By Chesa Chesa
President Muhammadu Buhari will open a West African regional conference of ministers of agriculture and security later this month as part of efforts to check the menace of cattle rustling and killings by suspected herdsmen in the country.
The Minister of the Interior, Abdurahman Danbazzau, announced this to State House correspondents on Wednesday after the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC), which was chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
The minister said that Nigeria initiated the conference under the auspices of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) out of the concern for the proper implementation of the regional body’s protocol on free movement of goods and persons across borders.
He said that Nigeria on its own, would strengthen border controls such that better census of cattle entering and leaving the country, among other measures.
His words: “The situation bothers us. That is why we initiated the conference that is to come up between 26th and 29th of this month under the ECOWAS protocol on free movement of persons, goods and services, zeroing particularly on the protocol of trans-humans which was signed in 1978 and we are yet to implement them.
“I had meeting with the President of ECOWAS Commission and we agreed to have this conference sometime last month but because they were leaving, and the new set of management coming in, it was shifted to towards the end of this month,a�? he said.
The minister warned Abuja residents to be wary of fake social media alerts and messages of imminent attacks or breakdown of law owing to protests by religious groups such as the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) led by detained Shia��ite leader, Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky.
Meanwhile, FEC has approved the purchase of fire-fighting equipment and trucks for the Federal Fire Service at the cost of N1.5 billion, which Danbazzau said had been captured in the 2017 and 2018 budgets.
Other contracts approved during the cabinet meeting included the installation and operation of modern aeronautical information systems to enable Nigerian airports have integrated flight information, at a cost of N2.55 billion.
The upgrade of Lagos and Abuja airports to Category 3 such that aircraft can land even in zero visibility will cost N1.18 billion; while similar upgrade of Benin and Akure airports to Category 2, to enable landing of aircraft in extreme weather conditions will cost N1.17 billion.
The Minister of State for Power, Works and Housing, Mustapha Shehuri, announced FEC approval of a N33billion contract for the construction of the123.9km Bida-Lapai Road, and another contract of N224 million for the extension of service contract for a 215mw power plant in Niger State.
By Chesa Chesa