By next week, the use of face mask may be made mandatory in Lagos State, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu revealed on Monday during a statewide briefing held at the State House in Marina.
The Governor said the rise in the number of confirmed cases of the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) in the State indicated a slow spread of community transmission, noting that there was need to strengthen and ramp up the Government’s response to contain the infectious disease.
Sanwo-Olu said the State had already embarked on local production face mask in large quantities. The masks, he said, will be pocket-friendly and suit the local environment.
The Governor said Lagos witnessed its worst COVID-19 cases last Sunday, recording 70 new cases and bringing total tally of active cases in the State to 379. The confirmation of the new cases, he said, was part of the successes of the house-to-house and community searching the State Government embarked on, stressing that one million households had been covered.
He added that the State had maintained 25 to 30 per cent rate of discharged cases.
Sanwo-Olu, however, said there was no need to panic in spite of the rising cases, revealing that the State had localised testing by opening sample collection centres across 20 Local Government Areas in Lagos.
He said: “The increase in numbers we are seeing is evidence of the success of our evolving strategy of ramping up testing by going into local communities to search for cases. You may have heard that we have recently set up sample collection centers across our 20 Local Government Areas.
“The most appropriate response from us as a Government is to tell residents not to panic; but to strengthen our resolve to continue to obey all the directives around physical distancing, respiratory hygiene, and staying at home.
“Also, there have been questions about whether the State Government is planning to introduce a face mask wearing policy. Our simple answer is that it may be compulsory to wear one in public places from next week. We have already commissioned local production of face masks in large quantities in a way that will suit our environment and be pocket friendly.”
Sanwo-Olu cautioned against panic buying, saying only health workers on the frontline would be required to strictly adhere to the face mask guideline. He added that millions of locally made face masks would be distributed to a large number of residents by next week.
The Governor condemned the “dangerous act” of stigmatisation against survivors of COVID-19, saying such act was discouraging infected people from willfully coming out for testing and treatment.
He said: “We have had instances where people, who are suspected of having the virus, have declined to present themselves for testing and treatment, more often than not, opting to manage their symptoms by themselves or in extreme cases going to private hospitals and lying about their symptoms or travel history.
“These actions are extremely unfortunate and dangerous. Not only do they have wide ranging ramifications on everyone, it also portends great consequences on our ability to record any meaningful gains from this lockdown that we have all been subjected to.
Sanwo-Olu said his Government had responded in strong terms to security situation across the State, observing that the intervention by a special squad deployed by the Inspector General of Police in Lagos and Ogun has boosted security.
He warned criminals and bandits to steer clear of the State, saying: “I can assure you that all hands are on deck to send the strongest possible message that Lagos will not succumb to the antics of hoodlums and bandits who seek to take advantage of these challenging times.”
As Muslims begin Ramadan fasting later in the week, the Governor appealed to them to obey the Government’s guidelines on public gathering and social distancing.
He said: “As we prepare to observe the Ramadan fast, we have a responsibility to continue to maintain appropriate levels of respiratory hygiene and physical distancing, and observe the restrictions on the permissible size of gatherings. Our directives prohibit gatherings of more than 25 persons, regardless of the circumstances. This has not changed.”
UBA Continues to Innovate as RED Radio’s Podcast Now Live 24/7
The United bank for Africa (UBA) is leading again through innovation as it launches a podcast, RED Radio, which is available 24/7. The dynamic and creative online radio channel, RED Radio now provides round the clock informative and entertaining content, bringing out the best of Africa.
RED Radio www.itsredradio.com was berthed as part of the communication suite of UBA to provide real time content to listeners across the African continent and globally.
UBA’s Group Head Corporate Communications, Bola Atta, explained that the platform is an affirmation of the leading role that UBA is playing in the innovative space on the African continent as the bank keeps seeking more ways to reach out to and galvanise people.
She said, “RED Radio can be described as a meeting place. It is an avenue to discuss all kinds of issues that affect the youths on the continent, whether it be business related, health, relationships, sports, lifestyles.. anything. As we bring people together, we also entertain them with music from across the continent.’ ‘it’s such a cool and diverse platform with shows in different languages to appeal to a wide section of listeners. I leave it on quietly on my ipad constantly, catching up with anything I have missed’ she added.
