Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola SAN has reiterated the commitment of the Federal Government to completing the ongoing reconstruction of the Abuja-Kaduna-Zaria-Kano dual carriageway.
He stated this at the town hall meeting of stakeholders organised by the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing held in the Kaduna State University Conference hall, Kaduna on Thursday.
Fashola said, “ Mr. President is more passionate and concerned about finishing this road and many others before his constitutional term ends.”
He also said the objective of the town hall meeting was to expose the realities and explain the challenges involved in the construction of the road.
Responding to various questions from stakeholders who wanted to know why the construction work on the road was taking too long, the Minister explained that one of the reasons why work could not commence early on the road was as a result of the request made by the some members of the National Assembly to expand the road from two lanes to three lanes.
In his words, “Shortly after we flagged off the road, we received a letter from the Senators in the National Assembly asking the Federal Government to expand the road from two lanes to three lanes, that was not from us ,it was from the National Assembly, the Senators and they wrote to the President and copied my Ministry.
Explaining further, Fashola stated that based on the directive from the Presidency to undertake that expansion, “we needed to redesign an expansion to accommodate about 40 different bridges on this road to align with the lanes.
” So if they are going to expand from two to three lanes, a new design needed to be created. The process for doing that required us to hire a design consultant. We had to follow the procurement process established by the National Assembly,” he said
Accordingly he said, the procurement process is a long one which entails advertising, waiting for a period of six weeks after advertisement, reviewing of tender, picking of consultant and going to the Bureau for Public Procurement (BPP) and finally to the Federal Executive Council for approval to hire a consultant to do the design requested.
The Minister also disclosed that, after going through all the processes of procurement for redesigning to three lanes, the Ministry received another instruction to revert back to two lanes due to paucity of fund.
Fashola also attributed the delay in completion to the total length of the road and the process of construction.
He explained, “Each Lane is 375km. So if you multiply that by four, we are building a thousand and five hundred kilometres of highway. No matter how hard you tried to work, if there was 25 hours in one day to do this work, we will commit to it, but the truth is that materials take time to react, minimum and maximum processes must be observed. “
Responding to a question on the Kaduna Western By-pass, the Minister explained that the Kaduna State government initially requested it to be transferred to the State and the request was granted, but later due to the inability of the state to raise the financing for it , the commencement of the work was stalled.
He added that, a recommendation to put the project under the Infrastructure Tax Credit Scheme was later considered and approved.
He explained, “As far as the Western By-pass is concerned, let me also say that it is on record, Kaduna State was the first State to apply for the transfer of Federal Road to them, that I recommended to the Federal Executive Council and Council approved and I transferred it to the State Governor in his first term. It was after the unsuccessful attempt by the Kaduna State government to raise financing that we recommended that it be put under the Infrastructure Tax Credit Scheme.”
In her response to some of the questions raised at the the town hall meeting, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed stated that her ministry would work closely with the Ministry of Works and Housing and Messrs Julius Berger to expeditiously work on the reconstruction of the Abuja-Kaduna-Zaria-Kano dual carriageway in order to ensure completion before the end of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.
She explained that the issue of funding has been addressed because the Ministry of Finance has given Six hundred and fifty million US dollars ($650,000,000 USD) to the National Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) whose responsibility is to generate additional fund to ensure that the Abuja-Kaduna-Zaria-Kano dual carriageway and other designated projects are fully funded.
In his address, the leader of the delegation and Chief of Staff to President Muhammad Buhari, Professor Ibrahim Gambari, assured the people that President Muhammad Buhari’s “commitment is real and is going to be realizable before the end of his tenure.”
The Managing Director of Messrs. Julius Berger, who also made presentation at the town hall meeting, revealed that the company has introduced a new innovative Cold Recycling method of constructing roads in Nigeria, which he said is being used for the first time on Nigerian roads for the on going reconstruction of Abuja-Kaduna-Zaria-Kano dual carriageway way.
He listed the benefits of Cold Recycling as achieving shorter construction time, conservation of resources, cost effectiveness, enhancing road safety and impacting positively on the environment.
