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March 9: We are good to go in Lagos — REC

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March 9: We are good to go in Lagos — REC

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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Resident Electoral Commissioner in Lagos State, Mr Sam Olumekun, says the electoral body is good to go, and ready to give residents of the state free and fair elections on Saturday.

Olumekun spoke on the readiness of the commission in the state in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Lagos on Friday.

In Lagos, the electorate will go to the polls to elect a governor and 40 members of the state house of assembly as part of the governorship and state assembly elections holding on Saturday in the country.

Supplementary elections will also take place in six federal constituencies in the state where the National Assembly elections held on Feb. 23 were inconclusive.

Olumekun said that the commission was ready to give Lagos residents free, fair, credible and acceptable elections everyone would be proud of.

“In brief, we are good to go. We have all our materials ready, and already we are moving to the RACs (Registration Area Centres) now.

“We are looking forward to a fine outing tomorrow, ”  he said.

Olumekun said that the commission was passionate about delivering credible polls, hence the need for all stakeholders to support and collaborate with the electoral body.

He cautioned all party supporters to shun violence and actions or speech that could impede the conduct of peaceful elections.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that 45 governorship candidates across various political parties will be vying for the number one seat in the state.

Also, 640 candidates of various parties are eying the 40 seats in the Lagos State House of Assembly in the election.

Defence/Security

COVID-19: Navy inaugurates 40 bed space isolation centre in Lagos

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The Nigerian Navy (NN) on Monday  inaugurated a 40-bed-space isolation centre at the Naval Dockyard in Lagos State, for its   personnel who might  test  positive for Coronavirus disease .

The Chief of Naval Staff (CNS), Vice Adm. Ibok-Ette Ibas, was represented by Rear Adm. Oladele Daji, the Flag Officer Commanding (FOC) Western Naval Command at the inauguration.

 

Ibas said that the centre would be used to isolate positive but asymtomatic persons, saying that it was part of NN’s proactive measures to curb the spread of the virus.

 

The Nigerian Navy  identified the need for increase its  isolation centres as a proactive measure toward quick response to the  COVID-19 management.

 

“Especially in situations where other facilities are overwhelmed with high number of patients ,this 40-bed isolation centre which we are about to  put to use immediately is part of the contributions of the Nigerian Navy to the fight against the spread of COVID-19 pandemic.

 

“The isolation centre will be used to isolate positive but asymtomatic persons under strict guidance of trained medical personnel with technical support from the Lagos State Government,” he said.

 

He said that as there was an increase in exposure to the virus, there was  also an  increase in the number of confirmed cases, thereby causing isolation centres to be limited.

 

“An increase in exposure to the virus will lead to an increase in the number of confirmed positive cases.

 

“Therefore, the  management of positive cases includes the  isolation of the infected persons to reduce the chances of further spread in the community.

 

“Isolation centres have been established across the country to isolate and manage  confirmed cases,however, as more cases are confirmed, there arises the need for more centres for the isolation of people to reduce the risk of further transmission,” he said.

 

He said  the NN could not afford to take any chances,  especially, looking at how compacted their ships were.

 

“From what we have been hearing, somebody can have the virus but asymptomatic, that means it is possible that it can be spread to others.

 

“And you know by the nature of our work-space in the ship ,which is enclosed compartment, we can’t afford to have a high rate of such,” he said.

 

He said that the NN had been in contact with the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) in Lagos,  since the project was conceived, saying that the NN would continue to contribute its quota to ensure that the pandemic was curtailed soon.

 

“Since this project was conceived, up till the commissioning, the NCDC  is in support of the NN policy for the health care need of personnel as championed by the CNS.

 

The NN will continue with this type of programme where necessary in  other parts of the country where we have a high concentration of naval personnel,” he said.

 

The CNS also used the opportunity to seek God’s guidance over naval  personnel and the Armed Forces in general.

 

As the NN celebrates its 64th anniversary, we pray that God Almighty continues to shower his blessings upon all our sailors, families, the leadership of the NN and the armed forces,” he said.

 

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that a tour round the facility showed that each room houses four beds.

 

NAN also reports that the facility was  divided into two sections where one section would  accommodate those that were not symptomatic.

 

The other section which housed oxygen ventilators would be  for those that would require some level of management before the arrival of NCDC officials.

 

The Coronavirus disease popularly known as COVID-19 is a pandemic which had affected virtually every country in the world, the first case in Nigeria was reported on Feb. 27, 2020 in Lagos.

