Nigeria Ready For Investment, Says Senator Ashafa

The Senator representing Lagos East Senatorial District, Gbenga Ashafa, has said that Nigeria is a haven for investments.

The Senator said this on Tuesday, during an inspection visit to  CRRC Nanjing Puzhen Co., Ltd in Nanjing, China.

Ashafa was part of a of a ministerial delegation from Nigeria to China to inspect rail coaches to be supplied by CRRC Nanjing Puzhen Co., Ltd to the Nigeria Railway Corporation.

His words: “Allow me to seize this opportunity to tell you that Nigeria is a fertile land that is open to Foreign Direct Investments. With our growing population and skilled manpower, you are not only guaranteed your return on investment, but also local content with which to maximize your investments.”

He further said “Let me quickly state, that I am here in my capacity as the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Land Transport to represent the people of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. What this translates to, is that I must work together with this contingent to ensure that the coaches we are here to inspect before delivery are befitting, contemporary and justify value for money”.

Ashafa continued by expressing his satisfaction as regards the track record of the company and stating that the quality of coaches supplied to Nigeria would also serve as a marketing reference point for the company. In his words, “having said this, I am quite impressed with the history of your company and the track record of performance across the world. I believe that the quality of coaches that you supply to Nigeria to boost our railway reinvigoration drive would also serve as a marketing point for potential clients across the world.”

The Senator reiterated the assurance that the Executive arm of Government and the Legislature are working in consonance towards ensuring a developed rail sector in Nigeria and a mutually beneficial relationship for both countries.

Other delegates on the inspection team are Hon (Engr) Aminu Sanni Issa Chairman Land Transport  House of Reps, Engr. Aljaji Sabiu Zakari, Permanent Secretary Federal Ministry of Transportation, Fidet Okhiria, Managing Director, Nigeria Railway Corporation, Engr. Usman Abubakar Chairman  Nigeria Railway Corporation, and Engr. Mohamed Tunji Babakobi, the Director of Rail Transport in the Federal Ministry of Transportation.

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Eid-El-Kabir: Senator Ashafa Enjoins Muslim Faithful To Embrace Peace For National Development

Senator representing Lagos East Senatorial District, and Chairman Senate Committee on Land Transport, Senator Gbenga Ashafa, has appealed to faithful across the country to collectively eschew violence, intolerance, selfishness and uttering of unguarded comments, which are capable of causing disaffection with our neighbors irrespective of tribe, language and creed or heating up the polity.

In his Eid-El-Kabir message, Ashafa noted that Islam is a religion of peace and while faithfuls merry in the period of sallah, they should continue to let this knowledge guide every of their behaviour and speech.

His words: “The Eid-el-Kabir period gives us another opportunity to be moderate in words and deeds and to reflect on the salient virtues and values of Islam.

“…Let us show love to one another through our words and deeds. As it is only in an atmosphere of peace that National Development can take place.

“In the spirit of giving and gratitude, let us all remember to extend invitations to our neighbours to partake in the blessings of the season. It is chronicled that during Eid-el-Kabir, the servant of God sacrificed two rams, one for his family and the other for the people in the community.

:As the year gradually approaches its final months, may unity, faith, peace and progress always find root amongst us as Nigerians. May the blessings of Almighty Allah remain with you and yours.”

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National Assembly Fully Committed To Buhari’s Vision For The Transport Sector- Ashafa

The Chairman Senate Committee on Land Transport, Senator Gbenga Ashafa has stated that the National Assembly is committed to the success of President Buhari’s vision for the transport Sector which would be beneficial to all Nigerians.

In his words, “Let me seize this August occasion to remind you that the National Assembly is your partner, as we are fully committed to ensuring the success of President Muhamadu Buhari’s vision for the transport sector, for the benefit of all Nigerians.”

He made this statement at the just concluded 15th National Council on Transportation themed “Efficiency of Inter-Modalism in Transportation;Panacea for Economic Recovery” which took place in Sokoto on 30th August, 2017.

The summit had in attendance the Honourable Minister for Transportation, Rt. Honourable Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry Alhaji Sabiu Zakari, heads of agencies and departments under the ministry. Also in attendane were the hosts, His Excellency Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal of Sokoto State and His Eminence, Muhamadu Sa’ad Abubakar, the Sultan of Sokoto.

