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Treat Malaria Symptoms As COVID-19 Henceforth, Sanwo-Olu Tells Lagosians

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Following the increase in the number of recorded cases of coronavirus in Nigeria, Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu on Tuesday said that any malaria-like symptoms should henceforth be considered as COVID-19 virus infection unless and until proven not to be one.

He, therefore, advised that anyone with such symptoms should proceed to any of the State’s public health facilities or laboratories to get tested for free, noting that “Seeking help early and quickly significantly improves the chances of survival for severe to critical cases.”

Speaking during a Press Conference on COVID-19 Update at the Lagos House, Ikeja on Tuesday, Governor Sanwo-Olu said it is important that Lagos State residents begin to learn to live and act responsibly, in order to augment the government’s efforts and previous success of flattening the curve.

The Governor also said that the increase in the positivity of coronavirus cases in the second wave has necessitated the greater amount of oxygen for the moderate to severe cases of admission in all the isolation centres.

He said the alarming trend of COVID-19 has necessitated the reopening of some of the previously closed isolation centres, such as the INDO Isolation Centre and Gbagada Isolation Center to contain the rising cases and re-flattening the curve in the shortest possible time.

“Over the last few weeks, the demands for oxygen has risen from 70 six-litre cylinders per day to 350 six-litre cylinders in our Yaba Mainland Hospital. This is projected to more than double to 750 six-cylinders, before the end of January 2021.

“ln addition to providing oxygen at our isolation centres, the Lagos State Government has decentralized the availability of oxygen across the State through the provision of 10 oxygen and sampling kiosks. Oxygen therapy and other related services will be provided to patients that require them.

“Five of these 10 oxygen centres have been commissioned while the remaining five will be ready for use within the next four weeks. It is our expectation that these sampling kiosks would be easily accessible to residents that require oxygen therapy at the level of LGAs as stabilization points prior to onward transmission to our Isolation centres if required.

“This strategy is to further increase the fighting chance of Lagos residents that have contracted the virus and require immediate oxygen therapy,” he said.

Speaking on issues surrounding the resumption of schools in Lagos State in compliance with the directives of the Federal Government, Governor Sanwo-Olu said the commencement of school activities yesterday (Monday) “was a difficult decision to make in light of the second wave of covid-19, but I assure you it was the best decision for our children’s safety and long-term development, especially our most vulnerable children.”

Stressing the need for students to return to school to continue their education at various levels, Governor Sanwo-Olu disclosed that almost 24,000 students are yet to report in public schools after last year’s lockdown necessitated by the first wave of COVID-19 in Nigeria.

“Last year after the first lockdown and kids have to come back to school, we are still looking for about 24,000 of them that have not come back to school. So, there is a challenge if you keep them out for that long and their parents or guardians now turn them to other things instead of ensuring that they have time to come back for learning even if it is twice or thrice a week.

“At least they have been registered since the beginning of a session and they can be monitored. If not, they will just be roaming the streets and become endangered. We have seen incidents of child abuse and all unprintable things that are being done to these children. So, we believe to a large extent that schools sometimes happen to be the safe haven for them. We have done the roster in which we ensure they keep social distance and we are monitoring,” he said.

Governor Sanwo-Olu also revealed that Lagos State Government has opened discussions with some vaccine manufacturers to ensure that residents are catered for.

He said: “We are closely monitoring ongoing action by the Federal Government to procure COVID-19 vaccines for use in Nigeria. We have also opened discussions with vaccine manufacturers so that when the vaccine comes eventually we can ensure that Lagosians are catered for.

“In the meantime, we are developing a strategy that will articulate the criteria, guidelines and regulatory framework for providing and monitoring vaccinations in Lagos.

“The Lagos State Government is actively partnering with the private sector in the management of the COVID-19 pandemic, in the areas of testing, oxygen deployment, as well as the clinical management of moderate to severe cases. These partnerships have helped enhance the State’s response to the ever-changing circumstances of the pandemic.

