The Federal Ministry of Works and Housing has set aside N100m in the 2021 budget for the rehabilitation of the Ife-Ifewara Road which had been fixed by the General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Pastor Enoch Adeboye.
The road was rehabilitated free by Adeboye as part of the church’s Social Corporate Responsibility at the cost of N188,440,342.00.
As a result of this, the Senate is currently probing the Ministry of Works and Housing for paying N145m to a construction firm, Cartil Construction Nigeria Limited, as a reimbursement for the road.
The matter is currently being handled by the Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions, following a petition written to the panel by the church.
However, our correspondent, who obtained a copy of the Ministry of Works and Housing’s 2021 budget, observed that the ministry allocated yet another N100m as payment to the contractors for the rehabilitation of the Ife-Ifewara Road.
Details of the allocation are: Account code – 23030113; rehabilitation/repair of roads; fund code – 03101; fund name – Capital Development Fund; programme code – ERGP12153874; Rehabilitation of Ife-Ifewara Road in Osun State, C/No 6105 N100m.
When contacted, the chairman of the Senate panel handling the case, Senator Ayo Akinyelure, said the officials of the RCCG, those of the Ministry of Works and Housing, and management of the construction firm had been asked to appear before the committee on Thursday, April 15.
A senior official of the RCCG, Pastor Niyi Adebanjo, had in a petition submitted to the Senate alleged that the Ministry of Works and Housing officials paid N151m to the management of Cartil Construction Nigeria Limited as part payment for the road project awarded to it but abandoned.
Adebanjo submitted the petition on behalf of Adeboye while the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, referred the document to the Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions.
The petition was laid by the Chairman of the Committee on behalf of Lawan, on Tuesday, February 9, 2021.
The RCCG, in the petition, alleged that the construction firm claimed the sum of N151,508,901.22 as reimbursement for the rehabilitation of the Ife-Ifewara Road in Osun State which the church constructed.
Part of the petition read, “The rehabilitation of the road was awarded and paid for by Pastor Enoch Adeboye in the sum of N188,440,342.00, hence the claim by Cartil Construction Nigeria Limited was illegal and unjust.
“The church hereby requests the Senate to look into the matter and, among others, urge the firm to refund the money it collected to the coffers of the Federal Government.”
Speaking before the panel under oath, Adebanjo said, “Pastor EA Adeboye employed the services of the construction department of the RCCG to execute the project between August 26, 2016 and 2019 and the total cost was over N188m.
“The project started from Eruwa junction in Ife and Garage Olode in Ifewara, which is 8.2km. We have the details of all the seven companies that supplied us with the materials used to execute the project.
“They delivered all the materials on site. We have supplied details of the projects to the committee. While the project was ongoing, authorities of the Nigerian Correctional Service pleaded with Pastor Adeboye to extend the construction to their premises which was done.
“There are people at Ife and Ifewara who can testify to the fact that Pastor Adeboye constructed the road because he visited the palace where the Oba appreciated him for constructing the road.
“We were, therefore, shocked when we found out that somebody is trying to defraud the Nigerian state by claiming money for a project he never executed.”
An official at Cartil Construction Nigeria Limited, Olalekan Jimoh, was put on oath to address the panel on behalf of the managing director, who Jimoh claimed could not speak the English language.
Jimoh debunked the allegations by the RCCG, saying the contract for the construction of the road was awarded to his construction firm in 2010 for the sum of over N600m to rehabilitate the road under reference.
He said only N145m had been paid to the company.
“Cartil Construction Limited was duly given an award letter and the description of works to be done,” he said.
Jimoh said the staff of the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing in Abuja and those in Osun State were constantly supervising the project which is still ongoing.
“Up until March 2020, there were communications between us and the Federal Government,” Jimoh said.
He, therefore, urged the Senate committee to summon officials of the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing for questioning so as to correct the impression that the firm fraudulently collected money for projects it did not execute.
However, a member of the Senate panel, who is the Senator representing the area under reference, Francis Fadahunsi, faulted the submissions of the construction company.
He said, “I visited the road personally and I complained to the Minister of Works and Housing (Babatunde Fashola) and told him that the road was abandoned due to the sickness of the managing director of the construction company.
“The minister then promised that another contractor would take over the project because the road had been abandoned.
“It was when armed robbers capitalised on the poor state of the road that Pastor Adeboye came to the aid of the people.”
Ruling on the matter, the Senate committee chairman, Akinyelure, directed the secretariat to write the directors and supervising engineers in charge of the project to appear before the panel.
He said, “The engineers from the Ministry of Works and Housing should come and tell us their own side of the story. The directors of works too should be summoned.
“We will listen to them before we carry out the physical assessment of the road as part of our oversight functions.”
