Petition over Ife-Ifewara Road: RCCG Apologizes To Works and Housing Ministry
· As Fashola says no payments were made in respect of rehabilitation of the road between 2016 and 2019
· “The Ministry of Works and Housing deserves apology and I tender it unreservedly” – Petitioner
· Minister explains that amount paid to contractor in 2011 was four years before Buhari’s administration
· Says there is move to sanction recalcitrant contractors
The Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), Thursday in Abuja tendered an “unreserved apology” to the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing over its allegation of “false claims on the rehabilitation of Ife-Afewara Road in Osun State” saying it was based on a false premise.
The RCCG, in a petition to the Senate, had claimed that it had good reason to believe that the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing had paid N151.51 million to Messrs. Cartill Construzioni Nigeria Limited for the rehabilitation of Ife-Ifewara Road, a work which, according to the petitioner, was indeed carried out by the Church.
In the petition dated 24th March, 2021, Secretary to the General Overseer of the RCCG, Pastor Niyi Adebanjo, claimed that the Church, after carrying out the rehabilitation of the road, learnt that the aforementioned company, which was awarded the contract since 2010 and had abandoned the work for over six years, had been paid by the Ministry for the work praying that the Money be retrieved from the company.
But responding to the allegation at a public hearing before the Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions, the Minister of Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, SAN, said there was no proof to support the position of the petitioner that an unjust claim was made by Contractor or paid by the Ministry between 2016 and 2019.
Fashola, who explained that the road in question was a State Road, added that the contract for its rehabilitation was awarded by the Federal Government in 2010 as a Parliamentary Constituency Project and domiciled in the budget of the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing, hence the intervention by the Ministry.
Clarifying that both the award of the contract and payment of the said contract sum were made between 2010 and 2011, four years before the Buhari Administration came to being, the Minister explained further that the contract was awarded on December 21, 2010 to the contractor in the sum of N662, 760,771.75 with a commencement date of March 7, 2011 and completion date of November 7, 2011.
On the sum of N151.51 million paid to the Contractor, he explained that the payment made in two tranches, was statutorily made adding that while the first payment of N99,414,115.76, made on March 31, 2011, represented 15 percent of contract sum, the second payment of N52,094,785., made on December 29, 2011, was based on submission of an Interim Statement.
Fashola said the contractor achieved only 26.21 percent project completion before abandoning the project adding that the contract was as a result recommended for termination “for breach of contract” after warning letters were served on the Contractor first on March 5, 2014 and final warning on June 15, 2015.
Noting that before any payment was made to any contractor, there has to be actual work done, measured and certified and recommended for consideration for approval for payment, Fashola, however, added that since the contract awarded to Messrs. Cartill had not been formally terminated, there has been budgetary provision for the road since 2010, except in years when it had zero budgeting, but the budgeted sum has never been processed since 2011 following the dismal performance of the Contractor.
The Minister, who hinted on plans by the Ministry to sanction recalcitrant contractors by opening a “black book” for them based on appropriate legal advice, declared, “It is clear that contrary to the claims of RCCG, the Contractor, Cartill Nigeria Limited, did not make a claim for a refund for the cost expended on the rehabilitation of the road between 2016 and 2019”, adding that the Ministry also did not make any such payment to the Contractor.
“The Federal Ministry of Works and Housing did not certify any work done on the road by the Contractor between 2016 and 2019”, he said reiterating that the two payments made to the Contractor were made in March and December 2011 respectively, “four years before the commencement of this Administration in 2014”.
Maintaining that the Ministry did not consider or grant approval for anyone to intervene on the road, Fashola, who said the RCCG did not seek or obtain such approval further declared, “the federal Ministry of Works and Housing is not liable to make any refund to anyone in respect of the Road which is the statutory responsibility of the Osun State Government”.
The Minister explained further that although the RCCG could be commended for the work done, there are procedures and processes for such interventions be they on Federal or State Roads, adding that the Petitioner could have sought clarification either from the Ministry of any other relevant agencies of government instead of petitioning the Senate.
The Petitioner, Pastor Adebanjo, in his response expressed deep regrets for taking the matter to the Senate saying it was not, however, meant to embarrass the Minister or his Ministry but in the spirit of fighting corruption by ensuring that the money paid to the contractor was retrieved and paid to the federal Government coffers.
However, on realizing that the claims he made in his petition had no factual proof and as noted by one of the Senate Committee members who advised that he should do the needful on account of available evidence, Adebanjo said, “For the fact that the Ministry of Works deserves an apology and because the whole world is listening to us, I tender that apology unreservedly before this Senate Committee”.
In his submissions, the Chairman of the Committee commended the Minister for coming personally, “as always when we invite you” to respond to the petition and throwing more light on the whole issue adding that other officials of Government should borrow a leaf from him.
Other members of the Committee, who spoke, also commended the Minister for his diligence and commitment to every assignment pertaining to his responsibilities. They also noted with satisfaction that there was move by the Ministry to bring recalcitrant contractors to book.
Also accompanying the Minister to the hearing were some Directors, Special Advisers and other top officials of the Ministry.
HDMI: RFQ, E-Portal For Private Sector Open Today
…as Works & Housing Ministry begins procurement process for highway Concessionaires
In continuation of efforts to bring private sector resources and efficiency to the development and management of federal highway corridors under its novel Highway Management and Development Initiative (HMDI), the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing has today opened the e-portal https://hdmi.worksandhousing.gov.ng for the submission of Request for Qualification (RFQ) applications.
