The Professional Footballers Association of Nigeria (PFAN) Task Force says the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) should not engage in the act of defying a court order regarding its upcoming elections.
Harrison Jalla, Chairman of PFAN Taskforce, told newsmen on Friday in Abuja that all those in the NFF defying court orders would face the consequences of their actions.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the NFF Electoral Committee had fixed Sept. 30 for the Federation’s elective congress in Benin and proceeded to release a schedule of events.
But an order of a Federal High Court Abuja order on Sept. 15 has since put the NFF Elections on hold.
Justice Inyang Ekwo, ruling on an ex-parte motion, ordered the Youth and Sports Development Minister and the NFF President, or any person acting on their instruction, to maintain the status quo.
This he said would be pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice for interlocutory injunction.
“The attention of PFAN Task Force has been drawn to publications in the media space on the threat by the NFF and its Electoral Committee to defy the Sept. 15 court order.
“In the light of this, the PFAN Task Force has taken appropriate steps and has duly informed all relevant agencies of government that there is a threat to cause a breach of the peace by defying the court order,” Jalla said.
He disclosed that PFAN Task Force was exploring all possibilities within the ambit of the law to ensure those already defying the court order would face the consequences of their actions.
Jalla said it was worrisome that NFF has continued to violate and breach court orders.
“This is in spite of President Muhammadu Buhari’s advice that they (NFF) go back as a body to amend the statutes, expand it and accommodate those who have been disenfranchised.
“As we speak, they are already breaching the orders of court because we see correspondences after the court order, and campaigns for elections are still going on.
“So, we are taking the appropriate steps to ensure that those who do this don’t go scot-free.
” He said PFAN Task Force did not need government to do the job of ensuring a stop is put to the act of defying court orders.
“We have all it takes within the ambit of the law to ensure that the election does not hold,” Jalla stated.
He noted that the court order to halt the elections was a result of a consistent and deliberate acts of breaching court orders by the NFF since 2021. “Every Nigerian is a citizen of the country, and the threat by NFF to defy the court order is unacceptable as nobody is above the law.
“The NFF has no immunity from the laws of the land, even as FIFA itself has no immunity from the laws of Switzerland.
“The order we got from court didn’t just start today.
We’ve been in court four times, and the two parties have been in court since 2021. ”At the last hearing date in June, the court gave us Oct. 31 to come back.
“We asked for an interlocutory order because we anticipated that an election would hold.
“They (NFF) said they are not going to do any election because there was no cause for that action and the court agreed with them as there was no electoral committee in place at the time.
” The PFAN Task Force Chairman added that the judge thereafter stood down the order and gave all involved parties an Oct. 31 date to return to court.
“In between that period, they set up an electoral committee and started selling nomination forms.
There is no court that will accept that anywhere in the world and that was how this fresh order came about.
“So, when the court order was issued, it was because they were already violating the process in court.
This has really nothing to do with stopping the election.
“If any other group is now telling us that they are not bound by that order of court, then we will take it from there,” he said.
Also, Victor Baribote, the PFAN spokesman, said it was very clear the Nigeria football governing body was not in order.
“In the last eight years, there has been nothing to show for all what the Federal Government did in terms of supporting the NFF with massive funding.
“Also, all the funds FIFA brought in and all the funds that were realised from the private sector cannot be seen in what is on ground.
“We are all aware of the activities which have been going on within the football circle of late.
“This is why on June 26 in 2021 PFAN set up a task force in its wisdom, to look at issues on how we can advance our football.
“We are all aware and are witnesses to the fact we have been recycling old hands in the NFF.
“On the strength of that, the task force wrote a letter to the NFF last year in line with Article 29, requesting for an ammendment of the Statutes to include every stakeholder.
“But to cut the long story short, the NFF has blantantly refused to do anything about it,” he claimed.
The former Nigeria Premier League (NPL) Chairman said the position of PFAN was that election was not important at the moment, and that “fixing” the nation’s football was the top priority.
