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Nigeria Approves N24.2bn Free Internet For Airports, Varsities, Markets

This is spread across the 36 states of the federation and Abuja.

Nigeria’s Federal Government has approved two contracts worth N24.20 billion for the provision of broadband for free internet services in 75 public places including 20 airports, tertiary institutions and markets across the country.

This was disclosed to newsmen on Wednesday by the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Ali Pantami, after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting, which was presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the State House, Abuja. 

According to him, the free internet services will cover airports, public universities and markets spread across the 36 states of the federation and Abuja. 

Pantami said his ministry presented two related memoranda to FEC for approval which

 focused on providing free internet connectivity services, adding that the second one was complementary to a similar approval by Council last year.

He said: “Both memos, you will discover that they will provide broadband to these institutions at the price of approximately N24.20 billion and the project is going to be implemented by the Nigerian Communications Commission.

“The duration for the project four months minimum and maximum of five months and there is a budgetary provision for that. Also, the fund to sponsore the implementation has been secured by the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.

“For universities, it’s because we have learned bitter and better lessons during the COVID-19, so we don’t want to go back to that, we want to ensure that students and staff benefit from unlimited internet. For airports, we know the difficulty when you land without any connectivity. So it will even at least make our airports more lively, if there is at least internet connectivity that is for free. 

“Thirdly for market, it’s to support innovation-driven enterprises that are being championed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where we try to give global visibility to our innovators, to our micro, small and medium enterprises, so that their market is not going to be narrowed and restricted only to our local communities”.

FEC at its weekly meeting also approved two major contracts for the construction of a Centre of Excellence for environmental restoration Wiiyaakara in Kana council area of Rivers State and a 100-bed specialist hospital in Ogoni. 

Minister of Environment, Mohammed Abdullahi, told reporters that the projects are aimed at facilitating efficient and cost-effective approaches to contamination management and environmental restoration while supporting the well-being and welfare of the people who have been impacted by the negative effects of contamination in those areas.

According to him: “On behalf of the Ministry of Environment, HYPREP Project Office, I presented two memos one for the award of contract for the construction of Centre of Excellence for environmental restoration at Wiiyaakara, Bori in, in Khana local government area of River State, in favour of CCECC Nigeria Limited, in the sum of N41,472,263,848.60, with a completion period of 24 months. 

“The second memo, which is equally approved, which is also in line with the UNEP Report on the level components, is the contract for the construction of Ogoni 100-bed specialist hospital in favour of Messrs Tannit Medical Engineering Limited, in the sum of N18,308,463,225.37, plus 7.5% of VAT, with a delivery period of 24 months”.

On his part, the Minister of State for Works and Housing, Umar El-Yakub said the  ministry

 received what seemed to be the biggest approval at the Council meeting as the two memoranda for contracts worth N95.98 billion were approved.

He said the first memorandum was “for the award of contract for the dualization of the Akure/Ita Ogbolu –Iju/Ado Ekiti state border, on the Ondo State side, in favour of Messrs Samchez Nigeria Limited and Messrs Horizon Construction Company Limited, in the sum of N46,684,481,745.44, with a completion period of 24 months.

“The section two of that road was awarded to Messrs Kopek Construction Limited at the cost of N49,295,088,593.98, with a completion period of 30 months. So, one is doing it from the Ekiti State border and the other one is on the Ondo State side. That’s the two sections of the contract was awarded”, he said.

Also briefing, Minister of Transportation, Muazu Jaji Sambo, said his Ministry’s two memoranda; the first being for the renewal of a management contract for the management ports facilities and the second for procurement of two tugboats for operations at the Lekki Deep Seaport, pooled an aggregate of N26.77 billion were approved by FEC. 

His words: “The first memo was the renewal of the management contract for the management of Tugs, Pilot Cutters or Mooring Launches within the limits of Apapa and Tin Can Island Ports complex. 

“This management contract was signed between Nigerian Ports Authority and Messrs LTT Coastal and Marine Services Limited, initially in April 2007, for a period of 15 years, which therefore meant the agreement had expired March last year. 

“The purpose of the memorandum is to seek Council’s approval to renew the management contract, as provided in the management agreement and endorsed by the Bureau of Public Procurement, in favour of Messrs LTT Coastal and Marine Services Limited, for the sum of $29,871,615.22, which is an equivalent of N12,440,332,875.44, inclusive of 7.5% VAT, at an exchange rate of one US dollar to N416.46 .

“The second memorandum that was considered by Council and approved is in respect of a contract for the design, construction and supply of two 80 tons … marine tugboats in order to support the operations of the newly commissioned Lekki Deep Seaport in Lagos. 

“The contract was awarded to Messrs the De Pasa Marine International Nigeria Limited in the sum of €30,183,540.20, which is an equivalent of N14,330,329,389.75 at the CBN prevailing exchange rate at the time of payment, inclusive of seven and 7.5% VAT and with a completion period of 15 months”, the Minister further said.

Also at yesterday’s FEC meeting, the Ministry of Aviation got approval for construction of 150 room capacity hostel at a cost of N2billion, according to the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, who briefed on behalf of the Minister, Hadi Sirika.

“On behalf of the Minister of Aviation, who presented a memo to Council today, seeking Council’s consideration and approval for the award of contract for the construction of a 150-room capacity female hostel, at the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology, Zaria in favour of Messrs Best Homes Construction Limited, in the sum of N2,244,713,424.56, inclusive of 7.5% VAT with a completion period of 12 months. 

“Also the Minister of Information and Culture presented a memo to Council, which was approved today, for the procurement of 13 operational vehicles for the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria for the sum of  N383,968,500, in favour of Kaura Motors, with a completion period of three weeks.

“The operational vehicles will be used for the day-to-day operations of the FRCN and in particular, they will be used report, gather news, with respect of the various of cases in tribunal and also for the National Population Commission Census coming up sometimes in May. Thank you very much”, Mohammed further stated.

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