“In a bid to further explore this proven synergistic approach, the Lagos State Government is currently reviewing the feasibility of Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) for the management of some of our public isolation centres. It is our hope that this would expedite the re-opening of previously closed centres, and also avail us the benefits of the operational cost-efficiencies that experienced private sector management can bring to bear.”

BIG STORY

Tukur Buratai’s Vision and Leadership As Nigerian Army Chief of Staff

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It would be understating the fact that Nigerian troops never recorded greater successes against Boko Haram than they did under the leadership of the immediate past Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Yusuf Buratai (rtd). Buratai, it is on record, did put in all efforts to ensure his troops were motivated with different welfare packages initiated by him for their comfort.
Prior to his appointment as the Chief of Army Staff by President Muhammadu Buhari, the military was losing its officers and men in large numbers. Thus, Buratai’s focus was to improve on the military’s operational achievements. He made a success of it and the result was the unprecedented successes in the counterinsurgency operation he is being credited for even after he exited the office.
Within three months of his appointment, Buratai demonstrated his leadership capability by showing that he indeed understood the terrain of the North East, the epicenter of the insurgency. He took the war to Boko Haram and his soldiers recaptured and hoisted the Nigerian flag in Gamboru Ngala, which served as Boko Haram’s main operational base. The insurgents were chased to their Sambisa Forest hideout where troops of Operation Lafia Dole proudly displayed vital insignias of the sect including a Holy Quran and flags of the sect’s leader, Abubakar Shekau, on national television to the admiration of Nigerians.
Improving the welfare of the army was vital in his agenda. His major policy, therefore, was directly for the benefit of the troops. He ensured that they were in the right frame of mind in their duty. Buratai would go to any length to see and meet the troops’ needs at every point in time. Under his leadership, priority was given to the equipment used by the military to combat the insurgents, among other steps taking by him. The allowances and bonuses of the military were paid as at when due.
His concentration was centered on identifying the most pressing problems that troops and their families were facing, the needs associated with those challenges, and he utilized the resources available to meet those needs. It was also to his credit that the fighting troops were provided with a constant water supply to meet their daily needs and to stabilize them emotionally and psychologically. As part of efforts to encourage his men, General Buratai on Tuesday, July 25, 2017, approved the promotion of 6,199 soldiers involved in the fight against Boko Haram under his watch.
In the basic responsibilities of a leader which include accomplishment of the mission and the welfare of the soldiers, Buratai was not found wanting. He established Nigerian Army Farms and Ranches, built and commissioned a block of flats at Jaji, Khobe Cantonment, Jos in Plateau State, and the Danjuma Chalets at 2 Division Headquarters. The former Army chief also renovated a lot of projects he met on the ground and initiated water projects including the Supply and Transport Foods and new Command Guest Houses.
Buratai’s contributions to national, regional, and international peace have not gone unnoticed here at home and abroad, which, obviously, led to his being appointed a non-career ambassador after a successful military career.
In terms of projects, capacity building, training, and welfare, throughout Buratai’s tenure as COAS, there was never a dull moment.
It is on record that Buratai’s leadership style did inspire the fighting soldiers, a record-breaking template his successors would also find suitable to utilize. When he became the Nigerian army chief, he made it a duty to identify with his officers and men as they launched a full-scale war against the Boko Haram fighters.
He initiated a range of activities in support of developing the force, via intensive training, mentoring, partnering, monitoring, and empowering. His enabling efforts in that regards include setting up the Nigerian Army Institute of Technology and Environmental Studies in Biu, Borno State; Command Secondary School (Boys & Girls) in Kebbi State; Nigerian Army Aviation hangar at Jaji Airstrip, Kaduna; Mine Resistance Amour Protected (MRAP); Activation of Divisions Training Schools; establishing Tinapa Post Housing Development Limited Estate, Calabar; Army Warrant Officers Board; the Nigerian Army Special Forces School; First Nigerian Army indigenous infantry patrol vehicle; Nigerian Army Cyber Warfare Command and the Nigerian Army Vehicle Manufacturing Company.
Other capacity-building projects Buratai initiated are; the Supply and Transport Driving School; Nigerian Army Women’s Corps; Nigerian Army Officers’ Wives Association Hospital; Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Command; 20 Regimentation Battalion; 133 Special Forces Battalion; 123 Special Forces Battalion; Counter-Terrorist and Counter-Insurgency Museum; 109 Special Forces Battalion; 4 Special Forces Battalion, Counter Explosive Devices; 707 Special Forces Brigade; Motorcycle Battalion; Nigerian Army Agricultural Business Enterprise Limited; Army War College, Nigeria; Nigerian Army Bureau De Change; Nigerian Army Investments Account; Operation Lafia Dole Sectors 1,2 and 3; Homes Fit for Heroes; Otukpo Post Housing Development Limited Estate; Buffalo Engineering and Technical Services Limited, evolution of new operational concepts, establishment of 6 and 8 Divisions, Nigerian Languages Training Initiative, and many more.
Inspiring and effectively leading subordinates, especially through a military mission with life or death implications, is no small feat. It requires leadership, one that extends well beyond the battlefield.
Evidently, for years to come, history will remember General Yusuf Buratai, particularly, in areas critically important to Nigerian Army.

