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RESIDENTS EXPRESS RELIEF, AS SANWO-OLU FLAGS OFF RECONSTRUCTION OF IBEJU LEKKI-EPE HIGHWAY

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Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, rolled out a major infrastructural overhaul in the Epe Division of the State, flagging off the reconstruction of Eti Osa-Lekki-Epe Expressway 40 years after.

The Governor flagged off the first phase of the road project on Sunday at a ceremony held at the Pan African University in Eleko, Ibeju Lekki area. The first phase, which will be completed in 20 months, will cover 18.75 kilometres, stretching from Eleko to T-Junction in Epe.

The residents, who heaved a sigh of relief, thronged the ceremony where Sanwo-Olu formally kick started the project.

The road was constructed in 1981 as a single carriageway, but underwent an upgrade to a two-lane carriageway in 2006. Its condition, however, became deplorable as a result of population growth and increased vehicular traffic.

Sanwo-Olu’s intervention would see the entire stretch from Eleko to Epe dualised on rigid pavement, with three lanes on each side. A lane on each side will be dedicated as toll weighbridges only for heavy-duty vehicles.

The Governor, while declaring the project open, said the ceremony symbolised his administration’s revolutionary efforts at making life better for Lagos citizens and improving the ease of doing business in the State.

He said the Eti Osa-Lekki-Epe corridor was strategically important to the State’s economic prosperity, stressing that the completion of the project would further strengthen his administration’s commitment to inclusive development.

The Governor vowed that no part of Lagos would be left behind in his Government’s quest for transformational projects.

He said: “We recognise the importance of the Eti-Osa-Lekki-Epe Expressway Road to the economic prosperity of Lagos and its citizens. We are aware of the agitation and concerns of people about this strategic infrastructure. This is why we initially declared a state of emergency on the road and put in place temporary measures last year November.

“Today, I am delighted to be at the historic flag-off of the rehabilitation and upgrading of this 40-year-old Eti Osa-Lekki-Epe Expressway. This effort will culminate in a three-lane dual carriageway reinforced concrete pavement road with a dedicated lane in each direction for trucks and a rigid pavement to accommodate the envisaged axle loadings expected to ply the road when it is completed.

“When completed, this road will complement the new network of roads in Epe and ease transportation of goods and services through Epe to other neighboring states. This will, in turn, lead to improved socio-economic activities in the Eti Osa-Lekki-Epe Corridor.”

Sanwo-Olu said the contract for the second phase of the project, which will cover 26.7 kilometres from Abraham Adesanya Roundabout to Eleko Junction, will be awarded before the completion of the first phase.

The project, he said, sent a “strong signal” about his administration’s desire to overhaul our state’s entire infrastructure, especially those that have exceeded their design lifespan.

In the coming weeks, the Governor said more infrastructure projects would be unveiled, pointing out that he remained resolute to restoring the State to the path of economic growth despite the negative impact of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on Lagos’ economic fortunes.

He said: “In line with our resolve, we will continue to initiate and execute people-oriented projects that fulfill the need and aspirations of the average Lagosian. With our shared vision and resources at our disposal, it is time to redouble our efforts while looking towards the future with confidence as we rebuild Lagos together.

“We stand to accomplish more when we have a common ground and purpose. I urge all residents to sustain their unwavering faith in our administration as we partner to honor our State’s legacy of excellence, courage, and great resilience.”

Sanwo-Olu urged residents of the area to take ownership of the project and support the contractor for timely completion. He also urged the youths in the area to take advantage of the construction work to improve their skills.

Special Adviser to the Governor on Works and Infrastructure, Engr. Aramide Adeyoye, said the ceremony indicated another effort being made by the Sanwo-Olu administration in improving residents’ standard, noting the investment in infrastructure would support business and promote economic development.

She said: “Residents and road users along this axis have clamoured for a solution to the suffocating nature of the perennial traffic gridlock along the Lekki-Epe Expressway especially at the Ajah Junction. This Project will help to resolve the gridlock at Ajah/Ado-Badore Roundabout and environs while ensuring the Lagos bound traffic is effectively channeled.”

Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Works and Infrastructure, Mr. Olujimi Hotonu, said the State Government settled for the rigid pavement option for durability and longer life span of about 40 years.

When completed, the road will connect several communities, including Eleko, Onosa, Alatishe, Aiyeteju, Ajaganagbe, Oko Orisa, ilasan, Lekki, Ibeju Lekki and Epe.

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COVID-19: SANWO-OLU EXTENDS RESUMPTION DATE FOR GRADE LEVEL 14 AND BELOW TILL FEBRUARY 1

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Following the increase in number of recorded cases of coronavirus in Lagos State, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu has extended the work from home directive to all State public servants on Grade Levels 14 and below to Monday, February 1, 2021.

Governor Sanwo-Olu’s directive was contained in a circular to members of the State Executive Council and all heads of Ministries, Departments and Agencies issued and signed by the Head of Service, Mr. Hakeem Muri-Okunola, on Saturday.

The directive on the extention of the resumption date for Grade Level 14 and below from January 18 to February 1 was taken by the Governor to successfully curtail the spread of the second wave of COVID-19 pandemic in the State.

Governor Sanwo-Olu who said the directive excludes essential duty staff, as well as first responders, enjoined all public servants to stay safe and keep adhering to all COVID-19 protocols in order to rid the State of the pandemic in the shortest possible time.

