Buhari Receives Zimbabwe’s Special Envoy

President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday received the special envoy of President Emmerson Mnangagwa of Zimbabwe.

The Envoy delivered a letter from the Zimbabwean leader to Buhari at the Presidential Villa.

Zimbabwe’s ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Lovemore Mazemog; Chief of Staff, Mallam Abba Kyari; Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Geoffery Onyema; and others were at the ceremony.




DSS Arrests Senator Abaribe

The Department of State Security has arrested the lawmaker representing Abia-South Senatorial District, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe.

According to his Special Adviser, Mr. Nwokoma Okorie, Senator Abaribe was picked up on Friday morning at his barber’s shop in the Apo area of Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory.

The DSS could not be reached for confirmation but the outspoken Senator had been under the watchful eyes of the DSS since he stood surety for the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, who has not been seen since the Nigerian Army invaded his family home at Umuahia, Abia State, last year.

A source close to Abaribe said his arrest may also not be unconnected with his constant criticism of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration.

Abaribe, who alongside two others stood surety for Kanu as part of the IPoB leader’s bail conditions, is due to appear on June 26 before Justice Binta Nyako of the Federal High Court Abuja to explain the whereabouts of Kanu.



We Are In Support Of Restructuring, Osinbajo Says

Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo has said that the present administration is not opposed to restructuring as being canvassed in many quarters.

He said the administration was in support of any form of restructuring that would benefit Nigerians.

Osinbajo stated this while addressing traditional rulers from Ekiti State at the palace of the Ewi of Ado-Ekiti, Oba Rufus Adejugbe, on Wednesday.

His Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mr. Laolu Akande, made the transcript of the Vice-President’s speech available to journalists on Thursday.

Osinbajo said Nigeria needed peace more than any other thing at this time.

He berated those who he said derived satisfaction in ethnic and religious politics in order to divide the country.

He said Nigeria was better off as a united country.

The Vice-President said, “I want to say that this country is strongest, this country is best when we are one, when we are united. It is a united country that can make a difference. We are fully in support of any form of restructuring that will benefit the people of our country.

“That is why, for example, the President just signed this into law, a bill which enables Houses of Assembly to be autonomous; so that their finances are autonomous. This is some form of devolution of powers.

“We are also keenly supportive of anything that gives a measure of independence for states so that the states can realise their own potential and do very well for themselves in every way. The President is keenly supportive of all of those things.

“So, for us, unity is important, peace is important.”

Osinbajo noted that there was nothing politicians would not say especially as the nation approaches elections.

He, however, said the present administration was committed to keeping the nation as one and ensuring that no life was lost during electioneering.

“As we approach the elections, people say all sorts of things even in order to win elections, in order to gain ascendancy.

“There is nothing they cannot say or do; there is no type of statement that cannot be made.

“But we believe very strongly that keeping our country together, keeping our people as one, and ensuring that no life is lost in the process of the elections is so important to us,” he added.

Osinbajo said President Muhammadu Buhari was committed to the development of all the states of the federation irrespective of the political party in charge of the states.

He said that was why Ekiti State had been benefitting from the Federal Government’s Social Investment Programme despite being a Peoples Democratic Party state.

He cited the N-Power programme under which he said 3,339 young graduates from Ekiti State had been employed.

He said the beneficiaries had been assisting the state as teachers, extension workers and health workers.

Osinbajo disclosed that additional 8,600 graduates had been pre-selected and would be engaged at the end of this month, therefore bringing the number of beneficiaries in the state to 11,000.

The Vice-President added that 10,664 beneficiaries from the state had also received micro-credit from the Federal Government of Nigeria under the SIP.

Another 10,688 people, he said, were benefitting from the Conditional Cash Transfers in the state by receiving a monthly benefit of N5,000.

“These have been done, as I said, because the President’s view is that we must not play politics with the health and welfare and prosperity of our people. No politicking.

“That is why despite the fact that this is not an APC state, all of these benefits have been given to these people, the indigenes of this state because they are Nigerians,” he said.

Osinbajo expressed the belief that if the candidate of the APC, Kayode Fayemi, was elected the state governor in the July 14 governorship election, the state would be better for it.

