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Abuja Rail Mass Transit project 95% completed – Wike

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By Laide Akinboade, Abuja

The Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Mr Nyesom Wike on Wednesday, revealed that the Abuja Rail Mass Transit (ARMT) project is 95 per cent completed and will be ready for inauguration in May.

The minister stated this when the Belgium Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr Pieter Leenknegt visited him in Abuja.

Wike explained that the feat was part of efforts to improve public transportation in the federal capital, Abuja.

“When we came on board, we found out that the Abuja Light Rail was not functional and we felt that it will be a good thing for the people, if we decongest the city by putting it to function.

“So, President Bola Tinubu directed that whatever can be done, should be done, so that in his one year in office, the light rail will come on board for the use of the residents.

“The people can use it going out of the city, going to the airport and other area councils, and instead of going with their vehicles they can take the train.

“I can announce to you that we are almost there. The company handling the project, China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC), is almost 95 per cent completed.

“By the grace of God, we believe that in May, Mr President will inaugurate it,” he said.

Wike added that discussion was ongoing with private investors to change the mode of public transportation in the FCT.

He acknowledged that the deficit in public transportation was constituting a security challenge in the city, adding that most of the operators were not registered.

He expressed concern that most residents do not know the vehicle they are boarding, adding that efforts were ongoing to ensure all public transport operators were registered.

The minister added that the government has concluded plans to build taxi and bus terminals where residents could patronise registered and identified operators.

He added that the construction of the terminals would commence in the next one month, with the approval of the Bureau of Public Procurement.

The minister also said that discussion was ongoing with the Inspector General of Police, the Director-General, Department of State Services, and cattle herders on ways to stop open grazing in the city.

He explained that the discussion was to get the herders to understand why they should not rear cattle within the city.

“I can tell you that it is not what we want, but believing that the matter will be resolved, an alternative will be provided for the herders to rear their cattle,” he said.

Wike also sought partnership with the Belgian government on security and agriculture.

Earlier, the Ambassador said that the visit was to get to know the minister’s plans in mass public transportation, update on the Abuja Light Rail project and the stand on open grazing in the city.

Bertrand expressed satisfaction with developments in the FCT, particularly the green vegetation and trees as well as less traffic.

He said that the Belgian government was open for partnership on areas of mutual benefits.

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Kano APC Suspends National Chairman, Ganduje Over Alleged Corruption

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The National Chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Dr Abdullahi Umar Ganduje has been suspended as a member of his ward in Kano. Reports says that the Executive members of Ganduje Ward In Dawakin-Tofa Local Government Area of Kano state announced the suspension of Ganduje over alleged corruption on Monday.

Addressing newsmen in the state capital, the legal adviser of the Ganduje Ward, Haladu Gwanjo said the former Kano state governor is alleged to have committed gross misappropriation of public funds during his time as governor of the state.
According to him, the members decided to suspend the national chairman’s membership after a vote of no confidence was passed on him due to his inability to clear his name from various allegations of corruption against him, which range from the circulated dollar videos where he was allegedly collecting bribe from contractors.
He said the suspension takes effect from today 15 April.A viral video had captured Ganduje allegedly receiving bundles of dollar notes as a bribe from a man said to be a contractor and stuffing them in the pockets of his flowing gown.The video, which garnered widespread attention in 2017, has been the subject of intense scrutiny.Ganduje had denied the content of the video when it first surfaced and maintained his innocence but years after, the New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP)’s administration of Governor Abba Yusuf revisited the case, vowing the prosecute the ex-governor.The Kano High Court would arraign Ganduje on Wednesday, April 17, 2024 on charges bordering on allegations of bribery, diversion, and misappropriation of funds, including the purported acceptance of $413,000 and N1.38bn in bribes.The Kano State Attorney General and Commissioner of Justice, Haruna Dederi, had said Ganduje would be arraigned alongside his wife and six others.The Yusuf administration, which initiated the criminal suit against the eight respondents, had declared its readiness to present 15 witnesses to testify before Justice Usman Na’aba of State High Court.

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Q1:PTML Customs Rakes N66.9b, Surpasses 2023 Revenue

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The Port Terminal Multiservices Ltd. (PTML) Command of Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has recorded N66.9 billion revenue in the first quarter of the year.

The Customs Area Controller (CAC), PTML Command, Comptroller, Saidu Yusuf, said this at a news conference in Lagos on Monday.

He said that the figure, which was N22.

19 billion higher than the N44.
72 billion recorded same period in 2023, represented 49.
6 per cent increase.

Yusuf described the increase in the revenue collection as a laudable feat.

According to him, the command is committed towards trade facilitation and supports the government’s drive on ease of doing business.

The comptroller thanked the Comptroller-General of Customs, Bashir Adeniyi, for initiating strategies to achieve faster cargo clearance.

He reiterated that PTML command, under his watch, aimed to surpass its record of three hour cargo clearance for compliant traders.

“The launching of Time Release Study (TRS), which is ongoing and other deliberate efforts by the Comptroller General, had contributed to the expansion of terminal space and promoted ease of doing business in PTML.

“PTML command has potentials to achieve two hour cargo clearance and surpass it’s existing three hours record if port users compliance level is improved upon.

“PTML is one of the safest and most secure environments for RoRo(Roll On Roll Off) and general cargoes,” Yusuf said.

He advised importer and their agents to take advantage of the incentives available for compliant traders such as fast track, advance ruling and possible migration to the Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) status.

He reminded port users in PTML of the robust and time conscious dispute resolution mechanism, which had contributed immensely to the revenue collection, trade facilitation and anti smuggling functions of the command.

Yusuf commended the various government and private sector stakeholders for their cooperation and support toward the realisation of the overnment goal of revenue collection and prevention of unlawful activities.

He also expressed optimism that the command would surpass it’s annual target for the year.

He described the importation of vehicles meant for Nigerian roads into nneighbouringcountries with the ntent to smuggle them through unapproved roads into Nigeria as unpatriotic and act of economic sabotage.

The PTLM customs boss said that the command had the capacity for seamless and efficient processing of such automobile cargoes.

The CAC enjoined officers of the command to maximally deploy available technology and rededicate themselves to the job to achieve more revenue for the second quoter.

He reminded the port users of the increased in anti-smuggling vigilance to uncover concealment such as under declaration and smuggling of prohibited items.

Yusuf said that any discovered infraction would lead to full evoking of the Nigeria Customs Service Act (NCSA), where there were spelt out penalties. (NAN)

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EFCC Arraigns 5 for Illegal Crude Oil Deal

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), on Monday, charged five defendants before a Federal High Court in Lagos, over an illegal deal in petroleum products.
The defendants are: Mt Vinnalaris (a vessel), Azeez Abubakar, Wisdom Borborley, Samuel Akpan and Freedom Otuagoma
They appeared before Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke on two counts bordering on unlawful deal in petroleum products.


After the charge was read to them, they pleaded guilty.

Following their plea, the prosecutor, Mr R.A. Abdurasheed, informed the court that the prosecution had filed the plea bargain agreement with the defendants, before the court.
Consequently, the court adjourned the case until April 25, for adoption of plea bargain agreement.

The court, however, ordered that the defendants remain in custody of the prosecution till then.
In the charge, the defendants were said to have committed the offence sometime in 2023, while on the Nigerian maritime domain.
They were alleged to have dealt in 515.8 litres of crude oil without lawful authority.
The offence contravenes the provisions of Section 1(17) and 3(6) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act, Cap M17 Law of the Federation 2004. (NAN)

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