The Federal Executive Council (FEC) rose from its weekly meeting on Wednesday with the approval of contract awards worth about N459 billion for projects in the Ministry of Transportation as well as construction of 192 flats for personnel of the National Drugs Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA).
The contracts for the Transportation Ministry which is for the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) involve the construction and supply of customized Fire Service search and rescue vans for extrication of accident victims at the cost of N510,934,600, and for the procurement of rollingstock operation and maintenance equipment for Kano-Maradi standard gauge rail line at the cost of $984,722,392.
According to the Minister of Transportation, Mu’azu Sambo, who briefed newsmen at the end of the meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari: “The Federal Ministry of Transportation this afternoon, presented to memoranda to council on behalf of two of its agencies.
“The first agency was the Nigerian Ports Authority which sought to provide for the award of contract for the construction and supply for customized Fire Service search and rescue vans for extrication of accident victims.
“For Rivers Ports, Port Harcourt, Lagos Port complex, Tin Can Island Port and Marina headquarters in Lagos, Council considered the memorandum and approved the award of the contract as recommended.
“And reviewed by the Bureau of Public Procurement in the sum of N510,934,600 million inclusive of seven and a half percent VAT with a completion period of nine months in favor of Messrs All Works Commercial Company Limited.
“The second memorandum presented by the Ministry was on behalf of the ministry itself but for the ultimate management by the Nigerian Railway Cooperation.
“The memorandum sought council, consideration and approval for the award of contract for the procurement of rollingstock operation and maintenance equipment for Kano-Maradi standard gauge rail line that is currently under construction.
“The contract was awarded to Messers Motor Engine Nigeria Limited who are the contractors handling this particular projects in the sum of $984,722,302.05 inclusive of seven and a half percent verse with a completion period of four years.”
Also briefing the media, Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, spoke on the contract award approved for the construction of barracks for personnel of the NDLEA at the total cost of N5,157,265,770, stressing the need to provide them with security because of the threat from drugs criminals.
He said: “What was presented today by the Office of the Attorney General and Minister of Justice was a council memo at the instance or the NDLEA – National Drugs Law Enforcement Agency.
“As you are aware, there has been renewed and sustained onslaught against drug cartels and barons over time. Within the three months of 2023 about 18,940 arrests were affected by the NDLEA and indeed drugs the estimated value of which is over N40 billion where confiscated.
“Again, about 2,904 convictions were recorded.
“These successes recorded unfortunately, translated to unprecedented threats and attacks on personnel, officers, men and other ranks of the agency and then the need has arisen for the federal government to consider the possibility of taking security measures that will now provide the desired protection to the officers and men of the agency.
“So, with that in mind, what was presented before the Federal Executive Council today is a memo seeking approval for the award of contract for the construction of barracks accommodation for personnel of the drug law enforcement agency.
“Accordingly, two contracts were awarded and the companies that were awarded the contract Whitchino Engineering Limited, was awarded the contract for the construction of accommodation for narcotics superintendents and narcotic assistant blocks, each consisting six numbers of three bedroom, semi detached flats, 12 flats, and five blocks each, consisting 16 number one bedroom terraces plots, 80 plots total 92 plots at the cost of N2,267,785,450. 83.
“And the second contract was awarded to JP Sigma Nigeria limited in the sum of N2,889,480,320.55 and they are to construct accommodation for narcotics superintendents and narcotics agents, two blocks each consistent six numbers, three bedroom, semi detached flats, 12 flats and 11 blocks, each consisting eight numbers two bedrooms, semi detached flats 89 flats total 12 plus 88 which makes 100 flats. So, the Council memo was taken. And it was accordingly approved by the Council.”
On his part, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mohammed Abubakar, said his Ministry presented a memo on the revised 2022 National Agricultural Seed Policy to FEC for approval.
He noted that the country had been operating on the 2010 policy, which was revised in 2015 before the latest revision in 2022.
According to him, the revision became necessary because of the need to have improved seeds.
Abubakar explained: “With the current continuous development in technology, seeds are always being upgraded, standardized four to five with several vitamins. There’s also the issue of genetically modified organisms or seeds, if you will.
“So, this revision, seek to conform with global best practice in yield. Our farmers must have access to best quality seeds that have been fortified, seeds that can produce the yield that will be worth their while, seeds that can produce again, the produce that can compete in the world market. This is the basis for this particular policy.
“The implementing agency is the National Agricultural Seed Council of Nigeria. The same agency works with the department within the Ministry, also work with other agencies and MDAs that are also involved in some ways with agriculture, work with civil society organization, international agencies.
“Nigeria every year holds summit that we call Seed Connect. This is an international summit that discusses and focuses on improvement development in seeds from around the globe. So, seeds are really very important, very critical. As you all know, the agric sector form a great part of the GDP of this country and all that we focus on small holder farmers.
“Someone will wonder how do they get good quality seed? We want to make sure they are priority. We distribute good quality seeds to them free. We make sure that any seed that is coming into the country also is subjected to the decentralization.
“We have a system that is called Codex, and we’ll make sure all seeds that will be taken to the market have these Codex. They have gone through our screening. And this is the purpose of this policy, to make better seeds and to achieve food security.
“Unless we have good yielding seeds, we will not be able to achieve the food security we want and Nigeria with 200 million people plus and counting. We need to make sure we’re on top of our game in terms of the quality of seeds of any kind of produce in this country.”
Responding to a question, the Minister revealed that Port Harcourt has been selected as the hub for the 25,000 metric tons of wheat expected from the Ukraine just as Russia has also extended its supply of grains to the country through the United Nations arrangement.
Abubakar while noting that the wheat consignment from Ukraine was already on the high sea, also said the hub would create economic activities in the area.
Deji Elumoye in Abuja