- FG Raises Panel on New Lagos-Ibadan Rail Construction
The Federal Government has set up a steering committee to monitor the construction of the new Lagos-Ibadan rail line and ensure the delivery of quality job by the contractor.
The Managing Director, Nigerian Railway Corporation, Mr. Fidet Okhria, who disclosed this on Tuesday in a telephone interview with our correspondent, also said the construction work had commenced on the standard gauge rail line with the demolition of all structures on the NRC’s right of way from Apapa, Lagos to Ijoko, Ogun State.
Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo had performed the ground-breaking of the N485bn rail project in Lagos and announced that it would be handled by the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation and be ready in December 2018.
Okheria named the Minister of Transportation, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, as the chairman of the committee, with members comprising the permanent secretary in the ministry, director of rail services, the managing director of the NRC, managing director of the construction company and the project manager.
According to him, the project is the segment two of the new Lagos-Kano rail line, with extension to the Lagos Port Complex, Apapa.
He also said that about 80 per cent of the workers handling the construction work would be Nigerians.
Okheria stated that the NRC had envisaged that its right of way would be required in the future and was therefore careful in granting approval to people for erection of buildings.
He said, “We intentionally did not give approval to many people, because we know that one day, the land will be required. So, we have already mapped out those places we need to remove and the squatters are aware.
“We have told them to remove their valuables before the bulldozers start work. The clearance is going to be total.”
Okheria, however, said the affected occupants/owners of any demolished building with valid documents would be duly compensated.
According to him, the new Lagos-Ibadan rail line will commence operations in January 2019, adding that the project will not affect the running of the narrow gauge line.
“The standard gauge will not affect the narrow gauge. We will continue to run that and improve on it. The normal schedule of train service will not stop because of the new project. The funds are available; it is just for the work to commence,” he said.
Over 2,000 shanties were reportedly demolished along the NRC’s right of way, including five churches, three mosques and two preparatory schools, to clear the area for the project.
The demolition, led by the Chairman of the NRC Committee for the Removal of Illegal Structures, Mr. Anthony Onyokoko, was said to have started at 8am on Friday.
Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority Generates N160.06 Billion in 2020
The Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) generated revenue of N160.06 billion in 2020, according to the latest audited financial reports announced by the Managing Director of NSIA Mr. Uche Orji.
The NSIA income came from devaluation gain of N51 billion, and core income of N109 billion compared to N33.07 billion in 2019.
But Orji lamented: “Covid-19 adversely affected logistics around infrastructure projects, especially the toll road projects and the presidential fertiliser initiative.”
Despite the pandemic, the Authority achieved 33 percent growth in Net Assets to N772.75 billion compared to the previous year’s performance of N579.54 billion.
Orji said the NSIA “received additional contribution of $250 million; and provided first stabilisation support to the Federal Government of $150 million withdrawn from Stabilisation Fund last year.”
The same year, the NSIA received $311 million from funds recovered from the late General Abacha from the United States Department of Justice and Island of Jersey for deployment towards the Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund (PIDF) projects of Abuja-Kaduna-Kano Highway, Lagos Ibadan Expressway and Second Niger Bridge.
In response to COVID-19, Orji said: “NSIA partnered the global Citizen, a not-for profit group, to form the Nigeria Solidarity Support Fund. Separately NSIA acquired and distributed oxygen concentrators to the 21-teaching hospital as part of corporate social responsibility; in addition to staffing support to the Presidential taskforce on COVID-19.”
In 2020, the NSIA “invested additional capital into NG Clearing, the first derivative clearing house in Nigeria to maintain NSIA’s shareholding at 16.5 per cent following the company’s rights issue of 2020″ Orji said.
EFCC Recovers $153m, 80 Assets from Diezani, Says Bawa EFCC Chairman
The Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Abdulrasheed Bawa has said the commission recovered $153 million and 80 properties from the former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke.
Bawa said: “There are several cases surrounding that. As you may have read, I was part of that investigation, and we have done quite a lot. In one of the cases, we recovered $153 million; we have secured the final forfeiture of over 80 properties in Nigeria valued at about $80 million.
“We have done quite a bit on that. The other cases as it relates to the $115 million INEC bribery as the media has sensationalised it, is also ongoing across the federation.”
“We are looking forward to the time when we will, maybe, have her in the country, and of course, review things and see what will happen going forward. The case has certainly not been abandoned.”
Speaking on the trial of former Abia State Governor Orji Uzor Kalu, he said his trial will start soon in Lagos.
Bawa added: “The position is very clear. The EFCC succeeded in 12 years to get him convicted at the Federal High Court. Of course, he went to the Supreme Court, and because the judge that convicted him has been elevated, the ruling was made and the EFCC as a respecter of the rule of law, we have taken it as it is. The Supreme Court has ordered that we should go back to the Federal High Court in Lagos.
“Now, we are at the Federal High Court in Abuja, and we have applied to the court for the case to be transferred to Lagos as ordered by the Supreme Court to enable us start all over again.
“It, however, draws a precedence, and those are the issues; law as the lawyers will say, is a living thing; we had the ACJA in 2015, we have had this problem of elevation of judges from High Court to Court of Appeal, and we pushed that they should be given the opportunity to finish their cases, because some of these cases have taken a very long time.
“We thought we had succeeded in getting this in ACJA, The law was, however, not seen as such. Now, we may have to solve the problem from the constitution, and then, we will be home and dry.”
Nigeria Consumes 93m Litres of Petrol Daily in April 2021
Nigeria’s daily petrol consumption rose to a record-high of 93 million litres in April 2021, according to the latest data from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
The amount represents 77 percent of the 120.80 million litres consumed daily in West Africa despite having just 52 percent of the region’s population.
In previous months, Nigeria consumed 61 million litres on average, therefore, the NNPC stated that the 93 million litres per day consumption is unsustainable.
The sudden surged in petrol consumption was a result of smuggling, according to experts.
“There is no doubt that Nigeria’s present petrol consumption is embarrassing, due to smuggling which is currently a thriving business,” Mike Osatuyi, national operations controller, Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria.
On the allegation that marketers illegally export petrol, Osatuyi asked why the five security agencies across the borders are unable to stop it.
Smuggling of petrol across the borders is becoming more intense as Nigeria inches closer to full deregulation, one stakeholder said. Despite over 95 million Nigerians in poverty, the country inadvertently pays for cheap petrol across West Africa.
“It means Nigeria is financing the economies of neighbouring countries,” Osatuyi said. “Nigeria should not be consuming more than 50 million litres per day.”
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