He said the country needed devoted and serious-minded people to be in the saddle.

“I want to say that nothing comes easy; you need people who are devoted, people who are serious-minded, dedicated to the work of improvement and development. That is what our country needs today.

Meanwhile, a  former president of the Nigeria Bar Association, Olisa Agbakoba, President-General, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, John Nwodo and Niger-Delta Activist, Anko Briggs, have taken a stand for restructuring.

The Publisher of Sahara Reporters,  Omoyele Sowore, will on June 28, join other speakers at the Voice of Reason leadership colloquium, on the  theme, ‘Restructuring: A Panacea For Justice and Peace of Nigeria, the Imperative for a People’s Constitution.’

According to a statement jointly signed by the Convener of the Group, Dr. Goke Omisore and the Chairman, Media and Publicity Committee, ‘Deji Osibogun, the programme will be chaired by Consultant Physician and Endocrinologist, as well as co-founder, Eko Hospitals, Dr Sunny Folorunso Kuku.

Other speakers expected at the event, which will hold at the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs, Victoria Island, Lagos, include Social Entrepreneur, Toyosi Akerele-Ogunsiji; Col. Tony Nyiam (retd.); son of a former Nigeria Prime Minister, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, Dr. Abdul Tafawa Balewa; International Trade and Investment Lawyer, Nathasha Akpoti and Secretary-General of Lower Niger Congress, Comrade Tony Nnadi.

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Oyo Female Gov Aspirant Seeks Alaafin’s Blessing

The Oyo State female governorship aspirant, Bolanle Aliyu, visited Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi,  to seek his blessing towards her 2019 governorship ambition.

Aliyu had earlier declared her interest to run for the 2019 governorship election.

Aliyu, while paying a courtesy visit to Oba Adeyemi, asked for his support in her political ambition.

Oba Adeyemi blessed and urged Aliyu not to be intimidated to do the wrong thing when she becomes the governor of Oyo State.

Also the Olori, Ramat Adeyemi, who expressed her joy, said the time for a change of mindset had come for women, adding that taking the back seat in politics had come to an end.

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APC Chairmanship: Oshiomhole Unopposed As Govs Head For Consensus

The All  Progressives Congress, APC, was last night putting finishing touches to tomorrow’s ‘coronation’ of Comrade Adams Oshiomhole as its new national chairman in the nation’s capital city that has been suffused in an air of political festivity.

The pathway to a rancour-free convention was being paved by meetings here and there by governors and other major stakeholders to reduce tension by political gladiators whose aspirations may have been underpinned by projecting their interests in the new national executive.

