Fashola lists top federal road projects for 2017

The Minister for Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, has explained how the federal government has prioritised highway projects across the country in order of economic importance.

Mr. Fashola appeared before the Senate on Works on Monday to defend his ministry’s budget.

In the 2017 budget proposal, the Ministry has N564.2 billion for the three sectors, out of which works gets N311.5 billion.

It has the highest vote for capital expenditure in the 2017 budget.

Mr. Fashola said the highway projects were grouped into categories in order of priority and importance of the projects.

According to him, the “priority 1” projects are “national priority projects on critical economic routes on the federal road network.”

“These are highly trafficked North-South, East-West routes used for the distribution of goods and services across the country and major river-crossing bridges.

“The sum of N150, 470,553,292, which represents 62.22 per cent, is proposed to execute “national priority 1” projects in 2017.

“Some of the projects are the construction of Second Niger Bridge at Onitsha; construction of the dual carriageway of Abuja-Abaji-Lokoja (Sections I-IV) in FCT/Kogi State; construction of the Kano-Maiduguri dual carriage Road (Sections I-V) in Kano/Bauchi/Yobe/Borno states; and the rehabilitation of Enugu-Port Harcourt Dual Carriageway (Sections I-IV) in Enugu/Abia/Rivers states.”

“(Others are) Rehabilitation/reconstruction of the Lagos-Shagamu-Ibadan Expressway in Lagos/Oyo states; construction of Loko-Oweto Bridge in Nasarawa/Benue states; reconstruction of outstanding sections of Benin-Ofosu-Ore-Sagamu Road in Edo/Ondo/Ogun states; rehabilitation of Odukpani-Itu-Ikot Ekpene Road section I: Odukpani-Itu Bridgehead; and rehabilitation of Ilorin-J’ebba-Mokwa Road.”

“National Priority 2”

According to the minister, these are projects along the branch routes from the critical economic routes on the federal road network.

“These roads serve as links between the major routes and agricultural producing hubs, factories and mining deposits for the evacuation of agricultural produce, manufactured goods and raw materials to markets and ports across the country. The sum of N43, 143,299,357, which represents 17.84 per cent, is proposed to execute “National Priority 2” projects in 2017.”

He listed some of the projects as dualisation of Sapele-Ewu Road in Delta/Edo states; dualisation of Lagos-Ota-Abeokuta Road in Lagos/Ogun states; rehabilitation of Hadejia-Nguru-Gashua-Bayamari road in Jigawa/Yobe states; and the rehabilitation of Ilorin-Kabba-Obajana Road in Kwara/Kogi states.

Others are the rehabilitation of Yola-Mubi Road; rehabilitation of Owerri-Umuahia Road in Imo/Abia states; dualisation of Yenagoa Road Junction-Kolo-Otuoke-Bayelsa Palm in Bayelsa State; and the rehabilitation of Damaturu-Biu Road.

National Priority 3

“These projects are specifically targeted at routes leading to the nation’s refineries, petroleum depots, major ports and mineral producing areas in the country to ease the movement of petroleum products and imported goods from the ports and depots to other parts of the country.

“Also, the sum of N25, 508,708,266, which represents 10.55 per cent, was proposed to execute national priority 3 projects in 2017.

“Some of the projects are rehabilitation of Apapa-Oshodi Expressway in Lagos Phase I & II; dualisation of Suleja-Minna Road; construction of Bodo-Bonny Road with a bridge across the Opobo channel in Rivers State; access road to Apapa/Tin Can Port, NNPC Depot (Atlas Cove) to Mile 2; and the construction of Agaie-Katcha-Baro Road,” Mr. Fashola explained.

National Priority 4

Road projects in “key agricultural states producing cash crops like yam, rice, maize, cassava, fruits, etc.” were categorized under “national priority 4” with objective of boosting “the production of these crops and ease their movement to markets. This is to enhance food sufficiency in the country and minimise losses.”

Mr. Fashola disclosed that N8.9 billion, representing 3.68 per cent, was proposed to construct and rehabilitate roads in this category.

Such projects include the rehabilitation of Sokoto-TambuwaI-Jega-Kontagora-Makera in Sokoto/Kebbi states; rehabilitation of Otukpo-9th Mile-Enugu-Port Harcourt dual carriageway in Benue/Enugu states; rehabilitation of Abakaliki-Afikpo Road in Ebonyi State; rehabilitation of Akure-Ondo Road in Ondo State; rehabilitation of Aba-Azumini-Opobo Road (Aba-Azumini section) in Abia State; rehabilitation of Wukari-Mutum Biyu-Jalingo-Numan Road Section I: Wukari-Mutum Biyu Road in Taraba State.

