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YULETIDE: LAGOS MOVES TO ADDRESS GRIDLOCK

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Worried by the perennial traffic situation motorists have been contending with in recent times, the Lagos State Government on Thursday said it has fashioned out workable solutions to ensure free flow of traffic across the State, especially as the yuletide season approaches.  

Rising from a closed-door strategic session chaired by State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode and attended by top officials of the Ministry of Transportation, State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA), Commissioner of Police, Mr. Imohimi Edgal and Chairman of the State Task Force on Environmental Offences, SP Yinka Egbeyemi, among others, the Government said it had resolved to immediately implement the solutions to ensure Lagosians can commute across the State with ease going forward.

Addressing Government House Correspondents on the outcome of the meeting, Commissioner for Transportation, Mr. Ladi Lawanson said the Governor had called for the session to fine tune strategies for all agencies and stakeholders involved to implement so as to ameliorate the traffic situation and also ensure security of lives and property.

“What we have done is that we have gotten feedback from men and women who have been on the frontline specifically our LASTMA officials and then the Commissioner of Police was with us as well to give us the perspective of security.

“So most of the issues have been thrown up and we have together as a group strategized on it and we have come up with what we think are solutions to make for better flow of traffic especially as we enter the ember months and the holiday season.

“Without a doubt, Lagosians we know have been going through some hardship which has been occasioned by the gridlock we have in the Apapa area for which on that one, the Lagos State Executive Council has a solution in sight, all we are going through now is approval process that is required to activate the solution.

“But specific to the free flow of traffic, you can see with me here, I have the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Transport, I have the CEO of LASTMA and the GM LASTMA and all the senior LASTMA officials and we have come up with solutions that we trust will ensure that there is better flow of traffic especially as we enter the holiday season and Lagosians will start to see the effect of the work that we have done,” Lawanson said.

Explaining some of the strategies that would be adopted, the Chief Executive Officer of LASTMA, Chris Olakpe a retired Assistant Inspector General of Police, said the 1000 officials recently recruited by the Agency would be trained and deployed to the road before the end of the year.

He said the agency has also resolved to extend its operations from 5am to 12 midnight on a daily basis, saying that while the State Government continues its palliative on potholes, LASTMA officials would be on ground to ensure free flow of traffic across those areas.  

“The issue of palliative on the potholes, the meeting resolved to handle it in two ways; day time and night time. Night time mostly with travel signal lights and flood lights on ground for palliative to be made immediately from today, action would be seen that palliative will come and there would be smooth flow of traffic.

“Don’t forget that the Governor has recruited 1000 more LASTMA officials so we are going to train them and very shortly too before Christmas you would see them on the way and we intend to work from 5am to 12 midnight daily with the infusion of 1000 men,” Olakpe said.

On the Apapa gridlock, the LASTMA boss said that the trailer park in Orile would be delivered very soon, expressing optimism that it would go a long way to address the issue of trailers parking along roads and bridges and causing congestion on such routes.

“The issue of the trailer park which is in the front burner is being given expedite action and we are sure that in a short while we should have the trailer park being effective to cushion the effect of the standoff trailers along the bridges and other places so the trailer park is being given a special and strategic attention and that palliative would be concluded very shortly as fast as the speed of light,” he said.

Olakpe, however, frowned at the spate of destruction of public facilities, especially wire barriers and signal lights meant to make life easier for motorists and residents, appealing to those in the habit of doing such to desist or risk facing the full consequences of the law if caught in the act.    

“We have observed to our chagrin and dismay the vandalisation of wire barriers and signal lights. They are frustrating the efforts of government. As government is moving forward, they are taking them backward by untoward conduct.

“So we want to say that from now, it has been resolved that those places would be fully backed up with man power in surveillance and monitoring strategy. So warn those who are the spoilers of good deeds that the hands of the law will catch up with them very soon,” he said.

Olakpe also warned against harassment and assault of LASTMA officials by recalcitrant motorists, saying that such act attracts a jail term of two and half years without option of fine.

 

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Election shift: I’m deeply disappointed with INEC —Buhari

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President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed deep disappointment over the postponement of the presidential and National Assembly polls by the Independent National Electoral Commission.

