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NHITE strengthens partnership with NBRRI on improving quality of road construction

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By Matthew Denis

The Nigerian Highway Institution and Transportation Engineers ( NHITE) and Nigerian Building and Road Research Institute have concluded plans to collaborate in strengthening the quality of road construction in the country.

The National Chairman of NHITE, Engr. Hassan Saidu made the disclosure in Abuja during a courtesy visit to the Director General of Nigerian Building and Road Research Institute ( NBRRI), Prof. Samson Duna in Abuja yesterday

The Chairman said, “We are here to further strengthen our collaboration with NBRRI in terms of handling local and international training, technical visits to project sites, career talks to schools between our team and NBRRI team.”

Engr. Saidu explained that they are also planning to implement some of the research works they had together with the institute.

He stated, “Our coming here is to emphasise some of these things we have been doing together and see to fruitution the research works in the nearest future.

“We are proud of our collaboration with NBRRI, especially through local and international training and we are also trying to carry out some of the research work that has been carried out by this great organisation. In fact, our coming here is to emphasise some of these things that we have been doing and ensure they come to fruition and make the work of research be seen by everybody in this country.

“Even now, in terms of training we are planning a workshop to discuss rigid and flexible pavement design. It is an informational workshop and we are ready to educate the public on that.

“We have embarked on various technical visits to Bodo-Bonny road and see the type of concrete construction in various parts of the country.”

Responding, the Director General of Nigerian Building and Road Research Institute ( NBRRI), Prof. Samson Duna said, “What we do basically is to conduct research in the area of building our roads. Anything that affects building, anything that affects roads is part of our mandate and we always do that. Bringing out recommendations on the best way to design our roads, on the best material to be used for buildings and just to mention a few.

“Today we are lucky because our agency hosted NHITE, a professional body, a body responsible for routes and transportation in Nigeria. We discussed a lot of things that have to do with common interests which include one training where we can have joint programs together.”

Prof. Duna revealed, “We look at how to have training together and you know, when you train somebody you are adding more knowledge to him. It’s more like a capacity building. So basically we agreed that we are going to go into training together.

“We are going to visit infrastructural construction where they are constructing roads, especially waterlock areas, Where they are constructing bridges we will go  together to share ideas that have to do with how to improve the infrastructure under construction.

“Another area that we do is that we agree together that we are going to use laboratory equipment so that we utilise the best way to use the materials. When you use laboratory equipment, you are going to test the quality of materials and at the end you come up with a material that meets the standard.”

According to the DG, “One reason why our roads are failing is that we are using inferior materials that were not tested.”

He stressed, “NBRRI has one of the best laboratories in the country. For now, there is no institution, there is no research agency that can best talk about laboratories in  civil engineering equipment like that of NBRRI.

“NBRRI has imported quite a lot of equipment within the past three years, so that is why we are extending hand of fellowship with NHITE to partner  and utilise this material to construct our roads and  if standard materials are used, our road will be longlasting, our road will be durable and will have low maintenanced.”

The DG revealed that, “One of the institute’s findings is that they were able to carry out a lot of research or studies on roads that were constructed like the  Enugu-Port Harcourt road, Bauchi-Gombe road, and Bauchi Kano road.

“We did a lot of road research and part of what we had discovered basically is that low quality material was used during the construction. The process of construction was not adhered to. The quality of raw material used, even the lattice used for the road construction was not there. The level of compaction was not adhered to. The drainages have failed.

“And the other thing, how to conclude the issue of maintenance. Every structure needs to be maintained when there is a small pothole on the road. If we don’t maintain it by tomorrow, it becomes two or three times and that’s part of the bedrock and so on and so forth.”

Prof. Duna revealed that the institute will be hosting a programme this year where professionals are coming from abroad and professionals in Nigeria.

He said, “We intend to carry out a comprehensive training together and this training is holistic. This training will be practically oriented. We use our equipment in the lab to produce materials and we intend to test the material in the field. So you can see it’s a training that does not end on paper. It will end with a practical demonstration.”

He called the leadership of NHITE to task their members to conduct road research projects that will be beneficial to the entire country as NBRRI will be ready to sponsor such work 100 percent  after vetting its worthiness to the society.

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U.S. army sets deadline for troop withdrawal from Niger

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The United States has initiated the withdrawal of its military forces from Niger Republic, following directives from the West African nation’s military leadership.

The withdrawal process, slated to be completed by September 15, 2024, marks the end of an era of American military presence in the country.

According to a press release jointly issued by the National Council for the Safeguarding of the Homeland and the US Department of Defense on Sunday, discussions between the two parties, held from May 15 to 19, 2024, in Niamey, Niger, aimed to ensure the orderly and safe withdrawal of US forces from the region.

Led by high-ranking officials such as Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low-Intensity Conflict, Christopher Maier, and the Chief of Staff of the Nigerien Army, Colonel-Major Mamane Kiaou, the discussions emphasised transparency and mutual respect.

The withdrawal encompasses troops stationed at key bases, notably the strategically significant $110 million drone base in Agadez.

“Representatives of the U.S. Department of Defense and the Department of National Defense of the Republic of Niger met from May 15 to 19, 2024, in Niamey, Republic of Niger, as part of a Joint Disengagement Commission, to coordinate the orderly and safe withdrawal of U.S. forces from Niger.

