By Ismaila Chafe
President Muhammadu Buhari has inaugurated the Federal Secretariat, Lafia, Nasarawa State, naming the edifice situated on 10.9 hectares of land after Justice Sidi Bage, a retired Justice of the Supreme Court and the Emir of Lafia.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the president also named the Conference Room at the Secretariat after late Maimuna Katai, another eminent citizen of the State.
He said that the recognition of the two Nasarawa State indigenes, Bage and Katai, was in appreciation of their sterling contributions to national development.
Before attending the APC presidential campaign rally at Lafia Square, the president also inaugurated the Agricultural Machinery and Equipment Development Institute of the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI).
He also inaugurated the Sadami Street road, executed by the Nasarawa State Government before paying homage to the Emir of Lafia.
Buhari thanked the first-class traditional ruler for always welcoming him to his palace, noting that in the last eight years, he had lost count on the number of such warm visits.
Buhari was accompanied by the party’s presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, his running mate, Sen. Kashim Shettima, the Senate President, Ahmed Lawan, APC National Chairman, Abdullahi Adamu, APC Governors and party stalwarts.
‘‘Thank you very much Your Highness for the affection Lafia and the entire people of Nasarawa State have shown to me always.
‘‘I congratulate you on the rapid transformation of the city. Once more, I wish to express my gratitude and appreciation for the hospitality I have always enjoyed during my visits,’’ the president wrote in the visitors’ book.
Gov. Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa State, who thanked the president for inaugurating the federal and state projects, said the NASENI Institute would transform agricultural production in the country.
He also lauded the president’s support towards education, health delivery and increased security in the state, saying that the remaining four pupils kidnapped recently at Alwaza, a community in Doma Local Government Area, in the State had been rescued.
‘‘We didn’t pay any ransom for their safe return,’’ the governor said.
Sule declared that the 2.2km Loko-Oweto Bridge and link roads between Benue and Nasarawa States would be formally inaugurated by the President in March.
While commending the Federal Government’s commitment to infrastructure development, the governor described Oweto bridge and the 2nd Nigeria bridge as signature projects that would bolster Nigeria’s economic development.
The Emir of Lafia thanked the president for naming the Federal Secretariat after him and his unflinching support toward the development of the State.
On Tinubu, the retired Justice of the Supreme Court said:
‘‘ I have known him for many years since my days in Lagos State at the Court of Appeal, we saw what he did, his transformational agenda in the State.
”We are waiting for that for our nation. We know you can do it, you have the capacity to transform this nation.’’
Earlier at the Agricultural Institute, the Executive Vice Chairman/Chief Executive of NASENI, Prof. Mohammed Sani told the president that the edifice was built in six months.
He toured the Lafia Institute, equipped with modern laboratories and machines for mechansed farming and agricultural development.
The president had approved the establishment of six Agricultural Machinery and Equipment Development Institutes, one per each geopolitical zone of the country.
At the Federal Secretariat, the Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, acknowledged the support of the president, the State Government and the National Assembly in making the project a reality.
According to official figures from the Ministry of Works and Housing, the contract for the project was awarded to M/S Falpins Nigeria Limited on Dec. 9, 2011 at the original sum of N2.3 billion.
It was revised to N3.1 billion in August 2020 and ‘practically completed’ and taken over by the Ministry on Sept. 8, 2022.
The Secretariat will accommodate over 2000 staffers from several Ministries, Departments and Agencies, who have already indicated interest in moving into the facility when inaugurated. (NAN)