From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
The Federal Government on Wednesday kept mute on the actual date President Mohammadu Buhari will return to the country.
Buhari had on Tuesday, 30 March, 2021 departed Nigeria for the United Kingdom for a routine medical checkup.
Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, had in a statement penultimate Monday said President Buhari is due back in the country during the second week of April, 2021.
The President had met with Security Chiefs first in the morning, after which he embarked on the journey.
“He is due back in the country during the second week of April, 2021,” Adesina had said in the statement.
However, Minister of information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, when asked if the President was expected back into the country this week, retorted, “Today is Wednesday, this week finishes on Saturday. So, what’s the big issue in that one?
Mohammed spoke to newsmen after wednesday’s Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
According to him, the government was currently more concerned with the issue of the dwindling security bedevilling the country.
On the 7th anniversary of the abduction of Chibok girls and what the government is going about it, Mohammed said the Buhari’s administration has through 18 town hall meetings across the country with various stakeholders demonstrated commitment to tackle the issue of security.
Meanwhile, the 41st Federal Executive Council (FEC), presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, approved a total of N20,114,002871 for the acquisition of various operational equipment for the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS).
The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, disclosed this to State House Correspondents after the meeting, in the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
She said Council also approved the sum of N539,277,673 for the construction of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) building at the Ilupeju Medium and Small Taxpayers’ office.
A total of 427 operational vehicles, worth N14.55 billion and nine assorted gunboats worth N5,564,002,871 were all approved for Customs.
Ahmed said: “The ministry also presented, on behalf of the Nigerian Customs Service, a memo that was seeking for Council’s approval for the design, construction and supply of two NC36M patrol boats, in favour of Messrs of Boat Plus Limited, in the sum of N5,062,530,400, inclusive of 7.5% VAT with a delivery period of 12 months and council approved our request.
“We also presented a memo, again on behalf of the Nigerian Customs Service, for the approval of Council for the design, construction and supply of seven fast assault patrol boats and seven regular patrol boats, in favour of Messrs Siwa West Africa Limited, in the sum of N501,472,471.08, inclusive of 7.5% VAT with a delivery period of eight weeks.
“The purpose of the purchase of these two types of petrol boats is to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of operations of the Nigerian Customs Service in its bid to control smuggling and also ensure enhanced efficiency in all customs duty operations in the Marine Unit of the Nigerian Customs Service.
“We also presented, again on behalf of the Nigeria Customs Service, a request for Council’s approval and council approved the procurement of 427 operational vehicles for the Nigerian Customs Service operations in favour of various contractors in the combined sum of N14.55 billion, inclusive of 7.5% VAT with a delivery period of four weeks”, she said.
Council also approved a project for the extension of the University of Ibadan’s library at the sum of N532 million.
The Minister of Information and Culture Lai Mohammed, who spoke on behalf of the Minister of State for Education, Emeka Nwajiuba, said: “The Minister of Education also presented a memo for the award of contract for the construction and furnishing of the extension of the library of the University of Ibadan. The memo, which was approved, is at the cost of N532,609,000 and with a completion period of 48 weeks.
“It was a memo that was very well received because of the need to actually extend the library facility in the University. For many years, the library of the University of Ibadan had needed real extension, given surge of the student population”, he said.