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Railway contractors tackle Deux projects Ltd over N600m debt

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***Ask EFCC to investigate alleged diversion of said amount

Contractors who were engaged to fence Nigeria Railway line from the Federal Capital Territory to Kaduna have protested alleged diversion of N600 million meant to offset their outstanding payments over the weekend.
The contractors who executed various projects from 2017 till date have not been paid for the projects they executed, a situation, they lamented has got them indebted to banks with interest accruing on daily basis.

The angry contractors numbering about 30 explained that they acted as subcontractors to the major company called Deux Projects Limited owned by one Dr. Tunji Olowolafe whom they were relating well with, when the projects were being exevuteduntil the situation went awry after the Federal government paid the CECC, a Chinese Construction company which later paid Deux Projects Limited with the view to pay subcontractors.

The protesting contractors speaking through their leader, Mr Onyekene Chukwu said they have been agitating for the debts owed them without success noting that the Chairman of Deux Projects Limited who is their debtor is an ally of “powers that be” in government circles particularly in the Federal Ministry of Transportation.
Mr Chukwu said: “We worked on Abuja Kaduna railway Deux projects Limited since 2017, 2018, some 2019 and since then till now we are not being paid.

“The main company said they have over paid some contractors and since them they have been promising they will come and pay us. They have been dribbling us since them.

“The other day they called us and their team of engineers did valuation. Almost all of us were captured in the valuation and the Kilometers that we worked were captured. Since they have been turning us up and down, come today, tomorrow and so on.

“We have been coming, we came last week, some from Lagos, Delta, Onitsha, many have died, others are bankrupt.
He said many contractors sold their properties like cars, land to execute the projects only to be deceived.
The worse part he said they worked under most precarious situation as they were probed to being kidnapped adding that after all the sacrifices their paymasters are engaging in hide and seek

The contractors who confirmed to newsmen that the Federal Government has discharged it’s obligations by releasing funds meant for the railway, called on President Muhammadu Buhari and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to wade in, stressing that Dr Olowolafe who is the promoter of Deux Projects Limited might have been fronting the business for some powerful personalities in government and has no single asset in Nigeria, hence, he could travel out of the country any moment.

“Now we want President Muhammadu Buhari to dig in and know the source of this project and those behind the project to know why we have done the job since 2019 and we are yet to be paid. They have been paid and yet they refused to pay.
“The main contractors are the chisels CCECC they gave this fencing project to Deus Project limited and Deus Project limited subletted to the local contractors
“They gave the contract to Deux Project Limited who subletted it to us under their supervision

“Over N600 million is what they are owing them what they are owing the local contractors. They have collected a lot of money from the Chinese who got the original contract from the Federal Government .
“Instead of them to pay they decided to divert that money to other projects they have elsewhere. Some came from Lagos, from Delta State.
Each contractor related their bitter experiences on the project site amid kidnappings and attacks by bandits, noting that it most painful and undermining of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration.

In his words, Mr. Raymond Agama a contractor said: “I worked with three different companies as a sub contractor Ascot Consult Nigeria Limited.

“Ascot has been working with them since 2017 and it has done production of blocks, casting and also supply and distribution of coping and laying. What they are owing Ascot is N57 million, it is more than that but that is what their paper says, but let the N57m come out first then we can go back and fight for the balance. I work for DSP as a sub contractor.

“I laid blocks in several kilometers . I work with Rock ways, I did concrete about 5.5km which amounts to about N30.8m, he said he worked with another subcontractor where they are owing him N19.6m. They came with an excuse in 2020 that the main contractor under whom we worked has been over paid.”

Effort to get the reaction of Dr. Tunji Olowolafe whom they accused to have allegedly diverted the money proved abortive as he did not pick his calls neither did he reply to a text message to his phone number 08035605656.

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FRSC confirms death of 5 persons, 3 survivors in Kogi auto crash

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By Friday Idachaba, Lokoja.

Kogi State Sector Command of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) has confirmed the death of five persons in a fatal auto crash on Kabba-Obajana road in Kabba-Bunu Local Government Area of the state.

The State Sector Commander, Samuel Oyedeji, who confirmed the accident and death of the five to newsmen on Thursday in Lokoja said three others survived the accident with serious injuries.

Oyedeji attributed the accident which involved a Ford Galaxy space wagon and a Mazda car, to speeding and wrongful overtaking.

“The head-on collision between the two cars moving in the opposite directions happened due to speeding and wrongful overtaking by one of the drivers.

“We have been preaching against drivers flouting road safety rules and regulations, yet these motorists hardly heed our warnings.

“Five persons lost their lives in the fatal accident that left three others seriously injured,” he said.

The Sector Commander said that officers from the command immediately carried out a rescue operation at the scene of the accident and rushed the three injured persons to General Hospital, Kabba for medical attention.