The Managing Director also stated that the scope of work on the roads have been divided into three sections which are; Section One, Abuja to Kaduna road with 165.5km; Second Section is Kaduna to Zaria with 73.4km and the Third Section is Zaria to Kano with 137.0km .
In attendance at the town hall meeting were the Governor of Kano State, Dr Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, the Deputy Governor of Kaduna State, Dr. Hadiza Balarabe who represented the Governor, representatives of the Niger State Governor, Commissioner for Works and Housing and that of the Minister of Federal Capital Territory, Engineer Shehu Hadiza Ahmed.
Other Stakeholders at the meeting were legislators from both the National and State Assemblies from the concerned states , representatives of the National Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO), the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), Community and traditional institutions.
Deputy Director Press & Public Relations
Friday, November 20, 2020
Our meeting with FG, a step forward – COEASU President
President of Colleges of Education Academic Staff Union (COEASU), Comrade Nuhu Ogirima, has disclosed that the Federal Government (FG) eventually called the academic body for a meeting to discuss the various issues for which the union has been threatening to embark on industrial action.
Ogirima, who has been championing the cause for better funding for colleges of education in the country and improved welfare for the staff, said the meeting which held on Monday, 16th November, 2020, was a step forward.
“The Federal Government has started paying the salary shortfall to the Federal Colleges of Education, as being done to other MDAs. The procedure is that submissions made by the colleges would have to go through the Presidential Initiative on Continuous Auditing (PICA). PICA will check and verify. After PICA’s verification, the Office of the Accountant General will pay. As a matter of fact, the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation has commenced payment of some of the verified outstanding arrears of promotion and shortfall to Federal Colleges of Education. On the Visitation Panel, constitution of Governing Councils, release of funds for Needs Assessment and others, we are awaiting government written response to that effect for transmission to NEC. That was what they resolved at the meeting,” Ogirima said.
He further revealed that a meeting of the Union’s NEC would be convened from December 9 to 12 where details of the deliberations with the FG’s delegation will be conveyed to the members.
According to him, the FG’s team that met with COEASU was made up of the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, Minister of State for Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, the Permanent Secretary and top Directors of the Federal Ministry of Education.
On the issue of the Colleges of Education Amendment Bill, the union leader expressed satisfaction with the progress made so far, stating that “Our bill, that is the Colleges of Education Establishment Amendment Bill, before the National Assembly has been taken at its first reading on the floor of the Senate. But for the ongoing budget defence process at NASS the second reading would have been done by now. So, I can tell you that the bill is progressing. Recall that the Bill was passed by the 8th NASS in 2018 but for undisclosed reasons, it was not sent to Mr. President for assent.”
LASG READS RIOT ACT TO MOTORCYCLES, TRICYCLE OPERATORS
….Says restriction on Okada riders from plying bridges, major highways still in force
…Traffic offenders will face the maximum penalty, says Transport Commissioner
Following the flagrant violation of the traffic laws and other anomalies on the roads, Lagos State Government on Thursday read the riot act to motorcycle and tricycle operators, noting that the restriction on them from plying 10 major highways, 40 bridges and roads within six local governments and nine Local Council Development Areas (LCDA) in the State is still in force.
The State Government also expressed government’s displeasure at the disobedience to the Transport Sector Reform Law (TSRL) 2018 which restricts the operations of commercial motorcycles riders known as Okada and driving against traffic, known as one way driving.
Speaking during a press conference held at Alausa in Ikeja on traffic rules violation, Lagos State Commissioner for Transportation, Dr. Frederic Oladeinde, said the game is over for traffic offenders, especially the menace and impunity of commercial motorcycles and tricycles’ operators in the State.
The Commissioner said all commercial transport operators must carry out their daily activities within the approved routes in Lagos State, adding that any motorist caught driving against traffic will face the maximum penalty and will equally be charged to the court of law under the transport sector reform law of Lagos 2018.
He said: “Our Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu has since his assumption of office prioritized his administration’s development agenda encapsulated as THEMES. The T stands for Traffic Management and Transportation. In the last one and a half years, Mr. Governor has demonstrated his affirmed commitment to our roads, reform complex junctions to promote better traffic flow, invested in water and land transportation through the provision of ferries and high capacity buses.