The circular entitled “Re: Stemming the tide of the second wave of COVID-19 – Extension of the Work from home directive” also directed all Accounting Officers to ensure strict compliance with all extant directives aimed to guarantee physical and social distancing in the work place.

“Sequel to Head of Service Circulars Nos.: CIR/HOS/’20/Vol.1/139 of 18th December,

2020 and CIR/HOS/’21/Vol.1/001 of 3rd January, 2021 and in furtherance of the State

Government’s effort to successfully curtail the spread of the second wave of COVID-19 Pandemic in the State, it is hereby notified for general information that Mr. Governor, Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu has extended the work from home directive to all State Public Servants on Grade Levels 14 and below with effect from Monday, 18th January till Monday, 1st February 2021. Expectedly, the directive excludes Essential Duty Staff, as well as First Responders.

“Public Servants are therefore, enjoined to stay safe by adherence to all COVID-19 Protocols.

Additionally, Accounting Officers are to ensure strict compliance with all extant directives aimed to guarantee Physical/Social Distancing in the work place; through weekly preparation of Duty Rosters as considered germane to the effective service delivery of respective Ministries, Departments and Agencies.

“All Heads of Ministries, Departments and Agencies are urged to observe the contents of

this Circular for acquiescence and give it the deserved Service-wide publicity,” the circular stated.

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FG Disburses another N123.34bn Grants to States

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The Federal Government has disbursed another round of performance-based grants to states in the sum of N123.348bn ($324.6m) under its States Fiscal Transparency Accountability and Sustainability Programme for Results.

Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, disclosed this in a statement issued in Abuja on Wednesday by the ministry’s Director of Press and Public Relations, Hassan Dodo.

Ahmed explained that the disbursement followed the achievement of results by the states in the just concluded 2019 Annual Performance Assessment.

The assessment was carried out by the Office of the Auditor-General for the Federation as the independent verification agent and approved by the programme coordination unit of the finance ministry.

On the disbursements, the minister said it included N91.048bn ($239.6m) of performance-based grants for the 2019 APA results achieved by 32 eligible states across various Disbursement Linked Indicators.

She said the indicators covered fiscal transparency, accountability, expenditure efficiency, revenue mobilisation and debt sustainability.

States received grants per the number of results achieved, with Sokoto State receiving the highest amount of N6.61bn, while Kano got the lowest amount of N1.71bn.

“Bayelsa, Imo, Rivers and Zamfara states got zero allocation due to their inability to meet the 2019 eligibility criteria which required states to publish online approved annual budgets and audited financial statements within a specific timeframe,” Ahmed stated.

She further noted that the 2019 APA results were a significant improvement on the 2018 APA results where the total performance-based grants of N43.416bn ($120.6m) were received by 24 eligible states.

This, she said, demonstrated the substantive progress states had made on fiscal reforms.

According to her, the second part of the disbursement involved a new COVID-19 response DLI, which was the implementation of a tax compliance relief programme for individual taxpayers and businesses by states by 30 September 2020.

On this, she said 34 out of 36 states were able to achieve the results for the new DLI for the total of N32.3bn ($85m) of grants, as only Anambra and Zamfara states missed out.

The disbursement came after the recent one in November 2020 by the Federal Government where the sum of N66.5bn ($175m) was granted to 35 states.

The minister observed that since the first disbursement in April 2020, the Federal Government had thus far disbursed the total sum of N233bn ($620.6m) to the states.

This, she said, was under the $750m World Bank-Assisted States Fiscal Transparency, Accountability and Sustainability Programme for Results.

Ahmed said the World Bank-assisted SFTAS programme was principally meant to strengthen fiscal management at the state level to ensure effective mobilisation and utilisation of financial resources.

She said the resources were for the benefit of citizens in a transparent, accountable and sustainable manner, thereby reducing fiscal risks and encouraging a common set of fiscally responsible behaviours.

According to her, the SFTAS programme could not have come at a better time, given the dwindling government revenue occasioned by oil price volatility and the impact of COVID-19.

Ahmed stressed that with the disbursement of N233.26bn since the beginning of the programme, the government had successfully adapted and implemented the SFTAS to provide timely support to states.

She said this was to strengthen the financial capacity for responding to numerous fiscal challenges in their respective domains.

“The increase in the number of benefitting states and results achieved is indicative of the wider acceptance of SFTAS ideals by all states of the federation and this would herald a new era of transparency and accountability in fiscal governance at the sub-national level,” Ahmed said.

Source: The Punch Newspaper

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 Nigeria Univarsities that have Announced Resumption Dates

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Students are return to school after several months of being out of their classrooms.

Below is a list of universities that have announced resumption dates:

  1. University of Ibadan on Friday announced that academic activities will resume on February 22, 2021.

  2. Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria announced that it will be resuming on Monday, January 25th, 2021.

  3. University of Lagos has decided that academic activities will be resuming on January 25th, 2021.

  4. University of Ilorin resumed academic activities online on January 11, 2021.

  5. University of Jos will resume on January 22, 2021.

  6. University of Benin will resume academic activities on February 1, 2021.

  7. Lagos State University has already resumed and practicing what it called staggered resumption.

  8. University of Port Harcourt has announced that academic activities will resume on February 1, 2021.

  9. Rivers State University has resumed activities since January 4th, 2021.

  10. Bayero University Kano will begin a new academic session on January 18, 2021.

  11. Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta will resume on January 18, 2021.

  12. Ekiti State University will begin academic activities on January 18, 2021.

  13. Federal University of Technology, Akure will begin classes on January 18, 2021.

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