Osinbajo visits collapsed Mokwa-Jebba bridge, promises repair within two weeks

By Newsdesk

The Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo hasd visited the collapsed Mokwa-Jebba Bridge in Niger State for on-the-spot assessment of the damage and promised that the bridge would be repair within two weeks.

Osinbajo, who was accompanied by the State Governor, Abubakar Sani Bello and Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, said during the visit on Monday that the Federal Government would soon rehabilitate the collapsed bridge, Tatabu in Mokwa Council Area linking Northern and Western parts of the country.

The bridge collapsed last month, as a result of flood at Tatabu village in Mokwa Local Government Area of the state.

The acting president, who advised motorists plying the road to exercise patience, described the incident as unfortunate, addinmg that the construction of an alternative bridge would be completed within 14 days to ease movement of traders and goods.

“We have come here to look at the bridge because this road is very important to us as a government and this axis is very important to motorists and the country. The Federal Government will make sure that the collapsed bridges along Tegina/Mokwa and Jebba/Mokwa roads are done immediately and all repairs on the roads are done. We commend your patience and want you to continue to be patient with us, very shortly, the bridge will be completed within a forth night,’’ he said.

Osinbajo stated that adequate personnel had been mobilised to ensure quick completion of the collapsed bridges.

“We are working on the two bridges as emergency and everybody is fully mobilised; government is committed to maintenance of all roads across the country,’’ he added.

He, however, cautioned motorists against loading their vehicles above the approved road standard of 35 tonnes per vehicle.

Similarly, Abubakar  commended motorists for their patience, and appealed to the Federal Government to rehabilitate all federal roads in the state to reduce sufferings of road users.

18 die, 31 injure in Germany after tour bus collides with truck

By NewsDesk with agency report

The German police has reported that at least 18 people were killed and 31 others injured when a tour bus burst into flames after it collided with a trailer truck in southern Germany.

It reported that the incident occurred early on Monday when a bus carrying 46 passengers and two drivers rammed into the trailer on a motorway near town of Muenchberg in Germany’s southeastern state of Bavaria.

According to the police, there were 48 tourist pensioners, mainly from the eastern state of Saxony on the bus and they were aged between 41 and 81.

“It’s clear now that all 18 of the missing people on the bus died in the accident,” police said on Twitter.

Sources said that the bus was transporting a group of tourists from Saxony state in eastern Germany to Nuremberg city in northern Bavaria.

They narrated that the crash led to closure of the A9 highway in both directions and the deployment of some 200 emergency workers to the site, including firefighters, rescue workers and police.

German officials said that emergency workers had so far retrieved 11 bodies from the bus wreck and work was underway to find another seven killed in the incident.

The German Transport Minister, Alexander Dobrindt, explained that the flames that engulfed the bus were so strong that only steel parts are still recognisable on the bus.

Television images showed only the charred skeleton of the vehicle remaining.

Expressing sympathy with the injured and bereaved relatives, German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, voiced great dismay over the crash, just as the passed her condolences to the victims and their family members.

“We hope that those who have been rescued will recover from their injuries,” Merkel said through her spokesperson.

The Monday accident at the start of the summer holiday season was one of the worst to hit Germany.

In one of the deadliest incidents, 13 people lost their lives in June 2007 when their tour bus crashed in the eastern German state of Saxony.

Amaechi denies excluding South East from rail projects

By Newsdesk

The Federal Ministry of Transportation has denied the allegation that it purposely excluded the South East from the on-going rail project of the Federal Government.

According to the Ministry, the South-East zone had not been excluded from the Federal Government’s on-going rail projects.

Amaechi made the denial on Friday in a statement by the Federal Ministry of Transportation’s Director of Public Relations, Yetunde Sonaike.

According to Sonaike, the ministry was embarking on two major rail projects in the country.

She said that the ongoing rail projects were the Coastal Rail Project from Lagos-Calabar and the Lagos-Kano rail lines.

