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Abuja light rail project employs 10,000 Nigerians -Lai Mohammed

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About 10,000 Nigerians were employed during the construction of the Abuja Light Rail Project, which was recently commissioned by President Muhammadu Buhari, while 100,000 more will be directly or indirectly employed when the project begins full operation.

The Chief Resident Engineer for the Abuja Light Rail Project, Anthony Agbakoba, disclosed this on Thursday while briefing the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, who took journalists on a tour of the project, which is now being test-run.

Agbakoba said that in addition, 68 highly-skilled personnel have been trained in Malaysia and China on Railway Operations and Management in order to build the required technical capacity needed to run such a modern rail system.

“FCTA (Federal Capital Territory Administration) and Nigeria now have capacity to supervise similar railway construction projects from start to completion within 3 to 4 years of conception,” he said.

While conducting the Minister and his team round the train stations, the Secretary of Transportation in the FCTA, Mr. Kayode Opeifa, said the present administration inherited the Abuja Light Project at 53% completion stage and delivered the project within 18 months.

He said the project is the first integrated mode of Transportation in Africa that connects the railways and the airport in order to ensure seamless movement of passengers.

Opeifa said a desk will be assigned to the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture at the Airport Station to showcase the nation’s rich cultural heritage and tourism attraction, adding that the station itself is a tourist attraction.

He said although the Abuja Light Rail is currently on a test run with 3 coaches, contract for the construction and supply of 48 additional coaches has been awarded, with the coaches expected to be delivered in batches.

In his remarks, Mohammed, said the Buhari Administration is building a legacy of enduring infrastructure for posterity.

“This administration is not looking for quick fixes because quick fixes don’t work. We are laying a foundation for an enduring infrastructural development. We are painstaking and very transparent and we remain focused and committed,” he said.

Alhaji Mohammed expressed the confidence that Nigeria possesses the required technical competence to manage the Light Rail Project and turn it into a huge success.

“Some of the key personnel, who have worked in virtually major rail companies in the world, are actually anchoring the programme. Some of them have been trained in the best schools in the world for transportation and so we are confident of the expertise and experience of the personnel that are handling the light rail and the regional rail,” he said.

The Minister said the level of successes being recorded by the present administration, in its key priority areas, has left the opposition in shock, hence their resort to fake news and hate speech.

The 45.2-kilometre Light Rail Project, which is divided into six lots, comprises 12 stations, 50 culverts, 13 railway bridges, 9 pedestrian bridges, 15 flyovers, and a 21-building Rolling Stock Depot.

Since kick-starting the nationwide tour of Federal Government projects in May 2018, the Minister has inspected eight Federal Government projects, including the Lagos-Ibadan Standard Gauge Rail Line, Lagos-Ibadan, Oyo-Ogbomoso and Enugu-Port Harcourt Expressways, and the Second Niger Bridge.

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THE NATION

NITDA continues nationwide cybersecurity awareness workshops

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The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), with the mandate of developing and regulating Information Technology (IT) in Nigeria, continues this year’s nationwide cybersecurity awareness workshops. These sensitization events are part of the Agency’s continuous efforts aimed at equipping citizens with foundational knowledge as well as share best practices on staying safe in cyberspace.

There has been a tremendous increase in the number of incidences where Nigerians have lost money and data through vulnerabilities arising from lack of knowledge on how to manage their online presence and personal details. The cybercriminals use social engineering, phishing mails, and probably specific to Nigeria, the use of text messages pretending to be sent from banks, requesting for PIN or revalidation of BVN numbers. To the unaware, such are the sources where vital information needed for making unauthorized withdrawals from victims’ bank accounts occur. A more worrisome and recent trend is the SIM Swap cases, where the victim’s SIM card is swapped; an operation that makes the victim’s phone inaccessible while funds are transferred.

Knowing that everyone that uses ICT devices is vulnerable, these workshops target executives of registered associations and groups, with the ultimate aim to reach their members. We have also deployed effective conventional channels and social media in conveying the stay-safe message. The workshops use presentations and interactive demonstration of trending concepts like SMS, SIM swap, malware, phishing, social engineering and its manifestations, to disseminate the stay-safe tips. To further ensure that attendees assimilate the message succinctly, the contents are translated into the most predominant language of the zone.