Gideon John, Wale Akinola Win VBank Snooker & Billiards Tournament
The 2021 VBank Open Snooker and Billiards Tournament held in partnership with the Lagos Country Club, Ikeja, closed in grand style over the weekend, with Gideon John emerging the biggest winner of the night after defeating Shehu Bamidele, 3-0. Wale Akintola took the billiards game in an exciting 150 to 135 win.
The tournament which kicked off on Tuesday, 6th April 2021, had 32 initial players before whittling down to the Top 4 who played their hearts out last Saturday. Victor Ukueku bested Abiodun Christopher in a match of five frames to clinch the third-place prize of N80,000 and consolation prizes.
Speaking at the colourful closing ceremony, Head, Marketing and Corporate Communications, VFD Group, Efeturi Doghudje thanked the management of Lagos Country Club for a successful competition and all the players for conducting themselves professionally. “I thank the president of LCC, the patrons, captain and members of the Snooker and Billiards section and the guests that are here to witness and cheer the players. Your presence shows the importance you attach to this championship. On behalf of Vbank, I congratulate the winners and hope that you continue to represent the sports at all levels “
A delighted Gideon John walked away with the highest cash prize of N150,000 and an extra sum of N20,000 being prize money for the Highest Break of the Snookers tournament, which he set at 38. First runner up, Shehu Bamidele, won N100,000 in cash prize as well as branded gifts.
Similarly, for the Billiards Championship which held simultaneously, top 3 winners emerged Friday. First-place winner, Wale Akinola, received N100,000 cash while Edafe Agbah came third winning N50,000 only. Snooker’s Victor Ukueku took second place in the billiards tourney winning another N80,000. It was a night of pleasant surprises and upsets.
VBank, the digital banking app and product of VFD Microfinance bank, continues to blaze the trail in its identification with Snooker games as this is its second Snooker tournament in six months, each time giving away fabulous prizes and cash gift. In closing this tourney, the section captain at LCC, Osasogie Osazuwa, was grateful for a successful hosting.
Chad’s President Idriss Déby Dies After Soldier Clash With Rebels
Idriss Déby, who ruled with an iron fist for three decades and had just secured his sixth term in office, was considered by the West a linchpin in the fight against Islamist extremism in central Africa.
President Idriss Déby of Chad died of wounds sustained in clashes between insurgents and government soldiers, the country’s armed forces said on Tuesday, one day after he had claimed victory in his re-election campaign.
According to the New York Times, It was reported that a spokesman appeared on state television to inform the nation that Mr. Déby, who became feared by his own people over three decades of iron-fisted rule in Chad, was dead.
Mr. Déby had enjoyed the support of France and the United States because his military forces were seen as key to battling Islamist extremism in the central Sahel region. His contribution to the fight against groups like Boko Haram in neighboring Nigeria was viewed as critical in the broader effort to combat terrorism. He, therefore, received robust Western support despite accusations of human rights violations and crackdowns on the opposition during his rule.
There were many questions surrounding Mr. Déby’s death, including how exactly he was killed and what he was doing visiting an area where conflict was raging, if indeed he was.
The late president’s son, Mahamat Idriss Déby, will take over as the head of a new transitional military council that will rule for 18 months before new elections are held, the spokesman said. The government and national assembly were suspended, borders closed and a two-week mourning period announced.
The news was relayed to the country by a man who was identified as a spokesman for a transitional military council, Gen. Azem Bermandoa.
“The president of the republic, head of state, supreme chief of the army, Idriss Déby Itno, just drew his last breath while defending the nation’s integrity on the battlefield,” the spokesman, surrounded by soldiers and wearing a red beret and army fatigues, said in the broadcast.
On the same day as the presidential election, April 11, rebels crossed the northern border from Libya. Mr. Déby, 68, had been on the front lines in the north of the central African country, directing the fight against the rebel incursion, according to his campaign director, Mahamat Zen Bada.
Those rebels, from a group called the Front for Change and Concord in Chad, moved southward in several columns and claimed to have “liberated” a province of the country last week.
They reportedly beat a retreat to the north on Monday night, after reports of heavy losses on both rebel and government sides. But for the roughly 1.5 million residents of Ndjamena, the capital, solid information was hard to come by, with rumors spreading furiously.
Late into the night, gunshots rang out across the capital, though it was unclear why. Some residents theorized that the military had been celebrating victory after the rebels had fallen back.
Mr. Déby had been scheduled to give a victory speech on Monday to celebrate winning his sixth term in office, but his campaign director said that he had instead visited Chadian soldiers battling insurgents advancing on Ndjamena.
“The candidate would have liked to have been here to celebrate,” Mr. Zen Bada, the campaign director, had said, according to local news reports. “But right now, he is alongside our valiant defense and security forces to fight the terrorists threatening our territory.”
