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Osinbajo inaugurates, tasks new ministers on national development

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Acting President Yemi Osinbajo yesterday inaugurated Stephen Ocheni (Kogi) and Suleiman Hassan (Gombe) as ministers with a task to immediately join the cabinet in “the herculean task” of turning around the Nigerian economy, saying there’s no time to celebrate.

The Acting President did not announce their portfolios, but the duo immediately attended the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting after a photo session in the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

Ocheni replaces James Ocholi, former Minister of State for Labour who died in a road accident in 2016, while Hassan replaces Amina Mohammed who left Nigeria’s public service to assume responsibility at the United Nations (UN) headquarters.

After the inauguration, Osinbajo urged them to specifically focus attention on government’s economic recovery plan and “those key areas where things need to be done to make a difference in the Nigerian economy.

According to the Acting President, aside from the economy, the government was also focused on two key areas of security and ‎the anti-corruption fight, which, he noted are the centre pieces of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration.

While congratulating the two new ministers and expressing optimism in their capacity to deliver in the tasks that will be assigned to them, he ‎urged them to put in more efforts in realizing the administration’s campaign promises saying “the only reward is more hard work.”

Meanwhile, the Federal Government has ratified an earlier approval of N4.13 billion for the emergency repairs carried out via a presidential order on the deteriorating Apapa-Wharf road in Lagos.

The government during its Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting presided over by Acting President Yemi Osinbajo yesterday also ratified the emergency palliative to patch the 165km Abuja-Kaduna expressway worth N1.58 billion.

The palliative followed the closure of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport runway, Abuja, which necessitated diversion of traffic to Kaduna. Briefing State House Correspondents, Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, said the Apapa-Wharf road project was facilitated through a public, private partnership arrangement following a recent presidential order to arrest it’s deterioration as a result of pressure.

The Minister explained that the Abuja-Kaduna highway was repaired under an anticipatory presidential approval as prescribed under the law for emergencies works. Council also gave the nod for the ministry of finance to access a N3.38 billion loan for the Plateau State government to facilitate massive production of Irish potatoes in 17 local council of the state.

Also, a delegation of the National Peace Committee for the 2015 General Elections headed by former Head of State General Abdulsalami Abubakar (rtd), yesterday, met behind closed doors with Acting President Yemi Osinbajo at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

The meeting which lasted about two hours had in attendance the former Nigerian Ambassador to the United Nations, Professor Ibrahim Gambari; the African Bishop of Abuja, Bishop Nicolas Okoh; the Catholic Bishop of Abuja, John Cardinal Onaiyekan and the Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Sokoto, Hassan Mattew Kukah.

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