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FEC Approves N20.1bn to Equip Customs

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Nigeria Customs Service

By Adedapo Adesanya

The Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved a total of N20.1 billion for the procurement of various operating equipment for the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS).

Mrs Zainab Ahmed, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, disclosed this on Wednesday to State House Correspondents at the end of the weekly FEC meeting held at the Presidential Villa in Abuja and presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.

The council also approved N539.3 million for the construction of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) building at the Ilupeju Medium and Small Taxpayers’ office, according to the Minister.

The Minister further said that a total of 427 operating vehicles worth N14.55 billion and nine assorted gunboats worth N5.6 billion were all approved for Customs contracts.

“The ministry also presented, on behalf of the Nigerian Customs Service, a memo that was seeking for Council’s approval for the design, construction and supply of two NC36M patrol boats, in favour of Messrs of Boat Plus Limited, in the sum of N5,062,530,400, inclusive of 7.5 per cent Value Added Tax (VAT) with a delivery period of 12 months and council approved our request.

“We also presented a memo, again on behalf of the Nigerian Customs Service, for the approval of council for the design, construction and supply of seven fast assault patrol boats and seven regular patrol boats, in favour of Messrs Siwa West Africa Limited, in the sum of N501,472,471.08, inclusive of 7.5 per cent VAT with a delivery period of eight weeks.

“The purpose of the purchase of these two types of patrol boats is to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of operations of the Nigerian Customs Service in its bid to control smuggling and also ensure enhanced efficiency in all customs duty operations in the Marine Unit of the Nigerian Customs Service.

“We also presented, again on behalf of the Nigeria Customs Service, a request for Council’s approval and council approved the procurement of 427 operational vehicles for the Nigerian Customs Service operations in favour of various contractors in the combined sum of N14.55 billion, inclusive of 7.5 per cent VAT with a delivery period of four weeks,” she said.

On his part, the Minister of Information and Culture, Mr Lai Mohammed, speaking on behalf of Minister of State for Education, Mr Emeka Nwajiuba, also revealed that council approved a project for the extension of the University of Ibadan’s library worth N532 million.

“The Minister of Education also presented a memo for the award of contract for the construction and furnishing of the extension of the library of the University of Ibadan. The memo, which was approved, is at the cost of N532,609,000 and with a completion period of 48 weeks.

“It was a memo that was very well received because of the need to actually extend the library facility in the University. For many years, the library of the University of Ibadan had needed real extension, given a surge of the student population,” he said.

Adedapo Adesanya is a journalist, polymath, and connoisseur of everything art. When he is not writing, he has his nose buried in one of the many books or articles he has bookmarked or simply listening to good music with a bottle of beer or wine. He supports the greatest club in the world, Manchester United F.C.

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Heifer Gathers Stakeholders to Discuss Youth Empowerment

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Youth Empowerment Agric

By Ashemiriogwa Emmanuel

Agribusiness firm, Heifer Nigeria, in partnership with the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG), will hold a youth empowerment programme on Tuesday, October 26, 2021.

The event is mainly to gather stakeholders in the agriculture sector to discuss how youth could be given the necessary support to succeed in the industry.

The program, which is themed Youth and Technology: The Future of Africa’s Agriculture, will also serve as an avenue for key players to examine the various roles of youth and technology in the transformation and future of Nigeria’s agriculture.

It will be held for two days at Transcorp Hilton, Abuja, and is in line with the 27th edition of the Nigerian Economic Summit (NES#27) tagged Securing Our Future: The Fierce Urgency of Now.

Speaking on the scheduled event, the Country Director, Heifer Nigeria, Mr Rufus Idris, noted that agriculture in Africa greatly relies on the shoulder of the youths which is in need of enhanced innovation to allow for a sustainable farming system among Africans.

“Heifer International is committed to supporting a business ecosystem that enables youths to drive innovation in the sector, growing their incomes through sustainable and scalable food, and farming practices.

“Leveraging technology and modern practices will create a pathway for Nigeria to increase productivity and competitiveness of the agricultural sector to curb food insecurity and poverty,” he averred.

According to the company, agriculture already accounts for about 35 per cent of employment in Nigeria, making the sector mature enough for innovation to become a major domestic employer.

Hence, the program will be an interactive session where youth innovators, incubators, farmers and agribusinesses, government agencies, and investors will converge to come up with innovative solutions with the potential of scaling Nigeria’s agricultural sector and strengthening food security across the nation.

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Fashola Tasks States to Prioritize Housing Challenges

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housing challenges

By Adedapo Adesanya

The Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, has called on state governments to renew their commitment to housing development in order to increase access to affordable housing to the citizenry.

Mr Fashola made the call in his keynote address at the meeting of the States’ Commissioners responsible for housing matters during the 10th Meeting of the National Council on Lands, Housing and Urban Development held in Lagos State.