The focus of the meetings which were still on-going at press time, Vanguard gathered, was to ensure that a new executive is enthroned with as little rancour as possible. With security being tightened in all the major hotels in the capital city fully booked, it was no surprise that Abuja suburbs normally strange to the trappings of political entrepreneurs were yesterday having a new feel of entitlement to the political capital of the country with some of the hotels in the fringes raising their rates in anticipation of the influx. Ebri withdraws Oshiomhole’s triumph came after his only challenger for the office of national chairman, Mr. Clement Ebri stepped down from the contest. Ebri, a former governor of Cross River State forwarded a letter withdrawing from the contest to the National Convention Committee earlier, yesterday. He subsequently made his decision public in a press statement issued late yesterday. He said:  “I believe that those who occupy formal positions in the APC are the helmsmen of the Nigerian ship of state. What happens in the leadership of this country’s ruling party, the APC is directly responsible for whether we can deliver on our promises to our people to provide them with a new lease of life. This was the core conviction that drove me to declare my candidacy for this office in the first place,” he said. Ebri had some days ago told Vanguard that he was offering a non-combative leadership that would help steer the party towards drawing out the best from its men and women in government for the betterment of the society. Besides Ebri, there were also pressures, last night, to make many of the aspirants to step down ahead of  tomorrow’s national convention. It’s about conflict and resolution— Ajimobi Governor Abiola Ajimobi, Chairman of the media sub-committee of the National Convention Planning Committee, following an inspection of the convention ground at Eagles Square, yesterday gave an indication of the prospects of some candidates dropping out of the race after the meetings. “Politics is about conflict and resolution, today we are meeting the aspirants to interview them, there will be a give and take so that it will be a smooth operation on Saturday,” he said. However, at the end of one of the meetings between the Convention Planning Committee, and the aspirants at about 5.30 p.m. yesterday, there were no indications that any of the estimated 164 candidates screened to contest had dropped out. Governor Ajimobi was nevertheless, optimistic of a rancor-free convention, irrespective of the outcome of whether more candidates dropped out or not. “We are very happy about all the preparations, everything is in place, you can see what we call a very professional arrangement for tomorrow,” he said. Also speaking, former Governor of Zamfara, Sen. Ahmad Sani, who is the Chairman of the Convention Sub-committee for Accreditation, said the committee had commenced the screening and accreditation of delegates from the 36 states and Federal Capital Territory. He assured that delegates would be properly scrutinised before entering the convention venue. “We are going to put numbering and security code so that as soon as you come to the gate you are properly identified, screened and then you enter. “Even as they vote inside, you have another card that you present so you can be allowed to vote” he said. Govs bid to avoid chaotic convention At a meeting of the 24 APC governors, Wednesday night in Abuja, multiple sources informed Vanguard that the governors were concerned that some aspirants who do not have presidential backing for their bids could protest at the convention grounds and even stage a walkout. At the hours-long meeting which held at the Imo State Governor’s Lodge, the governors had midway into deliberations, invited the Directors of Administration and Organization of the party, Abdulahi Gashua and Abubakar Kyari respectively.  They came in at about  9:15pm clutching several party files. Also, Senator Binta Masi Garba, a member of the convention sub-committee on logistics; Sen. Uche Ekwunife, Abdulmumuni Jibrin and Senator John Eno were briefly present at the meeting. Aside Rochas Okorocha the host governor, other governors who attended the late-night meeting were Yahaya Bello (Kogi), Ahmed Abdulfatai (Kwara), Kashim Shettima of Borno, Samuel Ortom of Benue, Aminu Masari of Katsina, Jubrilla Bindow of Adamawa, Abubakar Badaru of Jigawa, Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo, Rauf Aregbesola of Osun, Godwin Obaseki of Edo, Ibrahim Gaidam of Yobe, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal of Sokoto, Simon Lalong of Plateau, Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo, Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano, Umar Tanko Almakura of Nasarawa, Yari of Zamfara, Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun,  and the deputy governors of Lagos and Kaduna. Briefing journalists at the end of the meeting, Jigawa State Governor, Mohammed Badaru Abubakar said rather than having the so-called “Unity List”, the governors resolved to go back to their zones and work out modalities for a consensus. Both the governors of Ogun, Ibikunle Amosun and Nasarawa, Umar Tanko al-Makura spoke in the same vein. “We met and discussed the convention. We still affirm that we will hold the Convention on June 23 and the governors are giving all the necessary support to make it successful, rancour-free and that we come out of the convention stronger”, Badaru said. On the purported unity list, he queried: “Is there any Unity List? What we ask is for the governors to meet at the zonal levels with the aspirants to see if we can reduce the number of people contesting the elections by consensus