The submission of the RFQ application for the Value-Added Concession (VAC) component of the HDMI, begins today, Monday, March 29.
The Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola SAN, had last week disclosed that the portal would ensure competitiveness and guarantee transparency in the process.
He had said that no staff of the ministry would interface with the public in the management of the HDMI conceived in 2020, from procurement to implementation.
The Value-Added Concession (VAC) component of the HDMI officially advertised today seeks to concession 12 federal highways to qualified individuals and consortia for management in the first phase.
The 12 highways which were carefully chosen to cover the six-geopolitical zones include the Benin-Asaba, Abuja-Lokoja, Kano-Katsina, Onitsha-Owerri, Shagamu-Benin, Abuja-Keffi-Akwanga and Kano-Maiduguri Expressways.
The others are Lokoja-Benin, Enugu-Port Harcourt, Ilorin-Jebba, Lagos-Ota-Abeokuta and Lagos-Badagry Expressways. They amount to a total of 1,963.24 kilometres, which is 5.6 per cent of the 35,000km Federal road network.
The e-portal opened today contains all the information the public needs, including access to relevant documents, news updates, and videos.
The portal is vital for e-procurement as it allows the management of the PPP procurement process for the VAC category, and the process of approvals and permits under the Unbundled Assets Approval (UAA). In addition, it includes a Vendors Market Place for the promotion of local businesses and vendor partnerships with prospective concessionaires.
The HDMI seeks to leverage private sector investment to improve facilities and operations on the selected 12 highways, maximize the routes' revenue-generating potential, and ensure international best practices in developing and managing the nation's highways.
It is also important to note that the Federal Government is currently executing over 700 different contracts, which aggregates to the rehabilitation and reconstruction of over 13,000 km of roads and bridges across all 36 states, including the Federal Capital Territory.
Minister Of State Works And Housing Sympathizes With Traders Over Potiskum Market Fire
The Minister of State for Works and Housing, Engineer Abubakar D. Aliyu, has sympathized with traders who lost their goods at the Saturday fire that razed most parts of the Potiskum Central Market in Yobe State.
The minister, in a statement on Sunday, extended his heartfelt sympathy to all the traders affected by the fire incident, praying to Almighty Allah (SWT) to replace their monumental loss.
The Potiskum market fire occurred on March 6, 2021, and razed down shops majorly around Layin Masko, thereby destroying goods worth millions of naira, according to eye witnesses.
Engineer Aliyu said: “It is with heavy heart that I extend my sympathy to the traders of Potiskum Central Market who lost their property in the tragic fire incident that occurred Saturday night, March 6, 2021.
“I prayed to Almighty Allah (SWT) to console the traders who lost multi-million naira goods in the tragedy. I also prayed to Almighty Allah to replenish their wealth once again.”
The minister said the tragedy has not affected only the traders who lost their property, but the entire good people of Potiskum and Yobe state in general.
Yobe to Remain APC State - Minister
Minister of State for Works and Housing, Engineer Abubakar Aliyu, has said that the ongoing All Progressive Congress (APC) Party revalidation exercise would boost the party's chance of winning election both at National, State as well as Local Government levels.
The Minister stated this in Potiskum over the weekend after he revalidated his APC membership. He said that the exercise was a great opportunity for new members to join the great party which he described as a moving ship.
He called on all party stakeholders in the state to come out enmass not only to revalidate their membership, but also to campaign for the great party in the forth coming elections.
"Our Party is a moving ship, the Captain of the ship is President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR and the Executive Governor of our great State is the National Party Chairman, so I see no reason why the state will not remain APC State," he said.
Speaking further, Abubabar said that it was pay back time for the state as the President had delivered on his campaign promises to Yobe State with the massive road projects that were ongoing and these projects had reached appreciable level of completion. "So do not only register, register and campaign for others to join the party".
Engr Aliyu also charged existing members of the party to be good ambassador of the Party by being of good character and show love to others as this would encourage other people to join the great party APC.
Present at the validation exercise were critical stakeholders of APC in the State. The State Chairman of the Party, Alhaji Adami Abdul Chilariye and Chairman of APC (Potiskum), Bala Miss.
Also in attendance were, the Ward Chairman, Alhaji Iselu Tela, the Deputy Speaker of Yobe State House of Assembly, Honourable Anwalu Isa Bello and other stakeholders.
Work progressing steadily on Abuja-Kaduna-Zaria-Kano Road Project - Minister
Minister of State for Works and Housing, Engineer Abubakar D. Aliyu (FNSE) has said that construction work is progressing steadily on the ongoing reconstruction of Abuja-Kaduna-Zaria-Kano Road and would be completed and delivered on time.
The Minister stated this on Thursday 11th February, 2021 while inspecting the project to assess the progress of the ongoing work.
“We are satisfied with the quality of work going on and we are working to increase the pace of the work. You can see that work is going on simultaneously on all sections of both lanes of the dual carriage 375km long road from Abuja-Kaduna-Zaria- Kano" he said
He explained that the work was initially for rehabilitation but now full reconstruction work was being done and this had delayed the job.
He said: “We are fully committed both from the President Muhammadu Buhari, the Honourable Minister, the Engineers and the Contractor to deliver the project in good time. We will deliver a quality work that will stand the test of time."
