The Federal Executive Council (FEC) approved for the country to borrow an interest free loan of $200 m from the International Development Agency to accelerate the Fadama III project across the country.
Minister of Information, Labaran Maku who disclosed this while briefing state house correspondents after the meeting said the council also approved that a draft bill to detect, prevent and control cyber-crime in Nigeria; as well as a contract for an integrity check on the Third Mainland Bridge.
Mr Labaran Maku who was joined by his counterparts in the Ministries of agriculture and finance, Dr Akinwunmi Adesida and Dr Yerima Ngama respectively said the Coordinating Minister of the Economy and Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo- Iweala brought a memo seeking approval to obtain an International Development Association , IDA credit facility in the sum of USD200 million as additional financing for the Third National Fadama Development project.
He said “The Project Development Objective, (PDO) for the additional financing is consistent with the on-going Fadama III project which is to increase the incomes for users of rural lands and water resources within the Fadama areas in a sustainable manner.
He said the “proposed additional financing will scale up the project’s achievements and strengthen the development effectiveness of the highly performing Fadama III by aligning it more closely with the Agricultural Transformation Agenda (ATA) of the present administration.
Minister of Agriculture Dr Adeshida, explained that with 24 million hectares of Fadama land all over the country, it was imperative to optimise the use of these tracts of land, which predecessor, Fadama II was evaluated by the World Bank and found to have improved the beneficiaries income substantially.
The minister said 317,000 farmers are to benfit from the project which will among other things lead to an increase in food self-sufficiency, crop distribution, such as rice in key states of Lagos, Niger, Anambra, Enugu and Kano Sorghum-Kano; Cassava in Kogi, and women empowerment.
Dr Adeshida also revealed that this years NationAl Economic summit will focus on agriculture and showcase the achievements of president under the president’s agric. transformation agenda. It will look at the petrochemical industry, power, water, roads, ICT, science and innovation, aviation, transport and environment sectors.
Speaking on the the contract for the comprehensive review of the seabed of the Third Mainland Bridge in Lagos, Mr Maku said the N290 million contract is intended to check and make sure all sectors of the bridge are in good order.
The minister said “The bridge is a vital artery on the Federal Highways network connecting Lagos mainland to the island. Following reports of oscillation and excessive vibrations of the bridge under traffic load, investigations and tests were carried out by experts on the bridge in 2008 and the reports indicated that the bridge was structurally sound but required the replacement of damaged expansion joints and bearings,”
“the ministry of Works decided that Advanced Integrity Assessment including echometric (sonic pulse) tests on piles was inevitable in order to authenticate the findings of the Nigerian Submarine Divers Limited (NSD).”
“Cumulative efforts are being made to rehabilitate Lagos roads in order to make sure that as the artery nerve center of the nation’s economy, it continues to work. Every effort is being made by the federal government to improve the infrastructure of Lagos. This is aside the works being done at the deep seaports there,” Maku explained.
On the bill seeking to regulate and criminalising cyber-crime, which has been approved for transmission to the National Assembly (NASS), Maku said: “the core objective of the Cybercrime Bill, 2013 is to prove an effective, unified and comprehensive legal, regulatory and institutional framework for the prohibition, prevention, detection, prosecution and punishment of cybercrimes in Nigeria, promote cyber security and ensure the protection of critical national information infrastructure.”
“There is need for cooperation and international coalition to combat cybercrimes and that a lot is expected of Nigeria as a noteworthy regional power in Africa by the International community which expects her to acquaint herself commendably by joining forces with other members of the comity of nations in the fight against cybercrimes and in the promotion of cyber security,” he explained.
According to him, “cybercrimes are species of cross-border crimes perpetrated in time and space from any geographical spot in the world. The Bill is in conformity with existing Nigerian laws, the Budapest Convention on Cybercrime and reflects Nigeria’s obligations under the soon-to-be finalised AU Convention on the subject matter.”