Speaking at the event themed Housing Development as a Catalyst for Job Creation, Social Inclusion and Economic Development, he explained that the inequality among the nations and people can be reduced drastically if the housing need of the poor is considerably addressed in the states.

“These are some of the reasons why I seek to persuade all of you to go back to your states to persuade your Governors to re-commit to housing development.

“I said re-commit because I am aware that many states are doing something, but you will agree that there is a scope to improve and scale-up.

“One reason why this will require an All of Government Action is the fact that land is a critical component of capital formation and it is controlled by the states.

“I am persuaded that appropriate, targeted and purposeful use of lands, such as for the development of housing by the states and private sector, will unleash prosperity in all states that aggregate to national prosperity,” Mr Fashola explained.

The Minister gave an example of Lagos State days of Lateef Jakande and added that the present Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu remained an example of what state governments could do to deepen housing supply and reap the benefits that come with it.

Mr Fashola stated that land and housing was a sub-national matter of jurisdictions, pointing out that what the states do to facilitate the processing of land titles, documentation, Certificate of Occupancy and other Geographic Information Services (GIS) details would go a long way in facilitating easy housing delivery.

He informed the meeting that the federal government was undertaking a National Housing Programme in 34 states aggregating to about 5,000 housing units, and trying to complete an inherited ministerial pilot housing scheme across the states which had a little over 6,000 units.

Mr Fashola said the decisions to recommit to housing development by state governments would facilitate the creation of a variety of jobs because the services of various professionals in the built industry such as town planners, architects would be required.

”Artisans like masons, plumbers, carpenters and food vendors will not be left out of the value chain of prosperity resulting from economic development.

“When construction actively starts, the economic explosion happens, supplies of sand, cement, reinforcements, roofing, plumbing, painting, and other components get to work.

“This drives a critical business in all our states, the micro small and medium enterprises who make or supply these building components,“ he said.

In the same vein, he explained that the Federal Housing Authority and Federal Mortgage Bank are also intervening as federal agencies in respective housing development directly through cooperative societies and the provision of development loans and mortgage loans.

In his remarks, Governor Sanwo-Olu, while assuring participants at the council of implementing the recommendations of the meeting, disclosed that the state had begun to implement the commendations agreed on at the 9th National Council on Lands, Housing and Urban Development.

On making land available for building by providing lands to build a mini-city at Imota in Ikorodu Division of Lagos State.

He said the state would develop about 3,500 housing units of 2 and 3 bedrooms in phases for civil servants and those in the informal sector, who fall within the category of low-income earners and to be acquired at a single-digit interest rate mortgage plan that could span a period of 15 years.

He added that his administration was determined to develop decent homes within the states as well as meet the housing needs of the citizens irrespective of their location.

Mr Sanwo-Olu, who said that homeownership was a vital tool for taking people out of poverty, assured the council that Lagos State would collaborate with the private sector to adopt the monthly rent payment as proposed by the Minister of Works and Housing.

In his vote of thanks, the Permanent Secretary, FMWH, Mr Babangida Hussaini, commended the excellent leadership of the works and housing sectors.

He also noted the commitment of council members to the 10th Meeting of the National Council on Lands, Housing and Urban Development and urged them to go back and implement the council resolutions.

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Group Reports Lagos Government to Buhari

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Shangisha Magodo group

By Mohammed Kerimu

The Shangisha/Magodo Landlords Association of Nigeria has petitioned President Muhammadu Buhari over the refusal of the Lagos State Government to execute the ruling of the Supreme Court on the return of 549 plots of land to its original owners by the state.

In a document submitted to the Presidency and sighted by this reporter, the association expressed optimism that Mr Buhari would do justice to the matter he has demonstrated that a strong judiciary is a sine qua non for the operation and sustenance of democracy which he had vowed to defend.

The group further noted that since their story is similar to that of Mr President, who faced several denials in his electoral victories before God intervened in his fourth outing, he will finally lay their matter to rest since he was the Head of States about 37 years ago when they were forcefully evicted from their land.

It will be recalled that after its first judgement, the Supreme Court on March 1, 2016, again voiced out its displeasure with Lagos State Government and the state Chief Judge over their refusal to execute its earlier judgement; warning of the dangers it portends for the state to deliberately refuse to carry out its order concerning the Shangisha/Magodo land.

However, analysts are of the view that the refusal by the Lagos State Government to execute the judgement of the Supreme Court, which is the highest court in the land, is sending wrong signals to foreign investors who needed assurance of a strong judicial system before committing their resources for investment in the country.

They warned that if nothing was done to compel the state to toe the line of law and order, the country may be up for doom as no serious investor will consider a country with a weak legal system in their investment decisions.

Following the refusal of Lagos State to execute the ruling of the Supreme Court on the return of Shangisha/Magodo land which it forcefully acquired from its owners without building any public interest institution on it, the question many are asking is when did Lagos State secede from Nigeria that the ruling of the country’s apex court could no longer be binding on it?

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