Speaking further, the Minister said that Federal Government had prioritized the project and this accounted for the high level of inspection going on the project because Government wanted to finish the project on time.
On the level of work done so far, the Minister said: "We have made a lot of progress. You can see that over 100km of the road, at a stretch, had been completed under sections one to three (Abuja-Kano) , 40km completed under section II (Kaduna-Zaria), and 70km completed under section III (Zaria-Kano)"
He stated that while some sections of the roads were at different levels of completion, section II would be delivered by first quarter of 2022 while section III would be completed by first quarter of 2023.
On his part, the Federal Controller of Works, Kaduna, Engineer Zira Adamu said that the quality of materials as well as the workmanship deployed for the works was satisfactory.
"The contractor is fully mobilized to site and since then work on the project has moved to five work zones and we are satisfied with the pace and quality of work.", he said.
On the challenges being faced, the Regional Manager of Julius Berger Nigeria Limited, Engineer Benjamin Bott lamented that despite the provision of warning / caution signs and traffic control devices to improve safety at diversions within the construction zones some motorists often disregard the signs thereby causing accident.
He added that the prevalence of kidnapping and armed robbery along the project corridor was also affecting their work.
The Abuja-Kaduna-Zaria-Kano road reconstruction project was awarded to Julius Berger Nigeria Plc on 20th December, 2017 and the project commenced on 21st May, 2018 with 36 months completion period.
Road: Our Intervention Strengthens Governments Job Creation Initiatives - Fashola
Works and Housing Minister, Babatunde Fashola,SAN has stated that the Tertiary Institutions Road Intervention Programme of his Ministry has strengthened Federal Government's job creation initiatives.
The Minister spoke during the commissioning and hand over of 1.62km internal road constructed by his Ministry to the management of the Nigerian Institute for Oil Palm Research (NIFOR) at Isiuwa in Edo state.
Fashola disclosed that, the project, while it lasted, created job opportunities for over 57 Nigerians adding strength to government's job creation initiatives and noted also that the infrastructure gap was steadily being bridged in tertiary institutions.
The minister who was represented by the Federal Controller of Works, Edo state, Engr.Ademola Aransiola also said the road was part of the additional internal roads of tertiary institutions under the intervention programme of the Ministry.
He explained that, there were 43 of such roads spread across tertiary institutions in the country, of which 29 had been completed. While 17 were handed over last year, the rest including this, are being handed over simultaneously
"While it is true that a lot of work needs to be done in many sectors of our national life including education, the present government was braising up to get the work done," he said.
Similarly, the Minister explained that the aim of the project was to improve the ambience of tertiary institutions therefore according to him, the quality of education will be impacted by the quality of infrastructure on the learning environment and further enhance academic activities.
He then urged the Institute's authority and researchers to ensure the road was properly utilized and maintained.
Speaking earlier, the Acting Executive Director of Nigerian Institute for Oil Palm Research, Dr. Celestine Ikuenobe expressed gratitude to the Minister who had graciously ensured approval and completion of the main access road of the Institute.
Dr. ikuenobe said he was happy about the government's intervention because the institute had borne the burden of ageing and collapsing infrastructure long enough to need total intervention.
Before the intervention, he said the main access road was in a total disrepair which negatively impacted service delivery to palms industry but the repairs have eased transportation for both staff and other road users.
Also a representative of the Governing Board of the Institute, Chief Wale Arowomole thanked the President and the Minister of Works and Housing for the laudable initiative and further requested for the rehabilitation of other road networks within the Nigeria Institute for Oil Palm Research.
A community leader, Okao of Isiuwa, Chief Ovenseri Aibueku expressed joy over the completion of the main access road seeing this as a resurgence of the good old days of the institute; the Institute was back to its former status being a beehive of activities.
Nigerian Institute for Oil Palm Research is one of the foremost agricultural research institutions established in Nigeria in 1939. It plays a major role in the research and development of crops like oil palm, coconut palm, date palm, raffia palm and Shea tree.
This role is prominent and very necessary in the diversification and growth of the Nigerian economy.
FG Hands Over 2.5 Kilometres Internal Roads At UMTH
A total of 2.5 kilometres internal roads rehabilitated at the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital (UMTH) by the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing have been handed over by the Honourable Minister of Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, SAN.
Speaking at the event the Chief Medical Director of University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital, Professor Ahmed Ahidjo commended President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR and Ministry of Works and Housing for selecting the institute as beneficiary of the intervention programme.
The Minister of Works and Housing Babatunde Raji Fashola SAN, who was represented at the handing over ceremony by the Federal Controller of Works Borno State, Engineer Amos Adams Tongman explained that the intervention by the Federal Government in the development of infrastructure in the tertiary institutions was to boost quality of education, give students a renewed hope and enthusiasm with regards to attending classes because some defective roads have been restored to motorability.
"It is undebatable that the quality of education will be impacted by the quality of infrastructure and the learning environment and those who doubt it should simply listen to some of the feedbacks from the students of the schools where this type of intervention has taken place." he said.
He said that the 2.5 kilometers road network was a laudable project as it would ease movement of both students and staff of the institute within the campus.