The minister said inadequacy of budgetary votes to sustain annual cash-flow requirements hinders timely completion of projects in Nigeria.

Bricklayer Rapes Sex Worker, Says He Works With Oil Firm

A 39-year-old bricklayer, who allegedly threw a sex worker inside a gutter after raping her, was yesterday arraigned before an Igbosere Magistrate’s Court in Lagos.

The bricklayer, Richard Edet, is facing a two-count charge of stealing and rape preferred against him by the police. The prosecutor, Corporal Friday Mameh, told the court that the defendant, sometimes in June, committed the alleged offence when he met the complainant, one Gloria Obihor, at a party where he told her that he works with Mobil.

He said that the defendant unlawfully assaulted the complainant sexually. According to Mameh, “the defendant and the complainant met again in August at 1004 Estate in Victoria Island and then headed for a bar.

They took a taxi and the defendant pointed at a house and said that was his residence. “After they left the bar, the defendant raped the victim, threw her inside a gutter and stole her property and money. She shouted for help, but nobody was around to help her.”

The properties that were stolen by the defendant are Samsung X6 phone, valued at N92,000; Malado wristwatch, valued N40,000; perfume valued at N16,000 and a cash sum of N13,000. The complainant saw him at Oniru Beach and raised alarm. But he escaped, only to be caught at Oniru Estate, after he was hit by a vehicle while trying to escape again.

According to him, the offence is punishable under Sections 285 and 259 of the criminal law of Lagos State, 2011. However, the defendant pleaded innocence to the two-count charge preferred against him.

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Paul Akingbola: The Monumental Predicament Of Africa? The Land Of Green

“If I could, I would. But why…” This was the intrapersonal conflict I departed Europe with, last winter. With its astonishing natural greens, Africa is considered the continent with the best soil on earth. While I grew up hearing this from my teachers throughout elementary school, I had expectations and still do anticipate fragrant fruits from ‘Mama’ Africa. I remember my grandmother affirming over and over again, the sweetness of her childhood despite its being characterized by polygamy. She would paint mental pictures of how she grew up hearing from her father, the mythical stories of African legends and the numerous supernatural beings and creatures. Recounting the numerous conquests of her grandfather, she shared with the several battles her late father, Abidogun had won and the ways with which he and his warriors were rewarded each time they triumphantly returned to the kingdom after war. I could evidently see in her eyes, the trueness of every story she told.

When asked to talk about nature one evening, my Granny? Iya Oloola (as fondly called) radiated a beautiful smile hummed by her (left cheek) dimple and began by acknowledging the existence of Oló-dú-ma-ré (meaning in Yoruba: owner of the universe, supreme god whose worth is invaluable). She explained the mystery behind the stars (how each one represents one man and why a minute of silence should be observed each time one fell from the sky), the magical powers of the illuminating moon and the static sun… Describing the distinctiveness of God’s love for mankind, Iya Oloola revealed how much her husband loved and sacrificed his life for her. “Love can cure any disease”, she concluded.

Many Africans were brought up by lenient parents, some by disciplinarians and many others by loving ones. I had an equal share of the leniency, discipline and love from my folks. Perhaps being served a big wrap of pounded-yam, a bowl of vegetable soup and a fat piece of meat having been whipped with hand-ground red pepper chafed all over the body just for lying to an Aunty would paint a better picture. This tutelage left me with no other choice than to live by my Grandma’s philosophy of trueness to oneself and above all, to God even before mankind? So I made more friends and less trouble even as I grew older with my father’s mantra-like statement: “Omoluabi se koko!” (~ is crucial!) in mind. The Omoluabi is a Yoruba philosophical and cultural concept to describe a person of good character. The concept signifies courage, hard work, humility and respect. An Omoluabi is a person of honour who believes in hard work, respects the rights of others, and gives to the community in deeds and in action. It’s stunning how embedded in every African culture, the philosophy is. This was more than enough to keep us all on track. Is it not enough to keep the greens in our land perpetually green; our resources managed to make the continent better?

It is not far from being the maxim truth that the predicament of the land of green, Africa, is monumental. Is it only about the dwindling status of our economies? How about the epic unjust nature of our systems and the inexplicable absence of peace in some, and perhaps the negative peace reigning or enthroned in many other parts of the continent? While we are all too often hasty to place top on the priority list, corruption as the cause of this menace, pondering over the source of this dreaded scourge took me on a mental journey. I remember how our Monarchs lived luxuriously at the detriment of their people in the pre-colonial era? The westerners even called us barbarians just because several innocent souls were buried with our passing-away kings. I’m not saying this was barbaric. But, was it not? We are however, happy to see the significant reduction in the number of such occurrences in the last decades. At least they were in search of only one person to be buried with the immediate past Ooni of Ife on his demise the other day. But things were better back then, you’d say. Since I can’t disapprove, please allow me to disagree. Meanwhile, I am tempted to agree with the belief that culture loss is the brain behind the plague that has bewildered the African continent, possibly because wider majority share this feeling.

