The Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu says places of worship in the state will be reopened from August 7.Continue reading “#COVID-19: Lagos To Reopen Worship Centres August 7 And 9 – Sanwo-Olu”
– Thirty-three social facilities were sealed for flouting directives of the Lagos state government
Fola Babalola, PhD, University of Ilorin
Various scientific reports published around the world have pointed out the impacts of climate change. The International Panel on Climate Change, for example, outlines in its 2019 report how tropical forests and climate change are related. According to the report, protection and restoration of forests can play a vital role in removing atmospheric greenhouse gases. This is a way to cushion the impacts of climate change towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
A rise in temperature and rainfall has already been reported in Nigeria. Coastal areas such as Lagos are susceptible to rising sea levels, severe storms, higher rainfall, higher ocean temperatures and an increased concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide. Coastal communities are at risk of flooding, erosion and pollution.
Women in lower income groups in Lagos State have been found to be particularly affected by climate change impacts. Floods put their livelihoods and health at risk and they tend to recover more slowly than other social categories in the society.
Part of the country’s response to impacts of climate change is to plant more trees. The federal government aims to plant 30 million trees in 2020. Many of the country’s states, too, are planting trees for their environmental benefits. Most states in the northern part of the country have the target of preventing further desertification. Southern states have a range of targets such as controlling erosion.
Lagos State is one of those intent on reforesting, with a target of 10 million trees by 2020. Over the years, Lagos has lost 96% of its forest due to deforestation. Among the hardest hit indigenous tree species lost to deforestation in Lagos state is mangrove.
But before planting trees to mitigate risks, it’s important to take a range of factors into account.
The first is to consider how to give the programme the best chance of succeeding. Some of the factors to think about would be which species are most suitable, how many trees will achieve the objective and what it will all cost.
The second is to consider the view of the people who will be affected by the tree planting. A study I conducted investigated people’s perceptions about urban trees. More than half of the respondents said they preferred trees that produce shade and edible fruits.
Another study conducted in Lagos state found that most of the sampled people said they were not benefiting from trees planted around them by the Ministry of Environment and other state agencies. This was because the trees were not producing edible fruit and were not large enough to provide shade.
These studies show that it is important to understand people’s preferences for trees before planting. This will ensure that they will help look after the trees.
They absorb carbon dioxide, produce oxygen, cool surroundings, and help reduce the severity of floods, erosion and pollution.
Trees can reduce flooding by slowing the flow of rainwater onto the ground and into rivers. Their roots hold soil in place and reduce the speed of flowing water.
Trees cool surroundings by reducing heat buildup in cities by evaporative cooling and by limiting the amount of sunlight that reaches buildings and other public spaces. This can reduce the costs of cooling buildings.
They also improve air quality by filtering dust and pollutants from the air.
Estate agents have discovered that the value of buildings can increase through good landscaping, using well selected tree species. And trees planted along streets have a traffic calming effect. They can screen unwanted views or noise from busy highways.
On the social side, spending time among trees has health benefits such as reduced stress.
Precautions when planting trees
To get the full advantage of all benefits provided by trees, some precautions must be taken in planting.
The rooting and branching systems of some trees can damage roads and buildings, so they should be planted at some distance. Trees ideal for shade should have a fairly dense and round crown. Their location should not block streetlights or views of traffic and commercial signs. It’s also wise to avoid planting trees under power lines or directly above water and sewage lines.
Planting and managing trees costs money. How much depends on things like the species of tree and where it will be raised and planted. Timing of planting should be properly planned for the seedlings to be procured and ready for planting out. Other costs to budget for in tree planting projects include labour, equipment, transport of seedlings from the nursery to the planting site, and field maintenance costs such as watering, weeding, pruning, pest control, and other miscellaneous supplies.
So, for the tree planting project in Lagos State to succeed, the right species should be selected after professional consultation. The preferences of the public matter, and people need to understand the potential benefits of the project.
The Nigerian government has adopted a range of strategies to manage the spread of COVID-19. However, as desirable as the strategies may seem, the urban poor are disproportionately negatively affected. Lagos city is a case in point.
The Lagos state government introduced a food relief package to cushion the effects of lockdown. But the distribution of the relief package has been hampered by governance challenges. The situation, to a large extent, reflects the opposite of good governance. Good governance is about relationships and interactions between citizens and government based on the principles of equity, efficient service delivery and sustainability.
This points to a larger problem that’s been highlighted by the impact of the COVID-19 interventions – the disconnect between urban development policies, housing, slums and the livelihood realities of the majority.
The state government must see this pandemic as an opportunity to address this disconnect. In particular, it needs to develop inclusive action plans aimed at building the capacity of poor people to accumulate livelihood assets – known as asset accumulation – that they can draw on to cope with future shocks. This will involve urban development policies supporting the initiatives of the urban poor to accumulate assets and, in turn, reduce dependence on palliative measures.
It will also require the state government to change its approaches of neglect, demolition and forced eviction of slums to participatory slum upgrading and urban regeneration. This will also help stimulate economic growth after the COVID-19 pandemic.
Multiple vulnerabilities and limited assets
A significant number of people who live in Lagos are poor and are accommodated in slums. Their lives are precarious. Housing conditions are poor and there’s overcrowding and a lack of basic services. For example, in my research I found that about 80% of the residents of Sari-Iganmu live in one room with an average of seven people. An average of seven households share toilet and bathroom facilities with no running water.
Research has shown that assets are the bedrock on which livelihoods are built. They are essential to coping with shocks.
To cope with shocks a combination of assets is required. They include social networks and physical and financial assets. All are required to adequately meet basic needs and cope with shocks. The reality, however, is that the majority of slum residents in Lagos have a limited ability to accumulate a portfolio of assets to fall back on.
Financial assets – such as earnings, savings, investment returns and credits – are essential for daily living and for accessing adequate housing, sanitation facilities and food. A typical slum resident lives on an irregular income with limited capacity to save for future needs. Saving can only be a dream for someone earning an inadequate and irregular daily income. As one resident of Oko-Baba, a slum community, noted in my research:
How do I save when I don’t even have enough money to put food on the table… What could be worse in life than that? All we earn in this house is not enough. It is of no use, even impossible to save when one is still struggling to eat.
In the absence of adequate income, the urban poor turn to social networks for social security in terms of food, finance and credit. These sources, particularly from friends and relatives, have become more unreliable during the pandemic.
Unsupportive urban development policies
Over the years, the Lagos state government’s approach to slums has been a mixture of neglect, minimal upgrading and demolition and forced eviction. As a result there is now inadequate infrastructure such as sanitation facilities and housing.
Forced eviction from slums, particularly in prime locations with better access to livelihood opportunities, has become prevalent across Lagos. In some cases, intended beneficiaries of slum upgrading have become victims of displacement, loss of social networks and livelihood opportunities.
This is exemplified by the case of Badia East community. Between 2013 and 2017, the community suffered multiple forced evictions. This resulted in the displacement of more than 3,000 households, with little or no compensation.
Badia East is part of the larger Badia community, one of the nine beneficiary communities targeted for slum upgrading under the World Bank loan for the Lagos metropolitan development and governance project. The forced eviction of Badia East residents was clearly at variance with the reason the loan was secured – to upgrade low income communities.
These kinds of interventions have further hindered people from accumulating asset portfolios.
Lagos’s urban poor continue to try to make ends meet in the context of multiple vulnerabilities and unsupportive urban development policies.
The challenge of coping with economic shocks is a reflection of poor political, economic and governance systems. Good governance is a necessary condition if poor people are going to be able to begin accumulating assets.
Good governance will encourage co-production of slum regeneration programmes, and the equitable delivery of public goods and services. It will also create an enabling and supportive environment for individuals, particularly in the informal sector, to accumulate livelihood assets.
Only then will the current unsupportive institutional context be changed to one that enables the poor.
The Nigerian authorities say trials are due to begin to see whether an anti-malarial drug is effective against coronavirus.
The commissioner for health in Lagos state said healthcare workers as well as people in close contact with someone with the virus would be either given chloroquine or a placebo.
A second trial is to be launched in partnership with the World Health Organization (WHO).
Officials say results should be known within two months.
US President Donald Trump caused controversy earlier this week when he told reporters he had been taking another anti-malarial drug – hydroxychloroquine – despite warnings it might be unsafe.
While the trials are taking place in a controlled clinical environment, the WHO has warned that some individuals are self-medicating and risk causing themselves serious harm.
Chloroquine has not yet been shown to be safe and effective in the prevention or treatment of coronavirus and can cause dangerous heart arrhythmias.
Lagos Health Commissioner Prof Akin Abayomi also said the government was trying to transition to home-based isolation, admitting that some patients who tested positive for the virus were absconding and reluctant to be admitted to isolation units.
There have been more than 70,000 votes so far in the poll, which closes on Friday. Support for the return of the lockdown is leading, with 49% of votes cast, while those against are on 39% and 10% are neutral.
Twitter polls are unstructured – anyone, including those not living in Lagos can vote, so the poll may not be a true reflection of what those in the state want.
The state government has also clarified that the poll was a strategy of governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu “to carry the masses along in governance” and that the poll will not be the only determinant of the final decision on a statewide lockdown.
Lagos, neighbouring Ogun and Nigeria’s capital Abuja were placed under a five-week lockdown at the end of March by President Muhammadu Buhari to limit the spread of coronavirus.
The lockdown restrictions were eased last week but face masks were made mandatory in public and a curfew from 20:00 to 6:00 was imposed in the three states.
Lagos, which is the epicentre of Nigeria’s coronavirus outbreak with more than 2,000 cases, had released guidelines enforcing social distancing and hygiene in public transport and operation of businesses.
Buses were to have hand-washing points, carry a designated number of passengers and businesses were encouraged to continue working from home.
But last Monday, on the first working day after the restrictions were eased, people besieged banks in the residential parts of the state seeking to withdraw their money. Buses were also observed not to be following the government’s directives as they carried more than the stipulated passengers.
Governor Sanwo-Olu warned on Tuesday that authorities were tracking how people were complying with the guidelines, and that “in the next couple of days if we do not see the level of compliance that we expect to see, we will be left with no option than to clamp the system again,” he said.
People had complained that they were struggling during the lockdown, but many others felt it was not the right time to ease restrictions as cases were rising.
Twelve friends fill hundreds of carefully arranged aid packages into four cars, then trail through Oniru’s empty streets, past sky-coloured luxury apartment blocks.
In what is notionally an affluent suburb along Lagos’s coastline, the cars stop outside the shells of abandoned, part-constructed buildings, and the friends file into the informal housing compounds that sprawl within.
They unload packages and tick off names from a growing spreadsheet of hundreds of families in need of food and other supplies.
For years, the group of professionals in their 30s and 40s have delivered weekly or fortnightly packages to the poor in Orile, an underprivileged area of Nigeria’s largest city, and Oniru, where they live.
But since a lockdown was imposed to curb the spread of coronavirus, their task has become more urgent.
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“As soon as the lockdown hit we knew we needed to do more,” says Fifehun Osinkanlu, one of the friends. “You could see how desperate people are, it was really overwhelming and glaring.”
The lockdown in Lagos, which accounts for more than half of Nigeria’s 2,000 confirmed infections, is due to gradually ease from Monday. Yet the impact on millions, particularly those living on the edge in daily informal labour has been acute.
Amid limited government support, an outpouring of hundreds of initiatives has emerged across Lagos, providing food and essential goods. A range of food and aid distribution has been set up by NGOs, private businesses, community groups and local people.
Fifehun started volunteering in the group started by Ann Ogunsulire, a coordinator at an NGO, and Daryn Wober, a yoga teacher living in Oniru. Through Daryn’s yoga WhatsApp groups and by appealing to their friends, the couple solicited money to buy food and sanitary products. These donations are sent to their home and packaged and delivered on weekends.