“These discussions between the militaries were conducted in complete transparency and with perfect mutual respect between the two parties.

“The U.S. Department of Defense delegation was led by the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low-Intensity Conflict, Mr. Christopher Maier; and the Director of Joint Force Development in the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Lieutenant General Dagvin Anderson. The delegation of the Ministry of National Defense of Niger was led by the Chief of Staff of the Army, Colonel-Major Mamane Sani Kiaou,” the statement read in part.

Despite the military disengagement, both nations affirmed their commitment to ongoing diplomatic dialogue and cooperation in areas of mutual interest, including counterterrorism efforts.

“The U.S. Department of Defense and the Ministry of National Defense of Niger have reached a disengagement agreement to effect the withdrawal of U.S. forces, which has already begun. It is therefore agreed that this disengagement will end no later than September 15, 2024.

“Both delegations confirmed the guarantees of protection and security to the American forces during their withdrawal. The delegations also established procedures to facilitate the entry and exit of U.S. personnel, including overflight and landing clearances for military flights.

“The U.S. Department of Defense and the Nigerien Ministry of National Defense recall the joint sacrifices of Nigerien and U.S. forces in the fight against terrorism and commend each other’s efforts to build up the Nigerien Armed Forces. The Parties undertake to continue cooperation in areas of common interest.

“The withdrawal of U.S. forces from Niger does not affect the continuation of U.S.-Niger development relations. The United States and Niger are committed to ongoing diplomatic dialogue to define the future of their bilateral relations,” it added.

The US initially established a military base in Niger to combat armed groups aligned with al-Qaeda and ISIL operating in the Sahel region, which includes Burkina Faso and Mali. The primary airbase in Agadez, located about 920km from the capital Niamey, has been a crucial site for both manned and unmanned surveillance flights and other military operations.

On April 19, 2024, the US announced plans to withdraw its troops from Niger due to the West African nation’s growing alignment with Russia and its distancing from Western powers. Consequently, the US Department of State agreed to pull out approximately 1,000 troops from the country, which has been under military rule since July 2023.

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Reps seek more financial investment for federal teaching hospitals

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The House of Representatives Committee Chairman on Health Institutions, Amos Magaji, has called for a sustained financial investment in the federal teaching hospitals across the country.

He said this will be in line with the Renewed Hope agenda of the President Bola Tinubu-led administration for the betterment of the citizenry.

Magaji disclosed this during an oversight visit of members of his committee to the Federal University of Health Sciences Teaching Hospital, Otukpo.

He stressed the need to allocate more funds in health sector, considering the primary responsibility of health institutions in the country.

Magaji appreciated the Chief Medical Director, CMD, and his management staff for showing interest in the growth of the teaching hospital, considering the tremendous achievements recorded within a period of one year.

He assured that he would work with his members to ensure that more funds are made available to develop the needed infrastructure including the medical equipment to meet up with the expectations of the people.

“We are glad to be in Otukpo today to see things for ourselves. We don’t want to depend on second hand information on the true condition of the Federal University Teaching Hospital Otukpo,” he said.

He assured the management of full support of the Federal House of Representatives as appropriate incentives would be given through interface with other critical stakeholders in Abuja.

The committee chairman enjoined the staff, whom he described as foundation staff to work as team despite the working condition, “we have seen how the environment is looking and we will continue to monitor the progress.

“So, as foundation staff, you all have the opportunity to write your name in gold.”

While welcoming the committee, the CMD, Prof Silas Ochejele, appreciated the federal government for the establishment of the teaching hospital in Otukpo which has drastically changed the medical services narratives in the state.

Ochejele thanked the House of Representatives Committee on Health Institutions for the pains to come down to Otukpo and believed that the visit has made them to see things themselves, which would go a long way in repositioning the hospital for the betterment of the people.

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JUST IN: Helicopter carrying Iran’s President crashes

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A helicopter carrying Iranian President, Ebrahim Raisi, has been involved in an incident while he was visiting neighbouring Azerbaijan, Iran’s semi-official Tasnim news agency reported on X on Sunday according to CNN.

“Some of the president’s companions on this helicopter were able to communicate with Central Headquarters, raising hopes that the incident could have ended without casualties,” it added.

It is unclear what the exact status is of Raisi’s helicopter, CNN reports.

The helicopter was part of a convoy of three helicopters. Two of those helicopters were carrying ministers and officials who arrived at their destination safely, according to Tasnim.

“Seyyed Mohammad-Ali Al-Hashem, Tabriz’s Friday Prayer Imam, and Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian were also reportedly on the helicopter with the president,” Tasnim said on X. BREAKING: Helicopter carrying Iran’s President involved in an accident

A helicopter carrying Iranian President, Ebrahim Raisi, has been involved in an incident while he was visiting neighbouring Azerbaijan, Iran’s semi-official Tasnim news agency reported on X on Sunday according to CNN.

“Some of the president’s companions on this helicopter were able to communicate with Central Headquarters, raising hopes that the incident could have ended without casualties,” it added.

It is unclear what the exact status is of Raisi’s helicopter, CNN reports.

The helicopter was part of a convoy of three helicopters. Two of those helicopters were carrying ministers and officials who arrived at their destination safely, according to Tasnim.

“Seyyed Mohammad-Ali Al-Hashem, Tabriz’s Friday Prayer Imam, and Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian were also reportedly on the helicopter with the president,” Tasnim said on X.

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