The CMD said, "We are fortunate to be able to witness this handing over occasion of roads rehabilitated by the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing. We thank you for your tremendous support in bringing out our landmark project which is being commissioned today. "
The four rehabilitated roads were renamed: Former Ring Road now Babatunde Raji Fashola Road, former Kidney Centre to Engineering Road now Mohammed Bukar Road, former Engineering Junction to Polio Laboratory Road now Professor Jibrin Aminu Road and lastly, School of Nursing Road to Babangida Hussaini Road.
In the words of Professor Ahidjo:’’ These roads are renamed in recognition of the great contributions they have made to the success story we are celebrating”, he said.
On the impact of the road, the President of the Students Union Government (SUG) of the institute, Comrade Hakuri Tamus said the intervention had been a big blessing to the students and management of the institution as well.
"We are grateful to the Minister. We are very happy that the roads have been fixed. Because of the sandy nature of the roads before the intervention students usually fall from bikes. We have recorded a lot of accidents on these roads," he explained.
The Students Union Vice President Comrade Wakhumahysel Peter expressed joy that the project was completed during her time. “We thank President Buhari and the Honourable Minister for making this happen. It will attract more students to the school. It will boost our learning activities as the roads will ease our movement within the school premise,’’ she said.
The Highway Development Management Initiative Ministerial Notice Delivered By H.E Babatunde Raji Fashola, San At The Conference Hall Of The Ministry Of Works And Housing On Tuesday, 22nd March 2021
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,
Our Permanent Secretary has already welcomed you all to this event, the official ministerial notice of the commencement of the Highway Development Management Initiative (HDMI).
What remains for me to do is to get on with the business of issuing the notice for the HDMI to commence the procurement process; after a few preliminary remarks.
As you all know, one of the early initiatives of the Buhari administration was to improve the ease of doing business, and it is no secret that infrastructure was going to be an important driver of this initiative.
Since 2015, the administration has made no pretence about its commitment to improve the stock of infrastructure both in qualitative and quantitative terms in many sectors from roads and bridges, to rail, airports and seaports to mention a few.
Currently the government is executing over 700 different contracts which aggregates to the rehabilitation and reconstruction of over 13,000 km of roads and bridges across all the 36 states including the Federal Capital Territory.
As a result of the size of the undertaking, there is an increasing and unsatisfied demand for funding to finance these projects to completion and to maintain them.
There is also the need to finance other complementary services like weigh bridges, rest houses, towing vehicles and road furniture which seem better suited for the commercial initiative of the private sector.
In the interim, government is constrained to borrow, offer tax credit, increase her revenue mobilization capacities in order to sustain this massive infrastructure renaissance.
This is the background to the HDMI which is another effort to mobilize private capacity, resources, and entrepreneurship into the Nigerian highway sector; and hopefully convert roads from just social assets into assets of commercial opportunities and enterprise.
The HDMI is made up of 2 categories namely the Value-added Concessions (VAC) and the Unbundled Assets Approvals (UAA).
The UAA provides opportunity for small businesses to take advantage of the commercial opportunities that are available along the ROW while under the VAC the road pavement and entire right of way is concessioned for development and management by the concessionaire .
The VAC will be rolled out in phases, and this First Phase involves 12 roads namely:
1. BENIN – ASABA (125KM);
2. ABUJA – LOKOJA (193KM);
3. KANO – KATSINA (150KM);
4. ONITSHA – OWERRI – ABA (161KM);
5. SHAGAMU – BENIN (258KM);
6. ABUJA – KEFFI – AKWANGA (122KM);
7. KANO – MAIDUGURI (lot 1 Kano-Shuari 100KM ;
lot 2 Potiskum-Damaturu 96.24KM )
8. LOKOJA – BENIN (270KM);
9. ENUGU – PORT HARCOURT (200KM);
10. ILORIN – JEBBA (129KM);
11. LAGOS – OTA – ABEOKUTA (80KM);
12. LAGOS – BADAGRY (79KM)
These 12 roads were carefully chosen to ensure that each of the 6 (SIX) geo political zones are covered.
They aggregate in total to 1963.24 km which is 5.6% of the 35,000 km Federal road network.
The initial capital investments that we foresee is something in the order of NGN 1,134,690,048,000.76 and the employment potentials are an estimated 50,000+ direct jobs and 200,000+ indirect jobs.
The process started on the 17th June 2020 with legislative consultation to get parliamentary support and endorsement which I believe was successful and we are assured that if there is need for legislative support, the response will be reasonably swift.
It was followed by a Stakeholder consultation (webinar) which held on the 25th June, 2020 with Over 1,173 participants including critical stakeholders such as legislative representatives, representatives from the executive, prospective concessionaires, road users, media and industry experts; a market sounding session was also held on the 31st August, 2020 with 162 participants.
In the course of this journey, we have struck strategic partnerships with some high-profile brands who have offered their services in various aspects of the project development such as KPMG, UK NIAF, Lagos Business School etc.
We look forward to further exploring and strengthening these partnerships and the clear terms of the relationships will be notified to the public in due course as they are important to the success that we expect.
As published, not only has the right of way of the 12 roads been fully gazetted, the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC) , as a regulatory body for concessions of this nature, has issued the Certificate of Compliance for the Outline Business Case that is necessary to commence the process.
On the 3rd of March 2021, the Federal Executive Council (FEC), the highest executive decision-making organ of the Nigerian Federal Government was notified about the commencement of the procurement process.
In order to ensure competitiveness and to guarantee transparency, a procurement portal has been developed to serve as the interface with the public and manage the HDMI from Procurement to Implementation.
