Saturday, 4 March 2017

Lagos @ 50: Changes And Visions


Lagos @50 Committee members pose with Akinwumi Ambode, (middle/white) Lagos State Governor

Buses fitted with CCTV to replace Yellow buses
•Govt targets 27,500 new jobs for unemployed youths
•Approves additional 200 roads for construction

By Olasunkanmi Akoni & Monsur Olowopejo
Worried by the reckless driving on Lagos roads, Lagos State Government has disclosed plans to replace yellow commercial buses, popularly called Danfo, with new buses fitted with Close Circuit Television, CCTV, across the state. Meantime, the government also disclosed plans to convert two petrol stations at Maryland, Ikeja to bus terminus as well as intensify work on four-ongoing bus termini aimed at reducing travel time within the metropolis.

Acting Commissioner for Transportation, Anofiu Elegushi disclosed these at a Stakeholders’ meeting on the upgrade/utilisation of Tafawa Balewa Square, TBS, Bus Terminal in Lagos Island.

Elegushi explained that the plan of the state government was to re-fleet the transportation system with new buses, as most of the yellow commercial buses were not roadworthy having been in use for the past 20 years.

He said; “On the yellow buses, what we are planning is to re-fleet with new buses. As you will agree most of the yellow buses are not road worthy. Most of them have been running for over 20 years, it is therefore not convenient anymore for passengers. So, what we are trying to do is to take them up and bring other new buses that will have CCTV, charging points to charge phones and many other facilities. So, they are still going to be the drivers.

“The essence of re-fleeting it is to get it right. We are working on the programme most especially on the financial model that we will use in transferring those vehicles to the operators. That is just what we are doing,” he added.

On the newly upgraded TBS Bus Terminal, Elegushi called for collaboration of stakeholders in the maintenance of the upgraded edifice, as government planned to replicate it in other parts of the state.

The commissioner stated that the new terminal would accommodate its original operators, taxis, yellow buses, tricycles, as well as Bus Rapid Transit, LAGBUS buses, with designated lanes, ticketing points, Intelligence Transport System, ITS, guide for passengers, mini shops, stickers for identification, among others.

He therefore, appealed to transport unions and other users to take proper care of the terminal, saying “it is a kind of responsibility expected from the transport stakeholders especially transport union. We have delivered as promised but what we expect from them is to see a project well maintained so that there will be justification for what we spent.

Meanwhile, the commissioner has announced the completion of the redevelopment of the Tafawa Balewa Square’s Bus Terminus described as an iconic piece designed to commemorate the 50th year’s anniversary of the state. Prince Anofiu Elegushi, disclosed that government had no intention of dislodging the Taxis and Yellow buses that were presently at terminal but would accredit them to ensure orderliness adding that a facility Manager would be appointed for the terminal

Govt targets 27,500 new jobs for unemployed youths

Lagos State Government has disclosed plans to create 27,500 additional jobs through the newly amended environmental laws, as well as “Cleaner Lagos Initiative,” for the teeming unemployed youths.

Commissioner for the Environment, Dr. Babatunde Adejare, who disclosed this at the monthly ministerial press briefing, Alausa, Ikeja, added that plans are on-going by Governor Akinwunmi Ambode-led administration to overhaul Kick Against Indiscipline, KAI Brigade.

Speaking on the objectives of the initiative, Adejare said; “Without any doubt, unemployed youths and existing 4,500 street sweepers will be engaged and transformed to Community sanitation workers (CSW), thus creating 27,500 new jobs to carry out manual sweeping in all inner streets in the 377 wards of the state.

“It is noteworthy that the Community Sanitation Workers will be uniformly kitted, insured, paid above the minimum wage and equipped to tackle the challenges of the newly defined scope of work. To effectively execute this reform, the existing environmental laws have been harmonized.”

He added that for mechanized sweeping of major roads and thoroughfares, competent and reputable companies will be engaged to deploy machinery in the three Federal Senatorial districts of the state.

According to him, “KAI’s orientation and duties in Lagos are expected to be changed in line with the amended environmental bill, which Governor Ambode will sign into law soon. There will be re -orientation of the KAI brigade with the law that is in the offing now. There would be a change in the name, their orientation to issue as well as their functions. Their responsibilities, roles and duties will be modified. They are basically going to start enforcing the environmental laws.

…approves additional 200 roads for construction in 2017

As part of efforts of ensuring free flow of traffic as well as enhance seamless transaction of commerce, Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode has approved the construction of additional 200 roads across the 57 councils, comprising of 20 Local Government Areas, and 37 Local Council Development Areas of the state. This has brought the number of roads to be constructed by Lagos State Government this year to 381 roads.

According to the Chief Executive Officer of the Lagos State Public Works Corporation, LSPWC, Engr. Ayotunde Sodeinde, “the new roads, referred to as Special project are to complement the 181 councils’ roads to be constructed by the Lagos State Government.

“A major highlight of the roads in question is the fact that they were nominated by members of the State Executive Council and members of the House of Assembly. This makes for equity, fairness and adequate spread of developmental projects in the state.”

The new 200 roads it was gathered would be constructed and supervised by the LSPWC which has been restructured into three functional zones namely; Ojodu (Zone A), Imota (Zone B) and Badagry (Zone C) for greater coverage.

“The project became possible through the magnanimity of our amiable Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode who is always passionate about bringing development closer to the people at the grassroot,” he said.

… reiterates call for special status for Lagos

Lagos State Government has stressed the need for National Assembly to reconsider the call for a special status to the state.

Commissioner for Local Government and Community Affairs, Muslim Folami reinstated the call at the launch of the ‘Eko Shirt’ in preparation for the celebration of Lagos at 50, held in Alausa, Lagos.

Folami called on the National Assembly to put politics aside and do the needful by granting Lagos a special status, lamenting that the state had been agitating for the call for long.

He said, “I will use this forum to reach out to the National Assembly to set aside politics and regional bias in the implementation of awarding Lagos State a special status that has been agitated for and to which the state graciously deserved.”

According to Folami, Governor Ambode had recorded great achievements than any other state in the federation and that as such, everyone must support him to deliver more on its promises on improved infrastructure, programmes and projects.

He said the government was partnering with Team Nigeria to launch the ‘Eko Shirt’ while there would be a road show for 10 days to create awareness on the coming celebration of Lagos at 50.

Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Local Government and Community Affairs, Fola Padonu called on Non-Governmental Organisations, NGOs, to collaborate with the state government so as to build a prosperous Lagos that would be the model of governance in Africa.

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