By Daniel Idonor
ABUJA â€” THE weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting presided over by President Umaru Yarâ€™Adua yesterday approved about N2.7 billion for procurement of a Bell 412 EP armoured helicopter with accessories and back up spare parts and 58 units of BMW motorbikes for the Nigeria Police Force for effective policing of the country.
The government has said it has the capacity to generate about 5,000 Mega Watts of electricity but again blamed the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), other gas producing companies in the country for the non-availability of gas to power the turbines.
Briefing State House correspondents after the meeting, Minister of Police Affairs, Ibrahim Lame, joined by Dora Akunyili, Minister of Information and Communications; Ibrahim Bio, Minister of Transport; Lanre Babalola, Minister of Power; and Ikra Bilbis, Minister of State for Information and Communications, said the approval was given to strengthen the aerial surveillance capacity of the Force.
Babalola who lamented that Nigeria has not invested anything tangible in the power sector in the last 20 years noted that investment only began about eight years ago, adding that the country was being hindered from distributing the 5,000 mw due to the non-availability of gas.
According to Lame, the helicopter was the first of its kind in the country, saying it would be fitted with a gun and other sophisticated equipment that would enhance the policing capacity of the Force.
The council at yesterdayâ€™s meeting also approved the procurement of a set of telescopic railway crane of 100 tons capacity at a cost of N1, 174, 824,000.00 million with 48 weeks delivery period.
Bio said the move was aimed at revamping the railway sector, stressing: â€œOne of the strategies for revamping railways operation is to rehabilitate and replace dilapidated equipment, wagons, coaches and others.â€
Other approvals by the council were N930 million for the implementation of the first phase of the Ministry of Foreign Affairsâ€™ global communication network project and the N3, 419,390.15 for the removal of wrecks and derelicts within the Lagos port.
Akunyili said the communications project was designed to interconnect the ministryâ€™s headquarters in Abuja with 16 Nigerian missions abroad and between the missions.
She said the project when completed would enhance the ministryâ€™s capacity to communicate promptly, efficiently and effectively through the provision of modern communication system, which she said was a necessity for the attainment of Nigeriaâ€™s foreign policy objectives.