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Tinubu inaugurates FCT’s southern parkway says Investment in infrastructure will be sustained to enhance quality of life-

President Bola Tinubu, on Tuesday in Abuja, inaugurated the Southern Parkway project, which serves as a critical artery connecting major areas within the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

The Southern Parkway is one of the principal arteries conceived and planned as a freeway to provide access and connectivity to the Southern Development flank of the Capital City.

The other principal artery is the Northern Parkway, which has been substantially developed over the years to service the Northern District.

The project was awarded in 2010 but was not completed until the intervention of President Bola Tinubu’s administration.

Speaking at the inauguration of the project, President Bola Tinubu described infrastructure development as an enabler of economic growth and prosperity, stating that his administration would sustain investments in critical sectors to improve the welfare of citizens.

The President commended Barr. Nyesom Wike, the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, for his diligence and courageous efforts, noting the recent infrastructural developments in the city.

“Today, we gather to mark a significant milestone in the journey of our nation towards progress and development. As we commemorate our first year in office, it is a great joy and a welcome challenge that we have a huge responsibility on our shoulders.

“I understand the Southern Parkway not only represents a physical artery that connects vital areas within the FCT but symbolizes our collective aspiration for connectivity, ease of livelihood, accessibility, and progress. By providing a seamless and efficient transportation corridor, this road will not only ease traffic congestion but will also enhance mobility for residents and visitors to the FCT.

“The completion of the Southern Parkway underscores our commitment to inclusive and sustainable development as we strive to build a world-class Capital City. We recognize the fact that infrastructure development is a provider of jobs, and an enabler of economic development and prosperity. We believe we are going to achieve all that we have set out to achieve.

“The needs of our citizens are paramount in our thoughts and actions. By making our citizens the central focus of our development, we believe Nigeria will succeed.

“Barrister Nyesom Wike, Mr. Projects. I thank you for giving us hope and for your sincere commitment to shared values. Well done. As a team leader, you have worked so hard. I must recognize your vision that is revolutionary and inspiring to many of our people. The changes you have made to the FCT, structurally and administratively, are yielding results and elevating belief in the hearts of many Nigerians,” the President said.

Explaining the significant features of the project, the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory said the road consists of 12 lanes in total.

“Your Excellency to bring the level of development of the Southern Parkway on par with the Northern Parkway, this project which was awarded in December 2010 to Setraco Nigeria Limited at the contract sum of N16.2 billion was later revised to N35.7 billion due to changes in scope and other economic indices. But this was done before this administration came in.

“The scope of work is made up of two main carriage ways of four lanes each and two service carriage ways of two lanes each, making a total of 12 lanes. It also includes the construction of four interchanges, a total of eight bridges in addition to the position of associated underground engineering facilities.

“I am happy to inform Your Excellency that the project is now completed in line with the Renewed Hope Agenda of Mr. President,” the Minister said.

Mr. Wike said the completion of the project will enhance traffic circulation around the city centre, reducing delays and travel time, while accelerating the development of the Southern Axis of the city, bringing improved socio-economic benefits to residents and other Nigerians.

“Your Excellency, on assumption of office with my Honourable Minister of State in August 2023, we were confronted with many uncompleted projects that have gone on for several years. However, the coming of the current administration and Mr. President’s unflinching support has indeed led to the completion of this project, among others now ready for commissioning. The Federal Capital Territory Administration and FCT residents appreciate Mr. President’s support and laudable achievements. It is in this regard and for many other patriotic persuasions that the FCT Administration hereby humbly resolve that this very important road be named Bola Ahmed Tinubu way,” the Minister stated.

Giving further details, the Executive Secretary, Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA), Engr. Shehu Ahmad explained that the Parkway System forms an integral part of the network of roads in the transportation masterplan of the Federal Capital City.

“It dissects the two development corridors and is planned to function as a freeway to optimize vehicular movement between the developed sectors and the Central Area. Within the Central Area, the Parkway System encloses the cultural axis. In the Northern Development Corridor, it is known as the Northern Parkway (A9). It begins at the city centre around the Inner Northern Expressway, near the National Mosque and the Shehu Yar’Adua Centre intersection.

