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‘Change is the only constant thing’ — Sanwo-Olu reacts to his comment on regulating okada

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Babajide Sanwo-Olu, governor of Lagos state, says the decision to restrict motorcycles in several parts of the state was taken after a review of available statistics on accidents and crimes.

The governor was reacting to a statement he made while speaking at The Platform in October.

Sanwo-Olu had said his administration would harmonise okada operations and develop a regulation system for better accountability.

“To also solve the traffic issue of Lagos is also to talk about the okada issue; okada is everywhere, anywhere you see. Part of the things that we are going to be doing is not to leave anybody behind. People are currently using a system that is working for them,” he had said.

“You see some okada riders that are branded, that use smart ways to pay when you finish the journey. We are trying to harmonise all of them and be able to come up with a regulation system where we can account for every okada rider.

“We will know who they are, we can manage them. In fact, the solutions that some of them are bringing, they can disable those okadas remotely. That is where we are planning to get to but it is also something that we need to think through very well and be sure that nobody is disenfranchised.”

Critics of the governor had accused him of not keeping to his words but on Monday, Gboyega Akosile, the governor’s spokesman, told TheCable that Sanwo-Olu never mentioned whether a ban will be placed on motorcycles or not.

Akosile said the governor was not categorical in his remarks, adding that it would be incorrect to say he promised not to ban motorcycles in the state

“There is nothing like ban. We did not ban okada. The law has been there for years, what we have done is to reactivate this law. The past administration was the one that relaxed it and when they relaxed it, they saw the influx of these people into Lagos unchecked,” he said.

“What the governor said at The Platform is neither here nor there. We are looking at the current situation. Do you know that the governor may have said something last year but between that last year and now, the dynamics would have changed? The only constant thing in life is change.”

The state government had commenced implementation of okada and tricycle ban in 15 local councils in the state since February 1.

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Lagos Matters

TAC, NTDC Agree To Collaborate To Strengthen Tourism

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The Lagos State Commissioner for Tourism, Arts and Culture, Mrs. Uzamat Akinbile-Yusuf has said that the state government was prepared to collaborate with the Nigeria Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC) to strengthen tourism in the state and in Nigeria.

Speaking during a visit to the Director-General of the Nigeria Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC), Mr. Folorunsho Coker aka Folly Coker in Abuja on Wednesday, Akinbile-Yusuf said that her ministry would take advantage of the unique opportunity provided by NTDC to reach out to major tourism stakeholders in Africa.

“This collaboration will provide us with the opportunity to further market Lagos as a must-visit destination in Africa and the world.

“Lagos State is prepared to collaborate with NTDC in areas that will give recognition to creative arts and tourism development.

“Lagos is a preferred destination for business, leisure and entertainment,’’ she said.

Reacting, Mr Folorunsho Coker called on state governments to collaborate with Federal Government in the joint efforts to boost tourism in their localities.

He said that the visit was necessitated by the need for states to collaborate with the Federal Government to effectively tap into tourism potential in their localities.

The Director General urged other states in the federation to emulate Lagos in its rapprochement towards the Federal Government for mutual benefits of both levels of government.

“When the Federal Government and the Lagos State Government come together on a project, success is guaranteed. It is like saying when both parties clap, the whole of Africa will hear.

“Tourism has huge revenue generating potential and it is good for government at all levels to come together and tap optimum benefits of these potential,’’ Coker said.

He urged other states in the federation to emulate Lagos State by mapping out collaborative strategies with the federal government to develop tourism and other sectors of the economy.

Akinbile-Yusuf was accompanied on the visit by Mr Babatubnde Olaide-Mesewaku, Permanent Secretary, Lagos Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture, and other top officials of the ministry.

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Lagos Matters

Lagos records first Lassa fever case

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Lagos State has recorded a case of the Lassa fever, a Hemorrhagic fever that is raging in over 19 states in the country.

The Lagos state Commissioner for Health Prof. Akin Abayomi, in a statement early Wednesday, confirmed that the patient is currently in isolation at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital.

Abayomi called on residents to be calm and not panic, noting that the situation is under control.

He assured the residents that state government, in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Health and the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, will do everything possible to control the spread of the disease in the state.

He said, “The Ministry of Health through Epidemiology, Biosecurity and Global Health Directorate is currently carrying out ‘contact tracing’ to determine those who may have been infected in line with international standards while we beef up our other surveillance strategies.”

The Commissioner stressed the need for members of the public to ensure and maintain an adequate personal hygiene and environmental sanitation at all times as part of prevention and control measures against the spread of the disease in the state.

Abayomi noted that the prevention and control of the disease remained a shared responsibility of all citizens through the observance of the highest possible standards of personal and community hygiene as well as environmental sanitation.

He urged residents to store house-hold refuse in sanitary refuse bags or dust bins with tight-fitting covers to avoid infestation by rats and rodents; dispose refuse properly at designated dump sites and not into the drainage system and store food items in rodent-proof containers.

He stated that a case of Lassa Fever should be suspected in any person with persistent high fever not responding to standard treatment for malaria and typhoid fever or bleeding from the body surface.

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Lagos Matters

‘You are expanding the kingdom of armed robbers’ — Bode George hits Sanwo-Olu over okada ban

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Bode George, a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), says the ban of okada and tricycles in some areas  of Lagos will only increase the spate of armed robbery in the state.

On February 1, the government of Babajide Sanwo-Olu restricted commercial motorcycles and tricycles in 15 local government areas and local council development areas.

The action was received with widespread criticisms among Lagosians.

Commenting on the ban during an interview with PUNCH, George, a native of the state, said the action would only “expand the kingdom of armed robbers”.

He said the ban is “inimical to anything that makes sense”, asking if any alternative employments have been put in place for those affected.

He advised Sanwo-Olu, whom he described as his younger brother, to revisit the law.

“How can they (state government) do that? Let us forget about politics, the governor is my younger brother and his uncle is my friend. I talk to him like an elder. He should sit down and revisit that law,” George said.

“It is inimical to anything that makes any sense at all.  Most workers in Lagos work in the Island, how do they get to their offices early now? Must everybody buy a car? Which alternative employment do they have for the people that they have stopped from riding a commercial motorcycle? So, how do they survive?

“They are only expanding the kingdom of armed robbers. The number of people out of job is unbelievable and you are adding to it. Get the Amotekun to be in every area and they will monitor the movement of these people (okada riders).”

Speaking on the 2023 presidency, George said ideally, the PDP should zone the ticket to the south-east.

He added that if Bola Tinubu, a national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), should contest the election, then he would challenge him in the race.

George described a Tinubu presidency as disruptive, vowing to denounce his citizenship if the APC leader emerged as president.

“I had said it before that ideally, from our party, once it comes back to the South, it must go to the South-East…because they have never had it, but if the name Tinubu pops up in the APC, I would go all out to contest with him,” he said.

“Let us get out there because it would be the greatest disservice for our nation to have him contest as a presidential candidate.

“It would be the most illogical and most disruptive issue to have him (Tinubu) elected as President. If this happens, I will disown Nigeria to take the citizenship of Togo or any other country.”

On the widespread insecurity across the country, George said sacking the service chiefs would not put an end to the problem.

According to him, insurgency is as a result of “mistrust between people of different faiths and tribes”.

“Nigerians are now getting involved, is it the problems of service chiefs that is responsible for all these? What we have right now is the insurgency largely as a result of mistrust between people of different faiths and tribes,” he said.

“The service chief is just one man and a tree does not make a forest. It does not mean that if you change one man all is well.

“The issue is a collective responsibility. Their loyalty to the country must outshine everything they think of.”

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