Stepping one’s feet into Europe for the first time is a to-be-celebrated feat for my people. My first time was amazing too, dominated by a long pondering silence filled with admiration. I just couldn’t have enough of the coolness of the weather, the serene view and the elegant nature of country’s layout. Germany’s beautiful; far incomparable to my home even from the airport. I wondered why we are still underdeveloped, yet glad to be categorized as “developing”. Privileged to walk into a bank in Berlin, I stood near a queue (distracted by an interesting broadcast message) with my heart glued to the phone. I saw an aged woman walk in and right behind me, she stood. After a little while I noticed two other people joined her and there the three of them were, innocently standing right behind me until a security man came closer to hint them that I wasn’t on the row; showing them the right place to stand. This event wasn’t a mere coincidence to me. So I shared it with a colleague who retorted: “Ode l’Oyinbo!”; (meaning, white men are fools). Then did I understand how pitiable queuing to use the ATM was like back home? disorderliness of the highest order.

Aside the enchanting beautiful night lights in the ancient city of Leipzig, I paid keen attention to details all through that period. I observed that for seven straight days, I didn’t hear the car horn more than twice despite a few traffic congestions. I saw how road users patiently waited for pedestrian to cross at interjections. I admired the boys and girls happily disposing the wraps from their candy towards trashcans in public places. I heard the young men say “excuse me” on several occasions. I heard ladies say thank you for things they paid for at malls and grocery stores. I heard mothers say thank you to their children for assisting in the offload of what the family would eat or use. I even heard a father say “sorry” to his son on the telephone for not making it home for dinner. I wished I could swap Africa for Europe.

I have traveled across Africa. The level of impatience among my people is alarming. Everyone is more or less intolerant and seemingly bereaved of love. Did civilization bring all of these too? You’d say we are busy and hardworking people but the creators of this jobs and civilization are still very patient, tolerant and loving. I see an adaptation error here. Waiting on the queue for the larger majority is like being hospitalized. Hustle and bustle triggers excessive horning even on (free) highways and within cities thereby claiming lives. Freedom to life encourages disposing a wraps of consumed or used commodities on the streets which has blocked drainages… Freedom of expression motivates saying anything without recourse to the likely physical or mental damage it could incite. Saying “excuse me” implies having a low self-esteem. (Excessive) use of “thank you” means not knowing one’s rights or responsibilities. Saying sorry presents one as not grown enough to know what one as unable to differentiate between right and wrong. I’m not sure stealing is still a problem here. Bribery is a norm? I doubt if the lives of others still matter. The land of green has therefore been turned into a fallowed soil for cultivation of the evil called corruption alongside its accomplices.

Is the problem is civilization? No, but our “mentality” is. It is obvious civilization has come to stay. As a peace scholar, I know how ‘peace in’ affects ‘peace out’. This applies to change too. Pathetic how an unchanged person dreams of changing something! I can’t count how many times well-wishers encouraged me to abscond each time I traveled abroad. They were doing me some good? Would those celebrated nations have been so if its people fled? If I could, I would. But why should I? No place like home; my mantra.

If just like me, you are tired of this remediable predicament, then it’s time to do something; make a decision to stop wishing but start doing. This is my perceived major difference between change-agents and change-makers. There’s therefore, now a chance to fight for change first at the intrapersonal level (in your mind). If every other means failed us, African youths, I am certain the bottom-up approach can get us out of this fix, for we are the future of this land. The statement “Rome was not built in a day” has only motivated complacency over time, causing us to reap sordid boons from the drenched land of green. But we can change this! And it begins with you and me, all of us.

A dying clergy man once said to his son: “when I was a child, I wanted to change the world. As grew, I wanted to change my country. As I grew older, I desired changing my little town and later, my home. But here I am today, lying helplessly on this sick bed wishing I had changed myself first. Perhaps this would have been the beginning of the change I dreamed all my life.” It’s good to say, better to act, how about both?

Views expressed are solely that of author and does not represent views of www.omojuwa.com nor its associates

Julius Berger, RCC Return To Lagos-Ibadan Expressway

Contractors handling the re-construction of the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, Julius Berger Plc and Raynolds Construction Company (Nigeria), are back on site in continuation of the job.

