- FG to Introduce Speed Cameras on Nigeria’s Roads
The federal government has disclosed it will introduce speed cameras on Nigeria’s roads to help the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) curtail excessive speeding by motorists and improve safe use of the roads.
The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, said this yesterday after he inspected ongoing repair works on the different sections of the Abuja-Kaduna Expressway ahead of the planned closure of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja and diversion of air traffic to the Kaduna Airport.
Fashola also explained that repair works on the road has recorded some impressive progress with 130 out of its 160 kilometres already covered.
Fashola said in a statement from his senior special adviser on communications, Mr. Hakeem Bello in Abuja, that he saw an accident that occurred a day before his visit, and that most accidents on Nigerian roads were not necessarily from failed road networks but from irresponsible use of the roads by drivers who he alleged were less qualified to drive on the roads.
He noted that his ministry would support the FRSC to improve safe use of Nigerian roads, and advocated for the retraining for drivers.
The FRSC, he stated, has continued to address the problem in terms of education, enlightenment and the introduction of speed limiting devices but that his ministry would further their efforts in the short to medium terms by introducing some speed cameras to deter people from excessive speeding.
“I think that it is fair to say that not many people who manage vehicles on our roads are actually trained to manage vehicles on the roads; many people are auxiliary drivers for want of something better to do. There are rules in the operation and utilisation of automobiles,” said Fashola.
The minister also said that it was the job of the government to ensure safe use of roads and that it was not going to give it up.
On the outcome of his inspection, Fashola said the work on the road was an emergency repair and not a reconstruction which he said would come later after an ongoing procurement exercise on it is concluded.
According to him, the repair works would essentially remove the potholes and reduce the risk of accidents.
“The work that is being done here, you must understand this is a road of more than 160 kilometres. We are at kilometre 130 from Abuja. So, the work that is being done as I said is an emergency intervention essentially to remove the dangerous potholes and eliminate potential hazards that could cause accidents for motorists on this road.
“So, the road needs to be rebuilt because it has been subjected to a lot of axle load. But what we are doing right now is emergency repairs to remove the potholes to make the road safe for commuters ahead of the planned reconstruction and repair of the Abuja Airport runway which will lead to a diversion of air traffic and passengers from Abuja to Kaduna which will start on the 8th of March,” he said.
He added that the role of his ministry was to make the road motorable and safe for commuters, and that it would be delivered on time for use.
“You can see that some sections have been resurfaced completely but that is not the main reconstruction of the road; let us be clear about what is happening here.
“The whole purpose of this contract is to cover the potholes on the 160 kilometres road two lanes on one side and two lanes on the other side; so that is really to cover 620 kilometres of potholes; that is a contract for N1 billion.
“So, let’s be clear about that. This is emergency short term. When the Bureau for Public Procurement (BPP) gives the no objection contract, we will start when the airport runway would have been completed,” he stated.
SERAP Urges FG to Slash Politicians’ Allowances
The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has urged the Chairman of Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC), Elias Mbam, to urgently review upward the remuneration, allowances, and conditions of service for Nigerian Judges, and reduce the remuneration of President Muhammadu Buhari and other political office-holders in order to address the persistent poor treatment of Judges, and improve access of victims of corruption to justice.
The appeal came on the heels of a nationwide industrial action by the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) to press home their demand for financial autonomy for the judicial arm of government, and the federal government silence on the judiciary workers’ strike that has grounded court activities across the country.
In a letter dated April 10, 2021, which was signed by SERAP Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare, the organisation said Judges should get all they are reasonably entitled to, and that it is unfair, illegal, unconstitutional, and discriminatory to continue to treat Judges as second-class people, while high-ranking political office holders enjoy lavish salaries and allowances.
SERAP expressed concern that the remuneration and allowances of Judges have fallen substantially behind the average salaries and allowances of political office-holders such as president, vice-president, governors and their deputies, as well as members of the National Assembly.
The letter read in part: “According to our information, the last review of the remuneration, allowances, and conditions of service for political, public and judicial office holders carried out by RMAFC in 2009 shows huge disparity between the remuneration and allowances of judges and those of political office holders.
“Judges’ work is very considerable but they cannot give their entire time to their judicial duties without the RMAFC reviewing upward their remuneration and allowances, and closing the gap and disparity between the salaries of judges and those of political office holders such as the president, vice-president, governors and their deputies, as well as lawmakers.
“We would therefore be grateful if the recommended measures are taken within 14 days of the receipt and/or publication of this letter. If we have not heard from you by then, the Incorporated Trustees of SERAP shall take all appropriate legal actions to compel the RMAFC to comply with our requests.”
