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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.

BIG STORY

Nigeria Didn’t Become Failed State Under Jonathan, It Won’t Now —– Lawan

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Senate President Ahmad Lawan says the security challenges plaguing the country cannot make it a failed state.

Lawan said this on Saturday when he launched the 2021 empowerment programme to 2000 beneficiaries of Katsina central senatorial district.

In December 2020, Financial Times said Nigeria was “on the brink” of becoming a failed state.

The international business newspaper cited insecurity, stalled economic growth, and weak institutions as some of the country’s biggest challenges.

On Friday, Nigerian governors elected on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) said the country is gradually moving towards becoming a failed state if the current trend of security challenges continues.

Lawan, however, said those projecting Nigeria as a failed state “are missing the point”.

He said if the country did not become a failed state during the era of ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, then it was impossible for it to fail now.

“Those who were saying that in the present circumstance caused by insecurity, that Nigeria could turn a failed State, approaching a failed State or may likely end up a failed State, are missing the point because Nigeria can never be a failed state,” Lawan said.

“Again they forget that when a state of emergency was declared in some parts of the North-East during the Goodluck Jonathan administration, Nigeria did not turn a failed state, let alone the present.”

The number three citizen called on all stakeholders to join hands with President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration to overcome the present challenges facing the nation.

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GTBank Shareholders Endorse N3.00 Total Dividend For 2020, Applaud Agbaje’s Leadership

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Shareholders of Guaranty Trust Bank (GTBank) Plc, at the weekend unanimously endorsed the payment of a total dividend of N3.00 per share to shareholders for the financial year ended Dec. 31, 2020.

This endorsement was made on Friday, April 9th, 2021, at the Bank’s 31st Annual General Meeting (AGM) held in Lagos. The bank had proposed a final dividend of N2.70 per unit of ordinary share held by shareholders in addition to the interim dividend of 30k interim dividend earlier paid in June 2020. GTBank according to the results presented to and applauded by shareholders at the AGM, recorded an increase in all performance indicators despite the challenging operating environment that prevailed in 2020.

Speaking at the meeting, a shareholder, Mr. Tunji Bamidele, commended the bank’s board and management for sustaining profit and dividend payment in spite of the harsh and challenging economy experienced in the year 2020 as a result of the pandemic that challenged the world.

Applauding the Managing Director’s leadership acumen and dexterity, Bamidele noted that the MD/CEO’s steering of the bank in the past 10 years has been a blessing to shareholders and the bank’s well-meaning stakeholders.

In his comments, the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Mr Segun Agbaje, noted that the year 2020 was arguably the most challenging year that the world has faced in decades and that in such unprecedented times, the bank has been at the forefront of safeguarding lives and livelihood across the communities where it operates.

“We continue to receive positive and goodwill messages for the role we played at the height of the pandemic; especially for putting together very timely, a 110-bed Isolation Centre, with an intensive care unit, in partnership with the Lagos State Government,” he said, citing the Bank’s Excellence in Leadership in Africa Award which was specially created by the renowned Euromoney Magazine to spotlight private institutions at the forefront of tackling the pandemic.

Mr Agbaje also spoke about GTBank’s solid performance in a very challenging year and his confidence in the organization’s ability to keep delivering for all its stakeholders. His words, “The strength, scale and liquidity of our balance sheet, coupled with the quality of our past decisions and the efficacy of our digital-first customer-centric strategy gave us the resilience and flexibility to navigate the economic shocks and market volatility that dominated the year.”

“Amidst the many challenges that persist, we remain ardent believers in Africa’s growth potential. Our world is increasingly digital, and we see it opening new and exciting opportunities for empowering people and uplifting our communities. With our commitment to deepening customer relationships and intense focus on delivering innovative financial solutions, we enter 2021 well-positioned”, he added.

GTBank is one of Africa’s most profitable financial institutions. In 2020, the Bank reported Profit before tax of ₦238.1billion, representing a growth of 2.8% over ₦231.7billion recorded in the corresponding year ended December 2019. The Bank also continues to post the best metrics in the Nigerian Banking industry in terms of key Financial Ratios i.e. Post-Tax Return on Equity (ROAE) of 26.8%, Post-Tax Return on Assets (ROAA) of 4.6%, Full Impact Capital Adequacy Ratio (CAR) of 21.9% and Cost to Income ratio of 38.2%.

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FG Enlists Interpol’s Help Over Fleeing 3,471 Dangerous Prisoners

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The Federal Government has asked the International Criminal Police Organisation to be on the alert and look out for the inmates who escaped in the recent jailbreaks in the country, including the most recent in Owerri, the Imo State capital.

It added that the Nigerian Immigration Service had also been issued an alert, noting that the data of the inmates were being compiled and would be sent to the relevant organizations in batches so as not to delay the manhunt.

A senior official with the Nigerian Correctional Service on Saturday told one of our correspondents on condition of anonymity that the number of “dangerous” inmates on the loose officially was 3,471, including those who escaped in Owerri.

The source noted that the inmates included hardened criminals, kidnappers, armed robbers, and condemned criminals awaiting execution. “Suffice it to say that the bulk of those who fled Owerri correctional center are hardened criminals,” the source added.

No fewer than 1,844 inmates escaped from the Owerri Custodial Centre on Monday when unidentified gunmen broke into the facility with the aid of explosives. The gunmen also attacked the state police headquarters, where they freed about 600 suspects in custody. The attackers torched the facilities and also vehicles on both premises.

Despite the persuasion by the Federal Government and its assurance that they would be given amnesty from fresh prosecution if they returned to the facility, the NCoS said on its website on Wednesday that it had a total of 84 inmates back in custody. It said the figure included those who did not flee during the jailbreak, those recaptured, those who voluntarily returned, and those brought back by their relations, traditional rulers and religious leaders.

Further investigations showed that about 1,780 inmates were on the loose, while only 35 inmates didn’t escape during the attack.

On Friday, NCoS authorities published on its Twitter handle the names and pictures of 36 of the fleeing inmates.

Meanwhile, following the escapees’ refusal to return to the custodial center, the NCoS said it was compiling the names and pictures of the fleeing inmates for dispatch to the NIS to prevent them from leaving the country and INTERPOL to track those who might have fled.

The NCoS spokesperson, Francis Enobore, a Controller of Corrections, said the service would seek the assistance of the two agencies in arresting the escaped inmates.

Disclosing this to journalists on Saturday, Enobore said, “We are putting the list together, we would definitely seek INTERPOL and NIS’ assistance.”

Asked how soon they planned to do it, Enobore stated, “Like the ones we are processing now, we want everything to be comprehensive so that we send them at the same time. We also realize that waiting for the list to be comprehensive before sending may also slow down the manhunt, so these batches that are coming up would be sent for local searches at motor parks and other places but everything would be uploaded to the (INTERPOL) platform.”

Investigations by one of our correspondents showed that the 3,471 inmates, who are now part of society, escaped from three custodial centers. Some of them are said to be serving jail terms for various crimes, including murder, armed robbery, and kidnapping while hundreds are facing trial for different crimes.

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