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BIG STORY

Lagos Ride: Sanwo-Olu Flags Off 1,000 Indigenous E-Hailing Cabs [PHOTOS]

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* Seals agreement establishing a vehicle assembly plant in Lagos

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has unveiled a new e-hailing taxi scheme to redefine road transportation in the State. The Governor, on Thursday, signed a partnership agreement with CIG Motors Company Limited for the take-off of the “Lagos Ride” scheme with a pilot fleet of 1,000 units of brand new Sport Utility Vehicles (SUVs).

Also at the ceremony held at the State House in Marina, Sanwo-Olu formally sealed a Joint Venture Agreement with the automobile company for the establishment of a Vehicle Assembly Plant in the State. In the next 24 months, Lagos will have a jointly-run factory for the production of different classes of brand new cars.

The establishment of the Vehicle Assembly Plant in Lagos was part of the bilateral agreements reached by the State Government and Chinese Investors’ Community when the Governor visited the Asian country in November 2019.

IBILE Holdings Limited, a State-owned corporation, will be driving the two investment agreements on behalf of the Lagos State Government.

Sanwo-Olu said the new ride-hailing taxi was a social intervention programme initiated with an objective to create jobs and economic opportunities for residents of the State. He said the “Lagos Ride” scheme was in fulfillment of his administration’s desire to give residents a better choice in road transportation by offering a safe, efficient and modern cab model in line with the policy thrust of his Government’s T.H.E.M.E.S agenda.

The Governor said the taxi scheme, which is expected to fully take-off in the next 6 months, had been structured along with a profitability model and designed to be self-sustaining for expansion and growth.

He said: “I am elated to unveil the Lagos State Taxi Scheme, which is another innovative policy of this administration targeted at making life easier for Lagosians, improving mobility, and creating a seamless multi-modal transportation system. The scheme, which is to be known as “Lagos Ride”, is in fulfillment of our desire to give Lagos residents better transportation choices. The modern ride-hailing service is one of the State Government’s socio-economic intervention programmes, which will be professionally managed in line with global best practices

“Our social intervention programmes are tailored towards the eradication of poverty, provision of jobs and other employment opportunities as well as the provision of basic necessities, that make good governance our people’s reality. A major attribute of a modern megacity is a world-class transportation system with inter-connected services and mobility choices for the citizens. The task of bequeathing a safe, efficient, quick, and modern public transportation system is a key thrust of our administration’s development agenda. We are guided by the need for an equitable transportation system with mobility choices for our people.”

Under the taxi scheme, Sanwo-Olu said the Cooperative Society in the Ministry of Wealth Creation and Employment would give operators brand new SUVs for a period of four years, during which they would pay a monthly installment. At the end of the credit tenure, the operators will have the opportunity to fully own the cars.

The Governor said the scheme would offer operators flexible repayment plans and affordable savings for vehicles’ maintenance.

Sanwo-Olu said the establishment of the Vehicle Assembly Plant was in furtherance of his administration’s economic growth blueprint, stressing that the Joint Venture Agreement would revive industrialization, drive up skilled youth employment and create wealth, boost tourism, and encourage technology sharing, adaptation, and advancement.