He noted that Nigeria had all it takes for its football to become the biggest employer of labour in the country, if the right things were done.
“It is not about election because the election we are talking about is the same one that will reproduce the same people who brought us to where we are today, and that is unacceptable.
“So, we are ready to answer any name to make football work again in this country.
We are not going to let it go.
The President (Muhammadu Buhari) himself has said it is a national asset that should be guarded jealously.
“So, our position is that we have to sit down as a group, fix the game, include those who are supposed to be part of it and we take it from there.
“If that is not done, then if it is FIFA or the Federal Government that wants to intervene in this process, it is left for them to come and do what is necessary,” Baribote said.
The Management of the Police Service Commission (PSC) has nominated Justice Clara Ogunbiyi (rtd), as the acting chairman of the commission following the resignation of former Chairman, Alhaji Musiliu Smith.
Mr Ikechukwu Ani, the Head of Press and Public Relations of PSC, said this in a statement on Thursday in Abuja.
Ani said Ogunbiyi’s nomination was pending the appointment of a new substantive chairman by President Muhammadu Buhari.
He said Ogunbiyi was until her nomination, the Commissioner 1 in the Commission and next in hierarchy to the former chairman.
Ani said the acting chairman had expressed appreciation to the management of PSC for the confidence reposed on her and pledged to run an inclusive administration in line with rule of law.
“The Commission deserves the best and we will do everything possible to give the staff, a commission they will be proud of.
“We will do our best by the grace of God and I believe our best will be good enough,” she said.
Ani said the Joint Union Congress of the Commission had suspended its strike to allow the new management to look into their demands.
The PSC spokesman said Smith’s resignation was in pursuant to Schedule 2(4) sub-section 2(2) of the Police Service Commission Establishment Act. He said the resignation, which was with immediate effect, had been approved by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Ani said the resignation of the former Chairman was on health grounds.
Bracing up for Buhari’s last outing as UNGA 77 opens News analysis: Bracing up for Buhari’s last outing as UNGA 77 opens By Cecilia Ologunagba, News Agency of Nigeria The 77th regular session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) has opened with excitement as the UN Headquarters in New York is now a beehive of activity after three years of virtual gathering.
Due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the UN had adopted virtual, and hybrid means since 2020 for its General Assembly to guarantee business continuity and mitigate the spread of the disease.
However, delegates from 193 member states of the UN are expected to attend the session in person, this year which will run from Sept. 13 through Sept. 27. Similarly, Heads of State and Governments, ministers, and delegates from the member states are expected to deliver statements in person at the High-Level Week of the gathering from Sept. 20 to 27. As precautionary measures against the spread of COVID-19, the side events have been reduced to less than 20 within the UN headquarters, while delegates are encouraged to hold their events outside the premises.
According to a revised provisional list of speakers released from the Office of the General Assembly President, the Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari will deliver Nigeria’s statement on Sept. 21. Buhari will be the first speaker on that day to address world leaders.
The Nigerian leader will deliver his address around 9am (around 2pm Nigerian time) to other world leaders during the morning session while leaders from four African countries will also speak at the session.
Buhari will be speaking in tandem with the theme of UNGA 77, “A watershed moment: Transformative solutions to interlocking challenges”, highlighting some measures taken to address the impact of climate change.
He is also expected to inform the global community on the efforts the Nigerian Government has made towards reviving the shrinking of Lake Chad and the drying up of many rivers as well as rising sea levels.
In addition, he will highlight some measures taken by the Nigerian Government, from mitigation to resilience and will reaffirm the country’s commitment to building a climate resilient economy that will align with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) objectives.
Buhari is expected to be accompanied by Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama; Nigeria’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Prof. Tijjani Muhammad-Bande; the Head of Chancery at the Nigeria Permanent Mission to the UN, Mr Benjamin Olafaju to deliver his statement to the world leaders.
Speaking on the level of preparedness to participate, Olafaju said that the Mission was ready to participate at the global debate, attend the High-Level meeting and host Nigerian delegation.