“We were feeding around 570-600 families each time we went out, in the space of around three or four streets,” says Wober. “Since the lockdown we deliver to about 1,000.”Advertisement
The group, now called Feed The Streets Lagos, keeps records of the locations, size and specific needs of the families they give aid to. “After a while we got to know these people, so we could better understand their needs,” says Ogunsulire. ”
Lagos’ government says it has provided “food stimulus packages” to 250,000 people, and cash transfers to a further 250,000, out of the city’s 22 million people.
Nigeria’s government is providing support to the poorest 3.6 million people, in payments of up to 20,000 naira ($51) a month.
Yet the support only scratches the surface. Even before the effects of the lockdown, 87 million people in Nigeria lived in extreme poverty, according to the Brookings Institute.
The support has also been too simplistic, Ogunsulire says. “People have needs that are not just food. You can have food but no cooking oil. You can have cooking oil but no fuel. You can be able to eat but not have water or other really vital needs.”
Ten days into lockdown, Noella Nwakwesi, an interior designer, noticed several people in her neighbourhood in Lekki holding placards saying: “I am hungry”.
“The numbers were growing everyday,” says Nwakwesi, who formed the Lekki Food Bank.
Volunteers made up of young professionals, including bankers, consultants and pastors, distribute roughly 1,000 meals a day and 500 packages of dry food and water.
Six days a week, by midday long queues stretch into empty streets, each person standing along chalked markings on the road, with police standing by enforcing social distancing.
“We’ve been humbled by the donations,” Nwakwesi says. “We have a long-term goal to combat specifically food insecurity in our local communities.”
Other groups like the Lagos Food Bank existed before the lockdown started, building on existing systems, donations and partnerships.
Fast food and manufacturing companies have donated food packages and face masks. The group provides sanitisers and additional help targeted at mothers.
Cardboard packages and plastic bags are delivered in vans all blazoned with the Lagos Food Bank Initiative green-and-white logo. A medical team at locations where help is distributed provides check-ups for locals.Advertisement
The Coalition Against Covid-19 (CACovid) is the most high-profile private sector initiative to emerge in recent weeks. The group, led by three Nigerian billionaires, has pledged 23 billion naira ($59m) to provide food aid for 10 million Nigerians.
Yet help has also been highly individual.
Fighting restlessness amid the hours under lockdown, multimedia artist Taiye Idahor dug out sewing instruments that she’d long abandoned in storage. For a few hours a day, she started sowing masks from scraps of fabric, then handing them out to those who needed them on her street.
“It’s just my little way to help where I can, I barely see people wearing them here in my neighbourhood”, she says. “People should support who and where you can. Nothing is too small.”
An unidentified person died on Friday, when a petrol tanker, laden with fuel, burst into flames in front of Oando filling station at Obalende, Ikoyi, Lagos.
According to the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA), 16 persons, including a firefighter, were also injured in the incident.
In a statement on Friday, Olufemi Oke-Osanyintolu, chief executive officer of LASEMA, said the agency received a distress call that a 45,000-litre capacity tanker had fallen on its side in front of the petrol station.
He said efforts to combat the fire were successful.
“Efforts to combat the flames by the agency’s officials and men of the Lagos State Fire Service and the Federal Fire Service have been successful and the fire has been extinguished and the station and surrounding buildings protected,” he said.
“Unfortunately, the inferno has resulted in a single (1) fatality, fifteen (15) minor casualties and one (1) major casualty who happens to be a Lagos State Firefighter. He has been subsequently transferred to the Lagos State General Hospital for treatment while minor casualties received on-the-scene medical attention.”
The agency appealed for calm and urged members of the public to keep away from the scene of the accident, and allow the responders to conclude recovery, in order to clear the road for vehicular traffic.
Fifty-one suspects were arrested after some protesters attacked five policemen in Lagos state on Monday morning.
The protest held in Eleko community, Ibeju-Lekki local government area of the state.
Some youth had protested against the shut down of a construction site in the area following the lockdown ordered by President Muhammadu Buhari.
In an interview with TheCable, Bala Elkana, spokesman of the state police command, said the protesters are workers of a construction site in the Lekki Free Trade zone.
He said they were expressing annoyance over their inability to work as a result of the lockdown.
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Elkana said the youth deployed violence during the process, leading to the attack against five policemen.
He said 51 suspects have been arrested and will soon be charged to court.
“They were protesting that their construction site was shut down at Lekki Free Trade zone. They were working there and the place was shutdown, so that was their annoyance. They are protesting because they want to work and make some money,” he said.
“Some of the sites were carrying out some skeletal services and because of COVID-19, they reduced the number of personnel that would work there because they can’t congest the place.
“So those youth just mobilised and accumulated their anger and they went violent. But we quickly responded. We sent our anti-riot unit to that area and the situation was brought under control.
“They injured five police officers but they are fine. We have arrested 51 suspects. We are investigating and the suspects would soon be in court.”
On March 30, President Muhammadu Buhari locked down Lagos, Ogun and the federal capital territory to contain the spread of coronavirus.
The president later extended the lockdown by another two weeks to further check the spread of the disease. He extended it by a week on Monday.
There is an ongoing fire outbreak at Yaya Abatan area of Ogba, Lagos State.
The fire had affected a filling station and nearby houses along College Road.
As of the time of filing this report, the cause of the fire outbreak is unknown.
“Yes, there is fire,” a resident in the area, Bukola told our correspondent on the telephone.
Fire fighters are currently at the station, which is located at College road, Ogba, Lagos.
According to an eyewitness, the fire began at some minutes before 1 pm on Monday, when a tanker was discharging fuel at the station.
Residents of Abule Ado, in Nigeria’s commercial capital, Lagos, have been hit hard by the ongoing lockdown after their houses were destroyed in an explosion in March, caused by a lorry hitting some gas cylinders.
The homeless people have had to sleep outside or in crowded houses disregarding advice from the World Health Organization on social distancing to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
Lagos, which has reported the highest number of coronavirus cases in the country, is on a two-week lockdown imposed by President Muhammadu Buhari to reduce its spread.
Peace Dim, a young mother of two whose house was destroyed in the explosion, has been living in a crowded house with other families that were affected.
Social distancing is not an option for her as it is more important for her to have a roof over her children’s heads.
“In this house now, we have three married men whose wives are squatting elsewhere, two bachelors, a spinster, including myself, my children and a friend’s child. The son of the man who owns the house is also here,” she said.
Joseph Ojukwu was a landlord with six apartments and six shops blocks but now he lives in a friend’s house.
“I now sleep on a friend’s couch,” Mr Ojukwu said..
He was forced to send his wife and children back to the village to avoid overcrowding his friend’s house.
There are 254 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Nigeria and there have been six deaths caused by the virus.
The authorities in Nigeria’s commercial hub Lagos have announced a ban on public gatherings of more than 50 people in a bid to curb the spread of coronavirus.
“We are limiting gatherings and events to no more than 50 people and appropriate social distancing must be observed,” Lagos state governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu said on Twitter.
The state government said schools would also be shut from Monday.
Lagos is Africa’s biggest city, with a population of about 20 million.
Many of its residents are deeply religious with tens of thousands of worshippers packing mosques on Fridays and mega churches on Sundays.
Nigeria, Africa’s most-populous state, has reported eight cases of coronavirus – the first was that of an Italian who flew into Lagos.
An early morning pipeline explosions in Lagos has left residents shaken in fear.
The explosion which happened in Abule Egba area of Lagos was heard even by residents of neighbouring state, Ogun.
Residents of Surulere, Ijegun, Ikotun, Egbeda, Abule Ado, Okota, Isheri Olofin, FESTAC, Satellite Town said they were affected by the explosion.
“The roof of our building is off and a nearby school is on fire,” a FESTAC resident told TheCable over the phone.
A resident of Egbeda said: “I was relaxing in the sitting room after returning from the church. Suddenly, I heard a loud bang and the doors shook like they were going to fall.”
The cause is yet to be known but an official of the Lagos State Emergency Management Authority (LASEMA) told TheCable that a pipeline exploded around Abule Ado in Amuwo Odofin local government area of the state.
The Federal Fire Service tweeted that its men are making efforts to get information on the incident.
“We are in touch with our men in Fire Stations around Badagry and Festac, we are trying to gather more information as regards the reported explosion in Lagos State, Nigeria. We are on it,” the service tweeted.
No casualty yet as of the time of writing this report.
Lagos state governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu disappeared (from active duty) just after the elections, and by the time he reappeared, Okada got banned, coronavirus arrived.
By Ahmed Olufemi
In Nigeria one of the things newly elected political office holders are known for is releasing their projects with a target to complete them in the first hundred days in the office, but in the case of Sanwo-Olu who till date, is still regarded as a ‘child of circumstance’ seem to not have made up his mind on what to work on in the first hundred days and what not to.
He has been so relaxed like his predecessors have finished the work and left him with nothing else to do but pay salaries (he isn’t paying the salary even, the secretaries are), in fact, he is acting like someone that’s been given a clear instruction on what to do outside the usual job description of a governor of a state.
Lagos is Africa’s most populous city and one of the most crowded in the world, and with the challenges of bad roads in the city which, combined with movement of too many people towards same direction at same time, leaves us with motorcycle popularly known as Okada as one of the fastest ways of getting to your destination in the city without being stuck in traffic.
With the reappearance of the governor, the first thing he did was to ban Okada and tricycle, causing panic in the commercial city, and with no solution in sight.
Following the ban on Okada came the news of the arrival of the deadly coronavirus in the commercial capital of Nigeria, which begs for the question, “How do we survive this virus while sharing same vehicle with hundreds of people in commercial buses every day?” Maybe the poor is about to be wiped out.
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Since the ban on Okada, which would have been the best alternative in avoiding crowd while going about your normal activities, we have been faced with three options – Go with small bus (Danfo), which carries about 10-12 passengers, with no sign of detecting who among them is sick of the virus. With BRT that carries dozens of passengers, or, the best alternative as it is now, trek.
Is it a coincidence that Okada was banned by this time the world is trying to solve Coronavirus case? or it is the selfishness of our politicians that is about to cost us massively? whichever the case, we need Okada back, at least for now till we know we can be self riding with strangers.
The Nigerian navy has been evicting thousands of people from the small islands they live on around Lagos over the past month. They say it is because they harbour criminals.
As a result, many people are now homeless and living on beaches in the open air.
The latest evictions took place just a few days ago at Tarkwa Bay,which overlooks the Atlantic Ocean, a community of about 5,000 residents.
Journalist Sam Olukoya told BBC Focus on Africa radio that he saw personal belongings, including mattresses, clothes and shoes, scattered across nearby beaches.
He says one resident recalled how more than 100 armed officers arrived and started shooting and breaking down doors. Many residents were unable to take anything with them.
In less than a month the navy has evicted thousands of people as part of an operation it said was aimed at stopping the looting of nearby oil pipelines.
Naval Command Real Admiral Oladele Daji said the navy was taking over the area to restore security.
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“After the phase where we are now, we are entering the stabilisation phase and that is to ensure sustenance of adequate presence both at the waterfront and also on the island so that it will make it difficult for these criminal elements to gain a foothold.”
Planes have been unable to land this week at Nigeria’s main airport in Lagos because of poor visibility caused by the seasonal harmattan winds.
The BBC’s Adebisi Akinsulire has been trying to get home to Lagos since Monday. He left Barcelona in Spain heading for Lagos via Dubai. A direct flight from Dubai should have taken about eight hours.
My journey started from Dubai on Tuesday and our flight was supposed to land at about 3:40pm but on getting to Lagos we noticed that the plane kept hovering around Lagos airspace.
