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Hot Breaking News This Morning, July 21, 2020

1. Govt releases N995.7b for capital projects

THE Federal Government has so far released N995.665 billion for capital expenditure to implement the 2020 revised budget.

Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, stated this in Abuja while presenting a cheque of the N 162.667 billion realised from the 2020 Sukuk issuance to the Minister for Works and Housing Babatunde Fashola (SAN).

“Under the revised 2020 budget, the government appropriated N1. 347 trillion for capital expenditure; Mr. President directed the release of 50 percent of this amount during the signing of the revised budget before the end of July 2020. The total capital releases to date is N995.665 billion, including Sukuk,” she said.

With the release of the N162.557 billion to the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing, she said the amount appropriated for roads projects financed by Sukuk in 2020 budget has been released.

According to the Minister, the government has been encouraged by the tremendous success recorded with regards to improvements in road infrastructure across the six geopolitical zones with the intervention of this special funding.

Director-General, Debt Management Office (DMO), Ms. Patience Oniha expressed delight at the successful completion of the Third Sovereign Sukuk issued by the DMO, on behalf of the Federal Government last month.

The issuance of the third Sukuk, she said, had enabled the Federal Government to raise N362.577 billion, “for the rehabilitation and reconstruction of roads projects across the six geo-political zones.

She was, particularly, happy that N150 billion placed on offer was over-subscribed by 446.08 per cent or N669.12 billion.

Receiving the cheque, Fashola said the application of the funds was, “a clear evidence of transparency in the utilisation of Sukuk proceeds.”

He assured Sukuk investors that the trust they reposed in the offer would “not be misapplied in the 44 roads projects to benefit from the N162.557 billion’’.

2. Sanwo-Olu approves bus fare increase

LAGOS State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu has approved an average of 46 per cent increase on bus services on the routes operated by the Lagos Bus Services Limited (LBSL).

A statement by the Assistant Director, Corporate Communication, at the Lagos Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LAMATA), Mr. Kolawole Ojelabi, said the increase takes effect from August 1.

He said Governor Sanwo-Olu assented to the bus fare review following a plea by the bus operating company on the need to sustain its operation because of the negative effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on public bus transportation.

The governor also approved LBSL’s request to increase the number of passengers per bus from 20 to 42 in observance of updated COVID-19 protocol, as directed by the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) in the operation of public transport, while ensuring other measures are in place.

Sanwo-Olu granted LBSL buses permission to access dedicated bus lanes in Lagos State, thus making their journey times predictable on corridors with bus dedicated lanes.

LBSL had argued that conveying not more than 20 passengers per bus, per trip, had resulted in only 14 per cent utilisation of the bus load factor, leading to 72 per cent drop in revenue, while the running costs remained fairly the same.

It said the fare increase would improve LBSL’s operational efficiency and place the bus operating company on the path to sustainability in the medium to long term.

3. Amotekun will use supernatural power to combat insecurity

THE Commandant of the Ekiti State Security Network code-named Amotekun, Brig.-Gen. Joe Komolafe (rtd), has said the corps will use supernatural and modern security techniques to combat banditry, kidnapping and other crimes.

He spoke at Efon Alaaye during a sensitisation tour of Ekiti West, Efon Alaaye and Ijero local governments.

The commandant said the security outfit would use ancient Yoruba tactics of securing territories and fishing out criminals from their hideout.

He said neglect of local and ancient patterns of exposing criminals was one of the factors responsible for the rising case of crimes.

Komolafe urged monarchs to deploy supernatural prowess to secure people’s lives and belongings.

Describing Amotekun as a force of liberation, he said the security outfit would protect Southwest people from invaders, who had constituted threat to the region.

Speaking about the composition of the security outfit, Komolafe said the first phase of the recruitment was to establish an intelligence-based outfit and later accommodate Amotekun ambassadors, who would serve as informants of the agency.

He said there would be no age limit to those who would make up the ambassadorial category.

Identifying Amotekun as an indigenous outfit, Komolafe said: “We want people that can enter the bush and give us native intelligence about criminals’ hideout.