According to him, President Buhari will lead the Nigerian delegation with some ministers, state governors, and heads of agencies to the debate.
“We are prepared to receive the Nigerian delegation and give the best support to Nigeria’s participation in all the side-line events, which are five mandated events from the UN.
He said Nigeria would cover all areas of interest from food security, education, insecurity, and climate change, among others.
The official listed the five mandated events as the General Debate; High Level Summit on Education; High-level plenary meeting to commemorate the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons and Annual Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Movement Also, High-level meeting to mark the commemoration of the 30th anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities.
He said that with the relaxation of COVID-19 protocols, UNGA 77 is going to be the reflection of the previous ones before the outbreak, where debates and meeting were done in person.
“The last in person UNGA we had was in 2019 so we are expecting a sizeable delegation from Nigeria with UN reverting to the old tradition of attending in person.
“It is going be a unique UNGA for Nigeria because this is the last General Assembly that President Buhari and some heads of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) will attend.
“They are going to put in their best to ensure Nigeria’s outing is successful and impactful,’’ the official said.
Similarly, he confirmed that Nigeria’s First Lady, Mrs Aisha Buhari will be attending an event organised by the African First Ladies Peace Mission (AFLPM) on the margins of the 77th Session of the UN General Assembly.
Speaking on the event, Mr Suleiman Haruna, Director of Information to the First Lady of Nigeria, said Mrs Buhari would be speaking as President of AFLPM on Sept. 22. Haruna said Mrs Buhari was elected President of AFLPM in November 2021 during the 9th Assembly of the Mission in Abuja.
“Early this year, she presented her mandate before the African Union and to members on the margins of AU Summit at Malabo Equatorial Guinea,”’ the director said.
Haruna further said that Aisha Buhari would speak at the event on peacebuilding and conflict prevention.
“It is anticipated that 25 years from its inception, the High-Level Side event on the margins of the 77th Session will provide a platform to share experiences.
“It is also expected that it will proffer solutions that will lead to unified call for action among members,’’ he said.
Nigeria’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama is expected to arrive in New York to finalise arrangement to prepare the President for his last outing.
The expectation is that the team from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Nigerian mission in New York will put in their best to ensure that Buhari, and Nigeria records an outing that will be of immense benefit to not only the government and people of Nigeria but for the business community in the country.
(NANFeatures) If published please credit the News Agency of Nigeria
The Oba of Benin, His Royal Majesty, Oba Ewuare II, has commended President Muhammadu Buhari’s position in the preservation of cultural ethos and traditional institution in Nigeria.
Oba Ewuare made the commendation during a private meeting with the Ooni of Ife, His imperial Majesty, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi (Ọjájá II); and the Emir of Kano, Alhaji Aminu Ado Bayero at the weekend in his palace in Benin, Edo.The Oba recalled failed attempts by cultural imperialists to disrupt the traditions in Africa, including Benin Kingdom wherein the invaders looted Benin Bronzes over a century ago.
He, however, expressed thanks to God and his forebears that some of the artefacts looted by the invaders and taken away had started returning to their original abode.
The traditional ruler also acknowledged the president Buhari’s role with the support of stakeholders in the preservation of the traditional institution, which he said had remained intact.
Oba Ewuare said, “When the white man came and tried to disrupt our traditional institution, you will all agree with me that they failed.
So, they left our traditional institution intact.
That is why we are still here.
“They took away our artefacts to remind them of their visit.
But the artefacts are coming back.
” I want to use this opportunity to thank Mr President, Muhammadu Buhari for his strong stance in supporting the culture and the traditional institution; Preserving the Culture of Nigeria and so many other things.
“We may not know what His Excellency has done for use — Nigerians will know perhaps later,” Oba Ewuare said.
Addressing the Benin throne, the Ooni, while recalling the ancestral ties between Benin Kingdom and Ile Ife in Osun, revealed that his mission to Oba of Benin palace was to ask after the welfare of Oba Ewuare II and to extend the best wishes of his people.
