From Fred Itua, Abuja
Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Muhammad Bello, has directed the Development Control Department of the FCT Administration to take full responsibility for building plan approvals and construction supervision in the territory, in accordance with extant regulations.
The minister gave this directive in reaction to Thursday incident of building collapse in Gwarinpa. He reminded the department that in line with the provisions of Section 7, Sub-section 1-3 of the FCT Act of 1976 and Part II, Section 27-41 of the Nigeria Urban & Regional Planning Law of 1992 amended in 1999, “no person or body is authorised to carry out any development within the FCT without the written approval of the FCT Department of Development Control.”
Bello also directed the department to ensure that the Federal Housing Authority (FHA), that approved and was supervising the collapsed building, and other stakeholders in mass housing development sub-sector in the FCT, to henceforth adhere strictly to all regulations on property development in the Territory.
He further stated that the FCT Administration will no longer tolerate the construction of buildings on flood plains and will take necessary measures to correct the anomalies.
While sympathising with the victims of the incident, the minister said human lives often lost in the process of building collapse could be avoided if simple urban and regional regulations were sternly followed.
He emphasised that his administration would not fold its arms and watch the wanton waste of lives, stressing that human life is sacred and must be protected.
NOA: FG to educate Nigerians on benefits of nuclear energy
The Federal Government has restated that atomic energy was an important component of the energy mix that will address the nation’s energy problems, disclosing that an attitude change programme was underway to correct the negative perceptions about nuclear energy among Nigerians.
Director General of National Orientation Agency (NOA), Dr. Garba Abari, stated this during a visit to the Chairman, Nigeria Atomic Energy Commission (NAEC), Dr. Erepamo Osaisai in Abuja yesterday. He said while the country was expanding its hydroelectric power generation and exploring solar energy, there was need to pay close attention to nuclear energy, which has little impact on climate and long term cost efficiency.
Abari said NOA was engaging with critical stakeholders to close the knowledge gap about the use and relevance of atomic energy in national development and the functions of NAEC among citizens, using Information, Communication and Education materials.
Responding, the NAEC chairman explained that nuclear energy was not only for the development of weapons of mass destruction but also useful in agriculture, food production waste and water resources management as well as power generation, adding that the Commission’s mandate was focused on developing atomic energy for such purposes.
He underscored the imperative of partnership between national organisations for mutual effectiveness, noting the importance of NOA in the on-going implementation of the national nuclear power roadmap.
SON collaborates with small-scale industrialists
From Walter Ukaegbu, Abuja
Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) and the Nigerian Association of Small-Scale Industrialists (NASSI) are collaborating for better services in advancing the cause of small businesses.
Acting Director General/Chief Executive, SON has stated that a programme has been designed to educate members of the associations on their collective responsibility in determining the performance of the sector through the production of quality product.
“As part of its contribution to the growth of both the small-scale industries and the entire economic sector, SON worked hard towards the establishment of the national quality infrastructure that will further enhance the economic growth of the nation,” he said.
According to him, overtime, SON had focused on a diffused effort aimed at industrial and commercial enterprises generally. He said that since the advent of the current Federal Government and its economic diversification agenda, SON had refocused its energies and campaign towards agricultural and agro-allied products.
The DG disclosed that since January, SON has identified 15 priority agricultural products for which it has developed standards and codes of practice to enable farmers and dealers in commodities produce for export.
Airlift of pilgrims to Israel begins
From Fred Itua, Abuja
The Nigeria Christian Pilgrim Commission (NCPC) has commenced the airlift of the first batch of intending pilgrims to Israel under its youth and family pilgrimage programme.
The first batch of the intending pilgrims departed on Sunday at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja at about 1pm local time. The batch was led by the executive secretary of NCPC, Rev. Uja Tor Uja.
While fielding questions from newsmen at the airport before departure, Rev. Uja described this year’s youth and family pilgrimage as exploratory, adding that it would give him the opportunity to effect changes on the entire pilgrimage process.
He hinted of his intention to reduce the cost of pilgrimage exercise. According to him, “we are set to reduce cost by 30 per cent. We are very firm that all the cost must come down.”
The NCPC boss said he would never compromise on the safety and welfare of Nigerian pilgrims. “Anywhere there is crisis, Nigerians should not be taken there. Nigerians deserve to be protected anywhere in the world. I can guarantee you comfort and welfare,” he said.
Rev. Uja also spoke on his recent tour of northern and southern Israel to explore the rich agricultural endowment of Israel, with a view to replicating it back here in Nigeria, especially with the plan of introducing farmers’ pilgrimage.
Agribiz forum gets govt’s nod
From Magnus Eze, Abuja
Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, has re-emphasised the commitment of the Federal Government to utilise the application of science, technology and innovations to tackle the challenge of food insecurity, unemployment and poverty in the country.
The minister spoke when the Organizing Committee of Africa Technology and Agribusiness Forum 2016 visited his office yesterday to seek support on the hosting of the 13th edition of Africa Agribusiness Forum tagged “Agribusiness 2016” in Nigeria.
Onu pledged to support the committee to ensure a successful hosting, saying: “We are working closely with Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources to ensure that we start processing food crops to make sure food is available all year round and also look inward to start using local raw materials.”
The minister noted that science and technology were crucial to making farming a business. “We drive agriculture with science and technology; we need technology to determine space, land preparation and management” he stated.
Earlier, the Chairman of the committee Mr. Samuel Olaniyan, said the forum was an international meeting point for major players in the agricultural sector, investors, producers, financiers, agro services providers, researchers, innovators, technologists and policy makers among others.