Boko Haram: FEC seeks divine intervention
From JULIANA TAIWO-OBALONYE, Abuja
Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Federal Executive Council (FEC) opened yesterday with prayers for divine intervention in the activities of the Islamist sect, Boko Haram. The council specifically prayed God not only to expose and disgrace the perpetrators of the dastardly act but to grant the nation peace and President Goodluck Jonathan the wisdom to govern at this time.

At the end of its meeting the FEC approved the procurement of two 45 seater fast-moving Passenger Ferries (Catamaran) by the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) to improve water transportation in the country. The procurement, awarded in favour of Messrs Karflex Fisheries Limited, will cost the government N168.45 million, inclusive of taxes with a delivery period of six months.

Addressing State House correspondents, the Minister of Information, Labaran Maku, alongside his colleagues in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Sen. Bala Mohammed, Science and Technology, Professor Ita Ewa, Transport, Umar Idris and Interior Abba Morro, said “the provision of the ferries will promote waterways transportation, boost economic activities and reduce pressure on other modes such as road transportation.

“The project will directly create 23 job opportunities for professionals and non-professionals during the operation of the ferries while many job opportunities will be created indirectly when the ferries are fully operational”. “Council took a major step to make operational the lower River Niger which dredging has been completed. As you all known since the 1960s, every administration in Nigeria had planned to dredge the lower Niger to faciltate the movement of goods and persons through the lower Niger up to the north of the country. But this plans had remained in the pipeline until the advent of the Yar’Adua/Goodluck Administration.

The contract for the dredging of the Niger was awarded under the Yar’Aduna administration. In the last two years, the dredging of the Niger has been completed. What is going on right now is the maintenance dredging. Also the inner waterway ports have been virtually completed, some are set for commissioning.

“So in order not to allow the Niger to remain fallow after dredging, Council approved the purchase of two fast moving ferries to ply the Niger right from Ontisha-Warri-Lokoja, carrying passengers. These farries would be jointly managed by government and the private sector and part of government efforts to bring down the cost of transportation in the country. Only two weeks ago, the President launched a mass transist project involves the supply of long buses at free interest rate. He had also hinted the utilization of the use of waterways to bring down the closet of transportation.

“The capacity of the ferries is 45 seater the cost of N168.4 million.

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