Abuja – The Federal Executive Council (FEC) on Wednesday approved $9.5 million (or N255 million) for the procurement of a Search and Rescue Helicopter for the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA).
The Minister of Information, Mr Labaran Maku, stated this in Abuja while briefing State House Correspondents on the outcome of the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting which was presided over by President Goodluck Jonathan.
He said that the procurement of the helicopter, configured for Emergency Medical Ambulance Service, would enhance the activities of NEMA.
According to him, the country is vulnerable to such challenges as communal conflicts, ethnic/political and inter-religious skirmishes as well as other natural disasters that have bedeviled it recently, with attendant emergency issues requiring prompt response by the agency.
“This Helicopter which is Bell 429 DPIFR EMS Helicopter is procured directly from the manufacturers and it will cost the agency $9.524million dollars.
“We approved this because we need it and the agency told us that not only them but several of other para-military agencies including the Air Force, will be using the Helicopter in emergency cases.
“So, Council today, approved the procurement of this helicopter to save lives in times of emergencies.”
The Minister further told the Correspondents that the Council gave approval for an International Development Association Credit in support of the West Africa Agricultural Productivity Programme (WAAPP).
The WAAPP is a World Bank assisted project for member countries of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
The first stage of the project, WAAPP 1A commenced in June 2007, involving three countries namely, Ghana, Mali and Senegal.
Maku, however, revealed that the Council approved that Nigeria should participate in the phase 11, WAAPP 1B programme which would involve Nigeria, Cote d’Ivoire and Burkina Faso.
“We believe that joining this programme will help Nigeria also learn from the various methods and technology that is being applied as a back up to this World Bank project.
“So, today, Nigeria joined this programme and we asked the Ministry of Justice to sign the documents for Nigeria to be part of this programme.
“This, we approved and we believe this is going to help Nigeria greatly in our Agricultural Transformation Programme.”
The Minister also disclosed that the Council approved that Nigeria should contribute UC/UA 76,538,000 million calling-up of the second tranche and the increase in the authorized capital allocation to Nigeria by the ECOWAS Bank for investment and development (EBID).
He said that Nigeria was required to pay Units of Account over a period of three years (2011 to 2015) to the 2nd Capital Replenishment of EBID. (NAN)