
According to the reports, the Minister got into trouble with the world power because of his alleged support for known Al-Qaeda members as well as the late Mohammad Yusuf, who is believed to be the founding leader of the Boko Haram terrorist group.
Mr Pantami, before he was appointed as Minister by President Muhammadu Buhari, was a well-known Islamic cleric, who worked in Saudi Arabia at the Islamic University of Madinah as Head of Technical Writing.
He studied Computer Science at Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University in Bauchi, graduating in 2003 and then obtained an MSc in 2008 before securing a PhD from Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen, Scotland.
He is also trained on Digital transformation at Harvard University, USA, then Management Strategy in both, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the Institute of Management Development in Loussaune, Switzerland. He was also in Cambridge University for Management Programme, among others.
Reacting to the reports, after one of the publishers retracted the story, the Minister said his lawyers would take legal action on those who published the defaming article.
“Your retraction through your independent investigation has been noted. However, investigative journalism requires the investigation before publishing, not after.
“Further, major publishers will meet my lawyers in the court on this defamation of character.
“My lectures against the doctrines and all other evil people have been available for over 15 years, including debates that endangered my life against many criminals in Nigeria. If you can’t understand Hausa, get an objective Hausa speaker to translate for you objectively.
“On the issue of NIN-SIM verification to fight insecurity, there is no going back. Our priority as a government based on the provision of our constitution 1999 (as amended) Section 14(2) is security, not just economy. For sure, [there is] no going back at all. Let the sponsors continue.
“FYI (for your information) all, by the Almighty, no amount of intimation will stop @IsaPantami from implementing the good policies of President Muhammadu Buhari on security.
“Finally, if you are yet to verify your SIM using NIN, do it very soon, before our next action. Criminals are feeling the heat,” Mr Pantami said.
Cross River Earmarks N100m to Generate Electricity from Boreholes
By Adedapo Adesanya
The Cross River State Government has announced the sum of N100 million as a research grant to the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI) for the generation of electricity from boreholes.
This was announced by the Governor of the state, Mr Ben Ayade, over the weekend, explaining that the project would be jointly undertaken by NASENI and the state-owned Cross River State University.
The Governor, while playing host to the Executive Vice Chairman of NASENI, Mr Muhammed Haruna, said the time has come for the agency to develop a holistic framework to launch Nigeria into the global engineering map.
“NASENI is an agency that is responsible for the science and engineering infrastructure. We must begin to truly develop engineering infrastructure in this country.
“It is a shame that as a country we still import spare parts, it is a shame that you have to take a man from a temperate climate who does not have sun, who is always in the cold to come and tell us how to use our sunlight.
“What a shame that you have crude oil under your earth, yet it takes somebody who comes from a country that does not have oil to tell you how to dig it out, more shameful that you do not even know how to use it. You have to send it out,” he said.
Mr Ayade urged NASENI to set up an office in Calabar, pledging to support with vehicles, office space and a piece of land for a permanent office building.
“We are providing in collaboration with the University of Cross River, the sum of N100 million for the development and generation of electricity from boreholes. I want to also challenge you that from this same N100 million, you should generate electricity for CalasVegas from the Calabar River.
“This is going to be our (Cross River State) patent because the research is being financed by us in collaboration with NASENI.
“So, together, we will hold the baton to be able to ensure that every single home has electricity from simply just taking water from the ground, using that water to move a turbine and the turbine generates electricity and the electricity pumps back the water from the borehole and recirculate,” the Governor stated.
On his part, Mr Haruna assured that NASENI will collaborate with the Cross River Government in its industrialisation drive while appealing to the governor to market the agency to other state governors.
“Your Excellency, be our ambassador, convince your colleagues that what we are doing in NASENI is very important to them.
“We commend you for the massive agricultural and infrastructural investment in Cross River State. You are turning things around, we offer to collaborate with you because it is within our mandate to collaborate with states.
“Most importantly we are willing to work with the private sector in the state to establish manufacturing concerns that are technology-oriented and will generate local employment,” the NASENI boss said.
FG Laments Slow Pace of Lagos-Ibadan Rail Project
By Adedapo Adesanya
The federal government has lamented the slow pace at which the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) is working on the Lagos-Ibadan rail line project, urging for the firm to speed up the full completion of the project.
