Federal Government has lost about N531 million in revenue on the suspended Abuja to Kaduna train service.
The Managing Director, Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC), Mr Fidet Okhiria disclosed that the country has lost N531 million between March 28 when terrorists attacked Abuja to Kaduna train to September 2022.
Okhiria noted that the money would have been remitted to the federal government.
It would be recalled that terrorists unleashed an attack on the Abuja to Kaduna trail which led to the death of eight passengers. About 41 others were injured while scores were kidnapped.
Although some of those that were kidnapped have been released, about 22 are still in the den of the terrorists. Reports had it that about 970 passengers were onboard the train during the attack.
In response, the Nigerian Railway Corporation halt service along the Abuja to Kaduna train corridor.
According to the Managing Director of NRC, while speaking to newsmen in Lagos, he said the corporation will not resume service on Abuja to Kaduna rail until all those who remain with the terrorist are released.
The Managing Director further disclosed that four members of the railway corporation are among those still held captive.
He, however, expressed optimism that all those still in captivity will soon be released. He noted that the Minister of Transportation is leading the struggle for the safe release of those still in captivity.
Meanwhile, the federal government has set up a committee to ensure maximum security for train passengers and all train facilities. The committee is to liaise with the appropriate ministries and agencies to fine-tune a safer railway system.
“We are talking about present-day technology so that we can have real-time monitoring. We will also be deploying a lot of security agencies to be at strategic locations”.
Some of the places the committee has visited include the office of the Inspector General of Police(IG) and the Ministry of Information.
Abuja to Kaduna Train Service to Resume on Monday, November 28, 2022
Barring any last-minute change, Abuja to Kaduna train service is expected to resume operation on Monday, November 28, 2022.
This is coming after eight months when operation along the route was suspended due to a deadly terrorist attack on the train.
It could be recalled that the attack which happened at night led to the death of no less than eight people while 168 passengers were kidnapped.
Early this month, the minister of transportation, Mu’azu Sambo disclosed during a presidential briefing that Abuja to Kaduna train service will resume operation before the end of this month, Investors King learnt.
Mu’azu noted that following the release of the last badge of those that were held hostage, the ministry has been putting security measures in place to forestall any future occurrence of such a sad experience.
Sources confirmed that contractors were at the Idu rail station to install the tracker and cameras which will enhance security along the train corridor.
Speaking in the same line, the Managing Director of the Nigeria Railway Corporation, Fidet Okhiria disclosed that the government has set up a high-level committee that will fine-tune a way to ensure adequate security for both the train passengers and the facilities.
“Government has set up a committee to ensure maximum security for both train passengers and facilities during operation. We believe proper security measures should be put in place and until then, the Federal Government won’t approve the functioning of the train station,” Okhira stated in September.
Meanwhile, the federal government has stated that millions of Nigerians will soon prefer to travel by train as the government is committed to connecting virtually all states in Nigeria to the train services.
The ministers of transportation who disclosed this during a working visit to the train station in Lagos State noted that the ministry has a number of ongoing rail projects which include Lagos to Kano, Port Harcourt-Maiduguri, and Kaduna to Kano.
He revealed that at the completion of the rail projects, it will be much easier for Nigeria to commute from one state to another.
Increase in Price of Food is Imminent; Farmers Association Warns
Farmers under the aegis of the Smallholder Women Farmers Organisation in Nigeria (SWOFON) have joined a growing list of associations and experts who have warned of food scarcity in Nigeria.
SWOFON noted during an event in Abuja that Nigerians will likely spend more on food if the federal government failed to address the challenges faced by farmers due to flooding.
Investors King had reported that a series of ravaging floods destroyed several houses and farmlands across the country.
According to the National President of SWOFON, Mary Afan, if relevant government agencies failed to give financial aid to farmers and improve security around the country, it could lead to high cost of food which might result in increased hunger for the vulnerable Nigerians.
“The implication of this massive flooding is that the prices of food will rise higher owing to its unavailability.
“This will deal a great blow to the over 90 million Nigerians currently leaving below the poverty line and the over 21 million Nigerians currently experiencing acute hunger,” the president noted.
She noted that small farmers who are women have lost many of their farmlands due to the ravaging floods. She added that members of the association are also short of seeds to plant during the next farming season.
“While some farmers are gradually returning to their homes as the water recedes to pick up whatever is left of the destruction, others cannot go back home or to their farms. Some have lost the courage to start all over and others have totally lost hope,” she lamented.
Also speaking at the event, the Director-General of the Budget Office of the Federation, Prof Ben Akabueze admonished the association to seek federal government intervention through the national assembly.
It could be recalled that the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajiya Sadiya Umar Farouq had disclosed that about 123,000 farmlands were partially destroyed while about 392,000 farmlands were totally destroyed due to the devastating floods.
Nigerian Governors Forum Rejects Sale of 10 Power Plants by FG, Considers Legal Action
State governors objected sales of 10 power plants
The 36 state governors in Nigeria under the aegis of the Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF) have announced their rejection of the sale of 10 power plants in the country.
The governors who issued a communique noted that they going to file a lawsuit against the federal government to stop the privatisation.
According to the communique which was signed by the chairman of the Nigerian Governors Forum, Aminu Tambuwal, the forum has ordered its lawyers to approach the federal high court to stop the privatisation.
They argued that the power plants which are under the National Integrated Power Projects (NIPPs) and managed by the Niger Delta Power Holding Company (NDPHC) are owned by the three tiers of government. That is the federal, state governments, and local government councils.
Investors King could recall that in 2021, the National Council on Privatisation (NCP) approved the adoption of a fast-track strategy for the privatisation of five major power plants. The power plants include Geregu II in Kogi State, Omotosho II in Ondo State, Ihovbor in Edo State, Olorunsogo II in Ogun State, and Calabar power plants.
Other power-generating companies lined up for privatisation include Omoku Generation Company, Ogorode Generation Company, Gbarain Generation Company, Alaoji Generation Company, and Egebma Generation Company.
Although the House of Representatives had also objected to the privatisation, the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) nonetheless announced that it has commenced due diligence assessment of the 16 pre-qualified investors shortlisted for the acquisition of the plants. A development that is in contrast to the position of the state governors.
Meanwhile, the governors’ forum also noted that it is working with the federal government to address the issue of flooding which has ravaged many homes and farmlands across the country.
The forum stated that all the affected states are collaborating with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, National Emergency Management Agency, the CBN, and the World Bank to ensure emergency interventions to ameliorate the adverse impact of the devastating flood.
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