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Kemta-Ilugun-Obantoko road re-construction nearing completion as residents laud Abiodun

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The re-construction of Kemta-Ilugun-Somorin-Obantoko road in Abeokuta by the administration of Governor Dapo Abiodun has reached 80 percent completion stage.

The 6.9km road serves as a major bypass linking Obantoko with Kemta-Idiaba.

Repair work on the road has already increased economic and social activities of the adjoining communities.

Sequel to the construction of the road, hotels, shopping complexes, private schools and modern buildings have been springing up in the area.

Residents of the area have been upbeat and happy that the construction of the road has become a reality after waiting endlessly for succour which did not come until Governor Abiodun came to their rescue.

Some residents said they had hoped that the location of the residence of Nobel Laurette, Professor Wole Soyinka in the area would spur the state government to do the road.

The residents also expressed surprise that the road construction is being done without their houses being demolished because, the immediate past government of governor Ibikunle Amosun had earmarked some houses for demolition to pave the way for the road project.

An excited resident, Mr Abimbola Ogunmuyiwa, said the new road had brought development to the area in different dimensions.

Ogunmuyiwa said: “We are very grateful to the administration of Governor Abiodun for this particular road construction which has improved life in communities in this area in no small measure.

“Before this road was constructed, getting home after the day’s work was very difficult but now you are at the Federal Medical Centre within 10 to 15 minutes, unlike before when you spent hours.”

A journalist, Ernest Nwokolo, who lives at Ilugun, said the construction of the road was a big relief to residents of his area.

Nwokolo said: “Though the road is not yet 100 per cent completed, it has been of tremendous help to the people and it has increased the value of properties in the area.

“With the construction of the road, one can now keep appointments because one does not need to wait for a very long time before getting vehicles to Idiaba and from there to other parts of Abeokuta metropolis.

“For those who drive their own vehicles, relief has come for them because it will now save them the money being spent on spare parts to repair their vehicles.

“Apart from saving the man-hours being spent before bursting out at Kemta Junction, the road has made the value of properties to appreciate. A plot of land that was being sold for N500,000 in 2018 is now being sold for N3million and above depending on how close it is to the main road. Some are sold for as much as N5million.”

The impact of the road is not only being felt by residents of the communities as people who commute daily from Osiele, Camp and Obantoko are now enjoying these dividends of democracy as the long man-hours being wasted in traffic on Obantoko-Asero-Adatan Road, is now over.

Dr Adewunmi Ayodele, a lecturer at the Federal College of Education, Osiele and whose house is at Laderin, said the road was a major relief for him and others that are living in the metropolis but working at either FCE or Federal University of Agriculture.

He said: “Before this road was constructed, I used to leave my house at Laderin by 6:15am and I won’t get to the office earlier than 8:30am due to the long hours spent on the deplorable Asero/Obantoko Road.

“But now, I can leave my house at past seven and get to my office earlier than before because with this road, I just burst out at Somorin and off I go to Camp. It is a great relief for me and others working at Osiele and Camp axis.”

Also speaking on the impact of the road, a taxi driver, Mr Mudashiru Alao, commended Governor Abiodun for a job well done.

According to Alao, he can now carry passengers directly from Lafenwa to Osiele in a shorter time, unlike before when he spent hours in traffic.

Alao, who said the road is now an outer ring road to Abeokuta from Idiaba to Somorin Obantoko, expressed delight that his income had increased because he now prefers to ply Lafenwa/Obantoko/Osiele directly without wasting too much time in traffic, stating that people should reward the good work by supporting Abiodun’s second term election bid.

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NEITI develops corrective action plan to enhance Nigeria’s EITI implementation – Orji

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The Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI), says it has developed a Corrective Action Plan to address issues identified in its validation report by the global Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI).

It said the corrective action plan had been shared with the EITI International Secretariat, outlining concrete steps to enhance Nigeria’s implementation of the EITI Standard.

Dr Orji Ogbonnaya Orji, the Executive Secretary, NEITI said this on Wednesday in Abuja while briefing the newsmen on the status of the EITI implementation in Nigeria.

A delegation from EITI International Secretariat had visited Nigeria in January to officially communicate the validation outcome to the government.

Global EITI was established with the objective of transparency and disclosing payments and revenues from extractive resources.

The global institution has made significant progress in facilitating openness though the entire processes in the resource extraction value chain.

Orji, however, said the briefing was necessary to address important developments since after the EITI Mission in Nigeria.

“Meanwhile, as part of the follow up actions to the EITI delegation visit, NEITI has developed a corrective action plan to address the issues identified in the validation report.

“For the avoidance of doubt, Nigeria’s corrective actions will focus on improving our ranking on Stakeholders’ Engagement, which include: Government, Company and Civil Society Engagements as well as Multi Stakeholders’ Governance.

“Other requirements are Contracts and licence allocations and Licence Register Contracts.

“Already, our strategy on improving stakeholders’ engagement has yielded very positive results. We now have the NSWG in place with the SGF chairing the NEITI Board,’’ he said.

He said one major message the EITI International Mission communicated clearly to our government was the urgency to reconstitute the NEITI NSWG (Board) which was dissolved on June 19, 2023.

President Bola Tinubu had on April 22, approved reconstitution of a 15- member National Stakeholders’ Working Group (NSWG) for NEITI.