The portal will provide:
a. An interface that will provide the public all the information they need to know about the Initiative. It will give access to relevant documents, news updates, videos and so on;
b. E-procurement – The management of the PPP procurement process of the VAC and the process of approvals and permits under the UAA;
c. Vendor Market Place – This has specifically been included to promote local businesses and vendor partnerships with prospective concessionaires.
Therefore, let me say to all those who have been writing letters of inquiry, making offers of interest on the HDMI, offering to provide services like tolling, weigh bridge, rest houses and so on; we are sorry we cannot respond to those letters in order to maintain the integrity of this process and to keep the playing field level.
To all of you and to those who have not written or called, the day is now upon us, the venue is fixed and I have the pleasure to announce that the HDMI portal https://hdmi.worksandhousing.gov.ng/) will open on Monday the 29th March, 2021.
The portal will be open for all HDMI related functions as earlier stated and most importantly the RFQ application for the VAC which will be officially advertised on the same day.
Please visit the portal and I wish you all a very interactive and rewarding experience.
Let me repeat that all our transactions will be done through this portal and we will not entertain any personal inquiries to me or to any of our staff who have correspondingly been mandated not to entertain such requests.
Let me conclude by saying that we expect a vibrant process and a successful one that unleashes the commercial opportunities on Nigerian highways from paved roads, to clean and well-maintained highways, proper signage and route assurance signs, rest houses and commuter support for emergencies like vehicle towing and repairs.
We expect a splendid and safer commuting experience for all users of these roads as a result of the HDMI.
I thank all members of the Ministry and the ICRC and our partners especially KPMG and UKNIAF who worked tirelessly to bring us so far and urge them to prepare for more hard work in weeks and months ahead in order to bring this initiative to conclusion. More grease to their very hardworking elbows.
Thank you all.
Babatunde Raji Fashola SAN
Honourable Minister for Works and Housing
Keynote Speech Delivered By Babatunde Raji Fashola, SAN At The Special Luncheon To Celebrate 6 (Six) UniBen Alumni Elevated To The Rank Of Senior Advocates Of Nigeria On The 28th January 2021 At The Banquet Hall Of The University Of Benin
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, let me start my speech today by wishing all and one who are with us here today a very Happy New Year albeit belatedly, on the 28th day of the first month of the year 2021.
It is a matter to be extremely thankful for, because not a few people have sadly departed this planet in the throes of a virulent virus that changed our world in 2020 and which still continues to thrive in spite of efforts to bring it under control.
To all the dear departed, known and unknown, may their souls rest in peace and may their memories be a blessing to our civilization. In spite of the virus, we gather today for a very important purpose beyond wining and dining.
It is my humble view that this is a gathering to celebrate many values and virtues that make life really worth living and which are now regrettably not in enough supply. It is those values that I will speak about in this keynote address.
Let me start with the first that comes to mind, namely HONOUR; (in the sense of the VERB), and in this respect, the kind gesture of the Vice Chancellor of the University of Benin, Professor Lillian I. Salami, and the Alumni Association comes to mind.
I therefore would like, on behalf of all the Honorees (about whom I shall speak later), to thank the Vice Chancellor and the Alumni Association for the grace that informed this decision to honour our colleagues. I pray fervently that honour will never depart from the Vice Chancellor, the Alumni Association and all those unseen men and women who put this luncheon of honour together.
One of the things for which my wife, Abimbola has been a crusader about, is the need to celebrate the success of others, to Honour them, as an inspiration for promoting common Good.
We must therefore be, and are all, truly thrilled by this Gesture of Honour.
The other virtue about which I will speak is SELFLESSNESS. In a world where consideration for self now takes pre-eminence over selflessness, in a world where selfies (as in photographs) now dominate our conversation, I urge that we seek to enthrone more selflessness in our lives.
In this regard, I ask all of us to reflect and ask whether we will be here to celebrate senior advocates, if there were first no lawyers, and if we could celebrate lawyers without law graduates, and indeed if they could have been law graduates without successful law students.
The extended question in reflection is this: where would we all have been without our teachers in primary and secondary schools, in the University and the Nigerian Law School?
To all those teachers (lecturers if you like) living and dead, serving and retired I say thank you, I could think of none other as a symbol of our collective gratitude and appreciation of your selflessness than Professor Itsejuwa Esanjumi Sagay, SAN.
Professor Sagay was not alone; he had many good men and women who shared the burden with him and it would be invidious of me to attempt to name all of them.
Not only would such an effort be fraught with errors of omission, the time it would take suggests that our lunch would get cold, by the time I am done.
Therefore, to Professor Sagay I return, as the pioneer Dean of the faculty of law of the University of Benin, and it is his selflessness and that of those who worked with him that ultimately brought about this day and the success we gather to celebrate.
He and his team gave so much of themselves, so that we could become.
The elements could not have converged better than for six (6) graduates of the faculty he birthed, to be honored in 2020, the same year Professor Sagay turned 80.
Covid-19 made a party very risky, to celebrate Professor Sagay’s birthday, but I believe that I speak the minds of all who are here that we could never celebrate or thank Professor Sagay and his team enough.
Thank you very much Sir.
The next set of virtues and values I want to address are HARDWORK and DEDICATION. Without them, success such as we congregate to celebrate today is not possible.