COVAX Delivered 38m Vaccine Doses To Over 100 Countries, Says WHO
The World Health Organisation (WHO) yesterday announced that more than 100 countries have received life-saving COVID-19 vaccines from COVAX, the global mechanism for equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines.
It said the milestone comes 42 days after the first COVAX doses were shipped and delivered internationally, to Ghana on February 24th.
In a statement, the United Nations’ Agency revealed that COVAX has now delivered more than 38 million doses across six continents, supplied by three manufacturers – AstraZeneca, Pfizer-BioNTech and the Serum Institute of India (SII).
Of the over 100 economies reached, 61 are among the 92 lower-income economies receiving vaccines funded through the Gavi COVAX Advance Market Commitment (AMC).
It, however, said despite reduced supply availability in March and April – the result of vaccine manufacturers scaling and optimising their production processes in the early phase of the rollout, as well as increased demand for COVID-19 vaccines in India – COVAX expects to deliver doses to all participating economies that have requested vaccines in the first half of the year.
According to the CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, Dr. Seth Berkley, “In under four months since the very first mass vaccination outside a clinical setting anywhere in the world, it is tremendously gratifying that the roll-out of COVAX doses has already reached 100 countries.
“COVAX may be on track to deliver to all participating economies in the first half of the year yet we still face a daunting challenge as we seek to end the acute stage of the pandemic: we will only be safe when everybody is safe and our efforts to rapidly accelerate the volume of doses depend on the continued support of governments and vaccine manufacturers. As we continue with the largest and most rapid global vaccine rollout in history, this is no time for complacency.”
The WHO Director-General, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said: “COVAX has given the world the best way to ensure the fastest, most equitable rollout of safe and effective vaccines to all at-risk people in every country on the planet.
“If we are going to realise this great opportunity, countries, producers and the international system must come together to prioritise vaccine supply through COVAX. Our collective future, literally, depends on it.”
Approved Ibom Deep Sea Port, Proposed $1.4B Fertilizer Plant Will Change Akwa Ibom’s Economic Status – Gov. Udom
Akwa Ibom State Government has said the approved Ibom Deep Seaport and the proposed $1.4 billion Fertilizer and Ammonia Plant are expected to change the economic status of the state.
The State Governor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel, made the assertion in an Easter message to the people of the state.
He maintained that with the recent approval and take off of the federal government’s approved Oil and Gas Free Zone and the ongoing construction of the Sterling Petrochemical Plant at Eastern Obolo, the state would be ready to dump its status as a civil service state.
The governor said the fertilizer and ammonia plants should be supported by all indegenes and residents irrespective of political affiliation because of its capacity to change the economic fortunes of the state.
The governor who commended President Muhammadu Buhari for approving the industrial projects in the state said construction work on the Ibom Deep Seaport would commence very soon.
“In recent past, we have been blessed with life-changing projects such as Sterling Petrochemical Plant in Eastern Obolo, where construction is in an advanced stage.
“Two months ago, the Federal Executive Council, (FEC) approved the license for us to commence the construction of our long desired Ibom Deep Seaport. Work would soon commence on this gigantic project. These are huge achievements for our State and our people.
“Ibom Deep Seaport will open up our economic fortunes; create employment and wealth opportunities for our people and throw open our State as a major maritime hub in our nation.
“We thank the President and the Commander in-Chief of the Nigerian Armed Forces, Muhammadu Buhari (GCFR) for this kind approval,” he said.
Continuing, Emmanuel said: “About three weeks ago, we signed a $1.4 billion Fertilizer and Ammonia plant with our Moroccan counterparts. The plant will again create huge employment and other supply chain activities for our people, which will transform us from a civil service oriented state to a fast industrialising one.
“These are huge achievements that should gladden the hearts of every Akwa Ibomite irrespective of political affiliations.”
He reminded the people of the state that the essence of Easter would be lost if the resurrection of Christ is not allowed to illuminate their souls through love and sacrifice to one another.
“Let the fishermen in the ocean fronts of Mbo, Okobo, Eastern Obolo and Ibeno love one another. Let the farmers in the rice plantations at Ini, Ikono, Ika, Onna and Nsit Ibom love one another.
“Let the civil servants and public servants, politicians in all political parties, members of all denominations, preachers of all faiths, love one another.
“When we let love drive our every action and every thought, when we let it drip from our lips and from our hands, then shall the joy of Easter be complete, and our State shall surely attain the lofty height set for it by our ancestors when they named it Akwa Abasi Ibom State.” the Governor stated.
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