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Port Harcourt – Maiduguri Railway Will Reactivate Economic Activities on Eastern Corridor – Buhari

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President Muhammadu Buhari says the rehabilitation of the Port Harcourt–Maiduguri railway will reactivate economic activities along the Eastern corridor which have been affected by insecurity.

The president said this on Tuesday in Abuja at the virtual ground-breaking of three projects namely: the rehabilitation and reconstruction of Port Harcourt– Maiduguri Eastern Narrow Gauge railway project, Bonny deep sea port and Railway Industrial Park, Port Harcourt.

He said the country’s aspiration for nationwide transport infrastructure and railways would be significantly enhanced by these three projects conceived to be integrated in their operations.

‘‘The connection of the railway to a new seaport in Bonny Island and Railway Industrial Park, Port Harcourt,  is designed to increase the viability and boost trans-shipment of cargo and freight locally, across the West African sub-region and in the Continental Free Trade Area.

‘‘The sum of the socio-economic and environmental benefits of these projects includes creation of massive employment locally.

‘‘In addition, there will be further  utilisation of local contents and technology transfer, increase in internally generated revenue and would serve as a fulcrum for the achievement of the Federal Government planned Integrated Development Masterplan,’’ he said.

The president urged all Nigerians, especially industrialists, manufacturers and businesses within the zones to take maximum advantage of this infrastructure in planning for expansion and building new factories.

He said that the projects,  when completed,  would raise Nigeria’s economy to the global stage while reaffirming its leading role in Africa.

The president said that the Port Harcourt – Maiduguri railway reconstruction project with new branch lines to Owerri, Imo, and Damaturu, Yobe, would resuscitate the once vibrant railway transportation in the Eastern railway corridor of the country.

‘‘We are further expanding it to achieve contemporary demand for transport in the North East and Southern geopolitical zones of the country.

‘‘It is also designed to link other standard gauge rail lines under construction through the provision of trans-shipment centres.

‘‘The funding of the railway is through loan to fund 85% project cost and the Federal Government contribution of 15% as counterpart funding,’’ he said.

According to the President, the Bonny Deep Sea Port and the Railway Industrial Park are to be constructed through direct investments from Chinese partners and international financing agencies.

He said these projects would serve transportation and supply chain network for domestic needs and export as well as support imports into the hinterland of the country through the new deep sea port in Bonny Island.

‘‘This improved port is designed to be a regional and international transport hub. In line with the global trends, the Railway Industrial Park will have the capability for processing exports of raw materials with value addition and also export of locally made goods.

‘‘In planning this project, prudent use of resources has been given priority, as by this endeavour, Nigeria will retrieve the old narrow gauge that has been lying in neglect for years and bring it to full functional state commensurate to a national railway service at a rational price,’’ he said.

The president, who requested the Minister of Transport, Rotimi Amaechi, to cut the tape and unveil the plaque for the projects on his behalf, assured the nation of prudent use of resources in executing the projects.

Earlier in his address of welcome, Amaechi said that the Bonny Deep Sea Port and Railway Industrial Park, Port Harcourt, were being developed through direct investment by a conglomerate led by Messrs CCECC Nigeria Limited with a total investment portfolio of 700 million dollars.

On the railway, he said upon completion, trains on the Port Harcourt – Maiduguri Eastern Narrow Gauge Railway would run at 60 – 80 kilometres per hour and 80 – 100 kilometres per hour for freight and passengers, respectively.

‘‘The Bonny deep sea port has a container terminal of 500,000 TEU (20 foot equivalent unit) per annum capacity and 100,000 DWT (deadweight tonnage) Berth.

‘‘The Railway Industrial park, Port Harcourt, would be supported by necessary infrastructure including power, water, waste disposal, ICT and gas distribution as well as transportation, logistics centres and ancillaries,’’ he said.

Amaechi affirmed that the ministry was working in line with the President’s directives to implement the Nigeria Railway Modernization project and progressively expand the railway network.

‘‘In this regard, the rail line connection from Enugu to Awka – Onitsha and Abakaliki is undergoing necessary feasibility studies and preparation of conceptual design,’’ he said. (NAN)

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Police Arrest 15 Suspects over Warehouse Vandalism in Abuja

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The Police Command in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) said it has arrested 15 suspects in connection with the vandalism of a warehouse belonging to the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCTA) in Abuja.