“The Federal Ministry of Transportation wishes to state clearly that the South-East geopolitical zone has not been excluded from the Federal Government ongoing rail projects. The two major rail projects of the Federal Government are the Coastal Rail Project from Lagos-Calabar, which traverse Lagos-Shagamu-Ore-Benin City-Sapele-Warri-Yenogoa,” the statement reads.“

“With siding to Otuoke-Port Harcourt-Aba-Uyo-Calabar and branch line from Benin City Abudu-Onitsha, including Onitsha Rail Bridge.“Lagos-Kano rail project will traverse Lagos-Abeokuta-Ibadan-Oshogbo-Ilorin-Jebba-Minna-Kaduna-Zaria-Kano, with branch line from Minna-Abuja and Abuja-Kaduna, “ the statement added

According to the spokesperson, the loan from China Exim Bank would be used to fund the three segments from the two major rail projects which were Lagos-Ibadan, Kano-Kaduna and Lagos- Kano.

“The Federal Ministry of Transportation wishes to state categorically that the loan from China Exim Bank will be used to fund the following three segments from the two major rail projects. Lagos-Ibadan, from Lagos-Abeokuta-Ibadan with extension to Apapa Port Complex with the segment two of Lagos-Kano,” she said

“Kano-Kaduna, segment 3A of Lagos-Kano, Calabar-Port Harcourt, which will pass through Port Harcourt-Aba-Uyo-Calabar with extension to Onne Deep Sea Port. She said that the Federal Government rail project touches various sections of the country and therefore no section would be left out,”Sonaike said.

The director stressed that the present administration of President Muhammadu Buhari remain committed in reviving the rail infrastructure.

“The rail project is aimed at fast- tracking economic diversification as well as optimising the Federal Government’s change agenda in the transportation sector which will serve as an economic index for growth and development,” she said.

 

Tesla delivers new 25,000 electric vehicles record in Q1

By Newsdesk with Agency Reports

The United State luxury electric car maker, Tesla, said on Thursday that its first-quarter vehicle deliveries has jumped by 69 per cent from a year ago to a quarterly record of 25,000 vehicles, bouncing back from delays in the previous quarter.

The company said in a statement that out of the total vehicles delivered, about 13,450 were Model S sedan and about 11,550 were Model X sports utility vehicle.

Tesla has said it expects to deliver 47,000 to 50,000 Model S and Model X vehicles combined in the first half of 2017.

In the fourth quarter, deliveries had fallen 9.4 per cent due to short-term production hurdles from the transition to a new autopilot hardware.

The statement further quoted Tesla as saying production challenges, which started at the end of October and lasted until early December, shifted vehicle production towards the end of the fourth quarter, resulting in delayed deliveries.

Ultimately, about 2,750 vehicles were missed being counted as deliveries in the fourth quarter either due to last-minute delays in transport or because the customer was unable to physically take delivery.

In addition to the first quarter deliveries, about 4,650 vehicles were in transit to customers at the end of the quarter and will be counted as deliveries in the second quarter, Tesla said in a statement.

Production in the first quarter also hit a quarterly record at 25,418 vehicles.

Tesla Chief Executive, Elon Musk, has taken big risks repeatedly since going public in 2010, but investors got spooked after he said in February the electric car company could get “close to the edge” as it burns cash ahead of its crucial Model 3 launch.

FRSC confirms three dead in Anambra auto crash

By Aina Amune

The Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC), Anambra Command, said three people were confirmed dead on yesterday night in an accident involving a commercial bus and a Hilux truck in Awgbu, Orumba Local Government Area.

The FRSC Sector Commander in the state, Sunday Ajayi, told newsmen that the incident was caused by speeding and wrong overtaking.

Ajayi said the number of accidents and deaths on the road since the beginning of the year was disturbing.

According to him, it is an indication that the drivers are not cautious of the enormity of the responsibilities on them.