and it is accepted in our party but no list has been drawn yet. “It is not a list. It is to reduce the number by consensus. The meeting should be before Friday but it is not a list. “There is no list. There are offices where we have eight people contesting for an office, and there are some that we have unopposed, some two and so on. So, we will discuss with those where we have two contestants to see if one can step down for the other but where they do not agree, we go on with the elections.” On the final number of aspirants that have been disqualified, the Jigawa governor said the number was in the region of 15 and 16. “I think it is somewhere around 15 or 16 but I am not too sure because I do not have the data offhand but some of them have been screened out; most of them for the position of youth leader because of the age limitation.” The governor added that the convention committee was still awaiting the report of the Governor Okorocha-led screening appeal committee on the petitions written against the National Working Committee, NWC. According to him, “the screening appeal committee had looked at it and they will submit the report to the general committee to look at.” Amosun on his part simply said the APC will resolve all issues ahead if the convention. “You know we at APC, we have ways of sorting our matters out and I think that is ongoing”, he said. On the issue of Unity List, Amosun asked: “Is consensus not part of democracy? If 20 people are in a place and all of them are saying this is who we want, is that not democracy? We are not stopping anybody from contesting.” Also speaking, Almakura said the governors were working to ensure a hitch-free exercise that will produce competent party leaders that the nation would be proud of. “As a committed party member, I want to wish all the contestants across the country  a very good luck in this election and I want to call on all eligible delegates in the country to vote in people that will make the party proud in the discharge of their responsibilities when they emerge as leaders of this party. “As governors, we are talking to ourselves, to ensure we have a consensus so that the election will be rancour-free and will be for the betterment of the party. We are almost there but I do not want to let the cat out of the bag yet. I assure you, at the end of the day that, we will have a team that all of us as APC will be proud of”, he added. We’ll be at the convention  —nPDP Meanwhile, the New Peoples Democratic Party, nPDP, bloc in the party yesterday said that its members would attend the convention, according to the chairman, Alhaji Kawu Baraje, in a statement. Baraje, who had been leading other members of nPDP in consultations with APC leadership, returned Wednesday from Saudi Arabia where he had gone to perform the lesser Hajj. He emphasised that his group has no cause not to attend the convention. According to him: “We are looking forward to the Saturday convention, we will be at the convention and after that, we shall see how things unfold.” Baraje further explained that, as a member of the convention committee of the party, he attended a meeting once with other members of the committee but after that initial meeting, he had not been chanced to attend subsequent ones. Reacting to various issues, statements, reactions and counter reactions about the claims in some media that President Muhammadu Buhari is not interested in meeting with the members of the nPDP, Baraje said though, he was not privy to such statements the group or himself as the leader of the group , would not officially react now. “At the appropriate time, I will react. Definitely not now” he stressed. He further explained that when it is necessary for the presidency to invite them for discussion, talk or dialogue, they will invite the group as they are also waiting. Ignore nPDP’s antics — Adamu Also ahead of tomorrow’s National Convention, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Agriculture, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, APC, Nasarawa West, asked the leadership of the party to ignore what he described as antics of the new Peoples Democratic Party, nPDP. Senator Adamu, who hailed President Muhammadu Buhari for refusing to meet with the aggrieved members of the APC, said the group’s claim of marginalization and insistence on meeting with the President was to blackmail, intimidate and ambush him. In a statement yesterday in Abuja, the former Nasarawa State governor said it was good that the President did not interfere in the nPDP issue, since the matter was already receiving the attention of the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, and the leadership of the party. Senator Adamu said: “I belonged to the nPDP and as I had said before, there was nowhere we held a meeting to resurrect the group for the purpose of protesting alleged marginalization of our former members by the APC-led federal government. Apart from that, the basis of the group’s allegation is tenuous.” Adamu, who is the north central zone’s coordinator for Buhari’s presidential campaign, said the latest media report of President Buhari’s resolve not to interfere in the APC’s leadership meeting with the nPDP was a welcome development. He stated that President Buhari’s position that Vice President Osinbajo and the party leadership should interface with the nPDP was salutary to the supremacy of the APC. “While the antics of the so-called nPDP to portray the Buhari administration as being unfair to the group in its appointments are reprehensible, I commend the President’s governance style and his litany of progressive decisions that are in tandem with the collective aspirations of our party,’’ he said.