On his part, the Emir paid tribute to the Benin throne and promised to sustain the legacies of his forebears as well as straighten the bond of friendship between Benin Kingdom and Kano Emirate.
As the price of crude oil in the International market continues to rise in recent times, Nigeria has not been able to reap appreciable economic benefits.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that price of crude oil, the country’s main revenue generating resource, had been on the increase due to the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, rising above 100 dollars per barrel.
But Nigerians continue to grapple with low revenue, depreciating Naira and dependence on debt to finance budget deficits and capital expenditure.
NAN recalls that the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, had said that the increase in prices of crude oil was not in the best interest of Nigeria.
He cited massive crude oil theft in the Niger Delta as responsible for the precariously low gains from high crude oil prices.
Some analysts, however, suggested that neglect of the industrial and manufacturing sectors of the Nigerian economy is a major bane of its economic growth.
A financial expert, Mr Okechukwu Unegbu, urged the Federal Government to take urgent steps to revive the manufacturing sector so as to boost the local economy.
Unegbu told the NAN that the absence of a vibrant industrial and manufacturing sector in the country had exacerbated various economic challenges, like rising inflation and an unstable currency (Naira).
According to him, the priority for government and its relevant agencies is to help the industries to start producing again.
“Production and manufacturing of essential goods will stop the dependence on imported goods, and go a a long way in revamping the economy and strengthen the Naira.
“The Federal Government should address fundamental dislocations in the country, like boosting investment, reducing unemployment rate and cutting down on inflation,’’ he said.
He said that it would also be advisable for government to reduce the tax rate so as to increase the volume of tax to enhance economic growth.
“The more employment you get, the more tax you will get, and that will boost government’s revenue drive.
“Government should lower the tax rate for more investment and a wider tax volume,’’ he said.
He advised the Central Bank of Nigeria to adopt effective monetary policies that would strengthen the value of the naira.
“A strong currency is also indicative of a performing economy.
The CBN should take innovative steps to firm up the value of the naira.
“The apex bank should be more proactive and more open in its foreign exchange operations.
“The idea of direct allocation of foreign exchange to certain categories of businessmen, instead of allowing them to go through deposit money banks, is an abuse of the naira,’’ he said.
According to Dr Tope Fasua, an economist, the Federal Government should take concrete steps to boost productivity, with strong local content to boost the country’s economy.
Fasua said that a country’s economy could only be as strong as the productivity that underlies it.
“This is talking about the knowledge quotient of the goods and service that a country produces.
“If a country does not have a lot of local content going into the products it exports then the economy of that country will have issues,” he said.
The Nigeria Economic Summit Group (NESG) suggested that Nigeria needs to achieve a paradigm shift in governance and policy design to sustain and accelerate economic growth.
The Chief Executive Officer of the NESG, Mr Laoye Jaiyeola made the suggestion in the group’s Macroeconomic Outlook.
He said that failure by the Federal Government to embark on the reforms could worsen current economic challenges.
“in the NESG, we believe that the role of government is to ensure that reforms translate to a friendly business environment and better welfare conditions for households,’’ he said.
The NESG boss also said although Nigeria had enormous potential, job creation across sectors was lagging, resulting in an increase in unemployed individuals.
He said that widespread insecurity across the country had informed the need for policy formulation and implementation that impacted all strata of society.
“While there is considerable improvement in some areas such as the mobilisation of non-oil revenue in the last few years, one thing is clear: “Nigeria cannot afford to continue with its business-as-usual approach in policymaking and execution,.
“The heightened insecurity and social vices in several parts of the country is proof that when some segments of the population are left behind, it will offset the few gains made prior to COVID-19. “It will also deprive the country of much-needed investments that would ensure sustainable growth and development, ‘’ he said.
Jaiyeola called for deregulation of the country’s oil sector to boost investments and also save huge government revenue expended on fuel importation.
“Long-standing issues of deregulation of the downstream sector, foreign exchange scarcity and lower investments in key sectors must be given the utmost attention.