Oyedeji said the remains of the five dead persons were also deposited at the mortuary of the Kabba General Hospital.

The Kogi Sector Commander admonished motorists to always endeavour to always obey road safety rules and regulations to avoid fatal auto crashes on the highways. (Ends)

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Sen. Kawu Sumaila mourns victims of Wudil accident

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***Calls for urgent action to complete Kano-Maiduguri Road

The Senator representing Kano South Senatorial District Sulaiman Abdulrahman Kawu Sumaila has expressed sympathy with the families of 11 persons who lost their lives in an auto crash along Kano-Maiduguri federal Highway on Friday.
11 people lost their lives while 16 others were injured, with one person rescued unhurt in the auto crash at Gaya junction along the Kano – Maiduguri road.
The accident involved two vehicles – a Toyota Hummer bus with registration number KTG 190 XB and a Hijet mini pick-up with registration number KTG 501 YG.
In a statement he personally signed, Senator Sumaila expressed grief over the death of 11 persons, regretting that Kano-Maiduguri road has remained a death trap to many road users.
He said, the over 550 kilometre dualization project was awarded by the Federal Government at the end of the second tenure of the former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo is yet to be completed 17 years after.

Senator Sumaila explained that the importance of the road to the Nigerian economy cannot be over emphasized as it serves as an international link between Nigeria and the Chad republic, Cameroon, Niger republic and the Central Africa, which is supposed to serve as a boost for businesses among the affected countries.

According to him, also the road also connects Kano with Jigawa, Bauchi, Gombe, Yobe and Borno states, where it is playing a greater role in the economic activities of the states.

Senator Sumaila, however, lamented that despite its important, the road has claimed several lives due to non-completion of the project.

He said for almost 17 years since the award of the project, a portion of the road particularly from Wudil to Gaya has not been completed.

He said it is regrettable that although over 50 kilometers of this portion of the road have been completed, however, a distance of less than 30 kilometers of the portion has not been completed, thereby, causing accidents for its users.

Sumaila, regretted that the non-completion of the project has compelled traders from within Nigeria and the neighbouring countries to divert their businesses to other states other than Kano.

“Apart from cases of accident, armed robbery has been a constant occurrence on the road for several years. I have personally complained to the relevant authorities, yet, the problem persisted,” he said.

“It is very sad that the Federal ministry of works and housing and the contractor handling the project have failed to complete this project despite allocation of huge amount of money in the budget. I will continue to pursue for the completion of this road.”

Senator Sumaila lamented that “This is the reason why we are fighting for fairness in the budgetary allocations to the six geopolitical zones, but some people for their selfish interests are kicking against our moves.

“With enough budgetary allocations to the geopolitical zones, this kind of projects would have been finished in time. It is our duty as members of the National Assembly to channel the plights and yearnings of our constituents to the executive arm of government for the right thing to be done to improve their wellbeings.

“And one of the surest way to achieve this is to ensure fairness and equality in budgetary allocations. This is the only way projects that have direct bearing to the lives of the common man will be executed. Kano-Maiduguri, is one of the roads that is playing significant role in the wellbeing of many Nigerians, therefore, the federal government should not joke with it.

The senator, therefore, appealed to the Federal ministry of works and housing and the contractor handling the project to ensure completion of the road in order to save the lives of the people.

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Rising electricity tariffs killing small businesses, NASSI calls for urgent action

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The Nigerian Association of Small-Scale Industrialists (NASSI) has expressed deep concern over the recent increase in electricity tariffs that is threatening the survival of its members
A statement by issued on Friday by the National President of NASSI, Chief Dr. Solomon Vongfa Daniel indicated that the hike poses a significant threat to the survival and growth of small-scale industries across the nation.
“The recent increase in electricity tariffs is a major blow to small-scale businesses in Nigeria. Many of our members are already struggling with rising input costs and a challenging economic climate. This additional burden threatens to push many of them out of business altogether.”

According to him increased electricity costs will directly eat into already tight profit margins, jeopardizing the financial sustainability of small businesses.
In a bid to manage costs, some businesses may be forced to reduce production, leading to job losses and decreased output.
“The additional financial strain will hinder the ability of small businesses to invest in expansion or modernization, hindering overall economic growth.

NASSI urged the government to consider providing targeted subsidies or tax breaks to support small businesses during this difficult time.
“We encourage the government to invest in renewable energy sources and promote energy efficiency measures to create a more sustainable and affordable electricity supply.
The association calles for open dialogue with policymakers and stakeholders to explore solutions that address the concerns of small businesses and ensure a stable and affordable electricity supply for all Nigerians.

“NASSI remains committed to supporting its members and advocating for policies that promote a thriving environment for small-scale industries.
“We urge the government to take urgent action to address this critical issue and ensure the continued success of this vital sector of the Nigerian economy.”

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