1. Chief (Dr.) Richard Oma Ahonaruogho, SAN
2. Mr Adedapo Osariuyime Tunde-Olowu, SAN
3. Mr Lotanna Chuka Okoli, SAN
4. Mr Peter Adogbejire Mrakpor, SAN
5. Mr Nureini Soladoye Jimoh, SAN
6. Mr Yusuf Asamah Kadiri, SAN
A thunderous applause for your hard work and dedication.
Many, including my humble self, have walked your path. If it was difficult at the time I was preferred in 2004, I can only now imagine how much more difficult it must have been. There are many more qualified lawyers seeking the rank and therefore the competition is immensely magnified. The conditions that I have looked at for prequalification are more stringent.
For your dedication, hard work and ultimate success I doff my hat in admiration.
To all those in Uniben Law Alumni who are still aspiring, the magnitude of HARD WORK and the span of dedication it requires to succeed is not intended to deter but to challenge you to aspire. Afterall, you are the products of the great Uniben.
This brings me to the next subject of my focus in this speech which is COMMITMENT.
As I understand it from history, the University of Benin is the product of the farsighted and visionary commitment of men and women who sought to develop Nigeria’s human capital.
That vision has fructified manyfold, and it is still bearing fruit as is evident from the many products of this university who have, and are still occupying positions of leadership and responsibility in the private and public spheres of our nation.
That list is long and growing and I doubt that there could be a better tribute to the vision of the founders than what we gather to do today; to celebrate six (6) products of University of Benin who ascend to leadership role in the legal profession in the year 2020 when University of Benin commemorated its 50th (FIFTIETH) year of existence.
Of course, the rank brings fame and privileges, but it also imposes a huge responsibility of LEADERSHIP, to be used to improve the cause of justice and enthrone law and order for the peace, order and good government of Nigeria and her people.
You and I who are the beneficiaries of this rank must therefore always remember that we are products of Uniben. We must fly her flag proudly with our rank. We must not be afraid to break new grounds in the development of the law.
There perhaps would be no better time than now, in the 60th year of Nigeria’s independence to practicalize the motto of our university by putting all of our knowledge to the service of our Nation.
There are many ways to do this. But one that readily comes to mind is to offer our services in the Training and Development of the next set of Law students, Law graduates, Lawyers etc.
For the cause of law and order, no matter how difficult it is, we must find the courage to shatter any glass ceiling that stands in our way.
This is the Spirit of Uniben, where every good thing must be possible.
The spirit paved the way for all of us, when our chairman for this event, Chief Charles Uwensuyi-Edosomwan, SAN broke the glass ceiling in 2000, by becoming the first law graduate of this university to take the rank.
To our chairman, the Obasuyi of Benin Kingdom, I say thank you for your pioneering effort.
It is impossible to capture the essence of your pioneering effort in English, so permit me to do so in Yoruba by saying: “Tí orí kan bá sunwọ̀n, á ran igba.” The closest possible literal translation in English is that “when one person succeeds, it spreads a thousandfold.”
We have all benefited from your pioneering efforts, and although we are not yet one thousand senior advocates of Nigeria from the University of Benin, I believe that the day will not be far off.
My last word today, is to especially thank Chief Richard Oma Ahonaruogho SAN, an outstanding alumnus of this school for continuously organizing the periodic celebration of Senior Advocates of this university year in year out, even when he himself was then not successful in his application.
I am certain that when we have 1000 senior advocates, he will blow the trumpet for a celebration worthy of the occasion.
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, learned Senior Advocates, thank you for your attention.
Babatunde Raji Fashola, SAN
Honourable Minister, Works and Housing
Keynote Address Of The Hon. Minister of Works And Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, San, At The 26th Meeting Of The National Council On Works With The Theme, “Road Infrastructure Development, Job Creation And National Economic Growth”
On behalf of the Federal Government, I convey the appreciation of the Ministry of Works and Housing to the Government of Rivers State and Governor Nyesom Wike, for Hosting this 2020 edition of National Council on Works.
The commitment to host this was made last year when the Cross River State hosted the 2019 edition and when nobody foresaw the outbreak of a devastating viral pandemic called COVID-19.
The impact of the disease on livelihoods and the global economy has led countries across the world into different stages of negative economic growth and recession.
The need to address the economic challenges has prompted countries and Governments to design and implement various measures and policies to keep their economies going and to reflate them.
The Muhammadu Buhari Administration developed and has started implementing an Economic Sustainability Plan, that incorporates and challenges Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to ramp up activities, inspite of COVID-19; in order to provide work, increase opportunities and sustain productivity.
The Ministry of Works and Housing, as a critical infrastructure provider of the Federal Government, is one of the focal MDAs assigned with responsibilities for sustaining and expanding the economy during and beyond the COVID period.
This in part explains the theme of this year’s Council which is, “Road Infrastructure Development, Job Creation and National Economic Growth”.
While the public looks forward mainly to the quality of the Highway pavement, the Government sees a larger economic impact of infrastructure and the way it helps to legitimately distribute wealth to the people at the bottom of the pyramid.
Road construction employs a large number of the urban poor, skilled and unskilled labour and vendors who depend on daily or weekly wages.
The lockdown period was a difficult period for them and it was not surprising that as soon as lockdown eased, the Agriculture Sector and Road Construction were the first to resume work.
Eleven (11) of the biggest contractors of the Federal Government were allowed to return to work in May 2020 in 26 states.
