Minister of Information, Labaran Maku
The Federal Government has approved 44 infrastructural projects to be executed by the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) to ameliorate the dearth of roads, bridges and other facilities needed to improve the living conditions of people in the Niger Delta region.
It also approved the sum of N3.5 billion to cater for the inclusion of military retirees in the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), in addition to the approval of N13.3 billion for awarding of contract for the provision of infrastructure in the Phase II development of Mbora district, a suburb of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
Minister of Information, Labaran Maku, in company of the Ministers of State for FCT and Defence, Olajumoke Akinjide and Mrs Olusola Obada, briefed State House correspondents on the outcome of yesterday’s Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting presided over by President Goodluck Jonathan.
According to Maku, FEC deliberated extensively on the Niger Delta Master Plan and approved the projects at this time of the year to help the NDDC expedite action on the construction of roads, bridges and upgrading of infrastructural projects that would help reduce the impact of environmental degradation in the region.
The minister did not however mention how much the 44 projects which will be located in Cross River, Akwa Ibom, Rivers, Delta, Bayelsa, Edo, Imo and Ondo will cost.
He, nonetheless, stated that other infrastructure that would receive attention include provision of water, agriculture and health.
Also, the Minister of State for Defence, Obada, said although the government had since introduced the NHIS, military retirees were not beneficiaries, a situation which put them in precarious condition after decades of selfless service to the nation.
Observing that such retirees are statutorily covered to benefit from medical attention, Obada explained that one of the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) of her ministry is to look after the health of the officers and men serving the nation “in order to boost their morale.”
The scheme will cover the retirees, one spouse and two children below the age of eighteen.
She said council approved the sum of N3.5 billion for the first year to take care of “75,000 retirees whose biometric data has been captured during an evaluation exercise conducted by the ministry,” expressing hope that this will “further motivate the officers and men.”
On her part, the Minister of State for the FCT, Akinjide, said the Mbora district project which will gulp N13.3 billion and is expected to be completed in 36 months, “will enable the people to build their houses and provide employment for many.”
Akinjide said the project which will focus on the provision of local roads, access roads, water, power and other infrastructure is aimed at decongesting the FCT and enhance the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) of the ministry.