“The deregulation of the downstream oil and gas sector for example is needed at this critical time when massive investments are required to fix deteriorating refineries.
“This will address the predicament of huge importation of refined petroleum products that deprive the country of the foreign exchange required to meet other important obligations,’’ he said.
Meanwhile, the Governor of CBN) Mr Godwin Emefiele said that the focus of the apex bank was to stabilise the macroeconomic sector.
Emefiele said that the CBN had increased its funding and interventions in various sectors to boost economic growth.
According to him, the intervention schemes were targeted at stimulating productivity in agriculture; manufacturing and industry, among others.
“Between April and May, the CBN had released N57.91 billion under the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme to 185,972 new projects for the cultivation of rice, wheat, and maize.
“This brings the cumulative disbursement under the programme to N1.01 trillion disbursed to more than 4.2 million smallholder farmers cultivating 21 commodities across the country.
The CBN also disbursed N1.50 billion under the Accelerated Agriculture Development Scheme to a new youth-led project, piloted and funded through the Government of Ondo State.
This is for the acquisition of assets for oil-palm cultivation and the establishment of poultry farms.
“This brings the total disbursement under the scheme to N21.23 billion for 10 state-led and three private sector-led projects,’’ he said.
Emefiele said the bank also released N21.73 billion to finance seven large-scale agricultural projects under the Commercial Agriculture Credit Scheme.
According to him, the funds have been used for the establishment of a ranch and milk processing facility; procurement of feed and medication for livestock and dairy production.
“The funds also went into the construction of a 300 metric-tonne per day oil mill in Gusau, and the acquisition and installation of an agrochemical factory.
“This brings the cumulative disbursement under this scheme to N741.05 billion for 674 projects in agro-production and agro-processing,’’ he said.
The CBN governor also said that for the manufacturing sector, the CBN disbursed N436.85 billion to 34 new projects under the “one trillion Naira Real Sector Support Facility’’.
“This was used for both new and expansion projects under the COVID-19 Intervention for the Manufacturing and Real Sectors Support Facility from Differentiated Cash Reserve Requirement (RSSF-DCRR).
“Cumulative disbursement under the RSSF for the financing of 402 real sector projects currently stands at N2.10 trillion,’’ he said.
Emefiele also cited the “100 for 100 Policy on Production and Productivity”.
According to him, under the policy, the CBN has disbursed N55.34 billion to 44 projects, comprising 24 in manufacturing, 17 in agriculture, two in healthcare, and one in the services sector.
He expressed worry that the country’s manufacturing sector contributed less than 15 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
He also decried the continous importation of many commodities which Nigeria had capacity to produce and export.
“To address this challenge, we have accepted the charge of President, Muhammadu Buhari for the country to produce what it eats and eat what it produces.
“The CBN, working with Deposit Money Banks and participating financial institutions, is focused on critical areas such as the agricultural and manufacturing sectors.
“We have granted more than three trillion naira in intervention loans that have aided economic recovery and employment generation.
“Given the limited fiscal space due to the significant drop in government revenue, the CBN has had to intervene with development finance tools to aid recovery without jeopardising price stability,” he said.
Emefiele further said that different categories of Nigerians, particularly women and youth, had benefitted from various CBN intervention programmes.
The Federal Government has assured Nigerians that the establishment of the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP) was guided by legal instruments and international obligations.
A statement by Mr Saghir el Mohammed, Press Director, Ministry of Environment in Abuja, said that the aim of the project was to adress environmental challenges in the country.
According to him, this is in line with government gazette and UN Environment Programme (UNEP) report guiding the establishment of the HYPREP.
“Therefore, the project is appropriately placed under the purview of the ministry.
“We wish to further inform the public that President Muhammadu Buhari has, vide a memo on April 28, 2022 with Ref. No, 8182, conveyed this via the Secretary to the Government of the Federation.
“The President reiterated the oversight of the ministry over HYPREP and has directed the Environment Minister, Mohammed Abdullahi, to deliver on the Ogoniland cleanup with dispatch,” he said.
