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BIG STORY

It’s Official! Biden Appoints Nigerian-Born Adewale Adeyemo As US First Black Deputy Treasury Secretary

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US President-elect Joe Biden on Monday formally appointed Nigerian-born Adewale Adeyemo as the Deputy Treasury Secretary.

Biden also tapped ex-Federal Reserve chair, Janet Yellen, to lead the Treasury.

“It’s official! Wale Adeyemo becomes the first-ever Nigerian American Deputy Secretary of the US Treasury, in the history of the country!! Congrats to Wale,” the Chairman of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), Abike Dabiri-Erewa tweeted on Monday, confirming the appointment of the former senior international economic adviser during the Obama administration.

AFP reports that Adeyemo, a former deputy national security advisor and current president of the Obama Foundation non-profit, would be the first African-American in that role.

If confirmed by the Senate, Yellen, 74, will be the first female Treasury head in its history, and likely be tasked with breaking the deadlock over aid in Washington, should lawmakers not come to an agreement before Biden’s January inauguration.

“We face great challenges as a country right now. To recover, we must restore the American dream — a society where each person can rise to their potential and dream even bigger for their children,” Yellen tweeted.

“As Treasury Secretary, I will work every day towards rebuilding that dream for all.”

Other officials announced on Monday include veterans of former president Barack Obama’s administration, several of which the Biden transition team noted would break racial barriers in their positions.

“As we get to work to control the virus, this is the team that will deliver immediate economic relief for the American people during this economic crisis and helps us build our economy back better than ever,” Biden said in a statement.

Biden’s other nominations include Neera Tanden, president of liberal think tank Center for American Progress, as head of the Office of Management and Budget. If confirmed, she would be its first South Asian head.

Also tapped was Dean of the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs, Cecilia Rouse, as chair of the Council of Economic Advisors, the first African American in that post.

Adeyemo graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, with a bachelor’s of arts, before moving to Yale Law School, where he bagged his Juris Doctor for further studies in specialized law.

While at Yale, he was the co-director of, project on law and education for the university.

Before his appointment as the President of Obama Foundation, Adeyemo was the deputy chief of staff at the department of the treasury, a position he held for three years.

He has served in various positions at the treasury, including senior advisor to the chief of staff and deputy executive secretary.

Adeyemo also worked as the chief of staff at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau from 2010 to 2011.

He was an editor for the Hamilton Project at the Brookings Institution from 2008 to 2009.

BIG STORY

Killer Juice: Don’t Take Products Not Approved By NAFDAC, Lagos Warns Residents

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The Lagos State Commissioner for Information, Mr Gbenga Omotoso, on his part, advised residents to check the expiry dates of the products they consumed.

Omotoso, in an interview with one of our correspondents, also urged residents of the state not to consume products that were not certified by NAFDAC.

Reacting to the story of the sales of expired citric acid powdered drinks in Kano State, the commissioner said the state consumer protection agency would not allow the ‘killer drink’ to be sold in the state.

He said, “We have a consumer protection agency saddled with the responsibility of curbing fake products and prosecuting people selling such.

“People must watch out for expiry dates on the products they consume and they have to ensure that such products are NAFDAC approved.”

Omotoso also assured residents of the state that there was no need to panic about the ‘killer drink.’

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10 Dead, 400 Hospitalized After Drinking ‘Killer Fruit Juice’ In Kano

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The Kano State Government on Thursday said 10 people had died and 400 others hospitalized after drinking a poisonous fruit juice.

The state government had month said the poisonous fruit juice claimed three lives and led to the hospitalization of 183 others.

The state Commissioner for Health, Dr Aminu Tsanyawa, in a video recording made available to journalists in Kano on Thursday, stated that out of 400 people hospitalized, 50 persons were undergoing treatment for kidney-related ailments.

As the Kano State Government gave an update on the killer drink, Lagos, Katsina, Cross River, Sokoto, and Osun state governments urged residents to be vigilant before consuming any fruit drink.

Although they urged residents not to panic, they advised them to check the expiry dates of drinks.

The Kano State Commissioner for Health had at a press conference in Kano on March 16 said the outbreak spread to 13 local government areas of the state.

The state ministry of health said the affected patients showed symptoms such as bloody urine, fever, lethargy, and sometimes yellowness of the eyes (jaundice).

On Thursday, Tsanyawa urged residents to be vigilant when consuming any fruit juice during the ongoing Ramadan to avoid catastrophic consequences.

The commissioner stated, “As you are aware, the ministry of health had in the recent past announced the outbreak of a strange disease traceable to the consumption of a substandard drink.

“The consumption of this fake and substandard product has telling effects on the kidney and other vital organs of the body.

“Due to excessive heat that coincides with Ramadan, there is a possibility for high patronage of juices; I want to use this opportunity to caution residents to be on the watch-out.”

Kano has over the past couple of weeks been battling with an outbreak of a strange disease that has further stretched the health challenges of the state.

Thursday’s update by the health commissioner came after a major breakthrough by the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control’s arrest of the suspects behind selling the Kano killer drink.

The Public Relations Officer of the ministry, Hajiya Hadiza Namadi, in an interview with The PUNCH on Thursday, said the video on the update of the incident was meant to further warn residents against taking the killer drink, traders were still selling in the state.