He said the accidents would have been drastically reduced during the period if people had embraced the Speed Limiting Device which the Federal Government introduced through the FRSC, and was already being enforced.‎

“The unfortunate accident at Awgbu occurred between 7.30 p.m. and 8 p.m. and from the information we gathered, it was caused by speeding and wrong overtaking.

“By our account, it was a multiple fatal accident involving a Toyota Hiace and Hilux truck; three people died on the spot, and those injured have been taken to hospital for treatment,” the sector commander said.

 

FG to establish Aviation Varsity

Worried by the state of the country’s aviation industry, the Federal Government has disclosed plans to establish an aviation university, aimed at promoting research, production and development of high level manpower for the sector.

The Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika, who revealed the plan on Saturday after a familiarization tour of the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT) in Zaria, Kaduna State, said that the varsity would be different from NCAT.

He explained that the university would concentrate on research, development and production of higher level management manpower needed in the aviation industry.

“The university will go into deep research, with the hope that in the near future, we will be able to manufacture aircraft components, until when we are able to produce the aircraft itself.

“Since the technology is available around the world, is no longer a hindrance, it is our own ability and capability to pursue it,” he said.

While sighting example of countries like Brazil and India, who produce aircraft equipments and others, the minister argued that if those countries that have less potential could achieve such, Nigeria could also achieve such.

“The technology is known, we are not reinventing it, we just put our act together in doing it. So, the university will cater for that, while NCAT will continue to provide the services in the institute,” he said.

Commenting on the decentralization of NCAT by the previous administration, Sirika said it was a diluted effort that would make the college less-efficient and less-capable to do what it was set out to do.

“Remember, it was the UNDP that partnered with International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and Nigerian government to produce this institution.

“And it is one of its kind, so why are we embarking on what will reduce its capacity and capability?. Our own task is to improve, enhance and upgrade the capacity and ability of the college to do more.

“But if somebody feels that he has funds to go and establish a facility somewhere to do some kind of training, of course, we will support him,” he assured.

Earlier, the Rector of the College, Samuel Caulcrick, said the college was the bedrock of aviation industry because the industry was highly regulated and dynamic.

He enumerated some challenges of the college to include funding and obsolete facilities which worked against its rapid growth.

The rector said NCAT had many uncompleted projects that needed to be looked into to enable it achieved the desired goals.

FAAN inaugurates park facility at Lagos Airport

As part of efforts to key into transparency agenda of President Muhammadu Buhari, the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) has inaugurated a modern automated car park at Domestic Terminal 1 of Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos.

FAAN’s Acting General Manager, Corporate Affairs, Henrietta Yakubu, who made the disclosure in a statement on Monday, said the facility, inaugurated by the Managing Director of FAAN, Saleh Dunoma, would curb leakages and boost FAAN’s revenue base, since Federal Government Agencies revenue-points had been mandated to pay all revenues generated into the Federal Government’s Treasury Single Account (TSA).

Yakubu added that the facility which was uniquely designed to ensure parking fees are paid at payment booths by end-users, has a special billing system which had been programmed to give users exact amount for time spent at the parking lots before they exit the park unlike the old system that requires payment at entry point.

The statement stressed that the facility would automatically eliminate long queues, reduce traffic, speed up passenger and vehicular movements at landside of the terminal, while also ensuring seamless facilitation of passengers and airport users.

“The inauguration of this facility is in line with FAAN’s desire to give passengers and airport users improved air travel experience in line with global best practices.” FAAN assured.

FAAN assured traveling public of her commitment to give best of its services despite economic challenges currently facing the country, especially as Yuletide approaches, the peak period of air travel, which is usually associated with high passenger and vehicular traffic movements.

Maritime expert urges FG to dredge Rivers Niger, Benue

A maritime expert and Deputy Director in charge of compliance, monitoring and enforcement division of Nigeria Shippers Council (NSC),Chukwuemeka Agu, has urged federal government on dredging of rivers Niger and Benue to enhance water transportation.