While approving the reorganisation of the operations of HYPREP to make it more effective, the President, equally directed for the full audit of the accounts of HYPREP from inception to date.
The ministry therefore, assured all International Oil Companies (IOCs), partners and Ogoni stakeholders of the commitment of the Federal Government to those instruments and obligations.
In this connection, Abdullahi implored stakeholders to remain calm and continue to cooperate with HYPREP as it strived to execute its mandate.
The minister said that the ministry would continue to provide purposeful leadership towards the actualisation of the commitment of Buhari to clean, remediate and restore the polluted environment.
The remediation and restoration would not only be in Ogoniland but the rest of the Niger Delta and beyond.
FG urges Stakeholders to develop actionable plan to end IDPs’ hardship FG urges Stakeholders to develop actionable plan to end IDPs’ hardshipPlanBy Collins Yakubu-Hammer Abuja, July 22, 2021 The Federal Government has tasked the National Humanitarian Coordination Technical Working Group (NHCTWG) and stakeholders to develop a robust methodology for the development of a National Action Plan (NAP) for the implementation of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) policy.
Hajiya Sadiya Farouq, the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development made the call at the Fifth National Humanitarian Coordination Technical Working Group (NHCTWG) meeting on Thursday in Abuja.
The Minister recalled that on Feb.
24, 2020, President Muhammadu Buhari approved the constitution of a National Humanitarian Coordination Committee (NHCC) to oversee all humanitarian actions in the country.
She said the committee was charged with providing the national vision for humanitarian actions, advise on coordination between the security services and humanitarian actors.
“However, the NHCC set up this TWG a multi-sectoral committee to serve as its engine room and to provide technical support to the National Humanitarian Coordination Committee (NHCC).
“It is also to provide platform for stakeholders in the humanitarian space to interrogate all humanitarian operations, emerging issues and ensure seamless response and application of best practices.
“This fifth meeting will inter alia focus primarily on updates on National Policy on Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) after its approval by Federal Executive Council on 1st September 2021.
“I, therefore, charge stakeholders to exchange ideas, views and agree on the most robust methodology towards the development of actionable NAP for the implementation of the IDP policy,” Farouq stressed.
According to her, this will go a long way to activate a process of closing the gap in coordination and management of IDPs in the country.
“Therefore, your expert contributions are highly desired and would be very much appreciated.
I wish you all successful deliberations”.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that while Farouq was represented by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Alhaji Nasir Sani-Gwarzo, the Director of Humanitarian Affairs, Alhaji Ali Grema represented Sani-Gwarzo.
Also speaking, Deputy Head of Office, UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN-OCHA), Esty Sutyoko said UN would continue to support the ministry in delivering of it mandate.
“It is a thing of joy to see that the ministry is championing the humanitarian course.
“We will continue to contribute our quota to see that the Ministry attain its vast mandate, which includes effective coordination of national and international human development.
“Insecurity in the North East and other parts of the country have been disrupting life systems and social services.
“In these critical times, as an international organisation, UN-OCHA and other organisations will continue to provide the needed support.
“We have reiterated our commitment to stand by Nigeria and support her actions towards providing humanitarian needs.Thus, it is necessary for us to improve our collaboration,” Sutyoko.said.
NAN reports that the event was attended by Civil Society Organisations, International Non Governmental Organisations, the military and other relevant stakeholders in the humanitarian sector.
The Senate on Wednesday at plenary, approved the nomination of Mr .Joe Aniku Ohiani for appointment as substantiative Director- General of Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC).
His confirmation followed the presentation, consideration and adoption of a report of the Committee on Works, after the Chairman Sen.Adamu Alero (PDP-Kebbi) laid the report.
Alero in his presentation said the committee screened the nominee and found him suitable for appointment as substantiative Director-General of ICRC.
He, therefore, asked the senate to approve his nomination.
Smart Adeyemi((APC-Kogi) while also supporting the approval, described the nominee as a man of intellect and integrity who had worked in several capacities and came up unblemished.
