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Ogun Govt Signs MoU On Urban Renewal, Public Transportation With Britain

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The Ogun State Government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Britain as parts of efforts to bring urban renewal and public transportation up to speed The MoU will cover modern strategies to be put in place to accommodate the expected population explosion in the state and to address its effect on public infrastructure, especially, transportation.

The Secretary to the State Government, Mr. Tokunbo Talabi, who signed on behalf of the State Government and a Counsellor and head of Future Cities Programme of the British High Commission in Nigeria, Guy Harrison, agreed that it has become expedient to be futuristic.

The partnership drive between the Ogun State and the British government is captured under a programme called “Future Cities Nigeria”, a UKAID-funded urban renewal programme. It has a timeline of three years.

According to the programme outline, UK will provide support for the Ogun State transport sector.

The British Government will also fast track housing and urban development in Ogun, which is currently facing the challenge of absorbing spillover of the population explosion in Lagos State.

Speaking at the MOU signing ceremony held at the Governor’s Office in Abeokuta, Mr. Talabi commended the initiative, saying it would complement the various efforts of the state government in its desire to plan for a common prosperous future for the people of the state and for physical infrastructure.

Talabi noted that the present administration was duly committed to providing the enabling environment for such partnerships to thrive seamlessly.

“We thank the British Government and the Future Cities Nigeria for these laudable initiatives targeted at planning towards the future in Ogun State. This level of support cannot be diminished because the Prince Dapo Abiodun led-administration is determined to change the narrative on how things are being done,” he said.

These, he said, can be seen in the various interventions of the state government in road rehabilitation efforts, the security of lives and property, as well as the ease of doing business strategies amongst many others.

“Our desire is to make Ogun State, a place where you could live peacefully, and work prosperously for the future” he noted.

Mr. Talabi reassured the partners that the present government would not just pay lip service to governance issues, but would continue to accelerate even development and stimulate rapid investments within the state through workable collaborations with Lagos State.

“Part of our effort in this direction is beginning to bear fruits with the setting up of the Lagos-Ogun Joint Development Commission. It is meant to accelerate inter-state collaboration. We are already intensifying effort on road rehabilitation, provision of potable water supply, amongst many other initiatives still in the offing,” he added.

The State chief scribe thereafter reassured the partners of government’s commitment towards the realisation of the project in the state for the well-being of the entire populace.

On his part, Mr. Harrison, who is the leader of the British Deputy High Commission in Lagos, said that the team was in the State to support the policies of the Prince Dapo Abiodun-led administration in order to fully maximise all the benefits of urban renewal and transportation available.

He promised that the support of the British Government for urban renewal and public transportation in the State would be total. The primary focus, he noted, would be to develop the capacity of the people and the state at large.

“The British High Commission is extremely delighted with the State government on the various policies on sustainable development, job creation, poverty reduction and many others targeted at giving the people a new lease of livelihood,” he added.

Also, the Team Lead for the Future Cities programme, Mr. Simon Gusah, underscored the importance of planning as a prerequisite to nation building.

He said there was an urgent need for government at all levels to start planning for future challenges ahead, noting that the initiative was predicated on inclusive prosperity for all.

Mr. Gusah contended that the programme represents a catalytic intervention aimed at leveraging international and British expertise towards improving trade and investments between Nigeria and the rest of the world.

He asserted that the programme has the potential to facilitate additional finance and improved opportunities for international and UK businesses in Ogun State.

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BREAKING: 28 Family Members Die In Bauchi Auto Crash

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No fewer than 28 persons said to be members of the same family were reportedly burnt beyond recognition in a fatal auto crash that occurred on the Bauchi-Ningi federal highway in Bauchi State.

The crash, we gathered, occurred in the early hours of Thursday.

Speaking to our correspondent in a telephone interview, a relation of the victims, Abdullahi Yamadi, confirmed the incident and described it as “very sad.”

Yamadi, who is the Secretary, North-West Zone of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, said the deceased were all his relatives.