The executive secretary said to reaffirm Nigeria’s highest commitment, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Sen. George Akume was announced as the Chairman of the NSWG.

“Other members of the new NEITI Board (6th NSWG) include; the Executive Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Services (FIRS), Zacch Adedeji representing government and the Group Chief Executive Officer, Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC Ltd.), Malam Mele Kyari representing Companies, among others.

“I wish to clarify that it is a 15-member Board, no more, no less as provided by law. As Secretary to the Board and NEITI Executive Secretary/CEO, I remain on a five-year single term, no more, no less as provided by law.

“NEITI is following with interest but from a distance, the ongoing independent process by Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) to elect their representative on the Board.

“While we commend the painstaking efforts from the CSOs constituency, we hope this will be completed very soon to enable them take up their rightful position waiting for them on the reconstituted Board.

“For this to happen, I appeal and call on the civil society to close ranks and bury their differences. NEITI is and always will be their institution ready and open to work with all CSOs as important partners in the EITI,’’ he said.

Orji, while commending the larger CSOs on the support it had received from them in areas of partnership and collaboration, he said that its relationship with the media had been impressive, especially on information dissemination and public enlightenment efforts.

He reassured stakeholders, international partners and the global EITI that no stone was being left unturned in ensuring that at the next validation, Nigeria would score the maximum points of 100 in its assessment.

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Police arrest 2 over alleged church robbery in Benin

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Police in Edo have arrested two suspects, aged 26 years and 30 years in connection with a Benin church robbery.

Police Commissioner in the state, Mr Funsho Adegboye, paraded the suspects before newsmen in Benin on Wednesday.

He said the duo stormed the church on April 14 and robbed the pastor, Ms Juliet Imubhin, and other members of their belongings.

“Imubhin told the police that three armed men walked into the church with guns and robbed them of their valuables.

“The armed robbers abducted the pastor and took her away in her Toyota Highlander jeep.

“She was driven to a spot where they forced her to disclose her bank debit card pin which they used to withdraw money from her account,’’ he said.

He explained that police operatives, however, intercepted the vehicle on Auchi Road on April 16 and arrested the suspects.

One of the suspects, however, denied his involvement in the crime while speaking with newsmen.

“My friend only asked me to serve as an escort to deliver a vehicle to its owner. We were on the road when the police arrested us.

“I only got to know that it was a stolen vehicle after we were arrested,’’ he said.

The other suspect also denied his involvement in the crime, saying his friend, still at large, asked him to deliver the vehicle to a buyer.

“On the said day of the robbery, I went to attend Oodua Peoples Congress meeting and after the meeting I went to meet my father. I know nothing about the robbery.

“I met my friend at a drinking joint. We were drinking when he received a phone call that they would be taking a vehicle to the owner.

“He then asked if I wanted to escort them and I agreed because he said they would pay money after the delivery of the vehicle,’’ he narrated.

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Tinubu approves take-off of N100bn consumer credit for Nigerians

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President Bola Tinubu has approved the commencement of the N100 billion Consumer Credit Scheme for Nigerians amid escalating economic hardship in the country.

Ajuri Ngelale, the President’s spokesperson, disclosed this in a statement on Wednesday.

He stated that interested Nigerians are expected to visit the portal of Nigerian Consumer Credit Corporation before May 15, 2024.

“Consumer credit serves as the lifeblood of modern economies, enabling citizens to enhance their quality of life by accessing goods and services upfront, paying responsibly over time. It facilitates crucial purchases, such as homes, vehicles, education, and healthcare, which are essential for ongoing stability and the pursuit of their aspirations.

“Individuals build credit histories through responsible repayment, unlocking more opportunities for a better life. The increased demand for goods and services also stimulates local industry and job creation.

“The President believes every hardworking Nigerian should have access to social mobility, with consumer credit playing a pivotal role in achieving this vision.

“The Nigerian Consumer Credit Corporation (CREDICORP) achieves its mandate through the following: Strengthening Nigeria’s credit reporting systems and ensuring every economically active citizen has a dependable credit score. This score becomes personal equity they build, facilitating access to consumer credit, Offering credit guarantees and wholesale lending to financial institutions dedicated to broadening consumer credit access today and Promoting responsible consumer credit as a pathway to an improved quality of life, fostering a cultural shift towards growth and financial responsibility.

“In line with the President’s directive to expand consumer credit access to Nigerians, the Nigerian Consumer Credit Corporation (CREDICORP) has launched a portal for Nigerians to express interest in receiving consumer credit.

“This initiative, in collaboration with financial institutions and cooperatives nationwide, aims to broaden consumer credit availability.

“Working Nigerians interested in receiving consumer credit can visit www.credicorp.ng to express interest. The deadline is May 15, 2024.

“The scheme will be rolled out in phases, starting with members of the civil service and cascading to members of the public,” the statement said.

Recall that two months ago, a presidential spokesman, Bayo Onanuga, announced that the Federal Executive Council had given the nod for the establishment of the Consumer Credit Scheme.

He said the President’s Chief of Staff, Femi Gbajabiamila, will lead a committee that includes the Budget Minister, Attorney-General, and Coordinating Minister of the Economy and Finance to make the scheme a reality.

In March, the Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service Chairman, Zacch Adedeji, said the Nigerian government would unveil its proposed N100 billion consumer credit loan in a few days.

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