He said: “As we formally sign the Joint Venture Agreement for the establishment of Motor Assembly Plant, Lagosians should expect a roll-out of vehicles from this plant within the next 18 months. I urge other stakeholders and private investors to collaborate with us to sustain the scheme. We have the political and administrative will to ensure the business survives in Lagos.”

Commissioner for Transportation, Dr. Frederic Oladehinde, said the e-hailing taxi scheme was initiated, following the approval of IBILE Holding Limited’s proposal in the August 31, 2020 State’s Executive Council meeting.

He said the Assembly Plant and the taxi scheme would boost socio-economic activities and support the development of ancillary enterprises in the transportation sector.

Chairman of CIG Motors Company Limited, Diana Chen, pledged the full commitment of the automobile firm to the agreement.

Ms Chen, who is also the Vice-Chairman of China-Africa Business Council (CABC), disclosed that the automobile firm would sponsor 50 students for a two-year engineering training in a vocational school in China to strengthen its partnership with the Lagos Government.

She said: “My teams are ready to work with 100 percent effort to build GAC MOTORS in Nigeria in the highest level of a brand. This international Joint Venture Project will soon bloom up in the Chinese business communities both in Nigeria and China. I assure you that, we will use this partnership as the best example to introduce and promote a Greater Lagos where greater opportunities abound.”

The highpoint of the event was the signing of the partnership agreements by the Managing Director of IBILE Holding Limited, Mr. Abiodun Amokomowo, and the Vice Chairman of CIG Motors Company Limited, Mr. Linus Idahosa in the presence of the Governor, Deputy Governor, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat, and Lagos Attorney General, Mr. Moyosore Onigbanjo, SAN.

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BIG STORY

#EndSARS: Nigerians On Social Media Ask EFCC To Probe Oba of Lagos Over $2m, N17m Cash Kept In Palace

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Nigerians on social media have called on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to investigate the Oba of Lagos, Rilwan Akiolu, for money laundering.

The monarch had said $2 million and N17 million were stolen when youths attacked his palace on October 21, 2020, in the violence that erupted after the #EndSARS protests.

Oba Akiolu, whose staff of office known as the ‘Opa Ase’, was also taken away by hoodlums who broke into his palace during the riot, spoke on Wednesday in Lagos.

He said, “I will support anything that will move Lagos forward. I have appealed to the Federal Government to assist Lagos with what we have suffered. The incident that happened here from October 20th to 23rd is so saddening.

“The destruction we suffered in Lagos is so enormous than in any other part of the country.

“Many buildings were burnt, including vehicles used to generate income. I can now say publicly that they stole $2 million and N17 million from my palace.

“Those who committed the offense would not have done that if they knew the implication. But as a father, I won’t place any curse on them.”

Many social media users have since accused the monarch of money laundering, saying a private citizen should not have at home, the amount of money purportedly stolen.

A tweep, @uncle_ajala, wrote, “The Oba of Lagos says that $2 million and N17million were stolen when hoodlums attacked his palace during the last #EndSARS protest. He should be telling EFCC what he was doing with that amount and how he got the $2m after this revelation.”

“But how will the Oba of Lagos have $20 million in his house? To imagine that he just discovered that after how many months? EFCC where are you?” @Gabafolayan wrote.

“Is Oba of Lagos operating a BDC (Bureaux De Change) in his palace? Is this not some violation? Is this not money laundering @officialEFCC ? @Intergrity56 asked.

@ImportedAlhaji also wondered if the palace of the monarch was a bank. “Please where did he get that money and when EFCC going to call him in for questioning him? Or Palace don turn to bank these days?” he asked.

On Facebook, Wakji Tazuk said, “The Oba should be arrested and prosecuted for keeping such amount of money in his house.”

Nwankwor Chimaobi buttressed Tazuk’s point, saying, “The Oba should be arrested for money laundering.”

“How much is the monthly salary of the Oba?” another Facebook user, Olu Diamond, asked.

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