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200 Days: Lagos Govt Unveils Plans For 4th Mainland Bridge, Other Projects

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Lagos State Government, on Sunday, gave an account of the progress recorded in the last 200 days of the Babajide Sanwo-Olu administration.

Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Gbenga Omotoso, during an interactive session with journalists, said the State Government will be hosting a live ceremony on Wednesday, to announce prospective firms that meet up deadlines for the Expression of Interest, which will lead to the selection of preferred bidders, for the construction of Fourth Mainland Bridge.

Omotoso added that “the Government will be announcing the Expressionaires at the ceremony, which will officially set a process in motion to realize the project.”

The Commissioner said the current administration had beamed a special focus on infrastructure, traffic management, and transportation, with the aim to reduce the pain residents go through due to gridlocks.

He said Lagos Government had sustained its “aggressive response” to rehabilitating bad roads across the metropolis to ease vehicular movement, noting that about 116 deplorable highways were currently being reconstructed by eight multi-national construction firms deployed by the Government.

The Sanwo-Olu administration, Omotoso said, introduced Public Infrastructure Improvement Partnership (PIIP) as a strategy to improve the state of infrastructure by signing agreements with banks and other private financial institutions to embark on rehabilitation of adopted roads as Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).

He said: “I boldly state, here, that the THEMES Agenda of the Sanwo-Olu Government is on course and will be achieved. The speed of project implementation has now increased, especially since the first 100 days. The intensity is going according to the plan, which is to apply the right treatment at the right time to achieve the desired level of service.

“The government is leveraging the private sector, which controls about 80 percent of the State’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), as crucial in the government’s drive to bridging the infrastructure gap and building the smart city of our dream. Access Bank is partnering with the State Government in the upgrading of a network of roads in Oniru under PIIP arrangement.

“To further bring relief to our people, we will be setting the process in place for the construction of Fourth Mainland Bridge. Next Wednesday is the final day for the submission of Expression of Interest; we will be unveiling the process that will lead to the realization of the project on the day.”

Omotoso said the Government had doubled the resources committed to education and healthcare to boost human capital.

Apart from the 149-bed space Maternal and Childcare Centre (MCC) completed in Alimosho, the Commissioner said the Sanwo-Olu administration would be delivering two additional MCCs in Badagry and Epe in the coming weeks.

Omotoso said the Government remained committed to using skill acquisition as a tool of empowerment, stressing that 4,885 youths had graduated from the State’s 17 Skill Acquisition Centres located in all the five divisions of Lagos.

The Commissioner said the State Government had increased funding for schools across level, disclosing that the administration had deployed technology to strengthen the output from the State-owned schools.

He said: “In line with our promise, the rehabilitation of public schools has begun, following the inauguration of a Special Committee for the purpose. No fewer than 5,000 primary school teachers will be trained to complete the three-pronged education strategy of fixing the infrastructure, fixing the curriculum and fixing the manpower through recruitment, training and development of teachers.

“Giving credence to our policy to promote a Smart City with technology, this administration organized the Art of Technology Lagos where Governor Sanwo-Olu announced a N250m grant for tech start-ups to encourage our young ones to build their fantastic ideas.”

In the last 200 days, Omotoso said the Sanwo-Olu administration had kept its promise not to discontinue projects inherited from the immediate past administration. He said the Government had revived a number of unfinished and abandoned projects, listing completion of Alhaji Lateef Jakande Housing Estate in Igando and reconstruction of Adiyan Waterworks Phase II and Imota Rice Mill as some of the State-owned projects being revived by the current administration.

On security, Omotoso said the Sanwo-Olu administration had kept its pledge to holding the yearly Town Hall Meeting on Security. The improvement in the support received by the Lagos State Security Trust Fund (LSSTF), the Commissioner said, had strengthened the capacity of the State to respond to security breaches on time.

While admitting the Government was working hard to fulfill its campaign promises, Omotoso said the next 100 days would be eventful for the administration, as more welfare projects would be delivered.

“The summary of achievements so far is by no means exhaustive and we shall continue to engage with stakeholders to inform the public of developments in our dear State,” Omotoso said.

In his own part, Commissioner for Transportation, Dr. Fredric Oladehinde, said there would be strict enforcement of the State’s Traffic Law, which banned commercial motorcycles from major roads. He added that payment of toll at tollgates on Ikoyi and Lekki axes would be electronic from January 4, 2020.

Commissioner for Housing, Hon. Moruf Akinderu-Fatai said the state would be completing more housing scheme in the coming weeks

Others State Executive Council members at the event included the Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, Hon. Idris Salako, his counterpart in Special Duties, Hon. Wale Ahmed, Special Adviser on Works and Infrastructure, Engr. Aramide Adeyoye, and Special Adviser on Transportation, Hon. Toyin Fayinka.

BIG STORY

JUST IN: Orji Uzor Kalu Regains Freedom, Leaves Kuje Prison[PHOTO]

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Barely 24 hours after the Federal High Court sitting in Lagos ordered his release, Senate Chief Whip, and former Abia State governor, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu, has regained freedom after six months of incarceration.

He stepped out of Kuje Correctional Centre this evening after the completion of his release formalities.

The court had transmitted the judgment as well as Warrant of Release duly signed by Justice Liman to the authorities of Kuje Correctional Centre, Abuja this morning to facilitate the senator’s freedom.

Justice Liman of the Federal High Court, Lagos had on Tuesday ordered the immediate release of Kalu. He also set aside the trial, conviction, and sentence of the former governor to 12 years imprisonment on December 5, 2019, in accordance with the earlier ruling of the Supreme Court.

In his ruling, Justice Liman ordered Kalu’s immediate release from prison as well as set aside the earlier trial and order given by Justice MB Idris that Slok Nigeria Limited be wound up and its assets forfeited to Federal Government.