The pilot made an announcement that he was going to try and land, but the weather was not good.
After he tried we were in the airspace for about [another] 20 minutes, he then took a detour to Accra airport [in Ghana].
On getting to Accra airport we stayed in the aeroplane for about an hour-and-a-half to two hours because they were trying to see if we could get information on the weather in Lagos improving.
But the weather did not improve, so we got off the plane and we were told we were going to try and make the journey the next day, which was Wednesday.
We were supposed to fly by 10am. When it came to that time, the Emirates official said the weather was still not good – they were still having challenges with landing.
One of the pilots walked up to us and he was trying to explain the situation. He said what was broken is actually the ILS system, which is supposed to aid bigger planes in nasty weather. The ILS in the Lagos airport is not functioning.
At about 5pm we were told to go back to the hotel. On Thursday we were told by Emirates officials that they had not been given clearance to come in.
Today being Friday we got to the airport quite early we were told we were going to fly at about 9am.
On boarding the plane the pilot mentioned to us that we would either be going to Lagos or Abuja. Midway into the flight there was an announcement that he’s tried to reach the tower and the tower is not giving the clearance to land so we were going to Abuja.”
Akinsulire and about 200 other passengers have now landed in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja.
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They are still waiting in the terminal building to find out how and when they will be able to make the journey of more than 700km (400 miles) to Lagos.
Move by authorities in Nigeria’s business capital threatens ride-hailing startups.
Nigeria’s business capital, Lagos, will ban commercial motorcycles from many areas of the city, citing overcrowding and safety, authorities have said.
In a move that could change the commute for thousands and threaten ride-hailing startups, the Lagos state government announced on Twitter that it would ban motorcycles, commonly known as okadas, from operating in most of Lagos because of what it described as their “chaos and disorderliness” and “scary figures” of fatal accidents.
Companies such as Max.ng, ORide and Gokada have been aiming to capitalise on the congested Lagos roads to expand their operations.
The ban cites a 2018 law to bar okadas and small three-wheeled vehicles known as kekes from 1 February. It would bar them from 40 bridges and flyovers and areas covering the business districts of Victoria Island and Lagos Island, Apapa, where the primary port is located and Ikeja, which is home to the international airport.
Chinedu Azodoh, cofounder of Max.ng, is hopeful that the ban would not apply to them since their bikes are above the 200cc engine size banned specifically by the law.
“From what we’ve seen today, we don’t think the ban affects our business,” Azodoh said.
But Gbenga Omotoso, Lagos state commissioner of information and strategy, said the ban would affect all passenger companies and only courier service companies would be exempt.
“They have been found to have become part of the problem they set out to resolve,” he said of commercial motorcycle companies.
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Max.ng, which also operates in Kano, Ibadan and Akure in Nigeria, had an investment round last year that raised more than $5m (£3.8m).
Startup Gokada also raised $5m last year for its Lagos operations. Founder Fahim Saleh said that while their bikes were also above 200cc, he was not sure about the impact of the ban on them.
“It’s disappointing,” he said, adding they would seek to expand its operations in courier and logistics services. “We don’t know how it’s going to be enforced.”
ORide, part of OPay in which Norwegian software firm Opera Ltd has an equity interest, also offers ride-hailing motorcycles in Lagos.
In June, Gokada told Reuters that there were an estimated 8 million okada drivers operating across Nigeria.
Three persons have been confirmed dead in a pipeline explosion at Eroko road, Abule Egba area, Lagos.
The explosion, which happened on Sunday night, also left many trucks and houses burnt.
The Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA) said the explosion was as a result of a vandalised NNPC pipeline in Abule Egba.
Early reports indicated scores of persons were severely injured.
The specific time of the outbreak was not immediately clear, but multiple social media claims indicated it was between 10:00-11:00 p.m. on Sunday.
Sky-high flames billowed from the areas where the explosion affected, sending thousands of residents scampering for safety.
Early reports also said the fire broke out at Ile-Epo Bus Stop along Abeokuta Expressway, spreading instantly to nearby Abule Egba before another explosion was heard in Fagba and Ekoro Road — all densely populated suburbs north of Lagos but several kilometres apart.
We have not been able to independently verify the accounts, most of which came from social media users who have not yet responded to requests for additional comments Monday morning.
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, which feeds the pipelines, has shut supplies to the lines as part of efforts to contain the fire. Emergency officials were also said to have been mobilised to the area to attend to victims.
Nosa Okunbor, the spokesperson for LASEMA, said “two adult males and an infant lost their lives while 11 trucks laden with 40feet containers were destroyed and seven buildings razed down by the inferno.”
“Though preliminary report on the Ilepo fire outbreak had it that it was a pipeline fire which cause could not be ascertained, however, Situational Report from further investigations later revealed that the inferno was as a result of pipeline vandalism,” he explained.
Mr Okunbor added that the swift response of fire fighters, first responders and LASEMA team led to the explosion being successfully curtailed.
“The inferno has been completely put off with details revealing that the valve where the vandalised petroleum products emanated from, had been cut off totally from source at the NNPC Station.”
The agency said the collaboration by the NNPC eased the entire recovery process in no small measure, as supply of the highly inflammable fluid was cut off at source contributed immensely to curtailing the resultant fire.
LASEMA said no injuries were recorded by the responders during the operation, while the commodities recovered have been evacuated.
A similar explosion from damaged pipelines killed over 700 people in December 2006 in Abule Egba. Another explosion occurred in December 2018 at the same neighbourhood, but with fewer casualties.
Last week, I asked this exact question on the Bloomgist reader center to know why Lagos people are always angry like someone provoked them eternally, but you see, even from the response from people online, you could perceive anger, Why so?
- By Mike Ikenwa
“You know, we can be sweet, so sweet to fault to anyone that comes around us any time any day, but yet, that is when we are not angry, because over here, we are meant to be angry to survive, we are meant to be mean and harsh to pass the day or get rushed by other angry men”, says Deji, a business man who supplies nylon to market women between Ketu to Ijora markets.
Journeying through the streetrs of Lagos, you could t=smell the anger from almost everyone ytou see, even the market men are the worse. Don’t be fooled by the intial smiling and pet names they call you when you are walki ng past their shops, they are doi ng so to woo you, but ones you decline and refuse to budge, you are as dead to them as hell.
My times in Lagos has exposed to me to so many thing that always makes them angry and more reason why they will always be angry during their days activities.
Here are the two major reasons Lagosians are always angry.
Traffic is obviously one of the many reasons an average Lagosian is angry. A journey that should take an hour is always lasting for 5 hours, forcing therm to spend more for alternatives, or decline important offers just because they can’t keep up with the daily routines of having to fight to stay ahead, wake up hours before normal just to push through the busy road to meet up with appointments.
“I leave in Coker, Aguda, and I work at Lagos Island. At most it should take me 2 hours or less to get their if I leave early, let’s say by 6, I should be there by 8 or few minutes past 8, but because of traffic, I’m always forced to wake up by 4:30am, prepare within 30 minutes, and most times I eat on the road. I leave my house latest 5:30, but yet, I still get to work around 9:00am or many minutes past it.
It’s so frustrating and at this point, there is no amount of money that can justify such stress, so when you are passing through these and knowing it’s not worth it, you end up being paranoid all the time.
The problem is not just the traffic, but the rush, the tension on the road and the fear of being caught up in a fight to retain your lane and keep moving for both commercial and private drivers. It’s a scene you don’t want to witness.
Lagos evidently the most populous African city, with many of its people settling their for business, and less of pleasure, this i=make it and extremely busy place to live in
The high level of competition among business owners is second to known you have witness. From fight to maintain and serve existing customers in other not to lose them to other competing businesses, to the struggles of getting new customers and expanding your business, whichever way, the stress that come with running a business in Lagos is real and exhaustive.
“I work at the trade fair, every day I have to stand outside the gate, beckoning on passers by and visitors to the market to come try our product and and come inside the shop to see the good we have and buy. It’s not a great experience.” says Nneoma, a sales girl in Trade fare, Ojo, Lagos.
Success! You’re on the list.
“Most times I stand there for many hours, under the son and walking about other times to meet new people who may be interested to buy from us. That’s a lot stress and I end almost all the days very tired and don’t feel like having any of the dramas from anyone, as a result, creating my own drama without even knowing it. This is Lagos and not a place for someone who is not ready for stress.”
Living in Lagos is base on the connections and the many opportunities it offers, not anywhere close to pleasure, hence you wonder how one can achieve that in a very busy place without getting mad.
What are the other reasons you think Lagosians are always angry?
A canoe mishap has killed six young girls in Suru Local Government Area of Kebbi State, News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports.
The Chairman of the council, Umaru Maigandi, confirmed the incident to NAN in a telephone interview on Tuesday.
Mr Maigandi said the incident occurred when the canoe capsized while ferrying the victims across Tindifai River on Monday.
He said the canoe left Tindifai village conveying nine girls to a Fadama area where they were going to harvest rice but it capsized along the way.
“The village is close to Bendu in Tundifai; they were going to harvest rice in the Fadama area when the incident occurred and resulted in the death of six females.
“The deceased were between the ages of 12 years and 15 years.
“The three other victims had been rescued alive by the driver of the canoe, Umar Faruk, a 13-year-old,” he said.
“The deceased had been buried according to the Islamic rites, and we have condoled the families as well as sympathised with those that survived the mishap,” he said.
Mr Maigari blamed the incident on overloading, adding that the canoe was overloaded as it had five-passenger capacity.
The chairman said the council would sensitise the communities to the dangers of canoes overloading, particularly those in the riverine communities of the state.
On my first day arriving Lagos, the first thing I learnt was that no bus is ready to stop for you, not because they don’t want to stop, but because they are always in a haste. I was forced to learn how to jump in and out.
By Sade Olakunle
In my city where I come from, it wasn’t so. The buses pack, even reverse so you can enter. Most times they clear on the service lane so you can negotiate the price, but in this very city, Lagos, the land of the rush, they don’t do that. You first of all know how to run faster than other passengers in the race to gain access to the entrance, then learn how to jump in while the vehicle is still moving.
Sharing her experience, Temitope, a friend I met at the Popular CMS bus stop who witnessed how difficult it was for me said;
“Looks like you are still ‘JJC (Johnny Just Come)’ in this city, because with the way you are doing, you may end up sleeping in this bus stop. If you want to survive in this city, you must train yourself to not just run, but to beat other passengers in the race to catch up with a moving bus and learn how to hold firmly in other not to be pushed off by other struggling passengers.
This is not just a city, this is a land of the smart and the strong. If you are weak, nobody cares about you and that is how it has been, and how we have survived many years here”
Some times I wonder why this is so, and what would actually happen if they decide to clear and let passengers enter without the stress of having to jump in while they bus is in motion. So I spoke to a driver.
“Some times we want to stop, but most times we also have things we are running away from. We run from Ageberos (Task force), we run to beat traffic which is going to make us lose money, and we also run to carry as many passengers as we can in a day before other buses carry them all. This is survival, and nobody understands it better than the drivers and the conductors”
Considering this fact, I think it is very much understandable. Lagos is a place with massive population, and with almost everyone moving at the same time with the same speed, nobody want to wait for anybody and the moment you delay, you have actually forfeited your right to someone else without even knowing.
What is your Lagos experience? Let us know below.
Earlier this week, a group of young men in Lagos gathered to discuss ways to get value for their money whenever they patronize sex workers in Lagos.
By Sade Olakunle
Some of the men who spoke to Bloomgist anonymously decried the rate at which Lagos sex workers treat them even with their money. According to one of them, many times they leave them hanging without satisfying them, with their reasons being that their time has exhausted.
