The Ogun State Government has said it will soon commence the construction of a $1.2bn rail project in the state.
The Commissioner for Information for the state, Mr. Dayo Adeneye made the disclosure on Tuesday.
Adeneye assured communities along the Lagos-Ibadan expressway that they have not been forgotten by the government.
“We want to reassure our border towns, like Ibafo, Arepo, that we have not forgotten them,” the commissioner said.
“As a matter of fact, it is the next on our agenda. We are doing operation 100-100 in which the government has said we are doing a hundred rural roads in hopefully, a hundred days.”
He said even though oil prices and dwindling revenues are making it difficult to work as fast as possible, the roads still must be fixed and it will be very soon.
The commissioner said transportation is at the forefront of the plans for the state. He said if transportation is fine it attracts more people because nobody wants to live where they can’t move around.
He added, “In the next couple of months, probably less than two months, we are going to kick start our rail projects and it is going to be tapping into the federal government owned system.
“As a matter of fact, the same Chinese construction company that is doing the federal government owned railways will be doing the Ogun State project.
“Our governor was able to sign the memorandum when he travelled with the president just few weeks ago. It is a $1.2b project and it is already in the works.
“Secondly, we are working on our airport, people may ask why we need the airport, there is one in Lagos already. But when you think of the fact that there are over 400 industries in Ogun State; we have the likes of Coca Cola and we have Nestle, we have the largest ceramic manufacturing company in Africa now in Ogun State.
“The MDs will want to visit their companies, the managers and all will visit the companies. Then we have international investors who will want to visit Ogun State. So that’s why we also have our airport in the works to help ease up the stress on the road.”
On the issue of security, the commissioners said though no government can prepare for all eventualities, Ogun State has shown that it can respond rapidly. He said the State has invested heavily in the Police and the situation of security has improved to the extent that companies are now flourishing.
He promised that the government will not relent on its effort to keep making the state safe for all its inhabitants.
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Nigeria Eyes BRICS Membership within Two Years as Foreign Minister Emphasizes Strategic Alignment
In a strategic move towards global economic collaboration, Nigeria is aspiring to join the BRICS group of nations within the next two years.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Yusuf Tuggar, affirmed that Nigeria is open to aligning itself with groups that demonstrate good intentions, well-meaning goals, and clearly defined objectives.
Tuggar stated, “Nigeria has come of age to decide for itself who her partners should be and where they should be; being multiple aligned is in our best interest.”
He emphasized the need for Nigeria to be part of influential groups like BRICS and the G-20, citing criteria such as population and economy size that position Nigeria as a natural candidate.
BRICS, comprising Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa, stands as a formidable bloc of emerging market powers.
In a recent move to expand its influence, BRICS invited six additional nations, including Saudi Arabia, Iran, Egypt, Argentina, Ethiopia, and the United Arab Emirates, to join the group.
Nigeria, as Africa’s largest economy, has been absent from the BRICS alliance, prompting discussions on the potential economic and political advantages the bloc could offer the country.
Analysts have noted that BRICS membership could provide Nigeria with significant leverage on the global stage.
Vice President Kashim Shettima clarified that Nigeria did not apply for BRICS membership after the bloc’s announcement of new members in August.
Shettima emphasized the principled approach of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, highlighting a commitment to consensus building in decisions related to international partnerships.
As Nigeria eyes BRICS membership, the move is seen as a strategic step towards enhancing its global economic and diplomatic influence.
Nigeria Spends N231.27 Billion on Arms Procurement in Four Years Amidst Rising Security Challenges
The Federal Government of Nigeria has disbursed a total of N231.27 billion for arms and ammunition procurement over the past four years.
Despite this significant investment, security agencies argue that the allocated funds are insufficient to effectively tackle the myriad security challenges afflicting the nation.
Chief of Defence Staff, General Christopher Musa, defended the substantial budget for arms purchases during a session with the House of Representatives.
He emphasized that Nigeria’s dependence on foreign countries for military hardware, which are priced in dollars, diminishes the impact of the substantial budget when converted to the local currency.
General Musa explained, “We don’t produce what we need in Nigeria, and if you do not produce what you need, that means you are at the beck and call of the people that produce these items. All the items we procured were bought with hard currency, none in naira.”
He further illustrated the challenges faced, citing that a precision missile for drones costs $5,000, underscoring the magnitude of the expenses associated with arms procurement.
An analysis of the annual budgets for the Ministry of Defence and eight other armed forces from 2020 to 2022 reveals allocations of N11.72 billion, N10.78 billion, and N9.64 billion, respectively.
In 2023, N47.02 billion was disbursed for arms procurement, supplemented by a recently passed budget of N184.25 billion, resulting in a total of N231.27 billion.
Security expert Chidi Omeje raised concerns about the Defence Industries Corporation of Nigeria (DICON), which is tasked with manufacturing arms locally. Omeje criticized DICON’s underperformance, urging the government to revamp the agency to reduce reliance on foreign nations for arms and ammunition.
Omeje stressed, “The new government must make sure that DICON lives up to its responsibilities,” highlighting the urgency of fostering self-sufficiency in arms production to address the country’s security challenges effectively.
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