…approves N20.1bn for Customs, N532m for UI
The recurring agitation by a cross-section of Nigerians over the state-of-the nation, took an interesting dimension yesterday, when the Federal Executive Council (FEC), dismissed the allegation for secession from certain quarters, maintaining that the solution to the nation’s problems does not lie in division of the country.
It also reminded such agitators to have a rethink as secession was not the solution to Nigeria’s socioeconomic and political problems. In view of this, the council urged such agitators to take a retrospect at the genesis of some of the lingering problems such as kidnapping, banditry, insurgency, among others, with a view to evolving a proactive solution- driven means to the problems.
Following this, FEC announced that it had approved the sum of N20,114,002871 for the acquisition of various operational equipment for the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), in its bid to check smuggling and other crosscountry crimes. The council, chaired by the Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, also approved the sum of N532 million for the extension of the University of Ibadan (UI)’s Library Complex. Briefing newsmen after the weekly meeting, Minister of Information and Culture Lai Mohammed, said the government was currently more concerned with the issue of insecurity bedevilling the country.
The minister, who stressed that the call for secession was not the solution to Nigeria’s challenges, said the recent town hall meeting in Kaduna, less than a week ago, set a parameter for enhanced security and national unity. According to him, the meetings were to find ways to resolve the nation’s security crisis that have led to incessant abductions of school pupils in the north. Mohammed reiterated that among key suggestions at the meeting was the unanimous resolve to expand the military personnel and hardware; need for state police; local government autonomy; establishment of more grazing areas, amongst others.
While justifying the amount approved for Customs, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, said: “The ministry also presented, on behalf of the NCS, a memo that was seeking for Council’s approval for the design, construction and supply of two NC36M patrol boats, in favour of Messrs of Boat Plus Limited, in the sum of N5,062,530,400, inclusive of 7.5% VAT with a delivery period of 12 months and council approved our request.
“We also presented a memo, again on behalf of the Nigerian Customs Service, for the approval of Council for the design, construction and supply of seven fast assault patrol boats and seven regular patrol boats, in favour of Messrs Siwa West Africa Limited, in the sum of N501,472,471.08, inclusive of 7.5% VAT with a delivery period of eight weeks.
“We also presented, again on behalf of the Nigeria Customs Service, a request for Council’s approval and council approved the procurement of 427 operational vehicles for the Nigerian Customs Service operations in favour of various contractors in the combined sum of N14.55 billion, inclusive of 7.5% VAT with a delivery period of four weeks.” Ahmed said the Council equally approved the sum of N539,277,673 for the construction of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) building at the Ilupeju Medium and Small Taxpayers’ office.
Speaking on behalf of the Minister of State for Education, Emeka Nwajiuba, the Information Minister said: “The Minister of Education also presented a memo for the award of contract for the construction and furnishing of the extension of the library of the University of Ibadan. “The memo, which was approved, is at the cost of N532,609,000 and with a completion period of 48 weeks.” On the seventh anniversary of the abduction of Chibok girls and what the government was doing about it, Mohammed said the Buhari administration has, through 18 town hall meetings across the country with various stakeholders, demonstrated commitment to tackle the issue of insecurity.