2016 census: FEC approves acquisition of 40 vehicles

By The Citizen

THE Federal Executive Council (FEC) Wednesday approved the request from the Chairman of the National Population Commission (NPC), Chief Festus Odimegwu, for purchase of 40 new utility vehicles as part of the preparation for the 2016 head count.

The vehicles are expected to be bought strictly from a Nigerian firm, Innoson Auto Manufacturing Company, based in Nnewi, Anambra State.

Similarly, the council, at its weekly meeting, approved a fresh request by the Federal Ministry of Education for purchase of over four million textbooks on Mathematics, English Language, Basic Science and Technology and Social Studies for pupils in primary one to six and library  resource  materials  for students in Junior Secondary School (JSS) in public schools across the 36 states and the FCT.

It was also learnt that the Council ratified the Defence pacts with the Republic of Niger and the United Kingdom on issues relating to the fight against terrorism in the country. The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the UK has to do with training of armed forces personnel and sharing of experience of how best to fight terrorism, while the agreement with Niger is on cooperation between the two countries on the control of influx of undesirable elements crossing the borders.

The Council also approved the contract for the supply of water to the Abuja Technology Village (ATV) and the surrounding settlements like Galadimawa to the tune of N2.18 billion, while another N436 million was approved for the design of engineering infrastructure for Kiami District, one of those to be opened as part of efforts to open up the FCT.

Briefing State House correspondents after the meeting, Information Minister, Labaran Maku, along with his FCT counterpart, Senator Bala Abdulkadir Mohammed, and the Minister of State for Education, Nyesom Wike, said the approvals followed exhaustive deliberations on all the memos submitted by the affected ministers to the council presided over by President Goodluck Jonathan with the Vice President, Namadi Sambo in attendance.

Maku told journalists at the briefing that Jonathan would today in Abuja, be conferred with the highest National Honour of the Republic of Mali, in appreciation of the critical role played by Nigeria and its leaders in the return of democracy to the country, whose president just emerged. He said the out-going President of that country, Prof. Mouse Troure, would be in the Nigerian Abuja to confer Jonathan  with the honour.

According to Maku, the preference for Innoson motor company was part of the desire of the president to promote the patronage of local  entrepreneurs with a view to creating jobs for the teeming Nigerian youth, in addition to boosting the nation' economy.

While he did not disclose the actual cost of the vehicles, promising to make it available to journalists at a later date, the minister assured that the award of the contract followed due process in line with the transparency and accountability drives of the Jonathan-led administration.

According to him, ' Innoson is being targeted to come into play in the course of helping the economy to grow in quality ands give Nigerians more jobs while encouraging the use of local materials to support the local and indigenous technologists.'

Wike said the Federal Ministry of Education decided to procure additional books to be used in the public primary and junior secondary schools across the country as a follow up to the ones already distributed to the schools . It is expected to be supplied in about six weeks from the date of awards.

Justifying the huge investments in the purchase of primary schools textbooks and library resource materials, Maku said the recent improvement in the performance of Nigerian students in public examinations was heart-warming.

For instance, he said the 39 percent pass last year to 64 percent of candidates that got five credits and above pass in the recently released West African  Secondary School Council Examination (WASSCE) was an indication that the investments in that sector are paying off.

According to Maku, 'after deliberations, Council approved award of contract for the design of engineering infrastructure and production of tender documents for Kyami District (Zone a) Phase V, FCC, Abuja in favour of Messrs Net Engineering Limited in the sum of N131, 938,632 with completion period of 16 weeks.

'Council also approved the award of contract for the design of engineering infrastructure and production of tender documents for Kyami District (zone B) Phase V, FCC, Abuja in favour of Messrs Ben Mose and Partners in the sum of N162,481,872 with a completion period of four months.

'Council further approved the award of contract for the design of engineering infrastructure and production of tender documents for Kyami Fistrict (zone C) Phase V, FCC, Abuja in favour of Messrs Vasons Concept Consultants Limited at N131,938,632 with completion of period of four months.'

The minister added that 'the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) in line with its mandate of providing potable water supply to residents of the FCT is desirous of extending water supply through a section of loop 5 to the ATV, including some private developer housing estate.

'It is in view of the above that the minister of FCT tabled another memo before the council. After deliberations, council ratified the president's anticipatory approval for the award of contract for the extension of Water Supply to Abuja Technology village (ATV) and some private developers' housing estates in favour of Messrs Mecca (Nigeria) Limited, in the sum of N2,138,581 830.00 only with a completion period of four months.'

On the defence pacts, Maku said 'The minster of state for Defence, sought the ratification for the implementation of the signed Bilateral Agreement between Nigeria and Niger Republic and the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Nigeria and United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.