 

The disease has spread to 35 of the 36 states with 9,202 confirmed cases in Nigeria while Lagos State has  recorded the highest number with 4,337 confirmed cases and 3,585 active cases.

 


Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Peter Dada (NAN)

 

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Entertainment

Actress Toyin Abraham seeks justice for murder of teenager in Lagos

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Actress Toyin Abraham has called on the police and judiciary to ensure that the killer of late Tina Ezekwe was made to face the wrath of the law.

Abraham took to her instagram page (toyin_abraham) to also call for proper compensation for the family of the deceased who was shot dead by policemen.

The actress, who spoke with the parents of the deceased, expressed sadness over the development, urging Nigerians to extend their love and generousity toward the family.

“I spoke to Tina’s mum yesterday and today, it was the most heartbreaking moments of 2020; I am sad, very very sad.

“Being a parent doesn’t have to be this hard in Nigeria, Federal Government, Nigeria Police, we need justice.

“This should not go like any other case, life truly needs to matter.

“Please let’s support the family as much as we can and keep them in our prayers. I am so sad, so heartbroken,” she said.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that policemen who were trying to enforce curfew at the end of the Third Mainland Bridge shot at the driver of a commercial bus.

Tina Ezekwe was hit by a bullet and was rushed to the hospital but didn’t survive.

Edited By: Wale Ojetimi (NAN)

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Politics

Lagos govt hosts drive-in concert to reinvigorate entertainment sector

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The Lagos State Government said it hosted a premier and innovative drive-in concert to reinvigorate the entertainment sector in the state.

Dr Dolapo Fasawe, General Manager, Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency (LASEPA), said in a statement on Sunday that the agency supervised the drive-in concert to ensure compliance with COVID-19 safety guidelines.

The innovative drive-in concert was organised by Lapazio Lifestyles and Entertainment Group at the Bay Lounge, Admiralty Way, Lekki.

Fasawe said that the concert was given the greenlight by the state government and was adequately supervised for total compliance with all stipulated safety guidelines.

According to her, the state government is beginning to ease the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown and safely reinvigorate the entertainment landscape after a long break.

”The drive-in concert event is globally accepted as a new model for hosting safe entertainment events.

”Lagos, being a prime destination for entertainment and leisure events in Africa, should not be left behind in this new trend that ensures that fans connect with their favourite musicians or idols without breaking COVID-19 safety and environmental regulations.

”Society benefits from entertainment; it adds structure to our social lives. Our goal is to ensure that the entertainment world can operate in a safe and healthy environment to create lasting positive memories, as we adjust to the post COVID-19 lifestyle,” she said.

The General Manager said that though the event was successful, there was still room for improvement.

She said that the agency intended to do a thorough evaluation of the event and subsequently come up with a more robust plan for the future, while extending the scheme to other relevant sectors.

”Our goal is to support the entertainment sector in tandem with outlined social distancing and environmental protocols which will attract heavy sanction if violated or defaulted flagrantly to serve as a deterrent to others,” Fasawe said.

She said that the event was a test run for the new normal and the success recorded was a win for all and a guide for future events in the state.

The General Manager said that Lagos placed a high premium on the lives of all its residents, thus, the need to adopt new approaches that safeguarded the citizenry.

The event had about 50 vehicles in attendance parked in line with physical distancing guidelines recommended by the government.

The attendees were safely seated in their vehicles enjoying the tunes of popular musician Mayokun within the marked spaces.

It was supervised by officers of LASEPA, Lekki Zonal Office, led by Yetunde Atoyebi, in line with the monitoring guidelines and mandate of the agency.

Edited By: Edwin Nwachukwu/Wale Ojetimi (NAN)

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General news

FG begins 2020 systematic maintenance of all Lagos bridges, drains evacuation

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The Federal Controller of Works in Lagos, Mr Kayode Popoola, on Sunday said the  government had begun a “systematic maintenance of all bridges in Lagos’’ to ensure smooth rides and safety.

Popoola told the News Agency of Nigeria on telephone that government had a schedule to fix all bridges in Lagos State in batches this year as funds were made available.

“We have plans for maintenance of all bridges in Lagos state this year, our prayer is that the COVID-19 pandemic should come to an end so that we can swing into action.

“There is going to be systematic maintenance, we will change the rubbers of the expansion joints and any one that the metal is bad.