Kalu had gone to court asking for his release in line with the Supreme Court’s judgment last month nullifying his trial and conviction.

The Supreme Court had ruled that since Justice Idris was elevated to the Court of Appeal, he had no jurisdiction to have concluded Kalu’s trial.

The apex court therefore nullified the conviction and ordered a retrial.

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BIG STORY

#JusticeForBarakat: 18-Year-Old Undergraduate ‘Gang-Raped’, Murdered In Ibadan

Gbemileke Ajayi

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An 18-year-old girl, identified as Bello Barakat, was reportedly gang-raped and murdered by unknown men in Ibadan, Oyo state capital.

The incident was said to have occurred on Tuesday in the Akinyele area of Ibadan, Oyo state.

It was gathered that her dad found her dead body around their home after her body was examined, they discovered that she was raped, then she got murdered.

Bello Barakat, aged 18, was a year one student of the Federal College of Animal Health and Production in Ibadan.

It was gathered that she has been buried according to Islamic rites.

Meanwhile, the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) Southwest, zone D has demanded justice for the deceased who was assaulted and murdered.

Her death has continued to attract outrage nationwide as Nigerians have taken to social media to express their displeasure over the rising cases of Rape in Nigeria with the hashtag #JusticeforBarakat.

Recall that Ms Omozuwa, a 100 level Microbiology student of the University of Benin, was assaulted inside a hall in the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), Ikpoba Hill, Benin City on May 13, where she went to study.

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BIG STORY

COVID-19: If You’re 55 And Above, Avoid Mosques, Churches For Now —- FG

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The Federal Government on Tuesday gave an advisory to Nigerians saying “If you are 55 years old and above, avoid churches and mosques’.

Those with health conditions such as diabetes, cancer, HIV, among others, are also enjoined to stay at home to worship, the government added.

It noted that the advice was necessary because places of worship have been recognised as a major avenue of the potential spread of Coronavirus.

The government stated this through the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 Control. It released the guidelines for states to follow in discussions with religious leaders before the reopening of churches and mosques for worshippers.

The government said the protocols made available would be the baseline which the states are not expected to go below while firming up an agreement with religious leaders.

Nigerians have been pressuring the government to reopen worship centres in spite of the spike in COVID-19 positive cases, leading to easing of restrictions on religious centres.

The PTF National Coordinator, Dr. Aliyu Sani, who announced the guidelines said religious centres should keep a record of attendees.

Dr. Sani said this would allow for contact tracing in the case of virus spread.

He urged worshippers experiencing common symptoms of COVID-19 to stay away from churches and mosques.

He said: “We are strongly advising vulnerable individuals such as those with underlying conditions like diabetes, cardiovascular disease, HIV, cancer and those above the age of 55 years to please stay at home and consider remote participation or non-contact attendance.

“When we look at the death rate for persons who have died from COVID-19 in Nigeria, the case fatality rate; more than half of those that died were above the age of 50.

“Secondly, the case fatality rate if you are above the age of 50, is 17 per cent. If you are above the age of 55, it is 18 per cent. It is almost a one in five chances of dying if you catch COVID-19 and you fall within that group.

“Worshippers should be reminded not to attend in person if experiencing common symptoms of COVID-19, including fever, cough and shortness of breath or have had close contact with an infected person in the last 14 days.

“All worshippers noted to have a temperature or are symptomatic should be turned back and not allowed admission.

“Places of worship should ideally keep up to date record of their staff including contact details and if possible, a record of attendees of church services for instance or an even small mosque to enable contact tracing in the event that somebody comes up positive.

“Considering the dangers posed by the pandemic, we strongly recommend that religious visits to homes by religious clerics should be discouraged.”

The national coordinator said: “It is important to note that due to the nature of religious congregations, places of worship are particularly recognised to have a major potential for spreading COVID -19 infection among worshippers and this has been clearly demonstrated in several outbreaks globally linked to religious gatherings.

“Places of worship that are unable to comply with these measures should not be allowed to operate by state governments.

“Churches are to open from 5 am and close by 8 pm. Each service should be for a maximum of one hour with an interval of 20 minutes in-between services to allow time for disinfection.”

He said the task force will not hesitate to shut down religious centres if they fail to comply with the protocols developed for their reopening.

“These guidelines provide a baseline for the states to then develop their own policies specific to their areas depending on the prevalence of COVID-19, depending on whether or not people are likely to follow and comply fully.

“But we will be reviewing these guidelines from time to time and we will definitely review them if it looks like we are having issues with regards to this relaxation and I plead with the public to understand with us but more importantly, continue to stay safe.

“It is better to stay at home and worship than to go into a place of worship,” he emphasised.

Sani reminded Nigerians of the dangers posed by the virus, noting that now is not the time to relax measures against the pandemic.

“Let me make some clarifications because I understand there has been a lot of concern nationwide about the opening of places of worship.

“There is no doubt that COVID-19 is still around, there is no doubt that it is safer for you to stay at home and there is also no doubt that it is safer for you to worship at home.

“The PTF is providing safety advisory or guidance in the event that you need to upgrade your spiritual needs and you cannot do it at home but we are not making recommendations that people should go to places of worship but if they chose to, we are providing advisory to enable them to do so safely.

“COVID-19 has not gone away. You only need to look at the numbers. We are in the exponential stage of the illness. We have moved as a country right up to the third position in Africa and because of our population, we could also move to the second position or even the first.

“So now is the time to continue to take precautionary measures. Now is not the time to relax. I hope I have made that clear.

“In view of the widespread community transmission of COVID -19, it is important that places of worship operate in a safe manner to ensure the protection of public health, avoid outbreaks and safeguard the health of vulnerable members of the population.”

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