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JUST IN: Buhari presides over sixth virtual FEC meeting

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The sixth virtual Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting has commenced in the State House, Abuja, with President Muhammadu Buhari presiding.

The Vice-President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo (SAN); Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr Boss Mustapha; the Chief of Staff to the President, Professor Ibrahim Gambari; and 11 Ministers are physically attending the meeting.

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The Ministers at the Council Chambers include those of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed; Transportation, Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi; Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammmed; Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola (SAN); Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika; as well as the Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, Abubakar Malami.

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Other Ministers physically present are those of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio; Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyema; Special Duties, George Akume; Education, Adamu Adamu; and Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Zubairu Dada.

Before the meeting entered the main session, President Buhari called for a minute silence in honour of late ex-Sports and Youths Development Minister, Inuwa Abdulkadir.

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Abdulkadir, who was a member of the recently dissolved National Working Committee (NWC) and National Vice Chairman (North-West) of the All Progressives Congress (APC), died on Monday.

 

Details later…

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Kalu replies Akpabio on NDDC contracts

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Senate Chief Whip Orji Uzor Kalu on Monday said the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) has not paid the contractors who built the roads he facilitated.

Kalu was reacting to the communiqué by Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, where he reportedly mentioned ex-governors Emmanuel Uduaghan, James Ibori, Senator Ifeanyi Ararume, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu and others to have benefited from several contracts awarded by the NDDC.

In a statement by Barrister Emeka Nwala, the former Abia Governor said he believed the issues at stake in the NDDC have to do with missing funds and not contracts awarded or jobs executed.

He expressed worry over his name being unjustly tarnished and “used to sell newspapers” by allegations being raised by Akpabio.

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According to the Chief Whip, the road projects mentioned by Akpabio were interventions he facilitated for the communities as a private citizen before he became a Senator.

Kalu revealed his name is mentioned because he used his letter headed paper to write a sympathetic letter to the NDDC in 2016 requesting and pleading with the intervention body to rescue roads in in parts of Abia state.

He said he would still request for more road interventions from Akpabio as Minister of Niger Delta Affairs.

Kalu said:

“The roads I requested for intervention as mentioned by the Honourable Minister were repairs of Ezere-Acha-Ndiokoukwu Road; Amaubiri-Eluama-Uru Ring Road, Lokpaukwu, Umuchieze; Ndi Oji Abam-Atan Road; the Okafia-Ozuitem-Bende road and Ozu-Amuru-Abam Road.

“The contractors have completed and delivered these roads long time ago except Abam-Atani road which I learnt from the contractors was slowed down due to rain but still ongoing.

“Meanwhile, it would interest Nigerians to know that the contractors who built these roads have not been paid any dime.

“It has not been easy with the contractors but because it’s a community project they have only but kept hope alive on the NDDC.

“I am so much concerned about roads because I understand the economic importance of good roads, that’s why I built several roads when I was Governor.

“Even as a Senator, it would interest you to know that my major constituency projects are road constructions, reconstructions and rehabilitation.

“We have put in plans to finish 19 roads in Abia North before end of 2021.

“As a community leader, I do not intend to stop my interventions on roads in NDDC states because all the states need good roads. Good roads help to drive the economy.

“Therefore, I believe the NDDC forensic audit should focus on the missing funds and not works done.

“They should focus on paying contractors that delivered their jobs and not using my name indiscriminately to sell newspapers.

“Whatever link I have with the projects is because it was considered due to my intervention.”

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Account for failed $460m Abuja CCTV Project, $2b China loan – APC to PDP

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The ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) has asked the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to account for the failed $460 million Abuja Closed-Circuit Television (CCTV) project the then ruling party awarded in August 2010.

It listed some of the opposition’s economic misdeeds while it was in power between 1999 and 2015.

In a statement yesterday in Abuja by its Deputy National Publicity Secretary, Yekini Nabena, the APC described Atiku’s comment as “un-researched, unintelligent and pedestrian”.