Julius Berger’s men were seen working at the Redemption Camp and Arepo areas at the Lagos end of the road on Friday. But the work was more of a palliative as the firms only attended to the failed sections of the road. No reconstruction or expansion was done.

The News Agency of Nigeria also indicated in a report on Sunday that while palliative work was ongoing at the failed spots around the Redemption Camp area of the road, major construction work was being done at the Arepo area.

The repair on the Arepo spot caused gridlock on the Long Bridge on Friday and travellers spent about two hours moving from the Berger Bus to Arepo, a distance that should take less than seven minutes.

It was, however, not clear the role of the Ogun State Government in the return of Julius Berger to the site. A signpost erected by the state government was still at the Arepo spot as of Sunday, showing that it was responsible for the palliative work.

Julius Berger is handling Section One of the project, which stretches from the Sagamu Inter-Change to Lagos, while RCC is in charge of Section Two, stretching from the Sagamu Inter-Change to Ojoo, Ibadan.

Motorists have clamoured for an early completion of the road, which is about the busiest highway in the country.

A source at the Julius Berger end of the road, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that the company was back on the road for good, saying: “It is time to move forward on the project.”

The expected date for the completion of the project, which is being financed through Public-Private Partnership, is July 3, 2017.

Meanwhile, motorists and commuters who use the road have continued to appeal to the Federal Government to speed up work to make travelling on the road pleasurable.

A commercial vehicle driver plying the road daily, Ojo Agege, told NAN that it was high time the government ensured the speedy completion of the project.

Another commercial driver, Lateef Mohammed, said motorists would continue to have nightmares on the road until the Federal Government fixed it.

“All we are saying is that the government should help to fast-track the construction of the road to ease the delay being experienced daily by travellers,” he said.

A female trader, Simisola Joseph, expressed optimism that with the coming of Babatunde Fashola as Power, Works and Housing Minister, the construction would soon be completed.

A driver, Femi Ajegun, told NAN that vehicular movement was now easy with the completion of work on some critical areas at the Ibadan end of the road.

“With the quality of job done and removal of long stretch of diversion by the RCC, motorists and travellers now experience some pleasurable ride,” he said.

Sule Maito, a bus passenger, at Ogere area of the road, told NAN that if the contractor could continue with the way it was going, the job would be completed on schedule.

The Federal Ministry of Works last week, after a meeting of stakeholders with the Presidency, said that the government had committed N50bn to the project.

The ministry promised that no stone would be left unturned to ensure the completion of the rehabilitation on time.

Fashola’ll Aid Lagos Devt– Ambode

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, says his predecessor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, who is now the Minister of Works, Housing and Power, is the key to the rehabilitation of dilapidated infrastructure in the state.

He said the unprecedented synergy between the Federal Government and the Lagos State Government would accelerate and actualise his administration’s plans for infrastructural development in the state.

Ambode was quoted as saying this while delivering a keynote address at the Lagos Business School Alumni Conference, according to a statement by his spokesman, Mr. Habib Aruna, on Thursday.

“We are privileged to have my predecessor in office at the centre in charge of Works, Power and Housing. This effectively means we have a synergy between Lagos and the Federal Government to accelerate and actualise our current plans for infrastructural development,” Ambode said.

He added that apart from building infrastructure to improve the quality of life, his administration would also focus on security and traffic.

He said, “Dealing with the terrible traffic problems that afflict so many Lagosians on a daily basis is my area of focus in relation to infrastructure. Our problems with traffic have to be addressed. It is harmful to the quality of life of many people in our city.

“Lagos will continue to grow and the more we succeed, the larger the population will grow thereby generating more traffic. We are looking at the potential of rail and water transport systems; and we will repair the roads and work with the private sector to deliver the projects.

“We are putting in place the finances we need to enable us to make our plans a reality.”

He also informed the gathering that there would be a traffic summit in Lagos next week to address the issues by combining the perspectives of international best practices and local knowledge and experience.

Speaking at another function, Ambode said he had nothing else to give to humanity than to uphold the tenets of good governance.

He said this while speaking as guest lecturer at the annual lecture and award ceremony of The Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship Alumni Association in Nigeria.

The governor, who spoke on the theme, ‘Deepening the Democratic Culture in Nigeria’, said as part of efforts to deepen democracy and make Lagos work for all, he had set up the office of Civic Engagement and Ministry of Wealth Creation.

While describing Lagos as the fastest growing city in the world, Ambode said in the midst of several challenges, Lagos State since 1999 had managed to sustain the momentum of growth.

Earlier, the President of the Hubert H. Humphrey Alumni Association in Nigeria, Mr. Jude Ememe, described Ambode’s commitment to public service as unparalleled and unprecedented, and expressed confidence in his leadership.