Agu, who advocated for excavation of the rivers in Lagos on Sunday, said that there has been difficulties in navigating the two main rivers, which according to him, hampers social mobility.

He explained that if the rivers are being dredged, it would encourage social and economic activities as well as bring about inter-state transport and communal trade along coastal lines which would foster ties and promote national integration.

“With the dredging of the waterways, much pressure will be taken away from our roads as commodities from the coastal communities can get to city centres through the sea. Also, Tourism is another area dredging of the rivers can improve as many of the nation’s tourism sites can be reached through the coast line on boat’’, he said.

Agu noted that boat cruise has become a way of life for Egyptians, adding that Nigerians could also enrich their life style with boat cruising.

According to him, with good navigation lines across the states, ferrying of persons, goods and services could be attractive as investors would be sure of returns on investments.

He added that provision of alternative means of movement in the waterways would further provide jobs for teeming idle seafarers that would likely take up transport jobs in the sector.

Railway Corporation to sanction roof top riders

As part of effort to curb habit of riding on roof top of trains, Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC) has disclosed plans to impose a N100, 000 fine on individuals found culpable of the illegal act.

The NRC, Lagos District Manager, Jerry Oche, who disclosed the plan in a chat with newsmen in Lagos on Sunday, said it is imperative to impose the fine, in order to discourage people from riding at roof top of trains.

Oche said miscreants had formed the habit of riding on roof top of train and causing mayhem on innocent passengers, making train ride insecure, adding that the fine was not meant to generate revenue but to prevent the act.

He informed that 36 persons were charged to court on Wednesday, November 9, out of 105 suspected roof top riders arrested recently.

The district manager said that the suspects were made to pay N25,000 fine which the NRC would later increase to N50,000 and N100,000 to deter them from such illegal act.

“The fine is just a way to discourage people from riding at the roof top of the train. We have charged 36 out of over 100 suspects to court recently and the clampdown will continue.” Oche said.

He opined further that the hoodlums were arrested by a combined team of Railway Police, Lagos State Police Command, NRC Task Force and Man-O-War personnel.

The district manager said the miscreants have constituted a nuisance to the corporation’s mass transit shuttle service in Lagos and Ogun states, causing harm and injuries to innocent passengers.

Oche said the raids would continue and the corporation would increase its police posts and security personnel to ensure safety of passengers and NRC personnel on the trains, adding that security of passengers was paramount to the corporation.

 

 

FRSC confirms speed limit device installation in 175 Ondo commercial vehicles

As parts of effort to ensure road accident is curtailed, Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) has confirmed installation of speed limit device of no fewer than 175 commercial vehicles in Ondo state.

The FRSC Assistant Corps Marshall on Administration and Strategy, Olu-Oke Olagunju, who hinted on the development in Akure on Friday, said they have received state reports that 4,660 commercial vehicles had been checked by FRSC, Ondo Sector Command for speed limit device, but only 175 of them had the device installed between October 1 to 31.

Olagunju explained that with the development, it has estimated 3.7 per cent compliance, which he said is a good starting point for the state, expressing optimism that there would be improvement in November, as FRSC would continue to ensure compliance is enforced.

He said that over 66 per cent of road accidents were caused by over speeding but the device would go a long way in curtailing over speeding, adding that FRSC is on advisory and subtle implementation of the device presently.

” We only stop commercial vehicle drivers now and ask if they have speed limit device, and we do convince and educate them on the need to install the device, there is no punishment attached to those who are yet to install it . With time, we will get used to it because it is about sustenance of human life,” Olangunju noted.

According to him, FRSC is not involved in installation of the device but in compliance, advising all commercial motorists to get the device from vending merchants as it is available for sale.

Olagunju equally advised passengers to avoid night journeys, which according to him, some hide under the guise to perpetrate crimes, adding that motorists should avoid over speeding, while commuters should observe state of vehicles before boarding them.