“In spite of all the efforts of Mr. Governor to reform our transport sector, it is therefore disheartening to note a lot of our people are still going against the extant law of the state on transport operation and safe driving on our roads and in our communities. The State Government prioritises the safety and security of the people. As a government, we cannot continue to watch this lawlessness develop into an uncontrollable situation.
“I say the game is over because in the last few months, we have witnessed a lot of security and safety challenges apparently as a result of the activities of unscrupulous ‘Okada riders.’ These operators do not only violate the provisions of the Transport Sector Reform Law of Lagos State, 2018 with respect to restriction of areas of operations, but perpetrate crime using their motorcycles.”
Oladeinde while stressing the need for sanity on the roads within Lagos, said the restriction of motorcycles on certain routes in Lagos State is still in force and failure to comply with the law will attract sanctions as stipulated in the Transport Sector Reform Law (TSRL) 2018, with penalties ranging from N20, 000 to three months imprisonment.
He said: “In line with this Administration’s plan to build Lagos that works for all, we are determined to continue to engage with the various transport unions and associations of tricycle and okada operator to ensure their members cooperate with us in the process of ensuring public safety by abiding with the TSRL 2018 at all time.
“With the upsurge in the number of commercial motorcycle operators, we shall intensify our enforcement strategy. This we intend to carry out along with the various transport union leaders. We will set up a joint enforcement team to ensure that our roads are sanitised from the menace of okada riders.
“We hereby direct all law enforcement agencies; Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA), Vehicle Inspection Service (VIS), Taskforce and the Nigerian Police to immediately and continuously embark on enforcement on all restricted routes.”
The Commissioner also urged the media to do more by enlightening drivers on the danger of one way driving. “Obedience to the law was paramount if we must build a state of our dreams. We all have joint responsibilities to make the state work for all,” he said.
Also speaking, the Special Adviser to Governor Sanwo-Olu on Transportation, Hon. Oluwatoyin Fayinka, implored all road users, especially commercial transport operators to be law abiding.
He urged transport unions to wake up and caution their members who flout traffic rules, saying the government had directed law enforcement agencies to clampdown on them.
The Deputy Chairman of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), Alhaji Sulyman Ojora, during the press conference assured Lagos State Government of the support and cooperation of the union in ensuring that traffic offenders are brought to book.
He also advised law enforcement agencies not to trouble the law abiding members of the union, saying that NURTW members are law abiding and they are fully ready to discipline any members whenever they violate any traffic laws.
Also speaking, the representative of the Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria (RTEAN), Mr. Ayinde Runmokun said that most erring riders were alien to the union, saying that the union was concerned about flagrant disregard of law by some motorists and riders.
He also urged the government to carry the transport union along in the constitution of the task force for the enforcement of the law.
CHIEF PRESS SECRETARY
NOVEMBER 19, 2020
CDWR Condemns hike in Petrol and Electricity Prices
NLC and TUC Rotten Compromise and Official Acceptance of Deregulation and Privatisation Strengthen the Hands of Buhari
We demand an end to Deregulation and Privatisation Policies; for a public sector-led economy under the democratic control and management of workers and consumers
Campaign for Democratic and Workers Rights (CDWR) condemns the increase in petrol price from N162 to N170 per litre; we also condemn hike in electricity tariff by over 100%. There is no doubt that these increments will worsen the rising cost of living and deepen poverty. The rising cost of living in the last 7 months alone has wiped out the N30,000 minimum wage, more so when some states are yet to implement the minimum wage while the rightwing labour leaders feel unconcerned. Nigerian workers and the poor masses are groaning under the weight of anti-masses neo-liberal capitalist policies, there is increasingly mass suffering in the midst of abundance.
The rotten compromise by rightwing leaders of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) and their official acceptance of Deregulation and Privatisation have emboldened the Buhari-led government and the capitalist ruling elite to increase prices and continue the attack on living conditions of the vast majority of workers and the poor masses. These rightwing labour leaders will not be affected by these attacks because they are aristocrats whose living conditions are far and above that of rank and file workers.