The ruling party recalled that Transportation Minister Rotimi Amaechi had explained that the guarantee/clause in the loan deals is the global standard, irrespective of the country granting the loans.

The statement said: “Perhaps, Atiku and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) could redirect their energies to explaining to Nigerians the status of the failed $460 million Abuja Closed-Circuit Television (CCTV) awarded in August 2010 by the immediate-past PDP administration.

“Also, they should explain the over $2 billion China loan the PDP administration took between 2010 and 2013 alone; $16 billion spent on power with no electricity; fuel subsidy rackets; counter-insurgency funds that were diverted and shared to political cronies, among other shocking heists.

“Recall that the failed CCTV installation project was initiated by late President Umaru Yar’Adua and awarded in August 2010 by former President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration to help security agencies in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) to check the growing insecurity.

“Since the agreement became signed, Nigeria has been servicing this loan to China while Nigerians are yet to attest to the visibility of CCTV project and unable to explain the status of the video surveillance project. The matter is subject to a legislative probe.

“In all of these, we are starkly reminded that the PDP remains a corrupted and damaged product. Nigerians must continue to reject the party at all levels of government.

“In the area of fiscal discipline, prudence, curbing leakages, are we currently getting it right? An emphatic yes! Every kobo expended on infrastructure counts. Verifiable evidence abound in the fast expanding national railway projects, airport remodeling, among other critical infrastructure projects being undertaken by the President Muhammadu Buhari government.

“The days of phoney contracts, as institutionalised by successive PDP administrations, are fast fading.”

Also, a coalition of labour and 80 civil society groups, under the aegis of Alliance for Surviving COVID-19 and Beyond (ASCAB), has urged the Federal Government to publicly announce the country’s debt profile.

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In a statement by its Chairman, Mr. Femi Falana (SAN); Co-chairmen of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) President Ayuba Wabba and Trade Union Congress (TUC) President Quadri Olaleye, the group urged the National Assembly to reveal the terms and conditions of all external loans.

It said if the National Assembly fails, the Debt Management Office (DMO) should publish the terms and conditions of all external loans or face legal fireworks.

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ASCAB decried the nation’s burgeoning debts, saying they have the potential of stifling economic liberation and political freedom of the people.

It said within one year, the National Assembly has approved $28 billion for President Buhari with no commensurate improvement in the quality of lives of many Nigerians.

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Isa Funtua was a pillar to my government- Buhari

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President Muhammadu Buhari has once again lamented the loss of the late publisher and businessman, Mallam Isma’ila Isa Funtua, describing his demise as major national loss.

President Buhari in a letter he personally wrote to the family of the late veteran journalist in Hausa language said that, Malam Isma’ila was of great assistance to him and his administration.

In a statement issued by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu in Abuja, Monday, Buhari said that the deceased helped in many ways to strengthen his government and the country before his demise.

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The statement read:

“President Muhammadu Buhari has sent a letter personally signed by him to the family of the late publisher and businessman, Isma’ila Isa Funtua, describing his demise as major national loss.

“In the letter he wrote in Hausa, the President told the bereaved wife, Hajiya Hauwa, the children and the entire family members that this loss was not theirs alone, but that of the entire country.

“President Buhari said that, “Malam Isma’ila was of great assistance to me and my administration. He helped in many ways to strengthen the government and the country before his ultimate demise.”

“The President recalled that “in his active politics, Malam Isma’ila served as a Minister,” adding that “he was also a businessman and contractor who built several government buildings in Abuja.”

“President Buhari said, “He was a director of Funtua Textile Mills for 30 years and chaired the Zamfara Textile Company,” while on his roles in the media, “Malam Isma’ila was a life Executive member of the Board of the International Press Institute, IPI.”

According to the President,

“Nigerians of all shades and backgrounds have nothing but kind words for him,” noting that “late Isma’ila was reputed throughout his life for his kindness, generosity and support for public causes, big and the not so big.”

He urged all those Malam Isma’ila left behind not to allow division in their ranks.

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President Buhari also prayed to God to forgive the departed and grant him Aljannatul-Firdaus (paradise).

 

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