“We are going to replace bearings on expansion joints that are worn out, that is the systematic programme that we have this year.

“We say systematic because we cannot take all the bridges at once; for instance, we are to maintain Third Mainland Bridge, Marine Beach Bridge, Eko Bridge, Ijora 7Up Bridge, so, we are taking them one after another, ’’ he said.

He explained that funding and traffic congestion were some of the reasons why the bridges could not be shut for repairs at the same time.

“We want to schedule the maintenance,’’ he said.

He explained that contracts for repairs of the Third Mainland, Ijora 7Up and Marine Beach Bridges had been awarded while that of Eko Bridge was undergoing procurement for award.

Speaking on the Marine Beach Bridge in Apapa which was supposed to be closed for repairs, Popoola said that the closure for rehabilitation was still being delayed because of rainfall.

He explained that the rains was slowing down ongoing patching of all adjoining roads to the bridge to avert gridlock, adding that, repair works were being washed off by flood.

“We will complete the repairs  and close the bridge anytime this week to begin work on it, I cannot tell you if it is Monday or Tuesday but I am sure it will be this week.

“We have to ensure the adjoining roads are in good condition to take traffic before we close any part of the bridge,’’ he said.

Popoola explained that drains on highways and bridges were also being cleaned to avert flooding.

“The cleaning of weep holes on Long Bridge (Lagos-Ibadan Expressway) is ongoing. Desilting of weep holes is a regular thing, that is, we open them up and clean if not, they will have all been silted up by now, silted up means that they will have been blocked by sand.

“We are also removing garbage from  manholes so that all our drainages will function very well.

“We are currently cleaning manholes on Apapa-Oshodi-Oworonshoki Road, Globatek (contractor) is working on it  to address major problems of flooding on that road,’’ he said.

The controller appealed to Lagos residents to stop indiscriminate disposal of refuse in drains and open manholes to avert flooding.

“Lagosians should please stop dropping garbage inside the manholes. When you go there you will see used tyres, planks and all manners of rubbish. It will be difficult for flood waters to pass through to go into the canals.

“Manhole is not meant to collect garbage, people should not drop refuse in gutters and all drainage paths to allow free flow of water,’’ he said.

He lamented that vandals were stealing manhole covers but that plans were on to replace the covers with concrete that could not be easily removed.

Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Wale Ojetimi (NAN)

 

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Environment

Lagos Govt. moves toward reopening of economy — Official

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The Lagos State Government would soon embark on the ‘Register-to-Open Initiative’ toward gradual reopening of the economy in the state.

Director General, Lagos State Safety Commission, Lanre Mojola, told journalists in Ikeja on Sunday that the exercise was in compliance with Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s directives toward reopening of the economy, especially religious and social centres.

He said that consultations were ongoing with all stakeholders in partnership with the Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture.

He noted that upon registration, a verification process would be carried out to ensure adequate space management was put in place across the various centres.

Mojola said that the processes would also guarantee that social distancing, hygiene and safety measures were maintained across all religious and social centres.

“A committee has been set up by Gov. Sanwo-Olu, headed by the Hon. Commissioner for Special Duties and intergovernmental Relations, Mr Tayo Bamgbose-Martins, consisting of other ministries including, Ministry of Tourism, Arts & Culture, Home Affairs.

“The other ministries are Physical Planning and Urban Renewal,  Economic Planning and Budget to ensure that the process of reopening was done effortlessly.

“The commission has met with various stakeholders in the hospitality and tourism sectors and will be engaging more stakeholders in the coming week on the best approach to the gradual reopening of the economy and registration of entities within the various sectors.

“The process is not tedious and time consuming, it takes into account all religious centres, event centres, gyms, night clubs, bars, lounges, spars, cinemas, restaurants, etc,” Mojola said.

He appealed for collective effort by all stakeholders to beat the COVID-19 pandemic and urged residents to cooperate with the government in adhering to all safety guidelines. .

Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Wale Ojetimi (NAN)

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General news

Lagos govt. unfolds strategies toward resilient city evolution

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The Lagos State Government on Saturday said that it had evolved strategies through inter-agency collaboration to deal with shocks of rapid urbanisation toward evolving a resilient safe and healthy city.

Mr Gbolahan Oki, Chief Resilience Officer, Lagos State Resilience Office, made this known during a zoom meeting organised by the Lagos State Chapter of the Nigerian Institute of Town Planners (NITP) with the theme `Cities beyond Pandemic’.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that resilience includes the capacity of individuals, communities, institutions, businesses and systems within the city to survive, adapt and grow; in spite of acute shocks or chronic stresses.