In his good will message, the Senator highlighted the role of transportation and logistics in the economy of the country stating that, “transportation sits at the heart of trade facilitation.”, and that the age of intermodalism, the various modes of transportation in Nigeria have worked at best without synergy.

He then identified the interventions of the National Assembly, in laying a foundation for an intermodal transport sector in Nigeria as follows, “At the National Assembly, particularly in the Senate Committee on Land Transport, we discovered the forgoing early and immediately set to work in laying the foundation for synergy in the Transport Landscape of Nigeria. First, ensured the passage of the Nigerian Railway Authority Bill 2016, which effectively opens up the rail sector to private participation.

Secondly we set to work on the more complex National Transport Commission Bill, which seeks to create to create a multi-modal transport sector regulator. It is our belief, that both Bills amongst others being worked on by various committees’ of the National Assembly possess the capacity to transform our transport sector and aide the switch to intermodalism in the sector.”

In conclusion, Ashafa charged the council to ensure the implementation of all the action points agreed upon throughout the period of the summit.


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Senate Conducts Oversight Visit Of Lagos-Kano Railway

The Joint Senate Committee on Local and Foreign Debt and Land Transport on Monday, 7th August, 2017 conducted an oversight visit to the Nigerian Railway Corporation Headquarters and the Project Office of the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation CCECC in Ebute Metta, Lagos. The purpose of the visit was to assist the committee assess the project implementation plan for the recently approved loan request by the Federal Government from the China Exim Bank for the purpose of completing various railway rehabilitation/construction projects across the country.

Chairman of the Senate Committee on Land Transport Senator, Gbenga B Ashafa, and Chairman, Senate Committee on Local and Foreign Debts, Senator Shehu Sanni, led the delegation from the Senate. Other members of the Joint Committee who were present include Senator Yahaya Abdulai and Senator Philip A. Gyunka. The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Transport, Alhaji Sabiu Zakari, Managing Director of the Nigerian Railway Corporation, Mr. Fidet Okhiria and the representative of the Managing Director of CCECC, Mr. Leo Yinv received the Senators.

In his speech, Ashafa stated, “The focus of this visit is to immediately set in perspective our commitment to ensuring a high level of accountability in public expenditure. This is in line with our constitutional responsibility to carry out periodic oversight functions to the Ministries, Departments and Agencies under the supervision of the Joint Committee.”

Speaking further, the Senator called on the project contractor CCECC to ensure that they maximize the local materials and manpower in order to have direct impact on the Nigerian Economy. In his words, “We are confident that the Lagos to Kano, and Calabar to Lagos railway modernization projects would in no small way further reinvigorate the Nigerian economy through the creation jobs. We therefore call on CCECC to maximize local content in the in the area of raw materials and labour force.”

In Similar Vein, the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Local and Foreign debt, Senator Shehu Sanni stated that with the recent approval of the Railway Loan by the Senate, the Contractor has no excuse but to deliver on  its mandate.

On his part, the representative of the contractor, Mr. Leo Yinv took the members of the committee through the Project Implementation Plan for the completion of the Lagos to Ibadan Segment of the Lagos to Kano Railway modernization project and assured that while all pre-fabrication works was being done in the interim, substantial earthwork would commence on the project towards the end of November 2017.

From the headquarters of project in Ebute Metta, the Senators also conducted an on the spot assessment of the earthwork of the project across Lagos and assured all stakeholders of the Nigerian Senate’s commitment to assisting the Executive arm in the actualization of every developmental project within its purview.

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Oba of Lagos Urges Nigerians To Shun Political Bitterness

The Oba of Lagos, Rilwan Osuolale Akiolu, has advised Nigerians not to interfere with the public or political differences of Politicians.

The royal father made this remark at the 60th Birthday Islamic prayers and lecture held in commemoration of the 60th Birthday of Mrs Folashade Ashafa, the wife of the Senator representing Lagos East Senatorial District in the National Assembly, Senator Gbenga Ashafa, which took place at the Grand View, Magodo Lagos on Sunday, 28th May, 2017.

