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INSECURITY: El-Rufai Decries Imminent Food Crisis

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Governor Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna State on Thursday said the current insecurity plaguing the nation is tantamount to an imminent food crisis.

El-Rufai charged the security agencies to step up their games in ensuring that the nation is delivered from insecurity that will eventually implode into food crises.

The Governor made this call during the 2021 quarterly meeting of the Directors of the State Commands of the Directorate of State Security (DSS) in the Northwest on Thursday in Kaduna.

According to El-Rufai, there are immense security challenges across the Northwest states, which have led to the devastation of the rural economy, displacement of farmers from their communities, loss of lives and properties, and travel challenges.

“Addressing this grave problem and restoring order requires that security managers and intelligence agencies constantly share information and experiences. These criminals operate across state lines.

“Therefore, tackling them requires cooperation and collaboration by the various states. Any plan that seeks to address the problem only in one state will at best yield a temporary respite as the criminals retreat to safe havens.

“This is an urgent priority, in the face of the looming food crisis that we face if our farmers do not go to the farms. The rains are here, but farmers in various communities are unable to go to their farms, that is when they are lucky not to have fled their remote villages under pressure and attacks from the criminals. This cannot be allowed to continue.

“The security agencies need to strengthen intelligence gathering, to establish not just the identities, plans, and locations of these criminals, but to actively disrupt their capacity to organise and mount attacks on our citizens.

“It is also very important to ensure that prompt and coordinated action becomes the default response of the Armed Forces and the Police to the profusion of actionable intelligence that is already available from the DSS,” he said.

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Billionaire Abdul Rabiu Gifts N200m Worth Rolls Royce to Emir Of Kano

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The President of BUA Group and a Kano Indigene, Alhaji Abdulsamad Rabiu has gifted the Emir of Kano, Alhaji Aminu Ado Bayero, a 2021 Rolls Royce Car worth 200million naira.

The Car was Unveiled at the Emirate palace in a well attended Event.

Abdulsamad Rabiu is a Philanthropist, and he is the second richest Northerner in Nigeria after Aliko Dangote who is also an Indigene of Kano State.

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Governor Sanwo-Olu, Cabinet Members Inspect State-Funded Rail Projects

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The 2022 deadline set for the completion of the Lagos Rail Mass Transit (LRMT) projects being undertaken by the Lagos State Government remains sacrosanct, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu promised on Saturday.

The Governor defied the rain for a physical assessment of the progress made in the construction of both Blue and Red Lines, inspecting the rail corridors to evaluate the ongoing work.

The inspection came five months after Sanwo-Olu performed the groundbreaking ceremony to kick off the construction of the 37-kilometer-long Red Line, which starts from Agbado and terminates at Oyingbo.

The Blue Line project, which started in 2010, is currently at over 80 percent completion.

The rail projects are being undertaken by the Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (LAMATA), an agency under the Ministry of Transportation.

The Deputy Governor, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat, Commissioner for Transportation, Dr. Frederic Oladehinde, and other members of the State’s cabinet joined the Governor in the inspection that started at the Ikeja Terminal of the Red Line project.

Sanwo-Olu, visibly elated by the progress of work, said the take-off of the Red Line project represented a major breakthrough for his administration in its drive to deliver an integrated transportation model that would ease road congestion in the State.

He said: “We are excited about the ongoing rail projects being undertaken by the Lagos State Government and there is a huge number of jobs being provided to Nigerians engaged by the contractor at all stages of the construction work. There are over a thousand personnel working at the Marina Terminal alone. We are happy with the extent of work on both projects. What we have seen at the Ikeja Station, which is the second biggest station after the one being built at Marina, gives us so much hope that the projects are on course.

“Based on the physical assessment, we are believing that the timelines set for the completion of major engineering work are on track. We are also believing that our contractor is working on schedule. Although there are few hiccups, we believe we will be able to address and surmount them. By the last quarter of 2022, we hope that trains would move on both corridors. And by 2023, we expect to see the full operation of both Blue and Red Lines.”

Henceforth, Sanwo-Olu said there would be quarterly assessment and monitoring of the two projects. By doing this, he said the State Government would avoid the pitfalls that stalled the progress of the Blue Line prior to his administration.

There are six overpasses being constructed at strategic level crossing points along the Red Line corridor to eliminate interactions between the rail tracks, vehicular and pedestrian traffic.

The Governor also stopped at Yaba Terminal of the Red Line, assessing the work done. He later moved to the Oyingbo Train Terminus, where construction was at the third level toward completion.

There will be a stabling extension from Oyingbo to Iddo, which would be used as a parking lot for the train.

The Marina Terminus of the Blue Line, which will be an elevated station, would be a transportation hub that would offer intermodal transportation services.

“At Marina Station, not only are we building rail tracks, underneath we will have a bus station as well for the BRT and First-and-Last Mile buses. There will also be a ferry service at the Marina Station for those who want to travel through the waterways,” Sanwo-Olu said.

The Governor hailed the Chinese contractor for the speed of the construction but said there was a need for knowledge and skill transfer in order to retain the engineering skills brought into the projects by the Chinese contractor.

Sanwo-Olu directed engagement of engineering students at the State-owned Lagos State University (LASU), University of Lagos (UNILAG) and Yaba College of Technology (YABATECH) through internship programme to enable them have practical knowledge of rail construction.

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Nigerian Government Grants 2 Years Work Permit To 12,000 Expatriates

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The Federal Government has granted 12,000 expatriate quota licenses to foreigners seeking to work in Nigeria, treating 2,000 applications from companies in two years.

This was disclosed in a statement by the Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola on Friday, in Abuja, after his participation on the second day of the 6th edition of the Annual Kaduna Economic Investment, (KADINVEST), in Kaduna.

The Minister also disclosed that since inception, the ministry has handled 14,690 companies and granted 126,893 quota licences to expatriates.

“From August 2019 till date, we have registered more than 2,000 companies, while over 12,000 expatriates have been given permits to work in Nigeria.

“We now handle applications with dispatch and will encourage any firm or organisation with genuine need for expatriates to bring their applications. We shall accord it the required courtesy,” Aregbesola said.

He also added that In spite of the challenges Nigeria is facing, the country is still an investor’s dream.

“Where there is abundant raw materials, highly skilled and affordable workforce and the largest market for goods and services in Africa. The return on investment has always been mouth-watering,” the minister said.

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