Cybersecurity has attracted the attention of governments, enterprises, groups and individuals owing to the myriads of potentials for business growth, damage, national security and sovereignty. To nations, the negatives could cripple a nation’s economy should critical infrastructure be affected. The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) has evaluated nations in the Global Cybersecurity Index (GCI), placing Nigeria on number 4 in Africa. These programmes are also aimed at improving the country’s standing on the GCI.

NITDA has planned effective capacity building programmes that will culminate in organizational and individual certifications, while using Research and Development (R&D) results to feed these enlightenment programmes and aid relevant Agencies and Corporates in permanent mitigation strategy. It has also utilized interagency collaborations for improved legal and institutional framework for a holistic improvement in the cybersecurity resilience of and profile of the country.

The first of the series of Workshops was held in Katsina, Katsina State for the North West Zone on Thursday 29th March, 2018, followed by that of Bayelsa State on the 19th April, 2018. The event for the North East held at Gombe in Gombe State on the 16th July, 2018. The current workshop is holding on Tuesday 23rd October, 2018 at Lokoja, Kogi State, for the North Central Zone. The events attracted participants from Government Agencies, Military and Paramilitary organisations, the Academia, registered cooperatives and associations and the private sector from the states of the zones. Dates and venues for subsequent Workshops will be made public in due course.

The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) is an Agency of the Federal Government. The Agency was created in April 2001 to implement the Nigerian Information Technology Policy and co-ordinate general IT development and regulation in the country. Specifically, Section 6(a, c & j) of the Act mandates NITDA to create a framework for the planning, research, development, standardization, application, coordination, monitoring, evaluation and regulation of Information Technology practices, activities and systems in Nigeria; and render advisory services in all information technology matters to the public and private sectors including introducing appropriate information technology legislations and ways of enhancing national security and the vibrancy of the industry

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NEWS

EFCC investigates abandon projects in Nigeria

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The Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) says it has set up a team to commence investigation of abandoned government projects across the country.

Acting EFCC Chairman, Alhaji Ibrahim Magu, said this would help the anti-graft agency to know the level of completion of the projects, as well as the funds being spent on them.

“The move is to ensure that the contractors complete the projects for the benefit of the people and the development of the country,’’ he said.

Magu said the agency was ready to fight corruption, but with the support of all stakeholders in the country.

The EFCC boss therefore called on Nigerians to identify such projects in their respective areas and report to the commission, for necessary action.

“This is where you can help us, if there is any abundant project we will go after them, because most people collect money and they don’t execute the contract,” he said.

According to him, some contracts were awarded without the intention to execute them. (NAN)

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THE NATION

FMBN inaugurates N8m houses for Nasarawa civil servants

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In an effort to reduce housing deficit in the country, the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria has inaugurated a housing programme in Nasarawa State to serve as a pilot scheme towards providing 1,400 units across the nation.

The Managing Director/Chief Executive, FMBN, Ahmed Dangiwa, disclosed this at the ground-breaking of the FMBN, Nigeria Labour Congress,Trade Union Congress and Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association’s National Affordable Housing Project in Kwandere area of Lafia East Development Area of the state.

According to him, the programme is designed to be implemented in phases, saying that the first phase would run as a pilot to deliver 1,400 housing units in the six geopolitical zones in the country.

He added that each zone would have 200 houses, with 100 units in two selected states, maintaining that Abuja and Lagos were to be treated as special sites.

Dangwa, however, explained that Nasarawa State was lucky to be one of the two states picked in the North-Central geopolitical zone due to its commitment to the National Housing Fund scheme, among other reasons.

“The programme is designed to be implemented in phases. What we are witnessing today is the first phase to be run as a pilot to deliver 1,400 housing units across the six geopolitical zones in the country. Abuja and Lagos are to be treated as special sites,” he stated.

The FMBN boss explained that the houses would be in three, two and one-bedroom semi-detached bungalows and block of flats, and would cost between N3m and N8m, adding that the project would be completed within six months.

Dangiwa, however, stated that the housing designs and bill of quantities were directly commissioned by the bank to ensure that the profit motive was suppressed and handed to participating developers, who were willing to accept the template, stating that the template had given them the leverage to ensure that the selling prices for the housing units would be between N3.1m and N8.3m.

Earlier, the Nasarawa State Governor, Tanko Al-Makura, commended the FMBN for considering the state to begin the housing project, adding that his administration was committed to supporting the project to completion.

He urged workers to key into the affordable housing project.

On his part, the National President, NLC, Ayuba Wabba, applauded the bank for its foresight in providing houses for civil servants in the state.

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