This was closely followed by the resumption of maintenance works in 92 different locations across 24 states by FERMA.
The Government then decided to increase the scope for local content, labour and materials by:
a) Advocating for the increased use of cement, stone and concrete which are all locally available
b) Advocating for the local production of Bitumen since we have large deposits of the raw material.
I am delighted to inform you that many of these policies are at different stages of implementation with consequences on the economy.
With safety guidelines for Social Distancing, face mask and sanitation issued to construction companies, construction work has resumed almost full time across the country even though the virus is still with us.
Although the Third Quarter GDP result is still negative at -3.62%, it shows growth in the following sectors:
a) Quarrying and other minerals production 41.81%
b) Cement manufacturing 11.96%
c) Construction 2.64%
With the sustenance of construction activities, a strong contribution will be seen on the road to economic recovery.
Regarding the need to use more cement, more stone and concrete, the Ministry had to produce a design manual for Rigid Pavement in consultation with all the stakeholders in the industry.
I am happy to Report that the Sub-Committee led by the Honourable Minister of State, Engr. Abubakar D. Aliyu, and the Director of Bridges and Design, Engr. Emmanuel Adeoye, have produced the first Rigid Pavement Manual for Nigerian Roads.
There could be no better place to unveil it than at the National Council for Works, where all State Governments and other stakeholders are present.
This should also form the basis for implementing the Government policy for more labour-intensive Road Construction to stimulate employment drive, and more use of locally available materials of stone, cement and concrete for improved economic productivity.
It is impossible to discuss roads and economic development without discussing:
a) capital appreciation of 30-40% that infrastructure provision adds to the value of land;
b) the supply chain of food, lubricants, construction materials like laterite, cement, Reinforcement (steel), Water, Energy (Diesel) that is positively affected by infrastructure;
c) the sub-specialities of subcontractors such as Lane Marking, Highway Signage and Electrical fittings,
all of which benefit from the Construction of a Road.
I am aware that all the States are executing one infrastructure project or the other and this is how it must be. I was in Rivers State recently to commission a Bridge project undertaken by the State Government.
Our collective National Spending on infrastructure will contribute in no small way to our recovery from recession, but also propel inclusive and beneficial growth.
Examples abound of the positive impact of the investment in infrastructure through a value chain of inclusive wealth distribution that is immediately activated when one of our construction sites utilises 5,000 trucks of laterites at N30,000 per truck.
Such a value chain would include the owner of the quarries, the operators in the quarries, the truck owners and truck drivers, among several others.
When one of our contractors also recently paid N500 million to his diesel suppliers, another inclusive wealth distribution value chain got activated or sustained.
In closing this speech permit me to highlight the challenges we still encounter in some states and communities with respect to claims for compensation, which hinder our contractors’ ability to work.
Challenges in the area of compensation require further collaboration and for States to play a lead role.
The need for an interactive forum between State Commissioners and Federal Ministry of Works, which will occur more frequently than the annual Council, as recently suggested by the Honourable Commissioner for Works from Kwara State will also hopefully be considered at this Meeting.
I thank you all for your attention.
Introductory Remarks By The Director, Planning Research And Statistics, Mr. Jide Ode-Martins At The Technical Session Of The 26th Meeting Of The National Council On Works 7th-8th December, 2020
Permit the singular honour on behalf of the Organizing Committee, to welcome you all to the 26th Meeting of the National Council on Works on the theme:”Road Infrastructure Development, Job Creation and National Economic Growth” holding here in Port-Harcourt from today Monday, 7th – 11th December, 2020.
2. As you are aware, the Meeting of the National Council on Works is the highest policy-making organ of the Works Sector, where stakeholders in the Works Sector deliberate on critical issues concerning the Sector with a view to proffering sustainable solutions.
3. It is pertinent to highlight that the Council Meeting is heralded by a 2-Day Technical Meeting of the Directors and the Meeting of the Permanent Secretaries. The responsibility of the Technical Meeting of the Directors as you are aware, is to create a solid and resourceful foundation by the diligently reviewing the memoranda submitted by stakeholders and fine-tuning the recommendation made by the Meeting of the Permanent Secretaries for presentation to the Council.
4. In view of the foregoing, I would like to urge all Directors present to rise to the occasion as usual. This is a task most of us here are very competent at and committed to doing year in year out. I am therefore, very confident of our ability to timely deliver on this assignment.
5. At this juncture, I would like to assure you that all necessary logistics have been made to ensure the success of this year’s Council Meeting. The Secretariat is available to attend to enquiries and render any assistance needed.
6. On a concluding note, I wish to express our profound gratitude to the Honourable Minister Babatunde Raji Fashola SAN, the Honourable Minister of State Engr. Abubakar D. Aliyu, FNSE, the Permanent Secretary, Ernest UmakhiheFCA,fnim for providing the enabling environment for the success of this Meeting. I also appreciate the support of all Directors and entire staff of the Ministry whose efforts made today a reality.
7. Once again, welcome to the 2-Day brainstorming Session preceding this year’s National Council Meeting on Works. I wish all of us fruitful deliberations.
8. Thank you and God bless you all.
Text Delivered By H.E, Babatunde Raji Fashola, SAN At The Commissioning Of Woodhill Estate Under Akacare Cooperatives, And Flag-Off Of Cooperative Housing Development, Kuje, FCT, Abuja
Welcome one and all to the commissioning of Woodhill Estate of AKACARE Cooperative Housing Scheme and the flag-off of our cooperative housing initiative, one of the series that will happen in each of the six (6) geo-political zones of Nigeria and the Federal Capital Territory.
