By Friday Idachaba
Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi has urged youths in the country to use the commemoration of the 2021 International Peace Day to embrace peace in all ramifications to engender positive development across the nation.
Bello made the call on Tuesday in Lokoja at the end of a Peace Walk for youths in commemoration of the 2021 International Peace Day theme, “Recovering better for an equitable and sustainable world.”
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the peace walk was organised by ActionAid Nigeria in collaboration with the Participation Initiative for Behavioural Change in Development (PIBCID).
Bello who was represented by the state Commissioner for Youths and Sports Development, Alhaji Idris Musa said without peace, harmonious co-existence and development were unattenable and illusive.
He attributed the rampant cases of banditry and kidnapping in some parts of the country to compromise by some individuals and corrupt community leaders.
Bello said that it was against this backdrop that his administration had continued to exhibit unwavering commitment to formidable security and provision of needed support for security agencies in the state towards ensuring internal security.
The governor also hinted his government had established the state Youth Commission to chart the way forward for youths, address issues concerning them and as well, curtail restiveness.
With the establishment of the Commission, he said, youths in the state now had direction and were more focused than ever before, to take charge and holistically address their issues.
Speaking earlier, Mrs Ene Obi, Actionaid Nigeria County Director, represented by Mr Adewale Adedotun urged Kogi Government to sustain the gains recorded in security and promotion of peaceful coexistence in the state.
Also speaking, Hajia Fatima Buba, the state Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development, said there was nothing as “sweet and delicious” as having peace and urged them to embrace peace at all times.
She said her ministry would leave no stone unturned in reinforcing the campaign for peace adding that despite the negative report of security lapses in other parts of the country remained in the lead in terms peace in Nigeria.
Ms Halima Sadiq, Executive Director, PIBCID, urged youths to approach issues with liberal mind saying that peace was necessary for a peaceful state.
Sadiq enjoined youths in the state to show love and shun violence stressing that they should not organise the themselves and the state rather than agonise.
Senate Probes budget office over illegal N19 billion paid to four MDAs without approval of finance minister
Senate has commenced investigation into illegal payment of N19 billion to four agencies by the Budget office without approval of the Finance minister
Budget Office hiwever, failed to appear before the Senate Public Accounts Committee on the querry over payment of N19 billion to four agencies through verbal directive by the Director General of Budget Office in 2015.
The committee hinged the Investigation of the budget office on the 2016 Auditor General’s Report which is currently considered by the pael
Chaired by Senator Matthew Urhoghide.
The budget Office was number one on the list of the agencies expected to respond to the Auditor General’s query, but failed to appear before the Lawmakers.
The budget office in a written response to the Auditor General’s Query said, “the details of MDAs under the reference have not been provided to the usb to enable us respond appropriately.
The Auditor In the 2016 report said, that ” Four MDAs were paid the sum of N19 billion from the service wide vote without the approval of the Honorable Minister of Finance
“Some of the payment were made on a purported verbal directive from the Director General.
“This Act is against Financial Regulations 301 and 302 which stated that ” Recurrent expenditure is paid from CRF and no expenditure may be incured except on the authority of a warrant issued by the Minister of Finance.
“The Director General should provide evidence of approval from the Ministry of Finance for these expenditures or recover the sum of N19 billion from benefiting MDAs.”
Why the National Inland Water ways must work efficiently by Moghalu
The challenges witnessed in the maritime sector can only be addressed when inland waterways become fully functional the Managing Director of the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), Dr. George Moghalu has said.
Speaking recently in Abuja at the innauguration of NIWA Abuja Liason Office by the Minister of Transportation he said to start with only about 3,000 of the 10,000 kilometres of the Nigerian waterways are navigable.
“All over the world, bulk cargo is either moved by water or by rail but more by rail and our cannot be different. We have over 10,000 kilometres of waterways in this country, as we speak today it is slightly over 3000 that is only navigable which for me is scandalous.”
He said the ubder utilization of the Inland Water Ways is the reason goods that come in to the country or those that are export bound overstay their shelf life at the Apapa Port
He said the delay makes the goods which are mostly perishable lose quality thereby making the transporter incur financial losses.
According to Moghalu, the goods are rejected because the goods spend over three months before they are processed for shipping.
Hence he said there was the need to open up Onitsha river port, adding that about 60 percent of goods shipped into the country through Apapa port are destined for Onitsha and Aba.
He said: “We are interested in getting goods to move. Exporters are lamenting that their goods sometimes spend three months at the export terminal in Apapa and another two months before it gets moved.
“We don’t have exclusivity to these goods and that why we get lots of rejection, they generally say products from Nigeria are not good not knowing that at the point where you took them, they were world-class quality but by the time we suffer delays at the port when it gets to its destination, it is gone bad.”
On the essence of functional waterways, he said: “I believe very strongly that not and until we develop inland waterways the way they should be, will the challenges we have in the maritime today be solved.