”It traverses Phases 1 to 4 in the north of the city, ending at the Outer Northern Expressway Junction, near the Dei Dei area, for those familiar with Abuja. It covers a total length of 25 kilometres. In the Southern Development Corridor, the Parkway System starts from the City Centre at its intersection with the Inner Southern Expressway. It passes through Phases 1 to 4 of the south of the city and ends at the Inner Southern Expressway near Kuje, located in Phase 4, spanning a total length of about 27 kilometres,” the Executive Secretary concluded.

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Police arrest, parade two suspected drug traffickers in Imo

The Imo State Police Command has paraded two persons, Uchechukwu Nwaguma, 28, and Onyekosi Chukwu Ebuka, 35, as suspected drug traffickers who specialise in selling different kinds of illicit drugs.

According to a statement from the Public Relations Officer of the command, ASP Henry Okoye, the arrest of the suspected drug pushers was carried out by the operatives of the command’s anti-narcotics unit in different locations through painstaking investigations.

He stated that Uchechukwu Nwaguma was arrested on July 17, 2024, at Caroline Hostel, Okwu Uratta, Owerri, with large quantities of weeds suspected to be Canadian Loud, a substance the police spokesperson said to be an imported strong synthetic strain of cannabis, and hard drugs commonly known as molly or happy pills.

According to ASP Okoye: “The suspect, upon interrogation, confessed to the crime, stating that his parents were late and that he moved into the sale of hard drugs to enable him to take care of himself and his siblings.”

In another successful operation by the operatives of the command’s anti-vice unit on the same day, Onyekosi Chukwu Ebuka of Uloano in Isu LGA of Imo State was arrested for unlawful possession of weeds suspected to be Indian hemp. He was arrested following a tip-off received from a concerned citizen.

The police spokesperson in the statement further informed that the suspects will face prosecution upon completion of a diligent investigation.

Following the development, Commissioner of Police Aboki Danjuma has reaffirmed the command’s dedication to clamping down on illicit drug dealers and peddlers in the state.

He implored parents to caution their children against indulging in the intake or sale of hard drugs or illicit substances, warning that violators will face severe legal consequences.

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Student loan scheme will thrive on equity and inclusiveness says President Tinubu

President Bola Tinubu says the Nigerian Education Loan Fund (NELFUND) will thrive on fairness and equity and promote inclusiveness by removing the financial barrier to higher education for Nigerian students.

The President, who launched the digital NELFUND disbursement exercise at the State House on Wednesday, said the provision of loans to students will encourage more people to seek knowledge, go for higher education, and become valuable contributors to national development.

“As I earlier said, my belief is that education is the greatest weapon against poverty. Without education, there is no vision; without education, there will be no development; without education, you cannot successfully conquer poverty, insecurity, and abuse in society.

“Education is that light at the end of the tunnel, and no matter how sluggish it moves, it will give you light and the hope you need. We are investing in it. We do not want to try ignorance as an alternative. We want education from the foundation to the topmost level.

“I am glad we are achieving it with NELFUND and that the leadership has accepted this responsibility, and they are working hard,’’ the President said.

President Tinubu commended the Chairman of the Fund, Mr. Jim Ovia, and the Managing Director, Mr. Akintunde Sawyerr, for their efforts in driving the critical agency.

The President expressed his determination to ensure the success of the Fund and the fulfilment of the dream of higher education by indigent Nigerian students.

“The tool is available, and the hope is here; genuine, and the commitment to inclusiveness is what democracy is all about. I am fulfilling one of my greatest promises of the campaign. We are building an inclusive society. You can find many ways around any opportunity, but you cannot find a way if you are not well-educated,’’ President Tinubu stated.

The President emphasized that education is an essential antidote to some of the challenges faced by the nation.

“We cannot even fight terrorism and banditry unless there is inclusiveness, and our people are properly educated and can invest in their own lives. I promise that we will hand a banner without stain to our children. Therefore, it is my honour to launch the portal,’’ the President said.