Speaking to Bloomgist, one said “To be honest, some times I feel like pouncing on them and demand for my money back, but I’m not a violent person and wouldn’t want to go about it in the wrong way. So over the weekend, I met with some other men who has been complaining of the same thing, and we have decided that the best way to get what we want to is to persuade the government to issue an order that will get sex workers arrested if they don’t satisfy their customers.”
Lagos is known for high patronage of sex workers by men who seek for either new ways to enjoy the night, or men who seek for sexual satisfaction. It is one of the highly patronized nightlife business in Lagos.
Men complain that the female sex workers are no longer satisfying them. According to them, most times they rush into it and out almost at the same time just because they want to meet up with another customer who, they also don’t want to lose.
“One of the night I went in with one in Ikeja, she rushed me like I din’t pay. I had read stories of how customers abuse female sex workers in Lagos, and I don’t want to do that to them. So I’m always gentle to them, but this recent attitude and style is no longer doing it for me.
“Some times they complain that we are slow to release, and that our money has expired, so they can’t continue. That is so annoying.
So we have taken steps to bring them to order in the future. We are making plans to write to the court to make an order that will punish sex workers if they fail to satisfy their customers after receiving money from them.”
Nobody told me that I might have to visit bank to get my notes changed to smaller denominations, or more of fifty Naira notes, nobody, but I learnt that on my first day arriving Lagos.
The bus I entered from Owerri stopped me at Begger, where I was told I will get another bus going to my destination. One of the things that will let you know when you have arrived Africa’s most populous city is the angry faces of the commercial bus conductors commonly known as ‘Danfo conductors’. They look so angry that you may have to think if entering their bus is worth risking your life.
“Elo, elo! Aunty, you dey go?’ one of the conductors with brown singlet that is hanging loosely from his shoulders beckons on me.
Yes”, I replied and told him the bus stop which he said is N50. I hopped in with the help of her hand that he used to push me in from the back, and that also confirms something I have been hearing that nobody cares about you in Lagos, because everyone inside seem to be so immovable that they didn’t even see it as a thing to shift for me, rather I had to force myself inside.
Just some meters away from where I boarded the bus, the conductor came with “Owo da (Your money)’, I deep my hands into my bag and brought out the money, N500 and stretched out my hand to give to him. As soon as he saw the note, he squeezed his face even the more and asked ‘So na N50 money you dey give me N500, where you wan make I go look for change? (Your fare is N50 and you are giving me N500, where do you want me to go look for change?)” Look like say you no wan go again (Looks like you don’t want to go again)”.
Success! You’re on the list.
At this point I was humbled. I pleaded and told him that’s the smallest note I have. He shouted back and asked me what I want him to do, and that was followed by series of swear words and abusive languages.
I kept on pleading, but you know in this Lagos, you must either learn how to stand up and speak or be humbled and crushed by even words. He wasn’t taking any of these words I was saying.
He asked me to drop which I did and before I could get bus that will take me from there to where I was going to under that hot sun, it was something I think is a miracle.
I just learnt the importance of N50 in Lagos, but in the hard way.
By Onyemachukwu Precious Nkechi
It is no longer news that Governor Akinwumi Ambode will no longer return as Governor of Lagos State in 2019 since he lost to his contender Babajide Sanwo-Olu in the governorship candidacy ticket of All Progressive Congress(APC) at the primary election held on the 2nd of October, 2018.
Lagos state has become more chaotic and filthy since the governor lost the election. It has become even more of an eyesore everywhere you turn to. It is as though we are not ruled by a governor.
Nowadays, the traffic in Lagos is increasing at an alarming rate. It has no end and has no special time allocated to it. Some radio stations now create a program where they release traffic reports to the audience. No one can give a proper reason as to why there is so much traffic in the state. Some other people speculate using environmental and spiritual factor. Some say it is because of bad roads, some say it is because of overpopulation, others say that it is because of roadblocks caused by tankers. Whatever the case may be, Lagos has never been the same since his rule.
The roadblocks caused by Apapa Tankers are as deadly as ever. It has been a major issue for the past four years. The number of tankers on the road is greatly increasing. Some of the trailers and tankers park on the road without checking on whether it is the right place to park.
Lagos has become filthy ever since the governor scrapped out the environmental sanitation that normally occurs every last Saturday of the month. Lagos has now become a centre for dirtiness. The roads are filled with dirt and the sewage is blocked which in turn causes flooding during the raining season. Just recently, I noticed that all the waste management’s companies have resumed work after a while and they are still trying to recover the state from its uncleanliness. Most people say that Lagos has never been dirtier as what they are seeing now.
According to Tracka, out of 174 roads in Lagos, Governor Akinwumi Ambode has done only 54 roads as of February 2019. According to the Lagos State Commissioner of Works and Infrastructure, Engineer Ade Akinsanya, the roads would be done in 3 phases. This construction was a promise by the Governor to open more inner roads in the state and this was budgeted for 18.6 billions naira.
Lagos State has not remained the same since the lost to the incoming governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu. We are hoping for a definite change from the new elected governor after the change over in the government. We solidly hope that everything would turn out well and Lagos will go back to remain a clean state.
Folashade Tinubu-Ojo, President-General, Association of Commodity Market Women and Men of Nigeria, has installed Adeniyi Olasoji and Abisola Azeez as Babaloja and Iyaloja, respectively, of the popular Computer Village in Lagos State.
It was gathered that the installation of the market leaders was marked with celebration in Ikeja on Thursday.
Reports emerged on Tuesday how traders had staged protests at the market, kicking against the planned installation of the market leaders.
They had claimed that Computer Village is an international market and that the titles of Babaloja and Iyaloja were only suited for markets where commodities such as pepper and onions are sold.
The protesters, who paralysed activities at the market for hours, also claimed the market leaders were imposed on them.
They said people outside the market had no right to choose leaders for them.
However, Tinubu-Ojo at a news conference on Wednesday, described the protests as ill-informed.
She claimed that as the leader of all commodities’ traders, it was within her powers to appoint leaders for any market, including the Computer Village.
The market leader denied imposing leaders on the traders, saying she only endorsed as leaders the traders within the market that were chosen by stakeholders.
She alleged that some officials of the Computer Dealers and Allied Products Association of Nigeria, whose tenure she claimed had expired, were behind the protests.
The market leader alleged that the objective of the sponsors of the protests was to perpetuate themselves in power.
At the installation ceremony, Tinubu-Ojo urged the market leaders to see their installation as an opportunity to serve the traders.
While praying that they succeed in their responsibilities, she urged them to give their best to impact greatly on the traders and the market. She also pledged her support for the installed market leaders to enable them to succeed.
Speaking to newsmen after the ceremony, she said the aggrieved CAPDAN officials had visited her on issues surrounding the installation of the new market leaders.
Tinubu-Ojo said she expressed her displeasure over the protests during her meeting with them and that she blamed them for taking the action instead of engaging her in talks.
She said discussions to iron out all issues with the other party were still
“I don’t have any issue with them (protesters); they have been here. They came yesterday after I addressed the press and they related their position.
“In fact, the former President of CAPDAN, Mr. Adeniyi Ojikutu, came this morning. We talked at length and the next thing for us is to call another meeting.
“I don’t have issues with them. The only thing was that they should have come here instead of carrying placards when they got the information that there was going to be installation.
“They should have come to have a chat with me and perhaps, we might have ironed out issues and understood each other.
“Disagreements are bound to happen. There is no way we won’t step on each others’ toes in offices, markets and so on; but the ability to manage the crisis is what matters, which is the next line of action.
“I have even told the Iyaloja and Babaloja I installed today that we are still going to revisit the issues with the other people at a roundtable.”
The Lagos State House of Assembly has given Akinwunmi Ambode, Governor of Lagos State, the opportunity to defend the allegations of illegal expenditure regarding the 2019 appropriation bill, before the house decides on the proposed impeachment moves against him.
Right Honourable Mudashiru Obasa stated this during the plenary session held on Monday.
“Within a week, we can come back here and do whatever we want to do regarding those who are clamouring or who have asked for impeachment. And if by the end of the day, there is need to consider whatever response from them, then we can as well move forward,” Obasa said.
The lawmakers are alleging that Ambode has started incurring expenditure on the 2019 budget, which has not yet been presented to the house.
In his remarks on the matter, Obasa said: “There have been violations of the constitutional procedure regarding the budget. You know the consequences of this offence. I must also agree with you that the Attorney General, the Finance Commissioner, who are in the better position to inform the Governor adequately or advise in such manner to have saved him from all these.”
He noted that the budget should have been presented last Monday, but wasn’t, noting that it was out of place for expenses to be incurred on a budget that had not been presented.
“Amidst all that has been said in the media, I would use this medium to clarify this: Lagos State House of Assembly cannot sit and scrutinize a budget which is already incurring expenditure,” Obasa added.
According to the House, a committee was set up and it was discovered that the 2019 budget is already being implemented by the Executive without being laid on the floor of the House. The Committee also noted in its findings that for the 2018 budget, the third quarter had not performed beyond 50 per cent.
The Speaker, however, urged the lawmakers to allow the executive arm of government led by the Governor to defend the “infractions”, before they take action on the matter.
The House has adjourned its sitting till February 4, 2019.
I grew up in a country where female subjugation is too often justified as reflecting ‘traditions’ and abuse can become normalised
As the United Nations launched its 16-day worldwide campaign to combat violence against women on Sunday, I was reminded of how, while it is a global problem, it is one that leaves women in developing countries particularly vulnerable.
A UN report shows women in Africa are most at risk of violence. In Nigeria where I grew up, 23% of women have been victims of physical or sexual violence committed by a previous husband. While many incidents of domestic violence go unreported, in a country of 194 million people, even this 23% figure translates into millions of women suffering physical and sexual violence.
When they complained about abuse, they were told they must have done something to ‘disrespect’ their husbandThe Guardian
In sub-Saharan Africa as a whole, 22.3% of women aged between 15 and 49 reported experiencing physical and/or sexual violence by an intimate partner within a 12-month period. So what are some of the unique challenges faced by African women on this front?
A friend of mine recently went through the hellish experience of trying to free herself from a violent husband. This involved being advised by her own family to stick with him because he was affluent. “He can afford to take care of you and the children. If you leave him, you’re condemning yourself and your children to hardship,” she was told. Sadly, this is all too common advice in a society that offers no social safety net or well-functioning justice system to ensure women cannot simply be thrown out on the streets (with their children) by an angry partner.
While poverty affects both genders in sub-Saharan Africa, it affects women more: 122 women aged 25 to 34 live in extreme poverty for every 100 men of the same age. For such women, the decision on whether to leave a violent partner would involve practical issues of food and shelter for herself and her children. However, the problem is much more than just economic. I also have friends who are middle-class professionals yet tolerated years of domestic abuse.
In their cases, when they complained to their families that their husband was abusing them, they were usually told they must have done something to “disrespect” him. While Nigeria is a multicultural society comprised of hundreds of ethnic groups, each with their own traditional value system, what they all have in common is a view of the male as an authority figure who deserves automatic “respect” from his wife. This involves the expectation she will regularly acknowledge her subordinate position to him in the household.
If he is abusive, it is thus often attributed to the woman not playing her role properly, not being a “good wife”. When one of my friends who spent many years in the UK before marrying and relocating to Nigeria complained to her family about how her husband was treating her, she was told she had “spent too long living among white people where everything is upside down and the women control the men”. Female subjugation can be justified as reflecting “African traditions”, conveniently ignoring values like basic respect and equal treatment for all humans. Nigerian women, even those who are better off financially, are thus disadvantaged in an unabashedly patriarchal society that does little to acknowledge their rights.
One issue that is often grossly under-appreciated is that tolerant attitudes towards domestic violence have a domino effect on society, producing adults traumatised by childhood experiences of seeing their father regularly abuse their mother. How does a society that lets its children witness such consequence-free abuse expect them to grow up fair-minded sensitive adults?
