Federal Government to construct Aba – Ikot Ekpene road next year according to Akwa Ibom State Governor, Udom Emmanuel
By Tom Okure, Ph.D.
Mr. Udom Emmanuel, the Governor of Akwa Ibom State (AKS) indicates that the Nigerian Federal Government has included the construction of Aba, Ikot Ekpene and Calabar Road in its budget plans and that the road would soon be repaired in the coming year. The governor recently made the remarks while addressing the people of Ikot Ekpene and Essien Udim during the Silver Jubilee celebration of Christ the King Parish church in Odoro Ikot in Essien Udim Local Government Area.
According to Governor Udom Emmanuel:
“I have applied to the Federal Government to hand over the road traversing Aba, Ikot Ekpene and Calabar to enable me partner a Private investor who will repair the road and create toll gate to recover the investment. Instead of granting the application the Federal Government announced that the road has been captured in next year’s budget and has been earmarked for construction so I am calling for understanding as the road would soon be repaired as promised by the Central Government”
The Governor also denounced the loss of lives and properties in Ikot Ineme community due to the persistent communal clashes associated with disputed lands in the area and indicated that the Akwa Ibom State government has taken possession of the disputed land for agricultural purpose. He indicated that the government will not tolerate lawlessness in the community and urged Community Stakeholders to report crisis situations to the government for prompt intervention.
During the occasion, the Governor also drew the attention of the church to the rising level of moral decadence in society and urged the church to preach words of “salvation, morality as well as reinvent evangelism to direct the minds of the people towards the fear of God.”
ICMS, Inc Reports
Tom Okure, Ph.D
Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari resumes work today three days after returning home. Before settling down to work he had a pleasant meeting and briefing session with Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo. The two are alleged to have spoken privately for over an hour.
President Buhari looked frail in health when he came off the plane upon his return from medical treatment in London on Friday March 10, 2017. In a nine-minute welcome speech to the nation on Friday, Buhari stated that he came back in the weekend deliberately “so I will continue to rest”. He also observed that he will need further medical checkups.
In a press statement issued by the Presidents special adviser, Mr. Femi Adesina, Buhari stated “I have resumed my functions as the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria with effect from Monday,” The President’s action is in compliance with Section 145 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).
The President has transmitted letters to the Senate and the House of Representatives formally as required by law, informing the National Assembly about his resumption of official duties after his vacation.
On January 19, 2017 it will be recalled, that the President transmitted a letter to the National Assembly indicating that he was taking a 10 days’ vacation in the United Kingdom (London). The president also formally handed the powers of his office to the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo in accordance with the provisions of the 1999 Constitution (as amended). Even so, the President did not return from his vacation after the 10 days passed on February 6. In another letter transmitted to the National Assembly, the President extended his medical vacation and leave, stating that his doctors’ directives required him to remain abroad for a series of additional medical tests. No definite date of his return was provided for the Presidents return.
It was therefore a welcome relieve to the country and especially the president’s supporters when the President suddenly came back home on Friday after spending 51 days in London on medical leave. During the Presidents sick leave in London the Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo had been acting as on behalf of Mr Buhari.
British Airways Joins the list of foreign airlines refusing to utilize Kaduna Airport during the Abuja’s Nmandi Azikiwe International (NAIA), airport runway rehabilitation.
Despite Nigerian government assurances, the number of foreign airlines rejecting the option of flying into Kaduna airport over the six weeks of runway repair at Abuja continues to grow.
ICMS, Inc Reports
By Tom Okure, Ph.D
February 17, 2017
British Airways is joining the list of foreign airlines including South African airlines, Air France and Lufthansa in declining to operate from the Nigerian Kaduna airport after March 8, 2017 as recommended by the Nigerian federal aviation ministry. The Nigerian aviation ministry states that it needs six weeks March 8, 2017 to enable it to carry out runway repairs at Abuja Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport.
Earlier in the month, the German carrier Lufthansa, had also indicated that it would not fly to the Kaduna airport during the closure of the Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport (NAIA), Abuja.
A British airways spokesperson said that during the closure of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International airport, the airline would refund airfares to passengers who are billed to travel with the airline from Abuja.
Apart from providing passengers with a full refund, another option available to passengers include rebooking their flights to an alternative date to and from Abuja when the airport is open.
While some of these foreign airlines have opted in favor of completely suspending their service to Nigeria during the period of Abuja runway repairs, others have decided to continue serving Nigeria through Nigeria’s Lagos Muthala Muhammad International Airport increasing operational pressure on the airport which also has its own operating challenges including deteriorating runways.
