Nigeria Content Devt Board gets N22b to construct conference hostel facility; minister blames selfish marketers for queues at petrol stations

MINA Blog- The Federal Executive Council (FEC) on Wednesday approved N22 billion for the construction of a conference hostel facility for the Nigeria Content Development and Monitoring Board.

The facility is to be located opposite the National Content building in Yenegoa, capital of Bayelsa.

The Minister of State Petroleum Resources, Mr Timipre Sylva, made this known when he briefed State House Correspondents at the end of meeting of the council presided by President Muhammadu Buhari.

He said: “The Federal Executive Council today approved the award of contract procurement for the provision of a conference hostel facility in Yenegoa, adjacent the Nigerian Content Towers for the sum of N22 billion and it is to be constructed in 24 months.”

Sylva, who also spoke on current queues witnessed at petrol stations in Abuja, the nation’s capital, blamed the selfish attitude of some marketers of petroleum products as reason behind the persistent queues.

He said: “Only in the Abuja metropolis you continue to have these queues. So, is it that there is less supply to Abuja than to the rest of the country? It is not so.

“If you go out of Abuja, they can afford to sell at higher prices and I am sure a lot of persons are buying at those higher prices.

“But within Abuja, because of the watchful eyes of the government, they cannot sell at those prices. So we will have to live with that for some time until we fully deregulate. That actually is the problem, it is not a supply problem from us, but it is the marketers.

“But we are engaging the marketers and will continue to engage them.

“In fact, before now the Nigerian Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO) said, Oh, because diesel prices were now going up and of course, you know that diesel is deregulated already.

“So, because diesel prices have gone up, the cost of their moving product has also gone up and therefore we must try to do something about the bridging cost.

“We did that with them, we were able to respond to that and they were able to do something for NARTO.

“And of course, the rest of the marketers are also saying oh no, we must try to add a few things for them here and there.

“But we can’t continue as a government to increase the subsidy; we cannot continue to do that. Because of that, they are now saying ‘Okay’, in this Abuja metropolis where they feel it is right at the centre, they are not probably supplying the product as they are supplying to other places.

“But you will agree with me that there are no queues outside Abuja.”

The Minister of Environment, Mr Mohammed Abdullahi, who also addressed the correspondents on the outcome of the meeting, disclosed that the council approved N449 million as consultancy and design fee for a centre of excellence for environmental restoration for Ogoni people of Rivers.

He said: “The Ministry of Environment, based on clear instructions of the President, in fulfilling his promise to the Ogoni people towards the remediation objectives, and the livelihood programme, took a very major step today by approving the award of contract for consultancy services, and the design of Centre of Excellence for environmental restoration with an integrated contaminated soil management Centre.

“The contract was given at the sum of N449,250,040.50, of course inclusive of 7.5% VAT, and it is unexpected that this project completed within three months.”

The minister said the construction of the centre would help address the problem of unemployment in the affected area.

“This centre is very epochal, because it is meant to impact in terms of employment generation in terms of laboratory tests for land remediation efforts on the site that contaminated.

“So, that it can be made easily cultivatable by the people for their fisheries activities, for their farming activities and access to water,” he added.

While giving further details on what will be the benefits of the project when completed, Abdullahi said: “The design is supposed to incorporate an oil spill emergency response department, self-assessment department, soil and groundwater cleanup and remediation technologies, waste management, health, safety and laboratory department, entrepreneurship development, library, student hostels for male and female, staff quarters, sport complex and a demonstration arena for integrated contaminated management centre.’’

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