Non-governmental organisations combating violence against women do their best, but the harsh realities of life in a society with endemic poverty, a nonexistent social safety net and weak formal mechanisms for safeguarding the vulnerable, compel too many women to make unfortunate choices for themselves and their children.
Meanwhile, many Nigerians have been desensitised to the damaging effects of violence against women due to their own childhood experiences. Domestic abuse now needs to be robustly denormalised. Nigerian women need economic empowerment, but they also need cultural empowerment. This would benefit not only women but society as a whole – including, importantly, the future of any society, its children. Eliminating all forms of abuse against women is what gives credence to societies truly committed to decency and basic human rights. Anything else is an exercise in societal self-harm.
- Sede Alonge is a Nigerian writer and lawyer
The drivers in light traffic measured a much healthier 123 over 78. Oddly, whether a driver was running late made no difference to blood pressure.
“WHERE would you rather be?” asks a bumper sticker on the back of a rickety-looking Toyota Corolla. It is an advertisement for a hotel—and a question that people might well ask themselves. The words on the sticker are so small that they could be read only by a driver a few feet behind the Corolla while both cars were motionless. In Lagos, Nigeria’s biggest city, it is a dead certainty that plenty of people will be stuck in just that position.
Much of life in Lagos is spent in traffic or trying to avoid it. Peter Elias, a lecturer in planning at the University of Lagos, says that the jams usually begin around six in the morning and last at least until nine. From one to three in the afternoon, parents picking up their children from school clog the roads again. Then Lagos slides into the evening rush hour, which can last until eight or nine. Traffic moves so slowly that one roundabout has a wraparound television screen to entertain drivers. At Victoria Island, the old commercial centre, many workers go straight from their offices to nearby bars to sit out the worst of it.
Many people believe that their city has unusually bad traffic, and that it is worsening. It is hard to judge whether they are right. TomTom, a maker of satellite-navigation devices, and INRIX, a data company, rank cities by traffic congestion. But their lists are dominated by cities in rich and upper-middle-income countries. Poorer cities often have worse traffic but produce too little data to be ranked. The most jammed include Cairo, Delhi, Dhaka, Jakarta, Lagos, Manila, Nairobi and São Paulo.
Most of these cities have three things in common. First, they are crowded. The Atlas of Urban Expansion, a project run by Shlomo Angel of New York University, has good data on Cairo, Dhaka, Lagos, Manila and São Paulo. All are at least twice as densely populated as Paris. Dhaka, with an overall density of 552 people per hectare in its built-up area, is ten times as crowded as Paris. Second, with the exception of Delhi, none has a fast, extensive rail-based public-transport system. Commuters have little choice but to pour onto the roads.
The third thing these cities share is that private-vehicle ownership is rising quickly. In Delhi, the number of registered motorbikes jumped from 4.3m in 2011 to 6.7m in 2017. Cars and jeeps are up from 2.2m to 3.2m. Not everybody with a car drives every day. In Nairobi, traffic is worst at the end of the month, when salaried workers are paid and can afford petrol. But enough people drive that the roads seize up.
In the stickiest cities, traffic seems less an irritation than an inescapable fact. People talk obsessively about it, and swap stories. The quintessential Manila story is the one about the Catholic archbishop who became so fed up in a jam in 2015 that he left his car and directed traffic in the rain. Nigeria’s head of state in the 1970s, Murtala Mohammed, was assassinated while sitting in Lagos traffic. In June of this year one Lagosian tried to beat a jam by driving on the wrong side of the road. He was accosted by police, who tried to force him to turn round. Unfortunately, the driver was a soldier, and he promptly called for back-up. A man was shot in the ensuing mêlée.
Economists think congestion a terrible waste of resources. They have tried to quantify the loss from sitting in traffic—again focusing on rich countries. INRIX estimates that traffic delays cost Los Angeles $19bn and New York City $34bn in 2017, counting petrol as well as lost productivity. Matthias Sweet of Ryerson University in Canada has calculated that congestion retards job growth in American cities when it delays the average commute by more than four and a half minutes.
But to see traffic jams purely as a waste of time is to miss something. To economists, every hour spent in traffic is an hour not spent being productive. But in the cities with the worst traffic, this is not always true. Nor is it clear that people dislike traffic jams quite as much as they say they do.
Nara, a housekeeper in São Paulo, has a three-hour commute. She begins by walking 20 minutes to a bus stop. After a journey of one hour, she walks to another bus stop and takes a second bus, again for about an hour. Then she walks again. Nara could travel faster if she took the metro, but fears being groped by men on the crowded trains. She uses the long bus rides to “create a little world” for herself, listening to music and reflecting on the day. She tolerates and even enjoys the journey. “Nothing here can faze me anymore,” she says.
“Paulistanos know they’re buying a package: São Paulo plus traffic,” explains Ronald Gimenez, the director of Rádio Trânsito. His radio station, which has more than 1m Twitter followers, is all about traffic, all the time. It employs a dozen reporters who zoom (or crawl) to traffic hotspots, though it relies mostly on data from traffic apps such as Waze and on drivers’ tips sent through WhatsApp. Mr Gimenez believes that Rádio Trânsito is not just a source of information but a comfort to stressed travellers. To listen is to be reminded that the jam you are stuck in is merely one of many.
In the slowest cities, few drivers obey bans on texting or making phone calls. When stuck in traffic, they chat to friends and conduct business. Or they shop. Many jammed cities have street hawkers. Lagos’s may be the most inventive. In two days in the city, this reporter was offered soft drinks, grapes, plantain chips, eggs, newspapers, windscreen wipers, hats, hot-water bottles, flip-flops, stuffed animals, gospel music, dog leads, three-legged stools, a large mirror and a CD rack.
One 43-year-old man named Lawal sells inflatable mattresses. He used to have a stall in a roadside market, where he tailored clothes and fixed mobile phones. But Lagos’s police demolished his stall as part of a plan to reduce traffic congestion. He is trying to save money so that he can start again. Lawal likes thick traffic, but not too thick. If cars move so slowly that, by walking up and down the lanes, Lawal passes the same driver several times, that driver might become irate. Happily, he says he can rely on heavy traffic for about five hours every weekday evening.
Many people hate sitting in traffic. One study by doctors at the American University in Beirut measured the blood pressure of drivers who pulled into petrol stations in heavy traffic and compared them with those who pulled over in light traffic. The ones in jams had a mean average systolic blood pressure of 142 and a diastolic pressure of 87. The drivers in light traffic measured a much healthier 123 over 78. Oddly, whether a driver was running late made no difference to blood pressure.
The last finding might be put down to the relaxed Lebanese attitude to time-keeping, except that a study of the punctual English found much the same thing. Male students at Liverpool John Moore’s University were put in a driving simulator and told they would be rewarded with money if they got to their destination within 15 minutes. The simulator was programmed with two traffic jams, one at the start of the trip and one at the end, making it impossible to complete the journey in time. The researchers expected that the second jam would be more stressful, because it made the drivers late. It was not. Both jams raised the students’ heart rates and blood pressures by the same amount. Traffic jams seem to be stressful whenever and wherever they occur.
They are not, however, so stressful that people will do much to avoid them. A study of toll lanes on a Los Angeles motorway, which drivers can enter and leave as they wish, calculated that drivers will pay $11 per hour of time saved—though it seems they will also pay to avoid being late. That is about half the local average wage. Other research has found the same ratio. People would appear to dislike traffic jams about half as much as they dislike work.
Moreover, time spent fuming in traffic jams appears to be soon forgotten. Two academics, Eric Morris and Jana Hirsch, have examined the American Time Use Survey for evidence that people in big cities recall being particularly unhappy at rush hour. They found almost none. Traffic jams infuriate the people stuck in them. But when things start moving, all is forgotten. As they point out, this might help explain why Americans (and others) often oppose measures such as congestion charging.
In 1966 an Argentinian writer, Julio Cortázar, pushed this impression to a fantastic conclusion. In his short story “The Southern Thruway”, a man driving to Paris gets stuck in a jam so bad it lasts for days. At first he and his fellow drivers are furious. But gradually they create a little society, sharing food and drink and turning one car into a hospital. When, to everyone’s surprise, cars start moving at last, the protagonist is distraught. It turns out there is nowhere he would rather be than stuck in traffic.
Three persons died and many others were injured when a train hit a commercial bus at Pen Cinema railway crossing in Lagos State on Friday, authorities have confirmed.
A witness, Raji Oladimeji, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the accident occurred when the bus driver was trying to make U-turn on the rail line.
“We warned the driver not to make U-turn at that particular point when a train was approaching but he refused.”
“So, it was in the process of making the turn that the approaching train crushed the bus where people hanging on the train fell off and three die instantly while other sustained various injuries,” Mr Oladimeji, an electrician, said.
He said some youth set the bus ablaze in anger while the injured were taken to a nearby hospital.
Jerry Oche, the Lagos District Manager, Nigerian Railway Corporation, who confirmed the incident, said the accident happened at 9.30 a.m.
“We were informed that a bus was trying to make a U-turn at the railway line this morning at Agege Pen Cinema area when a moving train crushed it in the process.
“The police are on top of the incident bringing the situation to normalcy as youths went on rampage over the death of people who lost their lives in the accident.
“The information given to us by the police was that a number of people hanging on the train were affected where two people died while many others sustained injuries,” he said.
Ibrahim Farinloye, the Public Information Officer, National Emergency Management Authority, Lagos Office, said the injured had been taken to the hospital.
Highlights from this year’s competition include Ronaldo Schemidt’s image of a man on fire, which took the top prize
Photograph: Adam Ferguson/New York Times
Photograph: Kadir Van Lohuizen/Noor Images
Photograph: Thomas P. Peschak
Photograph: Heba Khamis/EPA
Photograph: Ronaldo Schemidt/AFP
Photograph: Neil Aldridge/EPA
Photograph: Oliver Scarff/AFP/Getty Images
Photograph: Corey Arnold/AP
Photograph: Ivor Prickett/New York Times
Photograph: Jesco Denzel/EPA
Photograph: Patrick Brown/Panos Pictures
Photograph: Magnus Wennman/AP
Updates and and Analysis of President Muhammadu Buhari’s visit to Lagos state.
15:21′ The trekking today is so real and all.
— MR AHMED🇳🇬 (@MeetMrAhmed) March 29, 2018
15:13′ Photos of President Buhari at the Annual Bola Ahmed Tinubu colloquium taking place at the Eko Hotels and Suits, Victoria Ireland, Lagos.
15:12′ According to APC, the ruling party, there was a standing ovation for the president as he enters the venue of the Annual Bola Ahmed Tinubu colloquium.
15:09′ The Ikeja bus terminal has been commissioned by Buhari, and what will follow is, maybe, the main reason, at least from what we observed Mr. President is in town… The Annual Bola Ahmed Tinubu colloquium.
15:04′ …and yes, in case if you are wondering if Buhari is attending the annual Tinubu Colloquium, here is a an evidence, as confirmed and validated by his party, the APC.
[STANDING OVATION FOR A GREAT MAN]
A warm round of applause for @NGRPresident @MBuhari as he gives his remarks at the 10th edition of the Bola Tinubu’s Colloquium.
#PMBinLagos @apcyouthomoodua @MrAbuSidiq @Mr_JAGs @trueNija @ToksAfikuyomi @DeleMomodu @abikedabiri @Ayourb pic.twitter.com/0t0zbRIXFz
— APC United Kingdom (@APCUKingdom) March 29, 2018
15:02′ What if the presidency and the Lagos state government actually played the Lagosians, telling them that the president is visiting to commission the Ikeja Bus Terminal, while Mr. President is actually coming to join Tinubu for his birthday celebration and the annual Tinubu colloquium?