Some of the flagship shows on RED Radio include the Barbershop Chronicles – a talk show featuring Shody, Sess, Alhaji Popping and Femisoro who discuss life matters from the perspective of men; Diary of an Africana follows the journey of a young African woman as she manoeuvres through various obstacles whilst she explores her true self; The Red Pill which brings you exciting news and music from the Congo and so much more.
The shows are recorded in video format and are also available on REDTV.
You can access the podcasts via www.itsredradio.com
WE’LL DELIVER SIX-LANE IBEJU-LEKKI-EPE HIGHWAY PROJECT FIRST QUARTER 2022 – SANWO-OLU
Barring unanticipated event, the construction of 18.7-kilometre six-lane rigid pavement carriageway from Eleko Junction in Ibeju Lekki to Epe T-Junction in Lagos State will be completed and commissioned. This was the assurance from Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu when he and members of the State Executive Council went on an on-the-spot assessment of the project, on Monday.
Sanwo-Olu was excited by the pace of work on the road, persuading the contractor handling the project to increase its momentum in order to push the progress to an encouraging level before the end of the year.
The Governor flagged off the first phase of the expansion on the Lekki-Epe Expressway last November, kick-starting the rehabilitation of the 40-year-old infrastructure. The second phase of the project, which will start later this year, stretches 26.7Km from Eleko Junction to Abraham Adesanya Junction in Eti-Osa axis.
At the time of the Governor’s inspection, the contractor had completed a stretch of 3km on the lane from Eleko Junction inward Epe, while the right-of-way for the entire project has been fully cleared.
After communicating the work progress to the Governor, representatives of the contractor led Sanwo-Olu and cabinet members on legwork for assessment of features on the completed stretch, including drainage channels, kerb and segregated lane for heavy-duty vehicles.
The Governor was optimistic the project would be delivered on record time, charging the contractor to scale up the pace of work.
He said: “This exercise is an on-the-spot assessment to view the status of the 18.7Km six-lane rigid pavement road construction we are doing from Eleko Junction to Epe. The contractor has been active on site in the last six months, and they have touched every part of the entire stretch. We are currently assessing the project from the 3km lane already completed. On either side are three lanes. Two lanes are for cars, while the last lane is for heavy-duty vehicles. There will be 1.5km pedestrian walkway on both sides.
“We are happy with the progress of the project, because the contractor works day and night. I believe the work is on track. Residents on this corridor are also happy with the level of work done. They are waiting on us to hand over this important infrastructure to them in earnest.
“The beauty of the work is that it has reduced the journey time, even as the road is still being constructed. There is no hindrance on the road; motorists have the right-of-way for free movement. Not until when we finish the entire construction, we would have the full benefit of this investment. We are happy with what we have seen and we believe that the contractor should be rounding off the work by end this year or first quarter next year.”
Lagos-Ibadan Rail Line: Amaechi, a Personification of Service – Eze
Erstwhile National Publicity Secretary of the defunct New People’s Democratic Party (nPDP) and Chieftain of the ruling All Progressives Congress, Chief Eze Chukwuemeka Eze, has joined the lengthy roll of Nigerians and Nigerians in the diaspora, aliens and diplomats alike, who have felicitated with the President Mohammadu Buhari/APC-led Federal Government for the giant strides it has continued to record in critical areas of governance especially, the revival of the nation’s moribund rail infrastructure, covering a country mile and traversing the nook and cranny of the Nigerian territory and choreography.
Recall that President Buhari, Thursday, June 10, 2021, inaugurated the commercial operations of Lagos-Ibadan railway project at the Mobolaji Johnson Railway Station, Ebute Metta, Lagos.
In a statement made available to media houses in Port Harcourt, Eze said the efforts of the Transportation Minister, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Amaechi, in driving the Buhari administration’s policy on infrastructural development is selfless, worth commending and cannot be overemphasized.
He said Amaechi’s display of rare dexterity in public administration has continued to break new grounds and discover and open up opportunities for Nigerians to sustain their livelihoods in the face of the harsh economic realities of the times, and called on those on whom the responsibility of leadership is saddled especially, in the public sector, to brace up and take a clue from the Minister.
The party Chief said aside priding itself as the first double-track standard gauge rail in West Africa, the 156km Lagos-Ibadan rail project is renowned for its peculiar status as the first Nigerian railway line to be started and completed by the same administration, since 1960.