This was made known by the Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi, on Saturday while inspecting the project in Lagos. He added that the company had given a commitment towards finishing it by end of April.
He said: “Most of the things remaining are minor and it cannot delay the movement of goods. They have promised to finish by the end of the month. I believe them but I want them to reiterate that.”
He said that though the company had shown commitment to the project, much still needed to be done to achieve the target date of completion.
“When we start the Ibadan-Kano rail, it will be a different ball game and we will ensure they keep to plan.
“For Ibadan to Kano, everybody must go according to work plan both in terms of payment, construction, inspection and everything.”
The minister said the current pace of work may delay the inauguration of the project which was slated for April.
“If you look at the level of work, we cannot ask the president to commission this, but once we give CCECC definite time, I know they will speed up.
“There are some minor things they still need to put in place but it is taking them time to do that. Some of those things should not take more than a day or two to put in place; so am not so worried,” the former Governor of Rivers State said.
Speaking on another project under construction, the Ibadan – Kano project, the minister explained that it was dependent on the disbursement of loan by the Export-Import Bank of China (Exim Bank).
The Lagos-Ibadan project was funded primarily through a Naira 408 billion loan approved by the Export-Import Bank of China (Exim Bank) in January, alongside counterpart funding worth Naira 72 billion provided by the Nigerian government.
The line is part of a planned $11.1 billion, 2733 kilometres Lagos – Kano standard-gauge north-south railway.
The first 186.5 km section of the project, between Abuja and Kaduna, opened in July 2016. CCECC is constructing the line under an $8.3 billion contract awarded in 2006.
FG to Establish Gas Plant to Boost Electricity in Borno
By Adedapo Adesanya
The federal government is set to establish a dedicated gas plant to address the lingering power problem in conflict-ridden Maiduguri, the Borno state capital.
This was disclosed by the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mr Mele Kyari, when he led the management staff of the corporation and other partners on a courtesy visit to the Borno State Governor, Mr Babagana Zulum, at the Government House, Maiduguri.
At the meeting, it was revealed that Maiduguri and its environs had in the last seven years experienced series of power outages due to vandalism and incessant attacks on power installations by the insurgents.
In January this year, electricity supply was interrupted following damages on transmission towers along Maiduguri-Damaturu lines plunging the city and environs into darkness.
The continued loss of power supply has adversely affected small and medium scale businesses and other socio-economic activities.
In an effort to address this lingering problem, the NNPC and its partners in the gas supply value chain have concluded a plan to set up a gas plant to serve the energy needs of the people of Maiduguri and other neighbouring states.
Mr Kyari said the corporation would leverage on existing power infrastructure to deliver the plant in the next four months.
“We are seeing a very short time frame and we think that between three and four months we should be able to put up a power plant in this town that will serve Borno.
“I have the confidence of all of us, the gas suppliers, the potential supplier of the power plant itself and also the distribution company to make sure this thing works, we are counting on your help and support to make sure we deliver,” the NNPC chief said.
Mr Kyari explained that the project is in line with President Muhammadu Buhari’s cardinal principle of deepening gas consumption in the domestic market across the country.
On his part, the Borno State Governor appreciated the NNPC and its subsidiaries for always identifying with the state during trying moments.
He explained that the provision of sustainable energy is critical to addressing insurgency and other criminal activity in the region.
Governor Zulum promised to provide all the needed support and cooperation to see to the realisation of the project.
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- BUA Cement Lists N115bn Bond on Nigerian Exchange April 14, 2021
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- CSCS, VFD Group Sustain Growth at NASD OTC Exchange April 14, 2021
- Naira Depreciates at I&E as Cryptos Record Surge April 14, 2021
- Strong Chinese Data, Demand Growth Lift Oil Market April 14, 2021
- Guinness Nigeria, 17 Others Intoxicate Stock Market by 0.29% April 14, 2021
- SEC Holds First CMC Meeting in 2021 Thursday April 13, 2021
- Company Registration With CAC to Take 3 Hours April 13, 2021
- OPEC Raises 2021 Oil Demand by 6.6% to 5.95 bpd April 13, 2021
- DPR Denies Revoking Refining Licences of BUA, 31 Others April 13, 2021
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