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House Directs Works Ministry, FERMA to Rehabilitate River Katsina-Ala Bridge

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Femi Gbajabiamila as the Speaker of the 9th Assembly
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By Orkula Shaagee, Abuja

‎The House of Representatives yesterday called on the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing and the Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA) to urgently rehabilitate the River Katsina-Ala bridge to avoid its complete collapse and also reconstruct the road from Wukari-Zaki-Biam–Katsina-Ala-Gboko-Aliade-Otukpo-9th Mile to ameliorate the suffering of commuters.

The resolution was consequent upon the adoption of a motion sponsored by Hon. Richard I.

Gbande (PDP, Benue).

The House also mandated the Committees on Works and Legislative Compliance (when constituted) to ensure compliance.

While presenting the motion, Hon. Gbande noted that, “River Katsina-Ala bridge is located on trunk A344 road in Katsina-Ala town, the headquarters of Katsina-Ala Local Government Area of Benue State and harbours an important archaeological site where artefacts of the rich Nok culture were discovered;

He also noted that the bridge, which was constructed in 1976 by Sterling Astaldy, an Italian construction company is long overdue for rehabilitation as it poses a serious threat to commuters plying the route which can easily be deduced from the incessant accidents that occur along the route resulting in loss of lives and properties and the deteriorated part of the bridge has become a den for criminals who take cover under the bridge to terrorize the communities of Katsina-Ala Ugbema Junction, Ikowe, Ayua and Abwa.

He informed that Zaki-Biam, the largest yam market in Africa, which is estimated to dispatch, on a daily basis, over a thousand truckloads of yams may be cut off from business due to the sorry state of the bridge.

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Military pension: Board Yet to fix Date for Pensioners Verification – PRO

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The Military Pensions Board (MPB) says it is yet to fix a date for verification of military pensioners urging them to disregard the publication which said the exercise would commence on Nov. 26.

The Public Relations Officer of the board, Flt.-Lt. Abdullahi Gambo, said this in a statement on Monday in Abuja.

Gambo described the information as fake, saying that it did not emanate from the board.

He clarified that the purported story was lifted from the website of a popular newspaper which was published in 2017 during the preparation for the 2017 verification exercise.

“Although the board is working towards conducting a verification exercise of military pensioners on its payroll, the board will adequately inform military pensioners of the date and time when all preparation for the exercise are concluded.

“Accordingly, our esteemed military retirees are please urged to remain calm and patient.

“Finally, all military pensioners are advised to always rely on established official means of communication provided by the board to source their information.

“Pensioners can call the Board on 09087447782 or 09087994694 or send an email to info@mpb.ng in order to confirm any issue that concerns them,” he added.

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He said the board appreciated the retirees for their usual support and understanding. (NAN)

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We Must Maintain Momentum Built on MSMEs – Osinbajo

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 By Mathew Dadiya, Abuja

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has said that the momentum built in the Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) sector by the Buhari administration in the last seven years must be maintained given its crucial position in the economy.

The Vice President harped on this when he received members of the Made in Nigeria Project led by  Adedeji Alebiosu, on a courtesy visit on Monday at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

 

According to Prof. Osinbajo, “we must be as determined as possible going forward in maintaining the momentum built over the years in the MSME space.

“How we sustain the MSME Clinics, how it is institutionalized in a way that the incoming Vice Presidents or Presidents are obliged to pay close attention to whatever is happening in the sector, is very important.”

 The group representing a coalition of MSMEs in Nigeria was at the Presidential Villa to commend the Federal Government and appreciate the Vice President’s support for MSMEs in the country over the past 7 years.

The Vice President then assured MSME stakeholders in the country that “we will make sure that we provide everything that is required to enable the incoming administration to step into the positions that we have created in the MSME space. We are in a very good place.”

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On the Made in Nigeria concept and the need to develop local capacity, the Vice President said “we must find where we fit in, in that value chain.

“It is true that no economy can be entirely self-sustaining but it is important to emphasize that we have the capacity to do a lot in our country.

“What we need to do is to find our comparative advantage and develop capacity in the value chain around the manufacturing of electric vehicles, arms manufacturing, etc.”

Osinbajo said: “there is a bigger challenge in manufacturing of items, creating jobs and wealth. So, we have got to think in terms of scale.

“There is a lot of real and serious work that needs to be done. What should our approach be in terms of the value chain? We have a huge economy and a huge market.”

“The problem people have always faced is how to engage our massive population in a meaningful way because anything you do seems like a drop in an ocean due to the enormity of the problem.”

In his remarks earlier, Alebiosu acknowledged the contributions of the Vice President through key interventions supervised under his office, noting that they positively impacted small businesses in the space.

The Vice President was presented with an award of excellence by the group.

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Members of the Made in Nigeria Project delegation include Director of Operations, Tosin Ashiru; Director of Special Projects, Samuel Adewale; Director of SME Engagement, Tola Ajayi and Director of Partnerships, Destiny Enakhimion. 

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Abuja: Illegal Structure Demolition, Not an Attack on the Poor_ FCTA

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By Laide Akinboade

The Federal Capital Territory Administration authority has said that the ongoing demolitions of illegal structures in the nation’s capital were geared toward ridding Abuja of structures that defaced the city’s aesthetic and negates its architectural planning, and not an attack on the poor populace.

Speaking to Daily Asset during the demolition exercise at the Three Arms Zone, Senior Special Assistant on Monitoring, Inspection and Enforcement to FCT Minister, Ikharo Attah said the demolition exercise was instructed by the Minister of the FCT, Mallam Muhammad Bello, haven seen that it constitute security threats to the National Assembly and an embarrassment to the nation.

“The removal of these shanties and illegal containers around the National Assembly became necessary. We have formally written to those that live in the structures to evacuate them because they are unsafe for the sensitive offices within the area.

“Most shanties were used as construction houses during the building of the offices, and these offices have long been commissioned, so one will expect that naturally, it should be taken out,” he said.

Daily Asset gathered that most of the demolished structures were used for petty trade businesses, while some were living apartments.

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The Director of FCT Development Control, Muktar Galadima, stated that the administration has made arrangements to have a good design that would fit into the existing architectural plan for the land being evacuated.

“We gave them time to pack their things, so we are here to remove the shanties; looking at the composition of this area, that is three arms zone, the presences of these structures are not a good image for the country. We will come up with a good design that will be fitting for the environment. The Director said.

 A Food vendor at the site, Mrs. Gift Akpan, who spoke with the reporter, agreed that they knew that the place was illegal, and someday would be asked to leave. However, she appealed to the authorities to assist them with another location to go on with their business.

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