Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja
The Federal Executive Council (FEC) wednesday approved over N115.5 billion for road construction in different parts of the country as well as another N5.021 billion for water projects in Zungeru in Niger State.
The council also said the Federal Fire Service had been reformed and rebranded in recent times, and had consequently saved property valued at N1.691 trillion and 724 lives.
It also said a leading information technology global company, Huawei, had been engaged to develop e-border technology that will enable security operatives to monitor land borders from any part of the country with a view to stopping influx of foreigners into the country.
Briefing reporters after over seven hours of virtual FEC meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari in the State House, the Minister of Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, said the approval was sequel to two memoranda he presented to the council.
He listed the projects as Jebi-Lamba-Bele Road in Adamawa State at the rate of N26.829 billion; Achingali-Udobi-Udona-Umuwana-Ubakala Road in Abia State, including a bridge across the Imo River in Imo State at the sum of N11.540 billion and Jarmai-Bashar-Zuruk-Karim Lamido Road linking Plateau and Taraba States at the rate of N77.279 billion.
Explaining the importance of the roads, Fashola said the road linking Plateau and Taraba States, for instance, when completed along with the Ibi bridge, would reduce the journey duration from Abuja to Jalingo in Taraba from the current 12 hours to about eight hours. “It will be a significant reduction in journey time and also the other roads will be equally beneficial in bringing down cost of goods, cost of transportation and cost of doing business,” he said.
In his own briefing, the Minister of Water Resources, Malam Adamu Suleiman, said:
“As part of our efforts to complete projects that we inherited but have huge socio-economic impact on the lives of the people, today, we presented to council, a request for approval of revised estimated total cost for the completion of Zungeru-Wushishi Water Supply Project in Niger State in favour of Messrs R. Services, Zilon Construction Services Joint Venture in the sum of N5.021bn, raising the project from N1.93 billion to N6.955 billion, inclusive all taxes.
“This is a project that was started in 1998 by Niger State Government. They couldn’t continue. Eventually, it was transferred to Federal Government,” Suleiman explained.
In his own briefing, the Minister of Interior, Mr. Rauf Aregbesola, who presented his ministerial scorecard to the council, disclosed that in recent times, the newly repositioned Federal Fire Service received 2,615 calls during which he said the Service saved assets worth N1.69 trillion as well as 724 lives.
He said fire fighters were trained to assess and evaluate the values of property, explaining that the evaluation was carried out within the professional capacity of the Service.
He said: “The Federal Fire Service responded to 2,615 fire calls, saved 724 lives and assets worth N1. 629 trillion between June and October 2019. We evaluated this within the operational competence of the fire service to evaluate worth of property so as to put clear information and message of their activities and what they have done. In their intervention therefore what this means is that they have prevented destruction of assets worth N1. 629 trillion between June and October 2019,while saving 724 lives and responded to 2, 615 fire calls.”
He also said 14 operational forward bases had been established by the ministry along with armed patrol at Nigerian land borders.
According to him, a Huawei had been engaged to develop e-border land management system to handle border issues with a view to addressing porosity in Nigerian land borders.
As we are increasing our competence and deployment of technology at the air border, we are doing the same at the land border. As I am talking, we have activated 14 forward operational bases at the land border. Yes, what we need to do is far more but four forward operation bases with armed patrol are already in operation. I have commissioned some.
“We are not limiting it to that. We are engaged in a contractual deal with Huawei to develop a robust e-land border management system that will deal with close to half of border surveillance which will make possible for us in Abuja to know at the press of button what is happening in Ilela or any of the borders that will be covered by that system. The contract has been awarded. What we are working on now is the funding and that is at a very advanced stage,” he explained.
Also briefing, the Minister of Police Affairs, Muhammad Dyngiadi, said the ministry had constituted Police Trust Fund (PTF) with the plan to draw .05 percent from the federal allocation to fund it.
He also said the Nigeria Police Force had been re-organised with five new zonal commands created to enhance centralisation of the police.