President Muhammadu Buhari, on Saturday, commissioned a number of projects in Nasarawa State, one of which is the Federal Secretariat, Lafia, which he named after the Emir of Lafia, Justice Sidi Dauda Bage, a retired Justice of the Supreme Court.
The President also named the Conference Room at the Secretariat, which sits on 10.9 hectares of land, after Maimuna Joyce Katai, another citizen of the Nasarawa State.
According to a statement issued by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, the President noted that the honour to the two Nasarawa State indigenes; Justice Bage and the Late Katai, was in recognition of their contribution to national development.
Before attending the APC Party Presidential Campaign rally at Lafia Square, the President also commissioned the Agricultural Machinery and Equipment Development Institute of the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI) and the Sadami Street road, executed by the Nasarawa State Government.
Paying homage to the Emir of Lafia, President 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 visits.
The President was accompanied by the party’s presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, his running mate, Senator 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,’’ President Buhari wrote in the visitors’ book.
Governor Abdullahi Sule, who thanked the President for inaugurating Federal and State projects, noted that 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 primary school pupils kidnapped recently at Alwaza, a community in Doma Local Government Area, in the State have been rescued.
‘‘We didn’t pay any ransom for their safe return,’’ the governor said.
Governor 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.
Commending the Federal Government’s commitment to infrastructure, the governor described Oweto bridge and the second Nigeria Bridge as signature projects of this administration that will impact positively on 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, Professor Mohammed Sani Haruna, told the President that the newly inaugurated edifice was built in six months.
He toured the Lafia Institute, equipped with modern laboratories and machines for mechanized farming and agricultural development.
The President had approved the establishment of six Agricultural Machinery and Equipment Development Institutes, one per 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 December 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 September 8, 2022.
The Secretariat will accommodate over 2000 staff from several Ministries, Departments and Agencies, who have already indicated interest in moving into the facility when commissioned.