The Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari has approved N718 million to provide security for the 45-kilometre rail track and 20 stations across the country, N42 billion for roads in the North East and refund of N27.776 billion to Kebbi, Yobe and Taraba governments for fixing federal roads.
This is even as government said it would be insensitive to resume the Abuja-Kaduna train services when relatives of some families kidnapped in the corridor were still in captivity.
Minister of Federal Capital Territory, Mohammed Bello, who along side others briefed journalists, yesterday, said the council approved Messrs Al-Ahli Security Guards Limited and Messrs Seaguard security and Protective Company Limited to provide security on the rail tracks.
“They are going to provide security to their entire 45 kilometers of track including 12 stations. And these security services are meant to protect the key infrastructure on the rail tracks, the signalling and communication equipment as well as the electrical system. Halali security guard Limited is going to secure 27.4 kilometers of the track, covering eight stations at the cost of N407,214,000 over a two year period while Seaguard securities are Protective Company Limited is going to secure 18 kilometers of the rail tracks including four railway stations and that is at a cost of N310,979,250.”
On the suspension of the service following the March 2022 attack on the train, Transportation Minister, Mu’azu Sambo, explained that two core matters remain at the heart of the Abuja-Kaduna train services. These include families traumatised over their family members still in captivity of terrorists and the need to have surveillance facilities to monitor the tracks.
He said government was looking at the best options in terms of the surveillance including concessioning it in a Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement.
Asked about the exact time lines to execute the initiative, Sambo said: “If I give a timeline, I’ll be lying to you. It will be insensitive to restart the service if some families weep day and night over their families members still in the bush.”
The minister said government was mindful of the cost involved but should be able to report definite progress in about a month.
He revealed that FEC approved a contract for the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) worth about N1.49 billion for the repair of crane.
On road construction in the North East, ministers of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Umar-Farouq, said the four memos presented and approved were road construction, reconstruction for five states of the North East region, namely Borno, Yobe, Adamawa, Gombe and Bauchi.
“For Borno, we have 22.5 kilometer road that is to be reconstructed. This road is Ngom-Koshebe and Ngom-Zabarmari-Gongulong-Kajari road with the contract sum of N13,553,902,668.95
“The second contract is on reconstruction of 53 Kilometer Gombe-Abba-Dukurfi Road in Gombe Road and Bauchi state in the contract sum of N11,697,355,449.61.
“The other road is the 54 kilometer Mutayi-Ngalda road in Yobe state with the contract sum of N12,199,182,845.70.
“The fourth one is the one for Adamawa State, Garkida road, it has a contract sum of N6,202,214,413.29 inclusive of 7.5 VAT. Garkida road in Adamawa state located at the fringes of the Sambisa forest.
“All these roads are being taken into consideration and selected in conjunction with the state governments and other critical stakeholders. These roads are expected to stimulate our economic activities, enhance security and facilitate the freer movement of goods and people in these affected states within the zone.”
Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, said the council approved two memoranda presented by the ministry. The first was contract for the reconstruction of the Mushin-NNPC-Apapa-Oshodi road, that is the road that goes through Isolo to Ajigbo, at the sum of N11,166,270,197.85 with a completion period of 20 months.
He said the council also approved the report and recommendation of a council committee set up by the President in order to respond to demands by state governments for refunds on intervention made previously before the current administration on federal roads, before the President subsequently issued the directive that there should be no more intervention by states on federal roads.
Fashola recalled that 24 states including Akwa Ibom, Rivers, Cross River, and Osun have received their refunds in the first tranche of about N700 billion. He said another set of five states have also received over N120 billion.
He said the three states of Yobe, Kebbi and Taraba have received refunds of N18.6, N6.706 and N2.470 respectively, totally N27.776 billion, adding that a rough estimates showed that the federal government has refunded almost a trillion to states as as part of the public debt.
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