One of the NEXT LEVEL commitments of the Federal Government of Nigeria as declared by President Buhari at the ministerial retreat held in September 2019, is to deepen access of Nigerians to affordable housing and consumer credit.
This is a mandate item of the housing sector of the Ministry of Works and Housing; as the policymaking arm of government, and we have assigned the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) a parastatal of the Ministry of Works and Housing, the implementation responsibility for executing our policy of PARTNERSHIPS with cooperatives.
For those who may wonder, why cooperatives? The answer is simple.
By definition, co-operatives are "an autonomous association of persons united VOLUNTARILY to meet their common economic, social and cultural needs and aspirations through a jointly-owned enterprise.”
The key word in that definition is the "voluntary" nature of cooperatives, and this is critical in the formulation of our policy of partnerships with cooperatives as a means of overcoming the problems of "Acceptability" and affordability that stand in the way of access to housing.
This is important because our experiences, our investigations and our observations reveal starkly that there are hundreds of thousands of empty and unoccupied houses in major cities across Nigeria.
They are empty and unoccupied because they are either over-built, in being too big, or under-built in being too small and therefore not acceptable to those who need them, because in many instances no consultation took place between the builders and the consumers they built for.
This is why we are undertaking a pilot scheme based on our studies to build in 34 states who provided land, what the people we consulted said they will find acceptable.
Because of the lack of consultation and acceptability problem, the problem of affordability creeps in.
Our policy development team finds the voluntary nature of cooperatives very useful because members will be expected to design and build according to their needs and their income, as they find affordable.
Co-operatives have traditionally proved to be successful in areas like transportation, agriculture, trade and commerce, market associations and amongst large groups in the informal sector.
It is these large members of the informal sector that we seek to reach, scale up constructions of houses and the multiplier effects on the economy for cottage industries who make building materials like paint, doors, roofing materials, nails, and electrical fittings to mention a few.
The scale of construction by voluntary associations is expected to ramp up employment and income for artisans who will build houses. This will be our contribution to President Buhari’s commitment to raise a hundred million out of poverty in a decade.
As in other sectors, when cooperatives have been successful, we can point to modest successes of partnerships by FMBN with some cooperatives in the formal sector that currently has 52 housing projects under construction to deliver 4,624 units in 2020.
It is this number, that the policy we flag-off today seeks to multiply in many fold by unleashing the power of cooperatives and empower their voluntary will to act together in pursuit of the common desire to access housing and credit.
In order to be eligible, cooperatives must be registered, they must acquire their own land, get title to it, seek and obtain a building permit from the governments of the respective states where their land is located.
This last requirement is instructive because it seeks to eliminate incidents of unapproved buildings and slums which governments later seek to demolish.
All the state government agencies in charge of land have been duly briefed at the National Council launch meeting held in Abuja on November 7th 2019.
The Mandate and the role of the FMBN is to then provide construction funding to the cooperatives to build the houses, and to provide mortgage finance to the individual members to buy the house and pay back in instalments at a rate not exceeding 10% per annum.
Ladies and gentlemen, this is the sum and substance of the policy and partnerships that bring us to Kuje, in the FCT today because AKACARE cooperative has embraced this NEXT LEVEL initiative to deepen access to housing and consumer credit.
It is therefore my honour and pleasure to flag off this cooperative partnership in the hope that it will quickly spread to other states in this Geo political zone.
As every cooperative chooses what it desires and can afford, the FMBN, representing the Federal Government of Nigeria will be your partner, providing financial support to enable you to act voluntarily to choose and build what you accept and your income can afford.
On behalf of President Muhammadu Buhari and the Federal Government of Nigeria, I commission this Housing Estate and flag off this co-operative development away from poverty and towards common prosperity.
Babatunde Raji Fashola, SAN
Honourable Minister of Works and Housing
FASHOLA, ALIYU INSPECT THE EXPANSION OF 5.4KM ABUJA - KEFFI EXPRESSWAY AND DUALIZATION OF KEFFI - AKWANGA - LAFIA - MAKURDI ROAD PROJECT IN FCT, NASARAWA AND BENUE STATES
Hon. Minister of Works & Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola,SAN(middle), Minister of State in the Ministry, Engr. Abubakar Aliyu(left) and Project Manager, China Harbour Engineering Company Ltd (CHEC), Engr. Hussaini Shagbo(right) during the inspection of the ongoing construction work on the expansion of 5.4km Abuja - Keffi Expressway and Dualization of Keffi - Akwanga - Lafia - Makurdi Road project in Nasarawa State on Tuesday, 30th March 2021
FASHOLA INSPECTS THE REHABILITATION OF OUTER MARINA, BONNY CAMP ROAD AND EKO BRIDGE THROUGH APONGBON BRIDGE WITH ACCESS RAMPS IN LAGOS STATE
Hon. Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola,SAN (left), Director, Highways South – West Zone, Engr. Adedamola Kuti (right),and Federal Controller of Works in Lagos State, Engr. Olukayode Popoola (middle) during an inspection of the completed Rehabilitation of Outer Marina, Bonny Camp Road and Eko Bridge through Apongbon Bridge with Access ramps in Lagos State on Saturday, 3rd April 2021