“People before us rose and fought invaders. We also want to rise and fight invaders. These invaders came with all forms of impunity; they kill, maim, rape and destroy farm produce.”

4. Pondei won’t face panel again, says Gbajabiam

ACTING Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) Kemebradikumo Pondei will no longer appear before the House of Representatives panel probing him the agency’s Interim Management Committee (IMC), Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila, said.

Speaking after Prof Pondei was taken to a hospital after he fainted at the probe venue, Gbajabiamila directed the panel to use documents he already tendered to the panel to reach its conclusion.

Prof Pondei, who is the managing director of the agency’s Interim Management Committee (IMC), collapsed while he was being grilled by the panel over allegations bordering on the mismanagement of funds.

Wishing Pondei a quick recovery, the Speaker apologised over the poor condition of the hearing room which was stuffy.

He said: “We wish him well. I have been here barely five minutes and I am already sweating profusely. So, I do understand and apologise to everybody here for the poorly conducive atmosphere. I want to say at this point and make it clear, that it is not an adversarial hearing. It is not even inquisitorial.

“It is a fact-finding mission for the people of Nigeria. Just to make things better and we should handle this as such. No one is under inquisition. The fact must come out and that is why the committee is doing what it is doing.

“Because of these conditions in this hall, we don’t need to hear further from the acting MD because he has already submitted his written report. I think you can use the documents to do the work that needs to be done.

“Starting from the minister, Dr. Cairo Ojougbo and all the executive directors – we are sorry under the conditions which you have been invited and my members are under the same conditions. We wish Mr Pondei all the best.”

Gbajabiamila commended Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, chairman of the probe panel, for recusing himself from the investigation.

“I want to commend the chairman of the committee who this morning recused himself from being part of the proceedings. It shows the level of integrity of himself and by extension his committee and further extension to the House of Representatives. I believe he has set the stage for a fair hearing,” the speaker said.

5. Igbo’ll succeed Buhari in 2023 — Ohanaeze

Apex Igbo socio- cultural group,Ohanaeze Ndigbo, has expressed optimism that an Igbo will succeed Buhari in 2023.

Ohanaeze in a statement signed by its Spokesman Chuks Ibegbu noted that “with the mood of the nation today, an Igbo will hopefully succeed President Muhammadu Buhari in 2023 but that should not stop Ndigbo from marching on to realise the dream of Igbo Stabilisation Fund.

If we succeed in Igbo land, it will rub off on the rest of Nigeria and Nigerians will also be happy. Nigeria has no business with poverty . Our people need to be healthy and happy but our politicians , past and present have looted us dry with our parasitic elites”

Ohanaeze also saluted Nnia Nwodo and South East governors for initiating the Igbo Stabilisation Fund, noting that if pursued vigorosly, it will make Igbo land a paradise on earth and wipe away their tears.

Ibegbu in a statement called on Ndigbo in the diaspora , intelligenstia, business moguls, scientists and entrpreuners to invest in the programme and make Igbo land the toast of the world.

Ibegbu in a statement said: “It can be done with Igbo energy. It’s possible. Igbo land can be better than Dubai, California, Paris and many civilized cities. We can do it with or without external support. We want Nigerians to come to Igbo land and feel very comfortable and happy and invest too.

We want to have a working rail, sea ports,clean cities, industrial emporium,world class health and educational facilities. We want Igbos all over the world to key into this project. We want more cities to be developed in Igbo land and abandoned cities revived.This is the dream of Dr M. I. Okpara and today, Chief Nnia Nwodo. We can do it. We can make Igbo land the centre of attraction in Africa and this will rub off on Nigeria.

“Let the Arthur Ezes, Ubas, Innosons, IWA, our billionaires and every Igbo patriot invest in this project. Let us have six lane roads. speed rails, seaports , skyscrappers, beautiful cities and agricultural revolution. This is a big challenge to Ndigbo and we owe this to the three million people we lost in the past,” Ibegbu said.

Content created and supplied by: Ricbain (via Opera News )

Abuja DMO Federal Government Federal Ministry of Works and Housing Zainab Ahmed

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