The Police Public Relations Officer in the FCT,  SP Josephine Adeh, said this in a statement on Sunday in Abuja.

She said two security guards employed by the warehouse management were among the suspects, arrested over the vandalism of the warehouse in Tasha area of Abuja.

Adeh said 26 bags of maize, five Motorcycles and some vandalised aluminum roofing sheets were recovered from the suspects.

“The Police Command in the FCT is fully informed about the impulsive attack on Agric Department Strategic food store located at Tasha area of Abuja, on March 3.

“The attack has resulted to the vandalism and looting of the warehouse.

“The command wishes to state that normalcy has since, been restored to the area and the situation, under control,” she said.

The Agricultural and Rural Development Secretariat of the FCTA had earlier, confirmed the looting of its warehouse on Sunday, by some hoodlums. (NAN)

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Troops Neutralise ESN Terrorists, Clear  Hideouts in Imo – Army

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The Nigerian Army troops have  successfully cleared IPOB/ESN hideout at Ihiteukwa Community in Orsu Local  Government Area of Imo State, neutralising one IPOB/ESN terrorist after an intense firefight on Saturday.

The Director of Army Public Relations, Maj.-Gen. Onyema Nwachukwu, made this known in a statement on Sunday in Abuja.

Nwachukwu said the troops conducted a search in their hideout and recovered three Improvised Explosive Devices (IED), one Toyota Highlander SUV and one Hilux vehicle after overpowering the criminals.

He said that other items recovered include eight rounds of 7.

62mm (Special) ammunition, six rounds of 7.62mm (NATO) ammunition and one locally fabricated single barrel gun.

“Other items recovered from the terrorists’ hideout include a pair of proscribed Biafran uniform, one solar panel and one CCTV camera.

“Troops also recovered 10 mobile phones,  batteries, a bundle of proscribed Biafran Currency, three solar street lights, three jungle hats, pairs of black boots and assorted charms,” he said.

Nwachukwu said the troops had in another encounter engaged IPOB/ESN terrorists at their crossing point in Akawa Nneato area of Umunneochi Local Government Area of Abia.

He said the troops engaged the terrorists in a firefight resulting in the terrorists scampering in disarray into nearby bushes.

“On exploiting further after the shootout, troops recovered one AK-47 Rifle loaded with 19 rounds of 7.62mm (Special) ammunition, two empty magazines and one FN Rifle loaded with four rounds of 7.62mm (NATO) ammunition.

“In another development, troops operating in the Kawara general area of Birnin Gwari Forest in Kaduna State have cleared and destroyed a series of terrorists’ camps in the area.

“During the operation, troops recovered three motorbikes, one PKT Gun link containing 246 rounds of 7.62mm by 39mm ammunition, one woodland camouflage and a pair of Desert boots.

“Other items recovered include three magazine carriers and one Boafeng Radio.

“Troops have dominated the general area and conducting further exploits in pursuit of the insurgents.

“The Nigerian Army remains committed to ensuring the safety and security of citizens and will continue to sustain operations to sanitize troubled areas in order to restore peace and stability in the country,” he added. (NAN)

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Recruitment: Police announce 17 CBT Examination Centres in Kogi

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The Kogi Police Command on Sunday announced 17 Computer-Based Test (CBT) Centres for the 2022 Nigeria Police Force Recruitment in the state.

The command’s spokesperson, SP Williams Ovye-Aya, who dropped the hint in a statement issued in Lokoja, said that the recruitment scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday, was only for Police Constables.

Ovye-Aya said that the 17 centres were released by the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB).

“All applicants who are invited for the CBT are advised to visit the portal to print their invitation slips and come along with it to the centres.

“Any applicant that doesn’t have the invitation slip will not be allowed into the CBT centre, ” he warned.

According to him, the recruitment is absolutely free and warns applicants to be wary of job scammers, who may want to defraud them.

He further advised the applicants to shun any form of examination malpractices or any other act contrary to the rules for the examination.

“This is key because any body caught will be prosecuted accordingly.” (NAN)

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