— King Pexxie (@pexxie) March 29, 2018
15:00′ At Lekki Phase 1, the residentts felt the presence of the visit President even before he arrived.
— Samuel Iboroma (@samueliboroma) March 29, 2018
14:57′ Some times in 2014/2015, the trekking for Buhari was voluntary, today, it is mandatory
“@hmeelarh: State of things in IKEJA ALONG, LAGOS this morning; Roads are blocked and Lagosians trekking to their work places all because the president @MBuhari is visiting . #ImagineNigeria #PMBInLagos @Gidi_Traffic pic.twitter.com/c14MR1cje8
— GIDITRAFFIC (@Gidi_Traffic) March 29, 2018
14:56′ Buhari arrived the venue of the commissioning of the Ikeja bus terminal
— Jubril A. Gawat (@Mr_JAGs) March 29, 2018
14:51′ Some youths have taken to the streets to protest the blockade of the pedestrian bridges. Bloomgist is receiving reports of usage of force and beating on the protesters by the Lagos state police.
People standing under the scorching sun were not allowed to use Pedestrian bridge because one Ghost worker is in Lagos. When one of them asked why, she was beaten and harrassed.
The last picture is my reaction. #PMBinLagos pic.twitter.com/scs9zyEcx7
— Umeh and 99 others (@UmehOMA) March 29, 2018
12:18′ Wondering why Nigeria entered recession? a good citizen has your answer.
In case you’re still wondering why the Nigerian economy fell into recession the moment Buhari ascended the throne, this is why: Lagos State government will loose $250 million tomorrow because of PMB’s visit. #PMBinLagos @segalink
— Le_Password (@iamdpassword) March 28, 2018
12:16′ Meanwhile, access to the International airport has been blocked to enable free movement of the President’s convoy
“@Heurak: Friends, access to the airport is blocked from Cement bus stop, Allen Avenue, Asbestos, 7&8 if you’re travelling by air just get set to trek, also expect cancelled flights as essential staff including pilots are stuck in traffic. #PMBinLagos@Gidi_Traffic #GIDITRAFFIC
— GIDITRAFFIC (@Gidi_Traffic) March 29, 2018
12:13′ One of the activities to be carried out today by the president includes the Ikeja bus terminal. built by Governor Ambode.
— Jubril A. Gawat (@Mr_JAGs) March 28, 2018
12:11′ The vehicular movement in Lagos state due to the president visits has lead to mass trekking of Lagos residence to their destinations.
11:42′ The president has landed at the Muritala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos and the convoy is leaving for Alausa, Ikeja
— Bashir Ahmad (@BashirAhmaad) March 29, 2018
The Lagos State Police Command has given till March 29 for individuals with ‘pump action firearm’ and other guns to submit their arms, licenses for verification and re-validation.
The order was contained in a statement by the command spokesman, Chike Oti, saying that the exercise became necessary in view of security challenges in the country.
“Those issued with licence to bear pump action firearm or other repeating firearm operated by a slide action mechanism, by the Lagos State Police Command Firearms Registry(D7), are to submit their weapons and Licences to the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) of the closest Police Station for verification, confirmation and revalidation.
“The move is to enable the command update its data base with information about the owners, licences, and state of the firearms.
“The owners of these firearms types are given two weeks grace period from the date of this publication(Feb. 24) to ready themselves for the exercise which will last till March 29.
“The Commissioner of Police, Lagos State, enjoins all licenced gun owners to take advantage of this revalidation programme as firearms found in the possession of anybody or group who did not participate in the exercise would be deemed as illegitimate.
“Such an individual or group would be arrested and charged for unlawful possession of firearm(s) in accordance with the provisions of Prohibited Firearms Act 2004, Laws of the Federation,” the police said.
SOURCE: Premium Times
FIVE men who allegedly posed as females on social media to lure and rape two women have been remanded in prison.
Gabriel Obinna, 20, Nnadozie Akabueze, 21, Hector Ugochukwu, 32, Chinedu Ezechukwu, 21 and Godwin Balogun appeared yesterday before the newly inaugurated Ikeja Sexual Offences and Domestic Violence Court, for allegedly using social media to lure, kidnap and rape two women in Lagos.
They however denied the six-count charge of conspiracy, kidnapping and rape.
The prosecutor, Mrs O. Akinsete, said the defendants committed the offences at 4.30pm at the Happy Hour Hotel, Agege, Lagos, on July 25, 2016.
“The defendants posed as a female called Vanessa on social media platforms like Instagram and Tinder.
“They befriended and lured the two complainants (names withheld) to the hotel on two different occasions.
“When the women arrived the hotel instead of meeting their ‘friend’ Vanessa, they encountered the five defendants who were lying in wait.
“The complainants in their similar experiences were beaten, gang-raped by the men and forced to call family and friends to send money for their release,” she said.
The prosecution said the offences violated sections 260(1), 271(3) and 409 of the Criminal Law of Lagos 2011.
The presiding judge, Justice Sybil Nwaka, ordered that the suspects be remanded at the Kirikiri Prison and adjourned the case until Feb. 15 for trial. (NAN)
SOURCE: Daily Trust
By Chinedu Eze
The Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos, may likely lose its slot as the second busiest airport in Africa, coming second to OR Tambo International Airport, Johannesburg, because of poor aviation fuel supply and the outrageous price of the product, known as Jet A1 in the industry.
This was disclosed by CITA, a major aviation fuel supplier to Nigeria, other countries in Africa and beyond in partnership with Puma Energy.
CITA said Nigeria has capacity to supply 1 billion litres of fuel per annum but currently it only supplies 500 million litres due to the country’s inability to refine fuel locally.
The company warned that as Lagos airport continues to lose flight traffic and many international carriers fuel from neighbouring airports like Accra, Abidjan and Lome while departing from Lagos, the traffic in Cape Town is growing daily.
CITA said in partnership with Puma Energy, the fuel-selling arm of Dutch trading giant Trafigura, that it was striving to bridge the gap in fuel supply in Nigeria by supplying clean aviation fuel into the country.
Speaking during the launch of the partnership in Lagos, the managing director of CITA, Thomas Ogungbangbehe, said that as the country’s passenger traffic is projected to grow by almost 20 per cent in 2023, Nigeria would require 2 billion litres of aviation fuel per annum to meet the demand.
Ogungbangbe expressed concern over the fact that airlines operating in Nigeria go to Ghana to refuel as a result of inadequate supply and the high cost of aviation fuel.
“The jet fuel sector has grappled with challenges – not devoid from the challenges experienced by the Nigerian larger economy, a situation that in recent times led to airlines having to stop-over in other countries for jet fuel.
“As soon as the downward slide of crude oil prices became a continuum, some market indices became confused, foreign exchange became scarce and expensive, so jet fuel price was going down in the international market but the local market was steadily going up.
“Because of this, hedging became difficult as futures and spot prices became lower than the present selling price,” he said
He recalled that on November 6, 2014, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) threw jet fuel out of the RDAS, in so doing excluded an essential product that is not produced in Nigeria.
He explained that overall, the trading conditions faced by CITA were not showing any signs of improving, as the deterioration in the market was accelerated by the exit of some foreign airlines and receivership of airlines that held about 70 per cent of the traffic.
“We could not take money from banks in Nigeria to fund transactions, and even when there was money, there was no forex to import the product.
“With this constantly changing market, there is need to plug into dynamics of well integrated organisations whose system is not thrown to shocks by economic situations of any one country or region.
“I strongly believe it’s even more important – now while we’re enduring an economic crisis – that our airlines fully utilise the benefits of this type of business relationship,” he said.
He urged the federal government to remove all the bottlenecks that hamper aviation fuel supply in the country.
Speaking in the same vein, the Global Aviation Fuel Manager of PUMA Energy, Seamus Kilgallonsaid, said Lagos is second biggest airport in Africa but it may lose the position to Cape Town because of high price of aviation fuel.
Kilgallon said Nigeria needs to smoothen the supply system to prevent occasional scarcity of aviation fuel, leading to high and arbitrary increase in prices, which is said to be the highest in West and Central Africa.
He added that the new partnership between CITA and PUMA promises to bridge these challenges.
SOURCE: This day
“The taste of stockfish is life… We can’t cook without stockfish.”
That’s the verdict of women at the bustling Onyingbo market in Nigeria’s commercial capital, Lagos, as they carefully choose pieces of the specially dried cod.
Heads stare up from market stalls while whole bodies hanging on metal hooks sway in the humid breeze. Bundles of the golden-coloured fish have been cut into different sizes and are sold by weight.
The smell of stockfish is pungent and clings to the back of your throat. No wonder; the fish has been hung up to dry for three months until it is as dry as a tree bark.
As the moisture drips out, the flavour of the fish deepens to create a rich, intense and complex taste.
It is perfect for a Nigerian palate, which favours big and bold flavours such as fermented locust beans and chilli pepper, says young chef Michael Elegbde.
Based in Lagos, Mr Elegbde is a rising star in Nigeria’s culinary world – and his signature dishes revolve around stockfish. Growing up, he spent a lot of time helping his grandmother in the kitchen, and she loved stockfish as a key ingredient in traditional dishes.
“When we got home and we smelled the boiling stockfish we knew grandma is cooking, and now when I smell stockfish that nostalgia of my grandmother immediately kicks into my head,” he recalls.
But it was only later in life – when he had followed in his grandmother’s cooking footsteps – that he discovered the fish that he had grown up with actually came from almost half-way round the world, in the cold Arctic waters off the coast of Norway.
“As a kid I was never told that this stockfish was something from Norway. It was so common that I couldn’t imagine it not being Nigerian.”
Before Norway discovered oil and natural gas, its wealth was built on fisheries. Today fish exports are Norway’s second highest earner, with stockfish going to Nigeria a hugely important element in this trade.
The archipelago of Lofoten – up in the far north of Norway – has the biggest concentration of stockfish producers in the world.
That is because every year between January and April, millions of cod migrate from the Barents Sea to breed in the fjords – and the climate is perfect for the natural drying process.
“You need both cold and dry weather, and you need sun. We have everything here. We are gifted from God,” laughs Erling Falchs, whose family business Saga Fisk has been in the stockfish trade for six generations.
After gutting, cod is hung out on huge wooden A-frames, up to 10 metres high, and left to dry for three months in in the cold, crisp winter air. No salt, no additives – just in the same way that it has been dried since the time of the Vikings.
Although Nigeria has a long coastline teeming with other species of fish, people say the stockfish has a unique taste and so it is Norway’s biggest export market for the fish.
“We sell about 200 to 250 containers of stockfish to Nigeria; that’s about 4,000 tonnes,” Mr Falchs says. “It’s around 20 to 30 million dinners.”
The past few years have been volatile, however. As the price of Nigeria’s main source of income – oil – fell, the government restricted access to foreign exchange. Stockfish imports fell as a consequence.
But the market is bouncing back. Last year, exports to Nigeria have almost doubled to just over 7,000 tonnes.
That is still not as much as in 2014, when almost 9,000 tonnes of stockfish went to Nigeria.
And it is not just Nigeria that Norway is targeting.
As Nigerians have settled in other West African countries – including Benin, Togo, Ghana and Cameroon – they have taken their beloved stockfish with them. And the taste for stockfish is slowly spreading.
So how did stockfish first arrive on Nigerian shores?
The process of drying it means that stockfish can last for years – and that made it perfect to be used as food for the West African people enslaved and sent on long sea voyages to the Americas, says Norwegian historian Frank Jensen.
But, as Mr Jensen points out, it was the Biafran civil war in Nigeria 50 years that really set the scene for stockfish to become a must-have ingredient in Nigerian cuisine.
