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Lagos-Ibadan rail can run on electric in future



Workers on the Lagos-Ibadan rail project

Workers on the Lagos-Ibadan rail project

The ongoing Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge rail project can be converted to electric train in future, the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC), has assured Nigerians.

Mr Jerry Oche, the Railway District Manager of the Nigerian Railway Corporation, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday in Lagos that the Federal Government was serious on delivering the project on time as “work is going on as we speak’’.

He said that the project was not just about the standard gauge only.

According to him, the government has taken into cognisance, the possibility for this project to be converted into an electrically driven train in the future.

“I’m sure most Nigerians are aware of the Lagos-Ibadan Standard gauge railway project.

“This is one of the projects that government of the day has taken very seriously.

“As a matter of fact, it’s a project funded by China and Nigeria Government.

“Nigeria, as of today, has paid 100 per cent counterpart funding for that project.

“Every month, we have project meeting chaired by the Minister of Transport Rotimi Amechi himself, not representative.

“The government of the day is serious on delivering that project; work is going on as we speak.

“And of course, in railway, the standard gauge is the in-thing of the day.

“This particular project is not just about the standard gauge, we’ve also taken into cognisance, the possibility for this project to be converted into an electrically driven train in the future.

“All the provisions, all the land we’ve acquired, we’ve made provision for that possibility, in case we wake up tomorrow and we say hey, we want to convert it to electric trains.

“But we all know why we wouldn’t want to do that now; we all know the power situation in the country.

But if there is an improvement, I can assure you, we will change to that (electric trains),’’ Oche said.

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Former chief of army staff, Salifu Ibrahim is dead



Aged 93, the retired general died on Monday in his home in Kogi state.

He joined the army in 1956, and was trained at the Nigerian Military College.

Ibrahim rose to become the army’s chief between 1990 to 1993, during the military regime of Ibrahim Babangida.

Upon retirement, he famously tagged the service as “an army of anything goes,” his response to the seeming lack of professionalism in the army.

In 2013, he was appointed chairman of the board of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council by ex-President Goodluck Jonathan.

President Muhammadu Buhari has sent a condolence message to the family of the late Ibrahim.

The message was contained in a statement signed by Garba Shehu, his senior special assistant on media and publicity.

The statement read: “It is a matter of great pride that outstanding officers like General Ibrahim served the Nigerian Army.

“He served the nation with all his heart; with full dedication and commitment to duty. His service represents the hallmark of our Armed Forces.

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AREOPAGUS: Pilgrimage open House



Rev. Uja Tor Uja

Rev. Uja Tor Uja

The Nigerian Christian Pilgrim Commission (NCPC) is set to organize its maiden Pilgrimage Open House tagged, “ Areopagus “ which is slated for 27th November, 2018 at the Jubilee Hall of the National Christian Centre, Central Business District, Abuja.

According to the Executive Secretary of NCPC, Rev. Uja Tor Uja, “In the course of seeking to develop better understanding and thereby increase ownership and participation in Christian Pilgrimage in Nigeria, we came up with the Areopagus, a Pilgrimage Open House experience”.

The programme which is aimed at showcasing Christian Pilgrimage to Nigerians and to the world, would be a live audience or congregational programme with various high profile Speakers treating topics at plenary while there will be syndicate sessions for different groups of discourse.

The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Boss Mustapha would be the Special Guest of Honour at the occasion and the theme of the maiden Areopagus – Pilgrimage Open House is “Christian Pilgrimage, the Church and the Development of Nigeria.”

Some of the topics to be treated include benefits of Christian Pilgrimage Personal and Collective, the Church and Nigeria’s Nationalism, Understanding Christian Pilgrimage, facts and Biblical Roots, Youth: Christian Pilgrimage and Development Service in Nigeria, Christian Pilgrimage and Nigeria’s Wholistic Development and God’s plan for Nigeria, the Role of the Church and the place of Christian Pilgrimage.

The programme will bring together eminent Church Leaders within and outside Abuja as guest speakers to share their rich pilgrimage experiences and chart a new course for Christian Pilgrimage in Nigeria.

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World Toilet Day: WaterAid Tasks FG on Sanitation for Children



By Eric Ojo, Abuja

As Nigeria joins the rest of the world to mark this year’s World Toilet Day, WaterAid has urged the Federal Government to expedite action towards prioritising sanitation for all, particularly children.