He said they were on their way to Yola, Adamawa State when the incident occurred.

He told The PUNCH: “Yes, the accident is true and all of the deceased are my relatives.

“They were traveling to Yola, Adamawa State, for a visit when the unfortunate incident happened.

“You know, after the harvest and at seasons like this, people travel to visit loved ones resident in different places; and that was where they were going to.

“They left Dutsinma, Katsina State, and they had left Jigawa State and were within Bauchi State when their vehicle had a head-on collision with another vehicle.

“They were 29 in the vehicle and all of them died except the driver, who survived.

“This is very sad news and very pathetic for 28 people from the same family to die in an accident in one day.

“It is really sad.”

The Bauchi Police Command has yet to make an official pronouncement on the incident.

Details later…

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Human Rights Abuses: Stop Interfering In Our Affairs; Mind Your Business, Presidency Tells U.S. UK, EU

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A Nigerian presidential spokesperson on Wednesday warned the United States, the United Kingdom, and the European Union to stop interfering in Nigeria’s affairs, especially on the issue of human rights abuses.

This warning was issued by Femi Adesina, spokesperson to President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday while reacting to reports from the EU, UK and the U.S. that Nigeria has a high record of human rights abuses.

He reacted during an interview on Channels TV “Politics Today” programme.

Mr Adesina explained that Nigeria is a sovereign nation and “will not be bothered about the reports from the foreign countries.”

Invasion

Speaking on the invasion of court by operatives of the State Security Services (SSS) to re-arrest the Publisher of SaharaReporters, Omoyele Sowore, last Friday, he said: “We are not answerable to the U.S., the UK or the EU.”

“We are Nigeria, a sovereign country. Those countries and entities have issues of their own. Let them deal with their issues. Let Nigeria also deal with her internal issues. We are not answerable to them.”

Mr Adesina, a two-term president of the Nigerian Guild of Editors, however, said he would respect the opinion of Nobel Laureate, Wole Soyinka “than that of any foreign nation or commentators”.

“We respect Professor Soyinka. You don’t have too many of them in the country or even on the continent. He is an avatar, and he is well respected, but his opinion will remain his opinion. It will be considered and if there are things to act on, we will act on them,” he disclosed.

Some lawmakers from the UK and the U.S. have called for the release of Mr Sowore but the federal government has rebuffed this.

Apart from Mr Sowore, the Nigerian government is also illegally detaining many others including a former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki and the Shiite leader, Ibrahim El Zakzaky.

The presidency also described the opinions of those calling for the release of those ‘illegally’ detained as “that of a few Nigerians”.

“Genuine issues will be looked into. We have had instances in which the government had to reverse itself because there were concerns raised,” Mr Adesina said. “It shows that the government is responsive but you cannot listen to a babble of voices. It will distract you from what you are doing.”

Responding to allegations that he stopped being a journalist after taking up the job to be Mr Buhari’s media adviser, Mr Adesina said: “I am still in the media. It is just that the roles are a bit reversed. When I am done with the government by the grace of God, I will still return to the media,” he said.

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Passenger Slumps, Dies At Lagos Airport

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A passenger, identified as Chukwuma Anthony Ezeh, on Wednesday slumped and died at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos.

An official source at the MMIA arrival terminal told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the passenger slumped on arrival from China and died while waiting to collect his luggage

Ezeh, according to information on his passport, was 47 years old at the time of the incident.

The spokesperson of the Police MMIA Command, DSP Joseph Alabi, who confirmed the incident to NAN at about 9.25 p.m. on Wednesday, said the passenger came on board Ethiopian Airlines.

Read Also; NAF, Edo partner to safeguard night-landing facilities at Benin Airport
According to him, the incident happened at about 3:15 p.m. and the deceased was confirmed dead at the MMIA Clinic.

“While walking at the arrival hall the man slumped and died,” he said.

Alabi added that Ezeh’s corpse had been deposited at the Air Force Base Hospital mortuary.

(NAN)

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