The event, had in attendance various dignitaries and friends of the family, including the His Excellency, the President of the Senate, Senator (Dr.) Abubakar Bukola Saraki who was represented his deputy Chief of Staff, Hon. Gbenga Makanjuola, Former Governor of Lagos State and Hon. Minister for Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola SAN, Former Minster of Defence, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro, Otun Are (Amb.) Demola Seriki, Deputy Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly Hon. Wasiu Ehinlokun, Commissioner for Wealth creation, Lagos State, Mr. Babatunde Durosinmietti, Senators Abdulfatai Buhari, Soji Akanbi,  Ganiyu Olanrewaju Solomon, Alhaji Sulaiman Adegunwa, Alhaja Sherrifat Andu, Yeye Fausat Gbadebo, Hajia Abba  Folawiyo, Hajia Binta Tinubu amongst others.

Oba Akiolu further mentioned that while people would take sides with Politicians and develop permanent enmity or deep grudges for the supporters of the adverse party, the Politicians never take their differences personal and always know how to reconcile behind closed doors. He therefore advised all Nigerians to learn how to allow Politicians settle their Political differences without interference or unnecessary sensationalisation of issues.

The Lagos Monarch also spoke glowingly of the Celebrant, Mrs. Folashade Ashafa and her husband. He said “that Senator Gbenga Ashafa could only have achieved so much in all his years in of public service as Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Lands in Lagos State and then as a Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria without any stain to his reputation because he has a good wife who gives him peace and keeps the home front solid.”




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$5.9bn Rail: Senate Protest Exclusion Of Eastern Rail Line, Summons Amaechi

Leader of the South-East caucus in the Senate, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, has protested against the alleged exclusion of the eastern rail line from the ongoing rail projects by the Federal Government.

Abaribe, in his motion at the plenary on Tuesday, alleged that the South-East would not benefit from the projects for which the government was obtaining a loan of $5.851bn from China Exim Bank.

The motion was titled, ‘Outright Omission of Eastern Corridor Rail Line in the Request for Approval of Federal Government 2016-2017 External Borrowing (Rolling Plan)’.

The lawmaker, who is representing the Abia-South senatorial district, recalled that the Federal Government, on April 26, 2017, laid a request seeking an approval for the loan before the National Assembly to execute the modernisation of Lagos-Kano, Kano-Kaduna, Lagos-Ibadan and Lagos-Calabar rail segments.

Abaribe, however, said, “The Senate observes with dismay that the above sections of the rail line that the loan was being sought for covers only a section of the country i.e. the western corridor.

“The Senate notes that the eastern section of the rail segment, which has a link between the southeastern to northeastern parts of the rail line, is completely excluded from the request.

“The Senate further notes that the loan, being a Federal Government borrowing, would be repaid by all sections of the country; therefore, every section of the country should be taken into consideration.”

The lawmaker, in the prayers of the motion, urged the Senate to suspend consideration of the loan request until the correction of the omission of the eastern parts of the country.

He also called on the Senate to ‘invite the Minister of Transport to appear and explain the reasons for the exclusion of the eastern corridor of Nigeria’s rail lines from the proposed loan from China Exim Bank’.

Abaribe, however, withdrew the first prayer, while the second prayer was unanimously granted by the lawmakers.

Seconding the motion, the Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, said the Senate belonged to all parts of the country and ‘the implication, therefore, is that any wrong done to any part of this country is a wrong to all of us’.

He said, “I am aware that the Federal Government is committed to rehabilitating and upgrading the railway infrastructure in Nigeria since (the days of President Olusegun) Obasanjo’s administration. Regrettably, from the inspection of that programme, the Federal Government has an attitude about the eastern line of this country – that the line is not profitable – and emphasis has not been placed in fixing that axis.”

But Senator Gbenga Ashafa (Lagos-East) faulted the motion as lacking adequate information.

He said, “I will say it is inadequate and I will also add that it is inaccurate in the sense that when the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government came in, the idea of providing rail infrastructure as approved initially – from Lagos to Calabar and Lagos to Kano – took into cognisance Aba and Onitsha.

“The Lagos-Kano and Calabar-Lagos railway project covers all the geopolitical zones, and I will show you how. On the Lagos-Calabar coastal space, you will find the rail cutting across the Obudu Cattle Ranch, Calabar, Uyo, Aba, Port Harcourt, Yenagoa, Otuoke, Ughelli, Sapele, Benin, Agbor, Asaba and Onitsha. Connecting Benin is Ijebu Ode, Ore, Shagamu and Lagos seaports. Until it is finished, you can deduce from this that two major states in the South-East where Senator Abaribe comes from have been covered. Until this is finished, you can’t see it on the ground.

“When we are making our points, don’t let us bring up ethnic sentiments.”


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