NAFDAC) had last week explained that it found out that the chemical added to the drink that led to the death of three persons contained ‘Hyroxylamine,’ used for terrorism.

The regulatory agency disclosed that all the merchants of the deadly chemicals and additives had been apprehended while further investigations were ongoing.

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BIG STORY

Sanwo-Olu Performs Ground Breaking Ceremony Of Lagos Rail Mass Transit Red Line Project [PHOTOS]

Peter Okunoren

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History was made today (Thursday) in Lagos, with Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu breaking the ground for the construction of the 37-km Rail Mass Transit Red Line, which will traverse from Agbado to Marina, moving more than one million commuters daily.

The rail corridor will be constructed in three phases. The first phase (Agbado-Iddo), which will be completed in 24 months, will be sharing the track with the Federal Government’s Lagos-Ibadan Railway Modernisation Project up to Ebute – Metta. It will have its dedicated track from Ebute – Metta to Oyingbo and reduce travel time from about two and a half hours to just 35 minutes. The passenger capacity of the first phase is 500,000 daily.

The ceremony was held at the proposed site of the Ikeja Train Station. It was witnessed by Minister of Transportation Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi, who was represented by the Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Bashir Jamoh.

To be fully operational in the last quarter of 2022, the Red Line, a project of the Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (LAMATA), will have eight train stations – from Agbado to Oyingbo.

The Red Line is to raise mass transportation capacity in the State, complementing the Blue Line that traverses from Okokomaiko to Marina. The Blue Line is at 78 percent completion.

Sanwo-Olu, who was at the event with the Deputy Governor, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat, handed cheques to property owners affected by the right-of-way, described the project as another initiative of his administration to deliver enduring infrastructure for the transport system and make Lagos a competitive megacity.

He said the traffic management and transportation pillar in his Government’s development blueprint – Project THEMES – was being implemented with the goal to develop an efficient and sustainable transportation model that would improve mobility, promote economic growth, and enhance the living conditions of residents.

He said: “Today’s flag-off of the construction of infrastructure for the standard gauge Red Line is another promise kept and it demonstrates, in practical terms, our commitment to achieve the objectives of traffic management and transportation pillar in our development agenda.

This is because we recognize the role which an efficient transportation system plays in enhancing people’s quality of life and as a major driver of socio-economic development.

“The State’s Strategic Transport Master Plan, which encompasses a number of projects that are germane to achieving our vision for a Greater Lagos, is founded on imperatives that seek to increase transport choices for all users and make the transit system integrated, attractive, convenient, affordable and accessible.

“Since efficient transportation is the backbone of any economy, we are happy to be committing this investment in our transport infrastructure, so that our people can meet their daily targets and aspirations. This all-important transport project we are all gathered to witness today represents a major step in this direction.”

Sanwo-Olu disclosed that the implementation of the Red Line was being supported under the Differentiated Cash Reserve Requirement (DCRR) programme – a financing package put in place by the State Government through the Central Bank Nigeria (CBN). The Governor expressed gratitude to President Muhammadu Buhari and the CBN Governor, Dr. Godwin Emefiele, for supporting the State in the bid to make the project a reality. He praised also the bankers who facilitated the funding.

To facilitate smooth operations of the Red Line, Sanwo-Olu said the State Government would be constructing ancillary infrastructure, including six overpasses at strategic level crossing points along the rail corridor to eliminate interactions between the rail system, vehicular and pedestrian traffic.

The overpasses will provide grade-separated crossings that will enhance safety for the rail system and road users.

Sanwo-Olu said: “The unique characteristics of the Red Line is its integration with the Ikeja Bus Terminal, Oshodi–Abule Egba Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) lane, the future Orange Line, which goes from Ikeja to Agbowa, and the General Aviation Terminal One of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport through a skywalk.

“Another unique feature of the Red Line is that all the stations have elevated concourses with either at grade island or side platforms for easy boarding and alighting of passengers. The Red Line also integrates with our Bus Terminals at Oyingbo, Yaba, Oshodi, Ikeja and Iju, giving modal options to our people in their daily commute, either for business or leisure.”

The Governor presented cheques of varying amounts as compensation to 25 residents whose properties, businesses, and accommodation will be affected by the project. Over 263 properties are affected. Many of the property owners and tenants were smiling as they got their cheques.

Commissioner for Transportation, Dr. Frederic Oladehinde, described the Red Line as a continuation of the implementation of the State’s Strategic Transport Master Plan, which made provision for six standard rail lines, one monorail, 14 BRT corridors, and over 20 waterway routes.

He said the intervention was a deliberate effort of the State Government and its development partners to make Lagos livable beyond the Year 2032.

Managing Director of LAMATA, Mrs. Abimbola Akinajo, said the project was a bold step and commitment of the Governor to solving transportation challenges in line with his administration’s development blueprint.

She noted that the construction would not be delayed by funding and human factors, as stakeholders were duly carried along in the projects.

The Lagos mass transit rail dream began in 1983 during the tenure of Alhaji Lateef Jakande, but it was stopped by the then Federal Government. Sanwo-Olu has vowed to ensure that the Blue Line and the Red Line are completed to the memory of the late Jakande.

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