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FEC okays N3 billion projects to strengthen airports, River Niger

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[FILE PHOTO] Hadi Sirika, Minister of State, Aviation confirmed the N5.4b firefighting equipment has been acquired

The Federal Executive Council (FEC) presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday approved N2.4 billion for the construction of an indoor shooting range to enhance security in the aviation sector. It also sanctioned N581 million for purchase and installation of 300 buoys on the River Niger to enhance the safety of vessels, lives and property on the waterways.

Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, while addressing State House correspondents at the end of the gathering in Abuja, said President Buhari, had in conformity with the Act establishing Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) approved that aviation security agents should bear arms for improved protection at the country’s gateways.

He rationalised that the decision was in sync with the recommendations of the UN counter-terrorism unit and the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).

His words: “These aviation personnel were trained and still receiving training and profiling on things that will make them efficient at the DSS and other sister organisations.”

In her remarks, the Minister of State for Transportation, Gbemi Saraki, who equally confirmed the approval of N581 million to fortify the waterways, said: “It is actually a repeated procurement, the first one was done in 2017 to 2018 which was from Baro to Onitsha and this time, we are taking it from Onitsha to Lokoja.

“It is much more. This is 300, which was 200. It is obviously to ensure that our waterways are navigable for all the vessels that will run the ports.”

However, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, yesterday declared that it was difficult for Nigeria to recover the $62 billion loss to international oil companies (IOCs) since 2003.

He recalled after the FEC meeting that government had via the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), demanded repayment of the ‘debt’ on the basis of an October 17, 2018 judgment of the Supreme Court.

The apex court had ordered the Federal Government to “immediately take steps to recover all revenues lost to oil-exploring and exploiting companies due to wrong profit-sharing formula since August 2003.”

About five suits are currently before the Abuja and Lagos divisions of the Federal High Court impending moves to recover the sum.

But Sylva yesterday said though the government had started discussions on the matter, he, however, maintained that the voyage had remained a “lost opportunity.”


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