Although, the Ayuba Wabba-led NLC and Olaleye-led TUC have issued a statement condemning the new hike in petrol price, these are face-saving responses, they are only playing to the gallery; it is not new as the Congresses leadership do nothing beyond the issuance of press statements, workers and the poor masses read these statements with scorn and derision as NLC and TUC have become a joke and their leaders are seen as a bunch of betrayals. The fact is that officially agreeing and endorsing deregulation and privatization is a betrayal of the working class.
The official document that was released by labour and government on September 27, 2020, was clear that the rightwing labour leaders led by Ayuba Wabba and Olalekan Olaleye agreed to a rotten deal that accepted deregulation of the downstream oil sector in exchange for very ridiculous and insulting palliatives that will have no bearing on the living conditions of workers let alone the vast majority of the suffering masses.
These worthless palliatives Ayuba Wabba got as a result of futile negotiation is an indication of a leadership that has joined the dubious ruling elite to exploit workers. To show that Ayuba Wabba-led rightwing reactionary leadership is playing games with Nigerian workers, the letter it issued to presidents and General Secretaries of the affiliated unions and dated September 16, 2020, in preparation for September 28, 2020, general strike stated that Buhari-led government failed to implement its promise anchored on its Economic Recovery & Growth Plan (ERGP) to refine 70% of petroleum products locally but somersaulted on September 27, 2020 (11 days later) that the same failed government should rehabilitate refineries after deregulation has been accepted by Labour? These rightwing labour leaders are speaking from both sides of their mouth, they are playing ostrich with Nigerians.
Deregulation and privatisation simply means handing over the oil and power sectors to private companies and allowing the market forces to determine the prices. In line with this new market pricing, the price of petrol and other petroleum products will soar, electricity tariff will skyrocket considering continuous devaluation of Nigerian currency (Naira), weak infrastructure and a possible rise in crude oil price. Refineries were left comatose to allow private oil companies to remain in the business of exploiting the people; the current appalling state of the refineries is a product of deliberate sabotage by the capitalist state aimed at sustaining the massive exploitation of the vast majority and these labour leaders know this. In this same vein, the more money spent on the power sector, the more darkness is supplied, tariff should be coming down rather than going up if over $20 billion spent was well spent. Rather, a chunk of this public funds investment have been stolen, leaving consumers at the mercy of greedy and rapacious electricity companies (DISCOs and GENCOs).
Some of these tokenist palliatives even if it takes off will amount to too little with no effect; what effect will 133 buses have in the lives of Nigerian workers? At best, these rightwing labour leaders will mismanage 133 buses into their pocket, the same way Labour City Transport Services was mismanaged. It is shameless for the rightwing labour leaders to rely on a failed palliative, a concept the government uses to deceive the masses. Similarly, we have not forgotten the housing scheme spearheaded by the NLC and became a scandal while many unsuspecting workers lost their money. One of the reasons these rightwing labour leaders went for “palliatives” is because it is an avenue to enrich themselves; secondly, it gives them the alibi not to challenge Buhari’s government and the capitalist ruling elite.
The rightwing labour leaders are also failing Nigerian workers when they come under attack by management and that explains the reason casualization, outsourcing and other indecent labour practices are widespread. The same way Ayuba Wabba-led leadership entered into a rotten deal with the government, these rightwing leaders also enter into a rotten deal with private employers of labour in enslaving Nigerian workers- it is unfortunate.
Workers and the poor masses must begin the struggle to defeat the deregulation of the oil sector and privatization of the power sector. Workers must also fight to rescue the trade unions from these rightwing reactionary trade union leaders, bring about a fighting leadership, restore democracy in the trade unions and use the unions to defend the rights and interests of workers and the poor masses.
CDWR demands the reversal of petrol price to N87 and electricity tariff to N13 kwh as a step towards bringing down the price further. We demand the turnaround of the existing four refineries and building of new ones. The oil and gas industry, power sector and other commanding heights of the economy should be nationalized under the management and control of workers and consumers in order to end this monumental exploitation, looting and suffering in the midst of plenty.
Comrade Rufus Olusesan Comrade Chinedu Bosah
National Chairperson National Publicity Secretary