He listed sharp shocks that threatened Lagos State in recent times to include fire outbreak, building collapse, COVID-19 outbreak, flooding, traffic congestion, bloated population, among others.

Oki explained that the state government was returning to a vertical settlement template started by the Babatunde Fashola’s regime, which offered opportunity for building affordable mass housing in small land areas.

He added that high rise buildings were an important strategy for dealing with the problem of urban slums and overcrowding, which could trigger and increase disease outbreak and spread.

“Resilience is all about being all inclusive with the agencies working together to bounce back and look good,’’ he said.

Oki said that the state government was adopting intermodal transportation to deal with some of the problems.

He added that the state launched a strategy about five months ago to implement the city resilience framework which included health and well-being as well as the infrastructure and environment.

Oki further explained that the state was discussing with communities, local governments and its leadership on ways to evolve workable inclusive strategies to curb stresses and shocks of urbanisation.

He said that the resilience office was working on health, security, environment strategy in line with the global resilience standards while carrying other agencies along.

He noted that a letter had been sent to local governments through its permanent secretary to ensure communities and the third tier of government got involved in urban slum upgrading processes.

Dr Idris Salako, the Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, represented by his aide, Mr Niyi Osinaike, said the COVID-19 pandemic increased cost of building materials and other items across board.

Salako said that the ministry was interfacing with the ministry of health and other agencies to evolve “robust strategies for disaster management” and curb spread of coronavirus.

He added that the ministry’s monitoring surveillance mechanisms had been upgraded by its agencies to implement the model city plan of the state government.

Other speakers at the event stressed the need to encourage mixed land use to reduce migration, upgrade slums, address infrastructure and housing needs, tackle the effects of climate change for the health and welfare of the people.

Edited By: Kamal Tayo Oropo/Adeleye Ajayi (NAN)

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Health

COVID-19 mortality rises to 50 in Lagos

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The Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi, says three another COVID-19 related deaths were recorded, increasing the infection mortality in the state to 50.

Abayomi made the disclosure through his Twitter account on Saturday evening.

He, however, did not give additional information about the sex, age, nationality or medical conditions of the deceased.

Abayomi added that 254 new cases of COVID-19 infection were confirmed in Lagos on May 29, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the state to 4,393.

The commissioner noted that on the same day, 29 COVID-19 patients- five females and 24 males, including two Indians, were discharged at the state’s isolation facilities following their full recovery.

“This brings the total number of #COVID-19 discharged patients in Lagos to 854,” he said.

Abayomi said that COVID-19 was real, advising residents to ensure regular handwashing and physical distancing to make Lagos disease free.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Lagos has 3, 471 active cases, two evacuated from Nigeria, while 16 were transferred to Ogun and Ondo.

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Edited By: Olagoke Olatoye (NAN)

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General news

Experts call for inclusive slums upgrade in Lagos,other cities

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Some experts on Saturday called  for the upgrade  of slums in Nigeria through sustained efforts to build resilient cities that would enhance good health and welfare of  the residents.

 

The experts who made the calls  at a zoom meeting organised by the Lagos State Chapter of the Nigerian Institute of Town Planners (NITP),also said that such upgrade would protect the environment.

 

The theme of the meeting was: `’Cities beyond Pandemic’’.

 

They urged leaders in Lagos State and across the country to plan for  inclusive urban settlements that would reduce migration,tackle infrastructure problems,  and avert spread of diseases from overcrowding.

 

The experts also called for sustained slums upgrade plans for local communities that would make electricity, education, transportation, security, employment and mass housing availalable to the residents.

 

In her presentation, Chiara Tomaselli, the Urban Resilience Project Manager, Resilience, Sixense Engineering, Paris, stressed the need for knowledge to face the uncertainties of COVID-19.

 

Tomaselli ,who spoke on:  “Managing Cities Development Need in Post Pandemic’’, said that ignorance and limited resources were some  of the challenges facing  African cities in preventing outbreak of  diseases.

 

She called on African  leaders to  immediately begin to address underlying issue of infrastructure deficit that had given rise to urban slums.

 

Tomaselli commended the Lagos State  Government’s response to COVID-19,adding that it was important for the state to build urban resilience that would  provide good transportation,health and other needs for her citizens.

