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Buhari regime awards N718 million contract to private security outfits to protect Abuja-Kaduna railroad from bandits

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The Buhari regime has awarded N718.19 million contracts to private security firms for the protection of the 45-kilometre Abuja-Kaduna railway and stations.

The Minister of Federal Capital Territory, Mohammed Bello, said the approval was granted by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) on Wednesday.

Mr Bello said the Buhari-led regime had been considering its best options with regard to surveilling Nigeria’s rail system. This includes concessioning it in a Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement.

The minister explained that a total sum of N718,193,250 was approved to engage two security outfits to provide security to the entire 45 kilometers of trail track and 20 stations across the country.

“Council approved Messers Al-Ahli Security Guards Limited and Messers Seaguard Security and Protective Company Limited. They are going to provide security to their entire 45 kilometers of track including 12 stations,” Mr Bello said. “These security services are meant to protect the key infrastructure on the rail tracks, the signalling and communication equipment as well as the electrical system.”

Mr Bello pointed out that Al-Ahli security guard Limited is going to secure 27.4 kilometers of the track, covering eight stations at the cost of N407,214,000 over a two year period, while Seaguard securities are protective Company Limited is going to secure 18 kilometers of the rail tracks including four railway stations and that is at a cost of N310,979,250.

The decision followed the attack on the Abuja-Kaduna rail line which led to the suspension of operations. In March, terrorists derailed a passenger train conveying nearly 1000 travellers with explosives planted along the tracks. Many victims were killed in the attack while hundreds, some of whom are still in captivity were kidnapped.

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The incident came after the Kaduna International Airport was invaded by bandits who killed aviation workers and left many others wounded.

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Helicopter carrying Iran’s President Raisi crashes in mountains, official says

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• Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi


A helicopter carrying Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and his foreign minister crashed on Sunday as it was crossing mountain terrain in heavy fog on the way back from a visit to the border with Azerbaijan, an Iranian official told Reuters.

The official said the lives of Raisi and Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian were “at risk following the helicopter crash”.

“We are still hopeful but information coming from the crash site is very concerning,” said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The bad weather was complicating rescue efforts, the state news agency IRNA reported.

State TV stopped all its regular programming to show prayers being held for Raisi across the country and, in a corner of the screen, live coverage of rescue teams searching the mountainous area on foot in heavy fog.

 

Iran’s President Raisi in crashed helicopter

The 63-year-old was elected president at the second attempt in 2021, and since taking office has ordered a tightening of morality laws, overseen a bloody crackdown on anti-government protests and pushed hard in nuclear talks with world powers.

In Iran’s dual political system, split between the clerical establishment and the government, it is the supreme leader rather than the president who has the final say on all major policies.

But many see Raisi as a strong contender to succeed his 85-year-old mentor, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has strongly endorsed Raisi’s main policies.

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Interior Minister Ahmed Vahidi told state TV only that one of the helicopters in a group of three had come down hard, and that authorities were awaiting further details.

SEE ALSO:  BREAKING: FG approves salary increase for civil servants

Raisi had been at the Azerbaijani border to inaugurate the Qiz-Qalaisi Dam, a joint project.

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Enugu Terminal stations: Abakpa, Gariki traders hail Gov. Mbah over extension of relocation period

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The proposed Enugu Modern Terminal

…endorse construction of terminal stations



Traders and other business owners at the popular Abakpa and Gariki markets in Enugu have commended Governor Peter Mbah of Enugu State over his act of magnanimity which led to the extension of the time given to them to relocate after the original quit notice given to them in September 2023 expired in April 2024.

Recall that the state government, in a public service announcement and letters written by the Commissioner of Transportation, Dr. Obi Ozor, served traders occupying government-owned Enugu State Transport Company (ENTRACO) premises adjacent to Abakpa Market, and Gariki Motor Park also owned by the state government, notices of intention of government to recover premises in 2023.

Copies of the letters sighted by newsmen indicated that Enugu State Government owns the premises built for motor parks, which subsequently became market hubs for traders and passengers operating in the vicinities.

At the Market Road, also known as Holy Ghost Park, clearing and demolition of temporary structures commenced on 10th May after seven clear month notices were served on property and business owners, followed by compensations and provision of alternative temporary locations.

