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Northeast not considered in national infrastructure plan –Governors

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By Rauf Oyewole, Bauchi

The North East Governors Forum (NEGF) has decried neglect of the region by the Federal Government in the national infrastructure plan despite its consistent appeal to develop the region for economic viability.

The Governors expressed concern over “the seeming neglect of the Northeast in the allocation of Federal Government Capital Projects.” The governors made this known in a communique issued on Saturday morning after the Forum’s 10th meeting.

According to the communique signed by its Chairman and governor of Borno State, Prof Babagana Zulum, “The Forum noted with dismay that despite its cry for attention on the State of infrastructure in the region which has been consistently echoed in all its communique over the years, especially the poor road and railway infrastructure along the economic corridors that links the Northeast subregion to the rest of the country, nothing serious seems to be happening.”

The Governors said that the roads from Enugu to Maiduguri are in deplorable State and the railway from Enugu up to Maiduguri has been destroyed. “This is a major route for regional trade and very important for integration, peace building and improving national unity. The region is also not included in the National Infrastructure Plan for the transition from PMS to Compressed Gas.

They appealed to the Federal Government to consider the reconstruction of the basic infrastructure along Enugu-Maiduguri economic corridor and inclusion of Northeast in all National Development Plans and initiatives.

The Forum also deplored the blackout experienced by the region over the last one month and “the nonchalant attitude exhibited” by the TCN in addressing the issue of National importance for the security and development of the country.

“The Forum is keenly watching the commitment made by TCN to restore power to all the states of the region by the 27th May, 2024; accordingly, the Forum urged the Federal Government to direct TCN to take immediate action. The Forum has resolved in the short term, to set up a solar power plant that can generate a minimum 10 Megawatts per State.

They governors said that Northeast is the only region in Nigeria that has one transmission line supplying six states with a land mass of nearly 300,000 square kilometres and a population of over 35 million.

According to them, it has made the region the most vulnerable and most disadvantaged for industrial development and economic growth with over 70% of its population below 35 years of age.

It called on the Minister of Power to urgently implement the extension of the 330KV transmission line from Makurdi – Gassol – Jalingo linking to Adamawa – Gombe – Bauchi and the extension of the 330KV line from Kano- Bauchi- Yobe, linking to Borno.

The six governors of Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Taraba and Yobe were in attendance.

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Adeleke bags fellowship award on infrastructure devt

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Gov. Ademola Adeleke of Osun has bagged the fellowship award of a socio-cultural group, Ede Unique Club of Nigeria, in recognition of the various infrastructural development projects embarked upon since his assumption of office.

Spokesperson for the organisation, Prince Wale Ojetimi, said in a statement on Tuesday in Osogbo that the investiture of the fellowship award would hold in Ede on Thursday, as part of the organisation’s 40th anniversary celebrations.

Ojetimi said that the award was a testimonial to Adeleke’s personal achievements and his progeny’s remarkable contributions to the socio-economic and political development of Osun and Nigeria at large.

He said that the governor would also perform the inauguration of the N5.5 million solar-powered facility donated by the club to the State Hospital in Ede.

The spokesperson said that the solar-powered facility was part of the organisation’s corporate social responsibility component of its 40th anniversary.

He said that the event, to be presided over by the Timi of Ede, Oba Munirudeen Lawal, will feature an anniversary lecture to be delivered by a former Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Prof. Mojeed Alabi.

According to him, among the prominent individuals to receive special recognition awards at the event is a retired Assistant Inspector-General of Police (AIG), Wale Abass.

 Abass recently retired from Nigeria Police Force (NPF) as AIG after 35 years of service to the country.

The club is a non-partisan, socio-cultural organisation of leaders in business, academia, the professions and public service who have excelled in their various chosen fields and are contributing positively to the society, both in Nigeria and the Diaspora.

The organisation, established in 1983, engages in human capital and social development, focusing particularly on development of young people.

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Sallah: No security breaches in Ebonyi — NSCDC

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The Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) on Tuesday, said so far there has not been any security breach as Ebonyi residents join other Nigerians to celebrate Eid-el Fitri.

The State Commandant of the corps, Dr Elijah Willie, said in Abakalikii that the celebration in the state has been peaceful.

Willie said he was monitoring operations of his personnel deployed across the state especially at security flashpoints.

“We deployed over 700 personnel across the state to ensure maximum security during the celebration.

“We are maintaining the same security deployment used during the sit-at-home directive of an outlawed group in the south east zone, on May 30.

“We are working in synergy with relevant security agencies  to ensure that there are no security breaches across the state,” he said.

He urged the citizens to continue being law-abiding and provide security agencies with relevant information to combat crime.

“I advise criminals to repent or leave the state as the NSCDC and other security agencies would make life very uncomfortable for them.

“The citizens should see security agencies as their friends because protecting their lives and properties is our business,” he said.

He thanked Gov. Francis Nwifuru for his support to security agencies in the state which, he said had made their work easier and more efficient.

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Enugu residents turn to charcoal stove as kerosene price soars

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Some Enugu residents have jettisoned their kerosene stoves, opting for charcoal stoves instead due to the high cost of kerosene which currently sells for between N1,350 and N1,600 per litre.

A market survey on charcoal on Tuesday in Enugu, revealedthat many people now prefer charcoal for cooking due to its affordable price.

A charcoal seller in Garki Market, Grace Umeh, said that although the price of charcoal had risen from N5, 000 to N8,000 per sack; the patronage had continued to soar.

Umeh said the increase in patronage was because an average family of five could use up to 20 litres of kerosene in a month for their cooking.

“So, the family spends over N20, 000 on kerosene in a month.

“On the other hand, a bag of charcoal will last for two months, no matter the pressure of use, for the same size of family,’’ she said.

Another seller at Mayor Market, ObyOkafor, said that most families were buying the commodity in large quantities due to the high cost of kerosene and other energy sources.

“We have continued to experience good and profitable business for some time now in this charcoal business,” Okafor said.

Mrs Christiana Ozor, a charcoal dealer at Achara Layout, said that due to increase in patronage, she now sells more than two bags a day.

Some buyers said that using the charcoal for cooking had saved them a lot of money.

Mr Gilbert Nnamdi, a father of four, said the new charcoal stove introduced to him by his friend had helped him to reduce the amount he spent on kerosene.

“With only N200 charcoal my wife can cook a pot of soup and a pot of rice for the family no matter the quantity of the food.

“This new charcoal stove does not take time to catch fire and does not bring out smoke while cooking with it,” he said.

Another charcoal user, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that she had been using charcoal since the increase in the price of kerosene.

“I stopped using kerosene when the price increased to N900 and because I am afraid of using cooking gas, I quickly opted for charcoal as a means of energy cooking source,” she said.

Food vendors are not left out in the rush for charcoal because they can no longer afford the prices of kerosene and cooking gas.

A restaurant owner, MsIjeoma Dim, explained that the high costs of kerosene and cooking gas had given charcoal a sudden prominence.

MrOforAnyawu, added that charcoal sellers now made brisk business due to the price increase of other cooking energy sources.

Anyawu called on the government to make all cooking energy sources affordable and available for the masses, especially in the face of economic challenges in the country.

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