“It is when the inland waterways become fully functional that we will decongest Apapa port. It is when it is fully functional that we will save our road infrastructure from total decay because our roads are not designed to carry the weight they are carrying
“If we do a little investment in our waterway infrastructure, a lot will be achieved for the benefit of this country.”
On the decongestion of Apapa port, the NIWA boss said: “We cannot have a world-class port in Onitsha and Apapa port is congested. Meanwhile, over 60 per cent of the cargoes are destined for Onitsha and Aba.
“So, why can’t we move these cargoes directly to Onitsha? I don’t expect the mask vessels to come to Onitsha but badges can move from Apapa to Onitsha and offload the goods. We are going to save transporters lots of costs and at the same time, it is convenient for the operators.”
Moghalu also said plans are underway to concession Onitsha river port before the end of the year.
“Onitsha river port, in no distant time, we are going to conclude with the concessioning process. I am sure before the end of this year, we would have concluded with Onitsha river port concessioning.”
On the security on the waterways, he said: “We have started the process of distributing patrol boats. We have released three patrol boats to Lagos and by next week, the minister of transportation will be in Port Harcourt to commission some of our patrol boats, top boats and houseboats so that we can deploy them.
“We are deploying patrol boats all over our waterways to ensure that security is addressed and people obey required protocols to get things in place”.
The Nigerian Export-Import Bank (NEXIM) has promised to boost trade across Africa when its sea transportation and logistics company becomes operational.
The Managing Director of the Bank, Abba Bello while on a courtesy visit on NIWA Managkng Director requested a continued partnership with NIWA to ensure trade open up across African countries
The company which is christened sealink company is expected to raise the ante in trading across Africa.
On what the company would contribute to the economy, Bello said: “There is enormous potential and one of the biggest aside from the creation of jobs which comes automatically in the maritime industry and other sectors that will open up, for instance, is mining.
“Today mining contributes only 3percent to the GDP and while there are challenges, one of the things stopping the development of that industry is the evacuation of the mineral, many of them are heavy minerals and we don’t have the logistics capacity to move them to the ports for evacuation.
“Luckily, most of the mineral resources are within the central area and the river cuts across and we think that by operationalising the see link consortium, one of the biggest beneficiaries will be the mining sectors; jobs will be created, and additional revenue.
“We all know what is happening in Apapa, we cannot continue relying on Apapa as the only evacuation and receiving port in Nigeria. So, we have to look at other jetties.
“Baro port, we hope you will allow us to use the port when we start maybe in terms of the partnership or you lease it out to sealink but any option that will be beneficial to the economy will be welcomed by us”.
Obasanjo urges better participation to solve housing deficit
Former President of Nigeria, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo GCFR, has called for increased partnership of the private and public sectors in the housing industry, since the problem of housing is everybody’s business.
Obasanjo made the call at the last day of “National House Fair 5.0” NHF in a virtual speech, where he commended the Group for the introduction of the “metro shelter” scheme aimed at decentralising movement from rural to urban areas.
He stated that BSTAN Group cannot remedy the housing deficit alone, stressing that government at all levels as well as the private sector needed to do more in ensuring that the housing deficit is reduced to.the bearest minimum.
He said, “Housing is one of the essential requirements of humankind. Here, let me commend what BSTAN Group has been doing in providing affordable accommodation all over Nigeria.
“They have covered about a third of the states in the country. There’s still a lot to be done, but once again I will say, more grease to their elbow.
“What exactly are they doing? They work on what they call metro housing scheme; which is to actually ensure that houses are spread to new organised areas, organised in the sense that, wherever you have around 1000 people, they become what you can call an organised area.
“So what you need is affordable housing, businesses, employment opportunities so that people can stay as close to where they are working as possible and this idea is a very welcome development, and again I will commend Bstan for metro housing.
“BSTAN alone cannot carry this baggage by itself, it has to work with others in the private sector, it has to work with government at the local Government level, state level and at the Federal level, Regional level; like the ECOWAS and such other regions in Africa.
“I will urge and plead with Government in Nigeria at every level to work hand in hand with the private sector; the likes of BSTAN to develop and implement more housing system.”
He said by so doing they will bring affordable houses to little urban communities so that they can be encouraged to remain in their location rather than move to large locations which will create other problems.
Obasanjo expressed his belief in what BSTAN group is doing in housing development and provision of housing at affordable prices for all categories of people in Nigeria and further wished them success.
Also speaking, the Group Managing Director, BSTAN Group, Dr Becky Olubukola thanked the Ooni of Ife Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi who is the Chairman of BSTAN Group for his unflinching support and the fatherly role he plays.
According to her, BSTAN is working tirelessly and in partnership with several state Governments and the private sector not to just provide accommodation, but make homes that are safe, efficient, secure, with adequate electricity, adopting new technologies that allow for speed in construction – hence the metro shelter scheme.
She highlighted the various schemes and mortgages; some with zero percent interest, with flexible payment plans that allow for affordable homes. She therefore called on all Nigerians to subscribe to the offer that BSTAN brings, stressing that owning a home is key.
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