Despite the assurances of the Nigerian federal authorities regarding the temporary closure of Abuja airport and the operational, security update and readiness of the Kaduna airport for the resurfacing repair work at Abuja, the number of foreign airlines rejecting the option of flying into Kaduna airport over the six weeks of runway repair at Abuja continues to grow.
By Tom Okure, Ph.D.
President Muhammadu Buhari took leave from his official duties on January 19, 2017 for a brief vacation in the United Kingdom which was later termed as medical leave by his aides. His failure to return to resume work and the open ended extension of his medical leave has spurred all types of rumors about the status of the president’s health including the possibility of his demise and cover-up by his aides.
The lack of clarity about Buhari’s circumstance this week created doubts in the Nigerian media about the claim by the Nigerian presidency that President Trump of the United States reached out in a telephone call to Buhari on Monday February 13, 2017. According to Buhari’s aides, President Trump’s discussion with Buhari centered on a new possible arms deal to help Nigeria better combat terrorism. The US Congress has been reviewing Nigeria’s request to sell it military aircraft. The presidency in Nigeria said “President Trump assured the Nigerian president of U.S. readiness to cut a new deal in helping Nigeria in terms of military weapons to combat terrorism.”
There is doubt and disagreement among Nigerians and the media that Buhari could have spoken to US President Trump under the circumstance of his health and the lack of clarity about his where about. Many Nigerians are truly concerned about the president’s prolonged absence and how his health is? This is especially so, because of the president’s failure to address the nations on the status of his health and the way that his aides have failed to demonstratively show the curious public that the president is healthy or even fully disclose his whereabouts.
Martin Patience of the BBC explains that the failure of President Buhari to appear in public to clarify his circumstance has put Nigerian rumor mill in overdrive ….Read more
ICMS, Inc Reports
By Tom Okure, Ph.D.
February 4, 2017
African Manufacturing and Industrial Giant Dangote Group has announced it is set to resume tomato processing in its Kadawa factory in Kano State of Nigeria. In preparation to restart the Tomato Processing Factory Alhaji Abdulkarim Kaita, who is the Company Managing Director, disclosed recently in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Kano that the company has begun a tomato farms surveys in six states which include Jigawa, Katsina, Kaduna, Kano, Gombe, Plateau and Sokoto. The surveys are supposed to ascertain the extent of the availability of tomatoes in the farms of these major producing states.
The company indicates it will need about 40 trailers of tomato daily to meet its processing needs in the factory when the farmers start harvesting their tomatoes. In preparation for the start of production at the factory, the company engaged more than 50 new employees who will focus on conveying the fresh tomato inside the factory for processing and about 30 Industrial Training (IT) students are alleged to have also been employed by the company as quality control inspectors to assess the quality of the tomatoes prior to processing.
It will be recalled that last year the company was forced to suspend its production of processed tomatoes because of insufficient raw materials input and an outbreak of a pest popularly known as “Tuta Absoluta’’ which destroyed tomato farms in Kano and five other tomato producing states in Nigeria. The massive requirement of tomatoes needed as raw material input at the factory also caused shortages of tomatoes throughout the country.
Commentary and Policy Recommendation
The announcement to resume the processing of tomatoes by the Dangote Group is a welcome development for Nigeria as it adds to the internal production capacity of this vital commodity that is widely used in food preparation by Nigerian families. Internal production of tomato paste etc., in Nigeria will help reduce the importation of this vital commodity by the federal government and save the country on badly needed foreign exchange at a time of recession by helping to reduce or end the importation of processed tomato paste into the country.
More than 40,000 individual farms are involved in the farming of tomatoes in the six identified states and would benefit from selling their tomatoes to the Dangote factory. Logistically local employment will be stimulated in various ways as local people will be involved in supplying things like baskets, fertilizer and other needs of the farmers.
Nevertheless, we believe that rather than buying the raw materials from the individual farmers as is planned, a better policy approach would be for the Dangote Company to retain the services of the tomato farmers as its agents organized into “tomato farm cooperatives” to grow, harvest and sale the tomatoes back to Dangote Company at an assured and guaranteed annual price. This approach would create both employment for the farmers and guarantee them some level of expected annual income for their tomatoes. The Nigerian Federal Government in partnership with the Dangote Group would fund the creation of cooperative farms from among the individual farmers, provide the cooperative farms with the technical assistance and know how needed to grow and harvest pest free high yield quality tomatoes on a year round basis for harvesting, sale to and processing at the company’s Kadawa factory in Kano State.