In the course of three bloody years, more than a million people died – mostly from hunger. It was a humanitarian crisis on an unprecedented scale, and churches and relief agencies from all over the world joined together to fly in emergency supplies.
Norway’s contribution was stockfish.
It doesn’t need refrigeration, and it is full of protein and vitamins – perfect to combat kwashiorkor, the malnutrition that characterised the Biafran war.
“The single weapon against kwashiorkor was stockfish,” says Edwin Mofefe, who was five years old when the war broke out. “It was our medicine.”
For years Mr Mofefe couldn’t eat stockfish because it brought back too many harrowing memories of the war.
Now, finally, he can not only stomach it, he has come to adore it for the depth of flavouring it brings to his favourite egusi or melon seed soup.
Fifty years on, stockfish has turned from an emergency, life-saving ration into a staple food – and a key part of Nigerian culinary identity.
SOURCE: This story was first Published on BBC with photos credit to Penny Dale and google images
Facebook will open a “community hub space” in Nigeria next year to encourage software developers and technology entrepreneurs and become the latest technology giant to pursue a training program in fast-growing Africa.
The U.S. social media company said the center would host an “incubator program” to help develop technology start-ups, while it will also train 50,000 Nigerians in digital skills.
Africa’s rapid population growth, falling data costs and heavy adoption of mobile phones rather than PCs is attracting technology companies looking to attract more users.
Facebook did not provide details of the period over which its planned training would take place in Nigeria, which is Africa’s most populous country with 180 million inhabitants.
“We understand the important role Facebook plays here in Nigeria with developers and start-ups and are invested in helping these communities,” Emeka Afigbo, its regional head of platform partnership, said in a statement on Wednesday.
Facebook said the training – aimed at software developers, entrepreneurs and students – would be offered in cities including the capital, Abuja, Port Harcourt in the south, Calabar in the southeast and Kaduna in the north.
Last year Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg visited technology companies in Lagos and his charitable foundation provided $24 million to Andela, which trains developers.
Google’s chief executive in a July visit to Lagos said the company aimed to train 10 million people across the continent in online skills over the next five years. He also said it hoped to train 100,000 software developers in Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa.
Although Africa may not offer as much opportunity to add consumers as China or India, because large wealth gaps mean that many people in places like Nigeria have little disposable income, Facebook said more than 22 million people already use its social media website every month in Nigeria.
Widespread poverty means mobile adoption tends to favor basic phone models. That, combined with poor telecommunications infrastructure, can mean slow internet speeds and less internet surfing, which tech firms rely on to make money.
Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial centre, is the third most stressful city in the world, according to a study.
The study, conducted by UK-based drycleaning and laundry service, Zipjet, listed the world’s most and least stressful cities of 2017.
Factors considered by the researchers include traffic levels, infrastructure, pollution levels, finance, citizens’ wellbeing, public transport, percentage of green spaces, debt levels, physical and mental health, and the financial status of citizens.
The list ranked Baghdad as the most stressful city in the world, while Kabul was placed second on the list.
On the list of stress-free cities, four cities in the top 10, including Stuttgart, Hanover, Munich and Hamburg are located in Germany.
Others are Luxembourg City, Luxembourg; Bern, Switzerland; Bordeaux, France; Edinburgh, UK; Sydney, Australia, and Graz, Austria. No African country made the list of stress-free cities.
The world’s most stressful cities, according to the study, include Baghdad, Iraq; Kabul, Afghanistan; Lagos, Nigeria; Dakar, Senegal and Cairo, Egypt. Others are Tehran, Iran; Dhaka, Bangladesh; Karachi, Pakistan; New Delhi, India and Manila, Philippines.
SOURCE: The Bloomgist/CNN/Premium Times
A suspected hideout of a kidnap gang has been discovered at the Ile-Zik, close to Ikeja, Lagos state.
According to reports, security operatives found human parts concealed in some sachets.
Reports state that a hawker who fell into the hands of the gang raised the alarm after managing to escape.
The hideout was invaded shortly by residents after the alarm was raised.
Three suspects have been arrested, while a sharp knife was found on one of the suspects said to have been posing as a mad man.
The suspects are currently being interrogated at Isokoko police station in the Agege area of the state.
Lassa Fever has killed two patients at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LUTH).
Chief Medical Director of the hospital, Chris Bode confirmed this on Tuesday.
He added that 100 workers were being monitored.
According to LUTH, the patients died after spending some days on admission.
“Each of these two patients presented very late and died in spite of efforts to salvage them,” LUTH said in a statement.
“The first was a 32-year old pregnant lady with bleeding disorder who died after a stillbirth. A post-mortem examination had been conducted before her Lassa Fever status was eventually suspected and confirmed.
“No less than 100 different hospital workers exposed to this index case are currently being monitored.”
The hospital disclosed that a resident doctor from the department of anatomic and molecular pathology, who took part in the autopsy is on admission in an isolated ward.
In April, the governor of Lagos, Nigeria Akinwumi Ambode called the country’s commercial nerve the world’s fastest growing mega city, with GDP of $136 billion. At this level, Lagos sits comfortably as one of the top ten economies in Africa by GDP. Should Nigerian states start fending for themselves; only Lagos and a few others would be able to survive. Lagos generated more than $940 million internally in 2016, exceeding the combined IGR of 30 states in Nigeria.
The city state remains a major economic focal point in Nigeria, generating around 10 percent of the country’s GDP. It continues to grow its revenue as investment flows rise with expanding opportunities in several sectors. Economic growth in the Nigerian port city seems to be boundless but whatever brightness the future holds can only illuminate as far as the dark forces of insecurity recently rampaging Lagos would allow.
It has been more than 40 days since some 6 pupils were kidnapped at a school in Epe, on the north side of the Lekki Lagoon in Lagos, raising questions about the ability of the state government to address insecurity. The parents of the abducted pupil have reportedly paid N10 million ransom to the kidnappers but they are yet to get their children back. Security operatives in Lagos seemed to be clueless about the whereabouts of the abducted pupils, with parents’ only hope now the kidnappers’ assurance that their children would be released soon. Insecurity is increasing in Lagos at a worrying pace; apart from kidnapping which is becoming frequent, cult killing is also becoming rampant in some parts of the state.
While peace does not necessarily drive growth and development, insecurity disrupts it. Lagos Governor Ambode’s goal of making Lagos Africa’s third largest economy is under threat.
Lagos has been able to diversify its economy and to a large extent, reduce its dependence on oil allocations from the federal government. The state generates revenue from a variety of sources, including transport, manufacturing, construction and wholesale and retail. To continue growing its economy, Lagos faces challenges such as rapid population growth, urbanisation, as well increasing demands for infrastructure. These challenges cannot be addressed only by widening the tax net, but also by making the state a perfect investment destination. Although Lagos has huge potentials, much will not be achieved if the current security challenges are allowed to fester further.
Insecurity makes investors nervous. Therefore, a safer Lagos with its numerous potential will remain an investment destination that can achieve the governor’s dream of a top three African economy by 2020.
Corpses have been dislodged from a private mortuary in the Igando area of Lagos state, after some parts of the state was flooded.
The management of the private facility, Toluwalase Hospital Morgue, located at Otunba Oladokun Street in the area, raised the alarm.
It said corpses in the mortuary have been evacuated by the flood.
Bolaji Oluwafemi, manager of the mortuary said the area was always flooded when ever it rains heavily.
Oluwafemi said the State Government had ignored repeated complaints from the hospital management.
He said, “There is the lingering need for proper channelization of water and the sand filling of the lowland in the area. It has paralyzed our business as everybody has moved out of their houses to live in the available dry land outside of their premises.
“We have been living outside in our cars. All the tenants and landlords are out of their houses. On Monday, a woman was searching for her daughter in the flood while others hurried out of their houses.”
Residents also confirmed that corpses were seen floating in the flood.
Come Saturday (27th May), it will be exactly 50 years that Lagos State was created (along with others) by the military administration of General Yakubu Gowon to give Nigeria a 12-states structure. Instructively, four days after that historic event, on 30th May 1967 to be specific, the late Colonel Emeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu announced the secession of Eastern Nigeria and the establishment of a State of Biafra. Taken together, a combination of the creation of states, the military incursion into our national political affairs that precipitated the dismantling of the regional structure and the subsequent declaration of Biafra would define the unfortunate trajectory of our country in ways that nobody could have foreseen at the time.
However, if ever any proof was ever needed that we don’t learn from our mistakes, it is in the fact that the possibility of a military coup would still be subject of a national conversation in May 2017 while many communities and groups are yet to be weaned of the ideas of secession, agitation for more states etc just as hate-mongering has become the defining issue of the day.
Yet, if we are honest, it is easy to understand the cold calculations that propel such harebrained ideas—including the notion that a president who is marooned abroad, battling health challenge, would seek and win re-election—in a nation where the political elite has perfected the art of exploiting group differences to advance personal agenda. The greater challenge is that because we have failed to harness our potentials, many now romanticise the past at a time other societies are busy plotting their future.
It is in that context that we should situate the renewed clamour for Biafra by those who, disappointed with what Nigeria has become, imagine what might have been had the civil war ended with a different outcome. While I am well aware of our squandered opportunities, it may also help to look at what Southern Sudan has become today despite the promise of yesterday and the enormous sacrifices in human lives of recent years. That may help in tempering our political arithmetic with a bit of realism.
For sure, the 50th anniversary of the declaration of Biafra offers a rare opportunity for sober reflection on a number of issues that may be useful in dealing with contemporary national challenges. But for me, reflections about the past are useful only to the extent in which they help in advancing the future. And today in Abuja, the Shehu Musa Yar’Adua Foundation, with support from the Ford Foundation and the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA), will be holding a one-day conference on the theme, “Memory and Nation Building – Biafra: 50 Years After”.
I am particularly interested in the outcome of the sessions, having had the benefit of sharing ideas with Ms Jackie Farris, Professor Ebere Onwudiwe and Mr Amara Nwankpa in recent weeks. One of the main objectives of the conference is to encourage all Nigerians to be aware and concerned about the humanitarian and social impacts of internal conflicts regardless of where they occur in our country. The conference is also bringing together some brilliant post-Biafra generation professionals who had no direct experience of the civil war so as to ascertain what Biafra means to them within the context of a united Nigeria.
With the Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, as keynote speaker, the conference will bring together key actors like former President Olusegun Obasanjo, Ohanaeze Ndigbo President, Chief John Nnia Nwodo, former federal bureaucrat, Alhaji Ahmed Joda and a host of contemporary Nigerian voices to examine the much-touted post-war programme of “Reconstruction, Rehabilitation and Reconciliation” so as to glean lessons (not) learned and to explore potential social and structural interventions required to secure Nigeria’s future.
While such an enterprise is very productive, especially so we can understand the subliminal impulses that inform the actions and reactions of Igbos to contemporary Nigeria and the feeling of collective hurt that remains very strong among the people, it will be more helpful if we tackle challenge as a national one as the YarAdua Centre is trying to do. Two reports within the past ten days make such an exercise even more compelling.
First, in a report titled, Rethinking Transportation 2020-2030, a Stanford University Professor, Tony Seba, has predicted that the transportation landscape will soon change dramatically as people switch from the much-cheaper fossil-based vehicles to electric cars, thus leading to a collapse of oil prices and with it the petroleum industry. Even if the forecast that all this would happen within the next eight years seems farfetched, the fact remains that the oil economy is in the past and that we must wake up to the reality of the moment.
At about the same period that we are being warned about the futility of building our hopes on hydrocarbon resources, Oxfam released a report which provides a picture of the current state of poverty and inequalities in our country. “Nigeria is not a poor country yet millions are living in hunger”, according to the Oxfam report, which advocates that to free millions of our citizens from deprivation and want, we must build “a new political and economic system that works for everyone, not just a fortunate few.”