Breaking: I Was Compelled To Sign 2018 Budget, Says Buhari

…Berates NASS For Budget Cuts in Key Sectors of Economy …Set to Submit Supplementary Budget Soon


ABUJA – FINALLY, President Muhammadu Buhari has signed the 2018 N9.12 trillion Appropriation Bill into law in the absence of the Senate President Bukola Saraki and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara.


The budget was assented to by the President at exactly 12;05 noon at the mini conference room of the Presidential villa,Abuja Buhari while signing the budget said he was compelled to sign the budget not to keep the economy continuously on standstill. He berated the National Assembly for cutting the budget estimates, especially in key sectors which he said would have impacted more on the economy. He also indicated the interest to forward supplementary budget to the National Assembly to make up the figures that were cut by the lawkers. Details later…


Saraki, Dogara Absent As Buhari Signs 2018 Budget

SENATE President, Bukola Saraki and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara were absent as President Muhammadu Buhari signs the N9.12 trillion 2018 Appropriation Bill into law.

The signing of the budget took place in one of the President’s office, Presidential Villa Abuja. The Senate President was however represented by the Deputy Senate Leader, Bala Ibn N’Alla, while the Speaker of the House of Representatives was represented by the Chief Whip, Ado Dogowa.


FG Tightens Security At Airports, Borders Over ISIS Threat

Following reports that the Islamic State (ISIS) is sneaking extremists from Syria into Nigeria, the federal government has directed the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS), Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) and the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) to intensify security at the nation’s borders and the airports.

In a letter emanating from the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) dated May 25, 2018, with reference number: H. 150/5.9/56 and directed to Director General of NCAA, the Managing Director of FAAN and the Comptroller General of the NCS, the SGF said available reports revealed that Al-Abd al-Faqir Media, a pro-Islamic State of Iraq and Syria media outlet, on April 26, 2018, warned that ISIS plans to attack commercial flights and bring “bloodshed to the skies”.

With that notification from the SGF, the NCS on June 13, 2018 issued circular to all its commands with reference number: NCS/T&T/I&E/021/S.112 and directed that its officials should intensify the screening process of all passengers and luggage, including “other measures you may deem fit to forestall any potential breach as directed”.

The federal government therefore ordered for “rigorous vetting of airline personnel and screening of passengers as well as increased vigilance on restricted areas at the airports”.

THISDAY spoke with the General Manager, Corporate Affairs of FAAN, Mrs. Henrietta Yakubu, who said that in response to the new directive from the government, the agency had started taking proactive measures and had activated close-circuit television (CCTV) at the airside and terminals of major airports in the country.

Yakubu said: “We now ensure that those who are travelling must have their travelling documents and are allowed to be at the airports, and airport personnel are expected to have their on duty card (ODC) on them. Anyone that does not have such documents is thrown out of the airports.

“We have reinforced our security at the international airports both on passengers and on luggage. We have CCTV at the airside that is working 24 hours and we also have at the terminals. They are all working 24 hours. We also have joint military patrol team, the joint military task force that accompanies aircraft while taxiing to take off and on arrival. We ensure that we monitor every movement.”

However, a source from the agency expressed doubt that FAAN carries out regular profiling of its security personnel in order to avert insider threat.

“In the past, during orientation and retraining, FAAN profiles all the aviation security (AVSEC) personnel but these days you will just be in the office and someone will just bring a letter of employment as security staff. So I am not sure it still carries out profiling, which is very important,” the FAAN source said.

To avert breach of security, an aviation security expert and member of Aviation Round Table (ART), Group Captain John Ojikutu (rtd), Tuesday canvassed for integrated security system at the airport to reinforce security.

Ojikutu told THISDAY that apart from CCTV and physical surveillance, there should be continuous passenger education to ensure a tight airport environment, adding that many of the airports have porous access, which makes it difficult to ensure water tight security.



Buhari Not Bluffing nPDP, Awaits Final Briefing, says Presidency

The All Progressives Congress (APC) and the presidency moved swiftly Tuesday to deny media reports that President Muhammadu Buhari had called the bluff of the new Peoples Democratic Party (nPDP) bloc of the ruling party that had declared a dispute, claiming it had been marginalised in the prevailing power sharing arrangement.

Media reports Tuesday, not in THISDAY, had said the president had told off the nPDP, telling them to make do with the intervention of Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo or do their worst.

But the APC National Chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, told THISDAY Tuesday in a telephone interview that nothing of the sort happened and dismissed the reports as speculative and untrue.

“I read the story and it was clear to me that it was pure speculation. Absolutely no substance,” he said.

Oyegun’s assertion was backed by a top presidency official, who said emphatically that Buhari did not shun the aggrieved nPDP and was ready to personally listen to them and appease them.