 

“We need to increase mobility without compromising health issues. Mobility shouldn’t ignore climate change.

 

“Also public health capturing in urban metropolitan area is important to curb the transmission of the virus. Improper water and sanitation also lead to outbreaks, ” she said.

 

She, however, warned that realistic planning should capture the most vulnerable people through adequate provision of affordable food, shelter and other basic needs.

 

“We have to know  that cities are places of opportunities and they will keep growing,” she said.

 

According to her, technology can be used to tackle the problem of overpopulation citing Japan and Korea as examples of countries leveraging on technology to deal with congestion.

 

Also,  Mr Nelson De Lamare, a climate change expert, emphasised the importance of the local government in driving clean climate agenda  that would have direct impact on a healthy environment.

 

Lamare said  that carbon emissions had reduced in several countries due to the COVID-19  pandemic as  there had been less industrial activities and vehicular movement.

 

He, however, noted that the difference in carbon emissions was not so visible in Lagos because of inadequate power supply which had  increased the use of generators inspite of the COVID-19 lockdown.

 

“Fighting climate change does not only require behavioural changes but also systemic changes,” he said.

 

Lamare listed other causes of climate change linked to human action, and called for a need to  reduce both the COVID-19 curve and that of global warming  for more resilient cities.

 

He said that the global warming curve could only be flattened if local authorities take swift political decisions to safeguard both health and the environment.

 

Lamare said that town planners should be at the forefront of driving resilient cities agenda while calling for political will on the part of leaders to evolve and implement policies.

 

“Post pandemic recovery plans must tackle the climate crisis by improving how cities are built, organised and used, by adjusting policies towards greener and cleaner economies and increasing resilience to future crisis.

 

“Mainstream climate mitigation and adaptation properties in stimulus packages and investments to recover from the crisis, while setting accompanying measures for the most vulnerable groups who may be disproportionately affected,’’ he said.

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Also,  Mr Paul Okunlola, the Program Officer of UN Habitat in Abuja ,said that  COVID-19 had shut down economic and social activities in several countries including Nigeria.

 

Okunlola said that the crisis had presented opportunities for town planners to drive the agenda of tackling challenges of urbanisation and urban slums.

 

He gave statistics of COVID-19 incidences and fatalities in countries and compared the figures with Ebola crisis, and called for focus on how cities develop and  enforce planning to remove pressure on infrastructure.

 

“Urban planning will need  a new Central role in the post COVID-19 recovery era. The stimulation presents a unique opportunity to rethink the way cities are planned, built and managed,’’ he said.

 

He called for a new city plan that  would capture the informal sector and the poor to accommodate changing travel, shopping and work lifestyles of urban dwellers.

 

An architect,Mr Jorgen Andersen, who spoke  on “Pandemics and Planning in African Cities’’ also noted the  huge infrastructure deficit due to lack of sustained planning.

 

Andersen, an associate professor at the  Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, School of Architecture, Denmark, made slide presentations of poor living densities of various African communities including Mokoko in Lagos State, vunerable to  COVID-19 infection.

 

According to him, most of the inhabitants lived and worked in the informal economy in compact settlements and houses which make social distancing impossible.

 

“How can you have social distancing when we live in settings like this, how can you go into self isolation if you are living in a condition like this. This is a challenge for regional and urban planners.

 

“In order to build better cities  preparing for future pandemics, communities should be carried along to become involved, upgrade slums.

 

“Planning is governance and governance is about interest ,and it should capture the ordinary people,’’ he said.

Edited /Peter Dada

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Politics

COVID-19: Lagos discharges 27 Nigerians, 2 Indians

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The Lagos State Government says 29 additional coronavirus patients, comprising two Indians and 27 Nigerians have been discharged from its isolation centres.

Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu made the announcement in a statement on Friday.

He said that a total of 854 patients had now been discharged in the state.

Today (Friday) 29 COVID-19 Lagos patients; 24 males and 5 females, including two Indians were discharged from our Gbagada, Lekki and Agidingbi isolation facilities to reunite with the society.

”The patients, 20 from Gbagada, 6 from Lekki and 3 from Agidingbi Isolation Centres were discharged, having fully recovered and tested negative to COVID-19.

”With this, the number of COVID-19 confirmed cases that have been successfully managed and discharged in Lagos is now 854,” Sanwo-Olu said.

Edited By: Kamal Tayo Oropo/Silas Nwoha (NAN)

 

 

 

 

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