By Lawrence Olaoye
The Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved the establishment of Army University in Biu, Borno State.
The Council chaired by the Vice President, YemiOsinbajo, also approved the sum of N47 billion for the completion of road projects in Plateau, Lagos and Ogun states; just as it okayed N13 billion for the dredging of the Excravos and Warri port.
The Council equally set up a panel to advise government on ways to disseminate its policies to the populace.
Briefing newsmen after the weekly meeting, Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu said “Council approved establishment of the Nigerian Army University in Biu, Borno State.”
Senior Special Assistant to the President on media and publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, who spoke earlier, said “The minister of women affairs briefed council on women empowerment programme undertaken, capacity development for women, promotion of human rights, fighting violence against women, rehabilitation of victims of gender violence, promoting the health of women and children, and of course the efforts on the rescue of Chibok and Dapchi girls. Council commended the women affairs ministry for a job well done.
“Ministry of Information spoke on achievements made which include bringing down the wall that screens out Nigerians in the military engagement in the North-East, the role played in the prompt release of the Dapchi girls and have instituted town hall meetings, 11 of which have been held so far across the country. He said the town hall meetings are ways of getting feedback from the country. He also spoke about the national sensitization campaigns on insecurity in the country.
He spoke about the institution of regular interaction with Broadcasting Organization of Nigeria, Nigeria Union of Journalists and other relevant bodies.
He also spoke on interaction with International Press Institute personnel who are coming into Nigeria for their World Congress in June this year. They have made progress with the digital switchover campaigns.
At the end of the day, the council decided to set up an inter-ministerial committee to fashion out a marshal plan for the communications for the ministry to sit down and advise government on how policies and programmes can be better disseminated. In particular, the committee will advise government on how the ministry and its agencies can deliver on its own mandate.
The ministers on the committee are those of finance, agriculture, budget and national planning, power, works and housing, transportation, communications, Information and Culture, petroleum and Niger Delta.
Minister of Transport, RotimiAmaechi, revealed that “FEC gave approval for the dredging of the Escavos and then the Warri Seaport and the replacement of the bad navigational aids. The total cost of the contract is N13 billion.”
The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola said his ministry got approval for three memos. “One was for BabanLamba-Sharam Road in Plateau state, for the contraction of 44.625 kilometers at N19.392 billion. The second was for Lagos-Ota-Abeokuta Road 81 kilometers. That road was first awarded in year 2000, and it has since been left uncompleted because there was no budgetary provision for it. This administration in trying to move this contractor to site; and stated the revision of the rate. So, the revised rate were brought to council today, and a revision of N22 billion was approved for the 81 kilometers road, bringing the total contract price to N56.701 billion.
“The third approval was for the section four of the Enugu Port Harcourt Road, the part between Abia and Port Harcourt, particularly in Port Harcourt that has been problematic and has failed severally. We have a contractor there; but we needed to change the design because of the storm water drainage needs and the high water tables there so that the road does not fail.
That requires a revision of the scope of work to include retaining side lanes, and also drainage facilities, in the sum of N6.309 billion.”
Minister of Water resources, Suleiman Adamu, said “We presented a Policy memo highlighting the crisis facing water and sanitization in the country and the need for government to take action.
“We highlight the fact that urbane water supply is regressing, access to improve sanitation has also decreased over time that we have not be able to meet the Millennium Development Goals and that works services in the rural areas are unsustainable, and spending on water sector has declined by .7% to .72% of the GDP in 2010.
“We submitted a memo to council to approve an action plan on how to address these issues. We had three prayers for the council to approve the action plan: to declare a state of emergency on water and sanitation sector; to approve the establishment of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Fund for the country. This fund will be one that federal, states and international donors can put in money so that we can begin to address the crisis water and sanitation sector in the country. We also requested that, henceforth, the budget for water and sanitation in the country to be significantly increased so that we will be able to face these challenges. Council accepted our prayers and we will move on.”
Gen. AbdulrahmanDanbazzau, Minister of Interior, on his own said, “FEC approved contract for the completion of two faculty buildings and Cadet Mess and Cafeteria for Police Academy in Kano. The reason being that there is minimum requirement to be met by the academy before accreditation of programmes.
“In May 2010, a memo was submitted for the approval of a draft bill when it was upgraded to a degree awarding institutions. So the total amount of the contract is about l N234 million.
“Once it is completed, we will invite the NUJ to have a look at some of the programmes that are yet to be accredited.”