With a holding capacity of over 6,000 passengers, Eze said the Ebute Metta Station, known as the Mobolaji Johnson railway Station, is the largest in the West African region.
Describing the feat as another milestone in the drive of his administration to revitalize the railway system and establish it as a choice mode of transportation for both passengers and freight, Buhari pledged his administration’s commitment in ensuring that priority is given to modern railway system as a transportation backbone that can transform industrial and economic activity in the country.
Reeling out the benefits of the Lagos-Ibadan corridor as well as other on-going railway projects across the country, President Buhari said the project establishes what he described as an end-to-end logistic supply chain in railway transport within its short corridor, Lagos – Ibadan, as goods to the hinterland would now be transported by rail directly from the Apapa port Quayside straight to the Inland Container Depot located in Ibadan from where it can be distributed to other parts of the country.
Lamenting the challenges posed to the nation’s economic growth by absence of strong and effective infrastructure, the President said in addition to other other ongoing railway projects, his administration has embarked on the completion of the outstanding segment of the Lagos – Kano railway, which is Ibadan – Kano.
He emphasized that the Lagos – Kano railway project when completed will link the Kano – Maradi line at Kano and a rail link from the Nigeria southern ports of Lagos to Maradi in Niger Republic will be achieved.
‘‘The connection through rail would position Nigerian ports as the choice for import and export business of the people of landlocked Niger Republic”
The project, Buhari said, would be beneficial to the economy through employment from new business opportunities and wealth creation.
Expressing delight that his directive to the Federal Ministry of Transportation and Ministry of Finance on reaching financial agreements with appropriate co-financiers to partner with the Federal Government for the development of the Ibadan – Kano railway was yielding results, President Buhari noted that Ibadan-Kano project would have a connection to the Tin Can Island port as well as the West – East Coastal rail line from Lagos to Calabar linking Onitsha, Benin, Warri, Yenagoa, Port Harcourt, Aba and Uyo.
‘‘From the beginning of this administration, railway infrastructure development has been given the priority it deserves and various milestones have been reached, right from when the Abuja – Kaduna railway was flagged-off for commercial operation in 2016 to this Lagos – Ibadan railway project being commissioned today for full commercial operation,’’ he said.
Commending the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, for his drive and tenacity in achieving the milestone recorded today, the President praised the ‘‘wonderful team in the Ministry’’ for a job well done.
“It is noteworthy to state that work commenced on the project in March 2017 and test-run commenced around December 2020 and today, what seemed a dream has come to full materialization under Buhari and Amaechi”, Eze said.
Similarly, Chief Eze hailed Buhari and Amaechi over the official launch of assists under the Integrated National Security and Waterways Protection Infrastructure, also known as Deep Blue Project in Lagos.
The project which is the first integrated maritime security strategy in West and Central Africa is aimed at tackling the incidences of piracy, sea robbery, and other crimes at sea. With three categories of platforms to tackle maritime security on land, sea, and air, the deep blue project was jointly initiated by the Federal Ministry of Transportation and Federal Ministry of Defence, and being implemented by NIMASA the to secure Nigerian waters up to the Gulf of Guinea.
The land assets include the Command, Control, Communication, Computer, and Intelligence Centre (C4i) for intelligence gathering and data collection; 16 armoured vehicles for coastal patrol; and 600 specially trained troops for interdiction, known as Maritime Security Unit comprising personnel from the Nigerian Navy, Nigerian Army, Nigerian Air Force, Nigeria Police, and Department of State Services. The sea assets include two Special Mission Vessels and 17 Fast Interceptor Boats. The air assets comprise two Special Mission Aircraft for surveillance of the country’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ); three Special Mission Helicopters for search and rescue operations; and four Unmanned Aerial Vehicles.
Eze said Amaechi has manifestly justified the confidence reposed in him by President Mohammadu Buhari and Nigerians and called on Nigerians to continue to support the Amaechi as more dividends are set to be delivered.
Emphasizing the need for Nigerians to imbibe the culture of protecting public infrastructure, the party Chief said it is grossly subnormal for countrymen, who should be proud patriots to engage in acts of vandalism, destroying critical assets and frustrating the efforts of government in putting the country on the right track.