Speaking at Gariki Market on Saturday, a cosmetics trader, Mr. Monday Ndukwe, said they received notice from the state government informing them of the government’s proposed terminal stations and the need for traders in the premises to relocate as demolition would commence in April.

“First, we were invited by the state government on different occasions both at the Government House and at the Ministry of Transport where we were informed of the development. This happened sometime between September and October 2023. After that, they served us with notices and gave us six months grace. The notice expired in March 2024, but government didn’t come for the demolition, so we stayed back.

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“Sometime in May 2024, the state government came again to remind us about the need to evacuate. So, we prepared our minds since the notice given to us had already expired. After that, we heard that they had started work at Holy Ghost and that they would also do the same thing at Abakpa and Gariki. You see that we had already removed all our belongings. However, government has not come. So we want to thank the governor for his patience and for extending the grace period,” Mr. Ndukwe added.

Narrating her preparedness for the development, a middle-aged woman who sells pampers and other children’s items, Ijeoma Egodi, said she was not in panic as she had already relocated to a shop opposite the park, stressing that traders welcomed the terminal station as a development that would boost the economy of the area.

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At the park, a bus driver who shuttles to Akpugo, Okoh Nnam, said the governor had proved to be humane and friendly through the extension gesture of over a month after the notices served on them had expired in March.

“I want to thank Governor Peter Mbah and all his team for consulting with us and for giving us time to relocate to another good place. Even as I am talking to you now, we are all ready for the work to commence because the government has promised that we are all going to be beneficiaries of the development,” he added.

At Abakpa Market, the story was the same at the ENTRACO Park as most of the transport owners had already relocated to their new sites while traders in the premises had secured alternative shops and continued with their trading.

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Addressing our correspondent, Mrs. Njideka Ogbodo, who sells utensils in one of the kiosks at the park, said she had secured a new shop that was better than the kiosk and hoped for a higher patronage.

“I’m almost done removing my goods because I have got a new shop. Come and see it. It’s more spacious and secure. I want to appreciate the governor for the time he gave us. We thought he would commence work in March but he decided to extend the time to enable us prepare ourselves,” she said.

A market leader at the Abakpa Market, Chief Igwesi Onyema, told our correspondent that they had been interfacing with the government for more time which led to the extension period of over one month.

“As you might have read in the news that government wanted to build a terminal station here, and had served everyone here with notices. We received it, and we held meetings amongst ourselves. We couldn’t meet the March deadline and we pleaded with the government to extend it by one month. That’s ending of April. Government yielded and it’s even getting to two months. Although we have all removed our belongings but we want to thank the governor for all the projects he is doing and for the terminal station. We are in support of it, and we will give all our support to see that everything goes well. Let me also thank him for the roads he is reconstructing here in Abakpa. We are happy with his administration,” he further noted.

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Oleksandr Usyk is undisputed world heavyweight champion, beats Tyson Fury by split decision

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Oleksandr Usyk did enough to earn a split decision victory in his fight with Tyson Fury on Sunday.


Two judges scored in his favour – 115-113 and 114-113 with the other giving it to Fury at 114-113.

Usyk’s victory is boxing’s first undisputed world heavyweight championship in 25 years, an unprecedented feat in the four-belt era.

Britain’s Fury was the early aggressor but Usyk gradually took charge and the staggered “Gypsy King” was saved by the bell in the ninth round before recovering.

Usyk was undisputed at cruiserweight and he is now undisputed at heavyweight.

Tyson Fury who feels he won the fight says he is ready for a rematch in October.

Oleksandr Usyk wants that rematch too.

Usyk in reaction to the victory said: “Thank you so much to my team. It’s a big opportunity for my family, for me, for my country. It’s a great time, it’s a great day.

“Yes, of course. I am ready for a rematch.”

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The Ukranian joins the likes of Muhammad Ali, Joe Louis and Mike Tyson as undisputed heavyweight champion, the first since boxing recognised four major belts in the 2000s.

With the win, the former undisputed cruiserweight champion can legitimately claim to be the best of this era.

Britain’s Lennox Lewis was the last man to unify the heavyweight belts — three at the time — after beating Evander Holyfield in 1999.

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