Adeyemi further described the nominee as highly enterprising, while also commending President Muhammadu Buhari for the nomination of Ohiani.
Senate, thereafter approved the nomination
The Nigerian Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA) says it has attracted a $1 billion investment in Niger.
A statement in Abuja on Saturday by NEPZA's Head of Corporate Communications, Mr. Martins Odeh, said the authority remained resolute in its mandate as a key player in pursuit of Nigeria's economic development.
The statement reported that Professor Adesoji Adesugba, managing director of NEPZA, said this as he handed over an approved free trade zone declaration license to officials of the investment company, Hydropolis Investment Limited, in Abuja on Thursday.
According to Adesugba, NEPZA has remained steadfast in its mandate as a key player in the pursuit of the nation's economic development by once again achieving a $1 billion investment in the state.
On July 8, the Authority secured an investment worth $100 million in the Special Economic Zone in Lekki, Lagos, for the production of medical equipment.
Adesugba said that NEPZA was actively seeking investment to help the Federal and subnational governments quickly overcome the country's development deficits.
He said the Authority was excited about handing over a free trade zone operating license to Hydropolis Investment Limited, adding that the now Hydropolis Free Trade Zone occupied 2,000 hectares of land in Amfani Village in the local government area of Magama in Niger.
The NEPZA chief said the new zone would commit more than $1 billion to establish an industrial park, a smart city and an international cargo airport that would provide backward links for local and foreign businesses.
He said the development was another economic milestone as the area is sure to have a positive impact on the country's employment profile and Gross Domestic Product.
For his part, Dr. Abdulmalik Ndagi, CEO of Hydropolis Investment Limited, expressed satisfaction with the speed of approval.
Ndagi described the area as an ideal economic hub for the entire country.
According to him, the area will be a replica of the Lekki Free Trade Zone in the North Central region of the country.
He further said that the strategic location of the Kainji Dam area gave him the desired advantage.
Ndagi added that the business ecosystem had already reached an agreement with the Federal Government to obtain its electricity from the dam.
“We are sincerely indebted to the President, Muhammadu Buhari, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investments, Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo, as well as NEPZA, Prof.
Adesugba, for their efforts to ensure the projects' realization.
“As a business venture, we are committed to taking advantage of this trust placed in us to contribute our share to the development of this great nation.
"Work has started on the location and we hope to complete the development of internal infrastructure such as road networks, offices, fences, electricity before November when the president will inaugurate this world-class business paradise," said Ndagi.
The vice presidents of the Portuguese giant Benfica Football Club, Manuel Debrito and Jose Gandarez, praised the laudable ideas of the Nigerian Sports Minister, Sunday Dare, who is in Portugal together with President Muhammadu Buhari, as part of deliberate efforts to continuously develop sport in the country.
Dare made an official tour of Benfica's facilities, including the huge Estádio da Luz stadium with a capacity for 65,000 spectators.
After several brainstorming sessions, Sunday Dare and the Vice Presidents of Benfica shared notes on the development of football in the country and also on the structure of club football.
Speaking afterwards, Vice President Manuel Debrito praised Dare's drive and insights, saying his managerial acumen will help Nigerian sport grow.
Debrito said: “Nigeria is lucky to have Dare as Minister of Sports. His ideas on sports administration are lofty and charming. He is in touch with modern trends in sports development and we appreciate him for honoring us with his presence.”
Dare was also presented with the official shirt of the 37-time Portuguese champions as he thanked the club for their warmth.
“I want to appreciate this club that stands as a world sports institution. Their 65,000 capacity stadium is one of the best football fields in Europe and we are working to achieve the same and even more in Nigeria. Just as this club has a thriving youth system that has generated over a billion euros in the last decade, Nigeria is also relentless in developing grassroots sport and we would borrow a leaf, when needed,” said Dare.
The Nigerian Minister of Youth Development and Sports arrived in Portugal earlier this week together with the President, Muhammadu Buhari, to seal multiple Memoranda of Understanding in the area of Sports, as well as Youth Development between Nigeria and Portugal.