Quite predictably, the response of the authorities was to dismiss Oxfam while politicians like former Vice President Atiku Abubakar would continue to argue that the solution to our problem lies in restructuring our country by using the existing geo-political zones as federating units rather than the current 36 states. Atiku’s thesis, which has become rather simplistic, is that political decentralization will “help to deepen and strengthen our democracy as it will encourage more accountability. Citizens are more likely to demand accountability when governments spend their tax money rather than rent collected from an impersonal source.”
While I am quite aware of the distortions in the current federal arrangement and the impediments they create for our growth and development, it is self-deceiving to believe that once we restructure, our problem will be solved. It will not, until the wealth of the nation and the opportunities that accrue from it are available and accessible to all citizens, irrespective of their states of origin or ethnic affiliations. That will happen when we create sustainable centres of productivity and economic activity.
It is particularly noteworthy that Atiku made his statement in Lagos, a state where you see a semblance of the kind of structure we must build if we are to change this society. Lagos is by no means perfect. In fact, Lagos is another face of Nigeria in terms of corruption, cronyism, nepotism and all other social ills you can point to. But notwithstanding, Lagos has a system that works. As the state therefore marks 50 years of creation, it has a lot to celebrate while kudos must be given to a succession of can-do leaders who have, at different times, proffered practical solutions to perplexing problems. For me, two stand out: Alhaji Lateef Kayode Jakande and Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
By the time Jakande became governor in 1979, there were far more pupils and students in Lagos than the then structure in state could accommodate at once so the school sessions were in daily shifts. But, based on his electoral promise on which he had done his homework, Jakande was able to change that narrative while embarking on several social programmes across the state. Without any doubt, Jakande, (the only governor of his era who did not travel outside the country throughout his stewardship which lasted four years and three months) left his mark in the state.
But perhaps the man who deserves the bigger accolades is Tinubu. By the time he became governor of Lagos in 1999, the state was no different from the others, relying only on revenues from Abuja to pay salaries and patch a few roads, as some of the governors are still doing today. The first thing Tinubu did that set him apart from the others was in the choice of commissioners. He went for respected professionals in their chosen fields, men and women with impeccable credentials but of little or no electoral value.
From Olayemi Cardoso who manned the Economic Planning and Budget ministry to Idowu Sobowale put in charge of Education to Kayode Anibaba who was given the Environment and Physical Planning portfolio to Leke Pitan, his health commissioner to Olawale Edun, in charge of Finance to Lanre Towry-Coker in Housing to Dele Alake in the Information and Strategy ministry to Yemi Osinbajo in the Justice sector to Teju Phillips, Muiz Banire, Kemi Nelson and others, Tinubu was clear about his goals and how he would achieve them. Even the few small-time politicians in his cabinet at the time like Musiliu Obanikoro and Raufu Aregbesola were young, popular and enterprising. His Chief of Staff of course was a certain Lai Mohammed who was later replaced by Babatunde Raji Fashola in a cabinet that included Ben Akabueze, Tunji Bello and others.
At the end of the day, what Tinubu has shown with Lagos—and is being sustained by his successors— is that while the structure of our country may not necessarily lend itself to inclusive growth and productivity, changing that structure alone will offer little or no comfort if the system is not imbued with visionary leaders at every level. Therefore, any discussion about Biafra that will dwell merely on the atonement Nigeria has to pay—and I believe that Igbo people have not had a fair deal in our country—without envisioning how we can build a more equitable society, will be no more than an organised waste of time.
As I argued in the past, we are yet to exorcise the ghost of Biafra from our national psyche because the scars seem very deep while the more the Nigerian Project fails to work, the more the nostalgia about a “Biafran Eldorado” that exists only within the realm of imagination for some young people. That then explains why the ready solution of restructuring being taunted by politicians like Atiku is a rather lazy one that does not address the fundamental problems of Nigeria. Fewer administrative cost centres do not necessarily yield a more nationalistic and workable polity. The challenge of managing a diverse federation like ours requires much more rigour.
I am for a national conversation not only to atone for the sins of Biafra but also to canvass a more equitable union. But I refuse to buy the argument that once you substitute the six geo-political zones for the states you have addressed our problem. Three days ago, an argument at a drinking joint in a Benue State community led to wanton killings and destruction of property, an indication of the dysfunctional society that we have become. “I wonder why an argument in a drinking bar could degenerate to a bloody clash resulting in this kind of destruction”, said Governor Samuel Ortom who led members of the State Executive and Security Council to the community. But the madness in Benue is not isolated and that explains why in contrasting the essence of regression into the past as embodied in the Biafra resurgence with the possibility of a progressive modernisation of Nigeria symbolised by Lagos, even with all its imperfections, I am looking at the kind of conversation we should be having about our future.
Meanwhile, as my own contributions to the conversation on Biafra to mark the 50th declaration anniversary, I have uploaded on my web portal, olusegunadeniyi.com five of my writings in recent years that deal with some of the issues. They include “Memories of Biafran Nightmare” which centres on my interaction with Rev Moses Iloh, head of the Biafran Red Cross during the civil war; “Still on the Biafran Nightmare”, based on my discussion with Mr Olisa Agbakoba, SAN, former Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) President whose father was the Chief Justice of Eastern Nigeria during the war as well as “Chinua Achebe Still speaks” which dwells on the controversy over the appointment (and rejection) of Father Peter Okpaeleke as the Catholic Bishop of Ahiara Diocese of Mbaise, Imo State. There is also “Achebe and the Biafran Memoir”, a review of “There Was a Country” and my tribute to the late Comrade Uche Chukwumerije.
All said, as we reflect on 50 years after the declaration of Biafra and what might have been, I agree with the proponents of restructuring that there are sufficient grounds to question some of the assumptions on which the unity of Nigeria is predicated, especially in the light of our serial failings. But to beat war drums at the least provocation or to continue to marginalise (in critical appointments and projects) a significant section of our country are signposts that we have not come to terms with our past and that we have not learnt enough lessons from that tragic episode in our history to say NEVER AGAIN!
Another container filled with arms has been discovered at the Tin Can Island Port in Lagos, the Nigeria Customs said Tuesday.
According to Premium Times, the spokesperson of the Nigeria Customs, Tin Can Island Command, Uche Ejesieme, confirmed the incident and said details would be made public later.
“We are still counting,” Mr. Ejesieme confirmed over the phone.
A source at the port said that everyone had been ordered out of the terminal.
“As I speak to you, they’ve ordered everyone to go out of the terminal and they have locked up everywhere,” the source said.
The reports reaching Bloomgist says there is ongoing clash between the area boys in Mushin area of Lagos state.
According to an eye witness, the violence started at about 7:00am Monday morning and has continued through the day.
The eyewitness who pleaded anonymity told Bloomgist that the violence which has lasted for more than a month without the notice of both the media and the security operatives has claimed the lives of many people.
“The two streets at the Idioro Bus stop, Akala and Falomi Streets, which the occupants have engaged each other for a long time now in a serious fight this morning. The boys from both the streets started fighting each other and the fight has led to the deaths of many people, but only two people has been confirmed dead and taken to the mortuary.”
The witness further told Bloomgist that the Lagos state commissioner of Police, Garuba Umar. Arrived the area with heavily armed policemen at about 8:30 in the morning, but his presence and that of some few soldiers around could not stop the violence.
“The commissioner of police arrived at the area at around 8:30 in the morning, but even at that, the violence has continued, many people have been killed, houses burnt, shops containing goods worth millions have been burnt to ashes and no security man or police is doing anything to stop it.”
He further wrote Bloomgist via Whatsapp
“Mushin has turned to no living area o. Every time this area boys will be fighting and robbing streets, but today was extra painful and unimaginable.
Police are just here with these boys and they couldn’t stop them. I saw them like they are altogether in the crisis.
They burnt shops worth millions of Naira today, killed 3 people and burnt more than 10 shops. The most painful one is a house just bought about 14 million 5 months ago burnt to last pin” The witness wrote.
All the calls put through to the Lagos state police command for comments were unable to go through as at the time of filling this report
Last year, there was an ethnic violence in the Mushin area of Lagos state when area boys, traders, and residents clashed over a disagreement that stemmed from illegal ticketing.
It was reported that while no lives were lost, a lot of property were destroyed and people sustained injuries.
The swift intervention of policemen from the Area D Police Command and the Rapid Response Squad (RRS) made it so that no life was lost.
Normalcy returns as Police arrests 8 persons over the violence
The Lagos Police Command says it has arrested eight persons alleged to be involved in a clash that led to the destruction of property in Idi-Oro, Mushin.
The command Spokesman, ASP Olarinde Famous-Cole, confirmed the arrest to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday.
Famous-Cole said that the Commissioner of Police, Mr Fatai Owoseni, had also deployed more police personnel to ensure peace in the area.
He said the suspects, who were arrested in Idi Oro had machetes and axes in their possession
“Normalcy has returned to the area and there is a heavy police presence there.
“The public should go about their business. There is a free- flow of traffic in the area now,” Famous-Cole said.
NAN learnt that a quarrel which occurred among some residents in Alamutu area of Idi-Oro in Mushin on Sunday degenerated on Monday morning, leading to destruction of property.
The police had to deploy men of the Rapid Response Squad to bring the situation under control.
Photos from the violence
Justice Adeniyi Onigbanjo of the Lagos High Court ruled today that Governor Akinwunmi Ambode demolition of Otodo Gbame community is irrevocable by the court.
The judge, presiding on the matter said the court does not have jurisdiction to order the activities of the governor.
Justice Adeniyi had earlier ordered Governor Ambode appear before it to explain why he demolished the community against a court temporary order, but the judge backtracked, making a ruling that the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) gives the Governor immunity which shields him from any legal case while he remains as the Governor of the state.
“The court lacks the jurisdiction to rule on the third respondent (Governor Ambode) according to immunity bestowed on him by Section 308 of the Constitution of the land.” Justice Adeniyi ruled.
However, the judge expressed disappointment at the Governor’s disregard of the court order by demolishing the waterfront community after a court order has been given for status quo to be maintained by both party pending a final judgment on the issue. The judge also pointed that the demolition of Otodo Gbame is out-rightly going against the rule of law.
“The third respondent (Governor Ambode) undermined the principle of rule of law and is going against the democratic system which put him in office in the first place.”
Governor Akinwunmi Ambode in connivance with the Elegushi family had on Sunday totally brought Otodo Gbame a riverine community in Lagos to ruins and rendered over 5,000 residents homeless.
SOURCE: The Bloomgist/Sahara Reporters
Customs intercepts arms shipped to Nigeria through a container meant to be offloaded in Tin-can, Lagos Continue reading “Nigeria Customs intercepts ‘dangerous’ arms hidden in cars imported from the U.S”
The management of Yaba of College of Technology, Lagos has suspended every academic activity, including on going examinations following the Continue reading “Yabatech suspends academic activities following fire outbreak in school’s hostel”
Nigerians whose homes demolished last week in the commercial capital Lagos have been marching towards the governor’s office demanding to be rehoused.
They’re holding pieces of cloth which they say they rescued from the rubble of their homes and businesses, which were set on fire:
Rights groups estimate that 30,000 residents of Otodo Gbame in Lekki district lost their homes.
Amnesty International says the community was granted an injunction last week preventing the Lagos State government from proceeding with the planned demolition of the informal settlements along the state’s waterfronts.
It is unclear who started the first fire but a demolition team later arrived with a bulldozer, Amnesty said.
One of the 250 people protesting appealed to a policewoman outside Lagos stage governor’s office
They want the demolitions to stop altogether.
A selection of the best photos from across Africa this week: Continue reading “Africa’s week in photos: 4-10 November 2016”