WaterAid said following a new report indicating that the education and health of millions of children is threatened by a lack of access to toilets at school and at home, the Nigerian government must take urgent steps in addressing the problem.

This year and in the most recent times, the commemoration of World Toilet Day, is driven by the aim to ensure that everyone has a safe toilet by 2030, in line with one of the targets of the UN Sustainable Development Goal 6.

The theme of this year’s celebration, “When Nature Calls” harps on the need for exploring nature-based solutions to the current sanitation challenges confronting Nigeria as a nation and to provide sustainable resolutions through the functioning of natural systems.

This means that Nigeria must focus on harnessing the power of ecosystems in capturing and treating human waste to producing useful resources such as fertilisers to help grow crops.

It also requires that the Federal Government must not just focus on ending open defecation in Nigeria, must also work to ensure that human waste that is captured does not still contaminate the environment and affect human health as well as livelihoods.

Unfortunately, Nigeria, according to statement issued in Abuja by WaterAid Nigeria, to mark the 2019 World Toilet Day, has made little or no progress in realising this target as less than 1 million people per year are gaining access to basic sanitation.

Of the 101 countries with data available on how many schools have decent toilets, Nigeria ranks 11th with 52 percent of schools without a toilet and around 62 million children without a decent toilet at home.

This implies that children are being dangerously exposed to illnesses that could kill them. Repeated bouts of diarrhea increase their chances of being malnourished, and sanitation-related illnesses result in missed school days and the loss of potential.

Similarly, in the ranking, Guinea-Bissau came last in West Africa, with eight in ten schools lack adequate facilities, followed by Niger, where only 24 percent of schools have even basic sanitation and more than seven in ten people defecate in the open because they lack a household toilet.

Some countries, however, are making decent toilets in schools a priority. For instance, over half of schools in Bangladesh now, according to the survey, have a decent toilet and shared toilets in slum areas are providing a stepping stone to better health.

WaterAid’s fourth-annual analysis of the world’s toilets, with the theme, “The Crisis in the Classroom”, showed that one in five primary schools and one in eight secondary schools globally do not have any toilets.

“A shocking one in three of the world’s schools lack adequate toilets, compromising children’s human rights to sanitation and leaving them to either use dirty, unsafe pits, defecate in the open, or stay at home.”, the Report added.

The Report also revealed that children living in communities without decent toilets are at higher risk of diarrhoea which is sadly caused by dirty water and poor sanitation.

It further stated that diarrhea kills 289,000 children under five each year, adding that diarrhoea and intestinal infections kill nearly 140,000 children aged between five and 14 each year, many of which could be prevented with clean water, decent sanitation and good hygiene.

WaterAid Nigeria Country Director, Dr ChiChi Aniagolu-Okoye, said the provision of toilet facilities can make the difference between a child attending school, coming late or staying at home.

“School attendance and participation can be greatly enhanced just by providing toilets. Schools are where children learn how to become wholesome human beings and good toilet behaviour is a fundamental, yet children are going to schools with them.

“It is shocking that Nigeria ranks third in the world with the most number of individuals with no access to a decent toilet. This is unacceptable and even sad as it contributes to the deaths of nearly 60,000 children under five every year from diarrhoea”, she said.

Also in his submission, WaterAid’s Chief Executive, Tim Wainwright observed that children in every country of the world need access to safe toilets at home and at school, adding that their health, education and safety depend on it.

Every child, according to him, should be able to go to the toilet safely and with dignity whether they are at school or at home. He added that bringing safe toilets to the one in three schools worldwide with no adequate toilets, should be a top priority, along with bringing decent household toilets to the 2.3 billion people still waiting.

“Progress towards any of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will not be possible without clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene. If we are serious about all children and young people, wherever they are, whatever their gender, physical ability or community background, having their right to clean water and sanitation, we must take decisive and inclusive action now”, he further explained.

WaterAid also warned that without ongoing investment and a concerted effort from all decision-makers, children, who are amongst the most vulnerable group in the society, will continue to miss out on their futures.

“Also, citizens need to change their behaviour and take responsibility for having decent toilets at home as much as they hold government accountable for providing this basic service. Sanitation is a basic right for all and can’t just be an ideal. It must be a priority”, the international not-for-profit organization further noted.

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