The President lamented that, despite giving all the necessary support to the electoral umpire, the exercise was postponed just hours to voting and after Nigerians had taken the pains to travel to vote.

“I am deeply disappointed that despite the long notice given and our preparations both locally and internationally, the Independent National Electoral Commission postponed the presidential and National Assembly elections within hours of its commencement,” Buhari said in a statement he signed on Saturday morning in Daura, Katsina State.

However, he asked INEC to ensure the safety of election materials already distributed and appealed to Nigerians to remain law abiding.

Buhari also stated that he had decided to relocate to Abuja from Daura to ensure that the meeting INEC called to hold with stakeholders was successfully.

His statement reads further, “We now urge INEC to ensure not only that materials already distributed are safe and do not get into wrong hands, but that everything is done to avoid the lapses that resulted in this unfortunate postponement, and ensure a free and fair election on the rescheduled dates.

“While I reaffirm my strong commitment to the independence, neutrality of the electoral umpire and the sanctity of the electoral process and ballot, I urge all political stakeholders and Nigerians to continue to rally round INEC at this trying national moment in our democratic journey.

“I, therefore, appeal to all Nigerians to refrain from all civil disorder and remain peaceful, patriotic and united to ensure that no force or conspiracy derail our democratic development.”

Source: Punch Newspaper

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President Buhari’s statement on postponement of elections by INEC

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STATEMENT BY PRESIDENT BUHARI ON THE POSTPONEMENT OF GENERAL ELECTIONS BY INEC

I am deeply disappointed that despite the long notice given and our preparations both locally and internationally, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) postponed the Presidential and National Assembly elections within hours of its commencement.

Many Nigerians have traveled to various locations to exercise their right to vote, and international observers are gathered.

INEC themselves have given assurances, day after day and almost hour after hour that they are in complete readiness for the elections. We and all our citizens believed them.

This administration has ensured that we do not interfere in any way with the work of INEC except to ensure that all funds were released to the commission.

We now urge INEC to ensure not only that materials already distributed are safe and do not get into wrong hands, but that everything is done to avoid the lapses that resulted in this unfortunate postponement, and ensure a free and fair election on the rescheduled dates.

While I reaffirm my strong commitment to the independence, neutrality of the electoral umpire and the sanctity of the electoral process and ballot, I urge all political stakeholders and Nigerians to continue to rally round INEC at this trying national moment in our democratic journey.

I, therefore, appeal to all Nigerians to refrain from all civil disorder and remain peaceful, patriotic and united to ensure that no force or conspiracy derail our democratic development.

I have decided to move back to Abuja to ensure that the 14.00 hrs meeting called by INEC with all stakeholders is successful.

Muhammadu Buhari

Daura, February 16, 2019

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Election postponement: I’m disappointed….Balarabe Musa

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Former Kaduna State Governor, Balarabe Musa, on Saturday expressed disappointment over the postponement of the general elections, but declared that INEC was never prepared for the exercise in the first place.

INEC had announced the postponement a few hours to the kickoff of the February 16 presidential and National Assembly polls.

Chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, while announcing the postponement in Abuja, attributed the step to “overwhelming logistics and operational challenges.”

The Commission fixed February 23 and March 9 as new dates for the presidential and National Assembly elections; and the governorship and state Assembly polls respectively.

But Musa, in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Kaduna on Saturday, said he was disappointed, but not surprised, at the development.

“I am not surprised because INEC was never ready for the exercise, given the level of its preparations.

“INEC had serious funding challenges; what was appropriated to the Commission by the National Assembly was not adequate and everyone knew it.

“We are not even sure if the approved amount was released to the electoral body by the Federal Government.

“The logistics and operational challenges are glaring. There are also serious security challenges that may affect the agency in the course of the elections.

“The security services are facing the same funding crises and most of them are living in fear.

“You can also see the serious challenges being faced by the Judiciary, who are supposed to play a major role in the election process,” Musa said.

“So, I must say that I am disappointed; but, again, as I said, I am not surprised. I hope that all the stakeholders will take the necessary measures to help INEC address the issues before February 23, the new date for the presidential polls, because the President can only hand over power to an elected person.”

Musa called on Nigerians to remain calm as they prepare towards the new dates for the polls.

(NAN)

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