Over the three decades, since Mr. Déby seized power, he faced a number of challenges to his rule. Rebels reached the capital in 2006 and 2008. The president’s forces fought them off, with the “discreet” support of France, according to academics focused on Chad.
But in 2019, when Chad asked the French force in the Sahel for help in dealing with another incursion, Paris was less discreet about the support and obliged by launching a series of airstrikes on the rebels.
Jean-Yves Le Drian, the French foreign minister, told Parliament at the time, “France intervened militarily to prevent a coup d’état.”
Mr. Déby was re-elected largely on the promise of restoring peace and security to a country gripped by years of violence instigated by insurgent groups. Tensions rose in the days before the latest elections, but officials had urged calm.
On Monday, security forces and armored vehicles were posted to Ndjamena’s streets, prompting residents of the capital to fill up their tanks with gas, pick up their children early from school and hunker down at home. Chad’s communications minister had called for calm and wrote on Twitter on Monday that the presence of the security personnel had been “misinterpreted.”
Africanews, Part of the Euronews Group, Celebrates its Fifth Anniversary
Africanews, part of the Euronews group, will celebrate its fifth anniversary on 20th April 2021. To mark the event, the pan-African news channel will offer special coverage from 19th April to 9th May and will launch a new brand campaign.
The special coverage will look back at what has happened in Africa in the last five years, how the continent is rising today to the challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as what perspectives, hopes and aspirations people in Africa have for the next five years.
High-profile interviews of voices shaping the African continent in various sectors such as the economy, culture, health, sport, diplomacy, or tech will air daily. These will include Haweya Mohamed, the Franco Somali co-founder of tech company Afrobytes, Samuel Eto’o, Cameroonian international football player, Carlos Lopes, High Representative of the Commission of the African Union, Femi Kuti, Nigerian Musician, son of Fela Kuti, creator of Afrobeat, Phumla Williams, Director-General of the South African Government Communication and Information Systems department in charge of the Covid-19 strategy, Angélique Kidjo, the Grammy award winner singer from Benin, and Didier Drogba, international football player from the Ivory Coast.
Special editions of ‘Morning Call’, presented by Laetitia Lago and ‘Night Shift’, presented by award-winning Nigerian journalist Jerry Fisayo Bambi, will air on 20th April to look back on five years of Africanews. That week, the channel will also air special “fifth anniversary” editions of its flagship shows ‘Business Africa’ and ‘Inspire Africa’, which bring a unique perspective to developments of the continent across economic, cultural and business and entrepreneurial initiatives.
Michael Peters, Euronews and Africanews CEO, said: “We are proud of all that Africanews has achieved in the last five years, it has grown its audience reach and has become a recognisable brand with a unique positioning as an independent unbiased multilingual media made for Africa. Today, Africanews is distributed in over 35 million homes and over 40 countries in Africa, but also in the UK and the USA. Almost half of Africans are aware of Africanews. Audiences are steadily increasing both on TV and digital platforms: Africanews’ social media channels boast 1 million followers/ subscribers and page views on its website & app have increased by over 100% in the last six months alone. We look forward to growing further Africanews’ offer and reach in the next five years.”
Alongside the editorial coverage, Africanews will launch a brand campaign under the tagline “Proud to make your voice heard”, aiming to reinforce Africanews’ mission to cover and amplify the diversity of African voices, to connect Africans with the continent and the rest of the world. The campaign will run across various supports: digital, print, OOH. Content will also appear on partner platforms as well as on Africanews’ owned and operated platforms.
Jerry Fisayo Bambi, Africanews presenter, said: “Today, more than ever, Africanews strives to make African voices heard, through our news bulletins and shows like ‘Inspire Africa’ which I host. Our diversity, and commitment to telling African stories through fact-based impartial journalism, and our increasing reach across the continent sets us apart. I can’t wait to see what we will achieve in the next five years.”
Africanews is the only independent international multilingual news channel made for Africa. Launched in 2016, Africanews reports breaking news from the ground and delivers unbiased reporting. Africanews is available 24/7, both on TV and on digital platforms, in French and in English. With a team of 50 correspondents representing the diversity of Africa, Africanews showcases all the voices shaping the future of the continent.
Both Euronews and Africanews are widely distributed in Africa and beyond. With a combined reach of more than 50% of upscale Africans across the continent, the Euronews group’s commercial team works with brands across the African continent, developing advertising, sponsorship, branded content and specialist events to engage with this affluent and influential audience.
Marianne Michelet, Commercial Director for Africa at the Euronews group, said: “Our direct sales teams and our partners at DSTV in South Africa, work with brands and governments from across the continent, including the likes of Brand South Africa, MTN, Vodacom, African Development Bank and OCP as well as international brands from around the world who are seeking to target this highly attractive and growing audience, recent partners include Orange, Novartis, DP World and many more.”
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