In his remarks, the Chairman of NELFUND thanked the President for the privilege to serve the nation.

“I am grateful for the opportunity to be here today for Mr. President to formally launch the Nigerian Education Loan Fund (NELFUND). Mr. President, I would like to make reference to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, of which education is number four.

“The President has recognized that; hence, he inaugurated and also signed into law in February the NELFUND. We are all grateful for Mr. President’s time for inaugurating and also sanctioning the activities of NELFUND,’’ Mr. Ovia said.

The Managing Director of NELFUND affirmed that there were enough funds to meet the initial requests of students across the country.

“Your Excellency, at this stage, we have more than enough funding. When we start to promote properly, we might need more, but right now, we can disburse to any single person who has applied,’’ he said.

Mr. Sawyerr said the portal was opened on May 25, 2024, and had so far received 110,000 applications, with more than 164,000 visits; noting that the applications have been increasing daily.

“Clearly, what we want to ensure is that there is equity in the distribution of the loans across the six geo-political zones. So, we are having to look very closely at the data we are receiving to ensure that we are doing the right things and pushing the right buttons to ensure that those who need these funds get them, and that it is seen to be fair and equitable,” Mr. Sawyerr added.

President Tinubu presented cheques to some of the students and institutions that had already been processed by NELFUND. Students are to receive stipends for their upkeep, while tuition goes directly to the institutions.

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Imo House of Assembly recommends sack of Chief Judge for misconduct and age falsification

The Imo State House of Assembly has recommended the removal of the state’s Chief Judge, Justice Theresa Chukwuemeka-Chikeka, citing misconduct and alleged age falsification.

This decision was reached during a plenary session on Thursday, with a two-thirds majority of the lawmakers voting in favour of the recommendations made by an ad hoc committee.

The committee was established to investigate a petition filed by the Civil Society Engagement Platform (CSEP), which accused the Chief Judge of falsifying her age. The petition, titled “Petition Against The Chief Judge of Imo State, Hon Justice Theresa Chukwuemeka Chikeka For Age Falsification Which Is A Grave Criminal Offence And An Act For Which Many Other Judges And Justices Have Been Summarily Dismissed And Some Are Currently Being Prosecuted By The Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC),” prompted the House to take action pursuant to Section 292 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended).

The ad hoc committee, chaired by Hon Ikenna Ihezue, included Hon Bernard Ozoemenam, Rt Hon Clinton Amadi, and Hon Ebonine Beneath, with Mrs. Anne Martins Ezirim serving as the committee clerk. They conducted thorough investigations by inviting relevant individuals and institutions to provide oral and documentary evidence.

Despite the committee’s invitation, Justice Chukwuemeka-Chikeka declined to appear, citing the Constitution and insisting she would only appear before a panel set up by the National Judicial Council (NJC).

Key testimonies and documents were obtained from the Civil Society Engagement Platform, represented by its Director of Investigations, Comrade Ndubuisi Onyemaechi. Additionally, the Head of Service of Imo State, the Secretary of the Imo State Judicial Service Commission, the Secretary to the Council of Legal Education, and the Director of Administration at the Nigerian Law School were consulted. These consultations aimed to verify the actual date of birth of the Chief Judge, as recorded during her admission to the Nigerian Law School in 1981 and her employment with the state’s civil service in 1993.

Evidence revealed that Justice Chukwuemeka-Chikeka had altered her date of birth from October 27, 1956, to October 27, 1958, via a statutory declaration of age sworn in 2006. This adjustment was made long after she had initially declared her birthdate when enrolling in law school. The statutory declaration was later submitted to the Judicial Service Commission.

The ad hoc committee concluded that Justice Chukwuemeka-Chikeka had indeed engaged in misconduct and recommended her removal from office by Governor Hope Uzodimma. The House also resolved that this recommendation be forwarded to the National Judicial Council for further action.

All 19 members present at the plenary session unanimously adopted the committee’s recommendations. The resolution marks a significant development in the state’s judicial administration, with further actions anticipated from the NJC.

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