The Federal Executive Council (FEC) Wednesday has approved the variation in contract for the repairs of east-west road from an initial N240 billion to N506 billion.
Briefing State House correspondents on behalf of the Minister of Works and Housing at the end of the weekly FEC meeting, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity in the Office of the Vice President Mr Laolu Akande said the project was approved to address the impacts of recent flood on the road.
“First, he presented a memo that shows the federal government’s continued engagement in bringing succour and resolving issues around the recent flooding. He got approval for the variation order in respect of repair works on the East West road project affected during the recent flooding occurrences in the Niger Delta.
“So, the approval was for a variation order for the East West road project sections 1-4 from Warri to Port Harcourt, Eket, Oron, including Oron-Eket bypass in the sum of N260 billion, thereby increasing the total contract sum for the outstanding sections 1-4 of the East West road projects from the sum of formerly N246 billion to N506 billion,” he said.
He said the council also approved N140 billion for roads in Yobe and Jigawa states and the award of contracts for the urgent repairs and special general maintenance of a few roads nationwide.
“These include the construction of Gogora Guru Road in Yobe state, in the sum of N40 billion, with the completion time of 36 months.
“He also got approval for the rehabilitation of the 90 kilometre Buni Gari Gulani road also in Yobe state in the sum of N4 billion with a completion period of 36 months.
“Regarding urgent repairs, and in some of these roads also for the reconstruction of water cooperation Drive at Trinity Avenue Victoria Island Lagos state, that too was also approved in the sum of N2 billion with a completion period of 36 months.
“Finally, the Minister for housing also got approval for the award of contract for the dualization and reconstruction of the Kano-Kwana-Ganja-Adeja road in Kano and Jigawa states, section Kano to Salu. This was approved in the sum of N94 billion inclusive of 7.5 percent VAT with a completion period of 24 months,” he said.
Also speaking, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Mr Mohammed Abubakar said there would be no food shortage.
He said the federal government would ensure that farmers who lost their produce are compensated including those without insurance policies.
“For farmers especially, we always encourage farmers to take insurance, there are farmers that have taken insurance. So now is the time for compensation after we finish all the assessments.
“The government will always have a plan of action or emergency response, just like this. What can the government do also to compensate those that don’t have insurance? Not really compensation, but assist, come to the aid. We have that plan and we’re already activating, pending on when we’ll finish all the assessments.
“What are we doing to avert food shortage? Number one, first and foremost, we have in place an intensive plan for dry season farming. We have gotten funding from the African Development Bank, we have some money also in our own provision, also, IFAD, that is the International Fund for Agricultural Development also just donated or grant, if you will, $5 million.
“So, we have some money that we are already planning to do dry season farming. Also, in areas of conflict, we are recruiting additional rangers. I told you in another forum that we have Agro Rangers that provide some measure of security on farm lands. We are recruiting more to do that.
“Also, we are intensifying farming in areas that have no conflict to make up for those areas that we are getting little or no access. So the thing is the government, Mr. President, has specifically directed that we do everything humanly possible to make sure there is no food shortage in the country and I can tell you, there will not be any food shortage.
“Between the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the Central Bank and other private investors in agriculture, there’s enough grains in our own silos, in CBN and silos, that will cater for any eventualities and currently, the Humanitarian Ministry is picking up some grains from us to distribute to the needy. So I can assure you, by the grace of God, there will be no food shortage,” he said.
The minister said the Federal Executive Council also approved the animal component of the revised comprehensive emergency preparedness and response plan for the highly pathogen pathogenic influenza in Nigeria to contain any kind of outbreak of bird flu,
“Today, the Federal Ministry of Agriculture Rural Development presented a memo on the Revised Comprehensive Emergency Preparedness and Response Plan for the Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza in Nigeria, (the Animal Component).
“If you’ll recall, bird flu has been something that we see and hear about in Asia, but of course, in 2006, Nigeria experienced the very first one and at the time, we lost about 1.2 million birds, chicken.
“This is a highly pathogenic viral infection that is so contagious and Zoonotic, meaning it can go from animals to humans and can cause death and can cause sickness.
“So the previous policy was put together by experts back in 2005, in order to contain, quickly, any kind of outbreak of bird flu. But the sector has grown so much with additional importation of maybe new and exotic birds. Therefore, the need to revise this policy and produce a new one that will conform with the current happenings in the industry.
“That is why this new policy is being put forward by the ministry and it’s called the Comprehensive Emergency Preparedness and Response Plan to contain any future occurrence.
“This industry is an industry that has grown to have a population of over 165 million birds and is an industry of about N1.6 trillion. This industry also is really largely populated by rural dwellers, about 70%.
“So the objective here is to make sure we have a robust preparedness plan, that in case of any additional outbreak, even currently, we have sporadic periodic outbreaks that is plaguing the industry, which is why we have to upgrade to make sure we’re always ready to move on.
“The addition to this new policy, also, is the establishment of centers that will cater for issues of compensation to poultry farmers in the country. This is basically what the new policy is all about and has just been approved by the Federal Executive Council,” he said.
The Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, Mr Olorunibe Mamora, said the council also approved secured partnership on the upgrade, equipping, operating and marketing of Space Museum and planetarium by the National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA).
“The buildings meant for this project had been in place since 2018. But because of non-availability of funds to put the necessary equipment in place that project has been stalled.
“And riding on the directive of Mr. President at the National Space Council meeting, chaired by Mr. President himself in 2022, where he directed that the DG should explore and exploit collaboration with the private sector. So an unsolicited proposal came from a private company in Nigeria, leading to the necessary processes in terms of outline business case and full business case, ensuring compliance with all the requirements needed to present the memo before they council, which we did this morning.
“Fortunately, the memo was approved. And of course, the cost of the project is about N3.5 billion and it’s at no cost, and I mean, no cost to government. And the project will last for about 15 years. Then thereafter it reverts to the federal government. The buildings that we are referring to are located at the NASDA premises here in Abuja.
“So that’s essentially what the memo is all about, of course, is going to provide jobs for over 200 people. And of course, it’s going to be an opportunity to provide learning experience in science, technology, engineering and mathematics,” he said.