“President Muhammadu Buhari did not call the bluff of the nPDP and is not contemplating doing so. Rather he has asked Vice President Osinbajo to continue the negotiation with the group and to forward any agreement and understanding reached for his final action,” the source said.

The presidential source told THISDAY Tuesday night that the president only preferred that the resolution of the grievances in the party be kick-started at state and party levels and from there, progress gradually to his level, when he would take final briefings on findings.

According to the source, what the president said was that while the meeting is still ongoing between the nPDP, party leaders and governors, he would not like to interfere until the necessary avenues are exhausted.

The source further stated that indeed talks with the group were progressing and had consequently moved from party and state levels to the presidency, being currently superintended over by the vice-president.

He added that the president was waiting to be briefed on findings at the end of the discussions, explaining that Buhari’s current decision was aimed at avoiding jumping into the ongoing process before it gets to his level.

He insisted that the president had no intention to snub anyone but only wanted to observe due process.

The source said: “Decision not to meet nPDP is to show respect for the party, and the governors who the president believe are party leaders in their various states. A process has begun, with the party talking to those feeling estranged. The meeting has risen to the level of the vice-president.

“This is expected to continue. At the culmination of these meetings, the president will obviously be briefed. Before that point is reached, the president will not meddle or interfere. The president expects that the due process should be observed in all situations and that is what he is doing.”

nPDP Unaware of Stonewalling

Also reacting Tuesday, a member of the nPDP, who is also the Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the APC, Mr. Timi Frank, said the group was unaware of the purported decision of the president to snub the group.

“There is nothing official, nobody has reached out to us,” he said, adding: “We don’t know the presidency position and there was no briefing on it.”

He added: “For our group, we are very firm, united and confident that anywhere we go that is where the presidency will go because we know we have the right leadership and numbers to swing victory to whichever place we go.”

According to Frank, “Nobody can call our bluff but if the presidency decides to do that so be it. For us, our resolve is unshakeable and we still stand by whatever position we have taken.”


FG Plans Western Rail Line To Cover 9 States, FCT— Amaechi

Minister of Transportation, Mr. Chibuike Amaechi, yesterday, said  Nigeria’s rail line would  cover Western corridor of the country traversing nine states and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja spanning a total of 1,402 kilometres.

Amaechi at the Forum of China-Africa Transportation Convention in Beijing, China entitled, ‘Better Transportation, Better World,’ yesterday, said the project would  be completed in 36 months as soon as the loan agreement was reached between Nigeria and China

The minister said: “This railline, a total of 1,402Km, which covers the Western corridor of Nigeria traverses nine states of our federation and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja and is expected to be completed within three years if the expected loan agreement with China EXIM Bank for co-financing is reached as expected.” On the Lagos-Kano railway project awarded to China Civil Engineering and Construction Company, CCECC, and co-financed by China EXIM Bank, Amaechi said the project will serve as an important distribution corridor between the major sea port of Lagos and the hinterlands. He noted that the investment and partnering were imperative in our cooperation with the Peoples Republic of China to strengthen Nigeria’s transport infrastructure and contribute towards building a competitive economy. “Nigeria is also partnering  other private sector investors, foreign and domestic, including the consortium led by the United States General Electric. “The successful realization of these projects and their operations will result in attainment of high level of intermodal transport system,” he said. The Ministry of Transportation recently signed the commercial contract for the remaining 901 Km Ibadan – Kano stretch and the associated branch lines from Oshogbo to Ado Ekiti, South West Nigeria following the completion of the first segment of the line, Abuja – Kaduna railway project of 186.5Km. Amaechi said that the completion of the Abuja-Kaduna project had tremendously improved citizen’s mobility between the important Northern commercial city of Kaduna and the Federal Capital, Abuja, adding that the project had been completed and commercial train operation has commenced since July, 2016 conveying close to a million passengers. While the construction of the second segment which is 162Km Lagos – Ibadan double track rail line is ongoing, Amaechi said that Nigerian Government and other African Governments had put effort at sourcing financiers for development of critical infrastructure especially its transport infrastructure – railways and ports.