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SANWO-OLU LAUNCHES 500 SAFE, SECURE FIRST-AND-LAST MILES BUSES

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Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, on Tuesday, unveiled a new transport scheme that offers residents a better alternative to commercial motorcycles who got a last chance to behave or be banned. Besides, those who drive against the traffic repeatedly will go to jail for three years.

The Governor launched 500 units of First and Last Mile (FLM) buses, which will be deployed to communities as alternative means of transportation in addressing the security threat constituted by commercial motorcycles, popularly known as Okada.

The FLM vehicles, assembled locally, are mini-passenger buses (between 7- and 11-seater), which will operate on 286 community routes. They will take passengers from closest points to their areas of residence to standard transportation corridors. Payment for FLM services will be through an automated payment system, using Cowry Travel Cards.  Cowry Travel Card holders who use them on BRT buses and standard route buses can use their cards on FLM buses.

For ease of operation of the scheme, the State Government delineated the FLM’s corridors into eight zones, comprising Ikeja and Ketu (Zone 1), Oshodi, Mushin, and Surulere (Zone 2), Berger, Yaba and Oyingbo (Zone 3) and Lagos Island, Ajah and Ibeju Lekki (Zone 4).

Others are Iyana-ipaja and Agege (Zone 5), Mile 2, Iyana-Iba and Ajeromi (Zone 6), Ikorodu (Zone 7) and Epe and Badagry (Zone 8).

Besides, the Governor inaugurated brand-new 100 high- and medium-capacity buses into the fleet of Lagos Bus Service Limited (LBSL) to replace vehicles burnt at BRT stations during the wave of violence that marred the EndSARS protests, last October.

Sanwo-Olu said the mini buses would address Okada-related crises that had generated widespread concern on safety among residents. Besides, they will offer services which the high-capacity buses were not designed for.

The first fleet of buses will kick off the operation of the scheme. The fleet would be gradually increased to 5,000 buses in the coming months, the Governor said.

He said: “The launch of the First and Last Mile (FLM) Bus Scheme today is an important milestone in our quest to achieving the intermodal transport system which gives our teeming population the choices they deserve, reducing congestion and journey times, and improving the quality of life. It is also in fulfilment of one of the measures we promised as a solution to the security situation discussed at our recent Security Stakeholders’ Town Hall Meeting.

“As a responsible Government, we are launching this scheme in response to two major issues. One is the alarming statistics of fatal accidents recorded from the operations of Okadas in Lagos between 2016 and 2019, and the use of Okadas for the facilitation of crime across the metropolis. The goal is the full implementation of a safer and more efficient alternative transport solution that takes out the need for Okadas and replaces them with safer buses that will help us curb incidents of Okada-related accidents, crimes and robberies.”

A ride on the FLM buses comes with a premium insurance policy on the lives of passengers and the drivers. The operation and maintenance of the buses have been handed over to private operators for efficiency and turnover. The private operators, the Governor said, will recruit personnel for the management of the scheme.

Sanwo-Olu said the State Government had been working with the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) and the Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria (RTEAN) as major stakeholders in the State’s Bus Reform Initiative (BRI) being implemented by Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (LAMATA).

All the unions’ branches within the FLM zones, the Governor said, will participate actively in the implementation of the scheme.

He said: “I call on NURTW, RTEAN and all other stakeholders in the public transportation value chain to ensure that these new buses are well maintained and protected, so that the goals of the new service can be fully realised, and all those who invested can derive maximum value from their investments.

“Our local councils’ chairmen must play their parts in ensuring the roads are free from encumbrances likely to impede the smooth running of the FLM buses. I charge our security and law enforcement agencies to be alive to the crucial role they have to play in the success of this scheme.”

The Governor reinforced the restriction on commercial motorcycles in 15 local councils and 11 major highways, warning that the State Government would mete out stiff penalties to defaulters still riding Okadas within the restricted areas.

Driving against traffic now attracts a jail term of three years for repeated offenders, Sanwo-Olu said, adding: “First-time offenders are liable to a one-year jail term in addition to their vehicle being forfeited to the Government.”

Commissioner for Transportation Dr. Frederic Oladehinde said the scheme was a component of the State’s transport system meant to offer relief to residents in the hinterland in accessing the standard transport corridors through safe means.

He said: “In line with the Transport Sector Reform Law of 2018, the Lagos State Government, through the Ministry of Transportation and LAMATA, has put in place various measures aimed at readjusting its transportation strategies to accommodate FLM scheme to provide all inclusive, safe, convenient, affordable, and accessible services in line with global practices.”

Managing Director of LAMATA, Mrs. Abimbola Akinajo, said the FLM buses operations would start immediately in Zones 2,3,4,5, and 7 captured in the first phase of the bus scheme.

For safety, Mrs Akinajo said a monitoring mobile application had been designed for real time data collection as well as vehicle tracking purpose, adding that all drivers to be engaged in the FLM scheme would be certified by the Lagos State Drivers Institute (LASDRI) to ensure that they are fit to operate the buses.

“We will ensure proper maintenance of the buses to guarantee their service longevity. Maintenance of the buses will be outsourced to the Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM), which will be responsible for executing all preventive and corrective maintenance needs. Operators will ensure that buses are maintained in line with the best engineering standard,” the LAMATA boss said.

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Oníìdúró mi, Ẹ ṢÉ OOO…Shola Allyson

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For me and many souls which connect to this song, Oníìdúró mi, we have stories which clearly show that we would have been forgotten long ago if not for the guarantor side of The FATHER that was expressed in our lives…
I commend Yinka @adeyinkaalaseyori for making the song more accessible to souls all over the world and I wish her more help in all her doings. The song tells the story of many of us who had no backing from anyone and none to rest on or be as hiding place as to what our tomorrow would have been.
I first heard this song years ago from Mama Bola Are at my home-out-of-home, @agape_pground in Akure and I immediately connected with it because, me, I would have been ridiculed, and deserted and forgotten! The song helps me express my gratitude in that respect very succinctly.
I have come to learn that we understand the concept of GOD differently, depending on how we were “given” and how much we are granted to see as we make effort to dig deeper. And that’s why I live my life devoid of divides which different abilities in understanding breed…
I don’t know much about life. I am still a learner who seeks for my mind to be renewed daily, but one of the few things I know dunjúdunjú and dájúdájú in life is that I received the help of a guarantor, an Oníìdúró from The Realms of GOD, The Almighty, at times when it was obvious that generational jànkárìwọ̀ would have stalled me from fulfilling destiny. Times when, as a lawful captive, foundational voices vibrated higher than my own and I was going to be consumed! I was set free by The ultimate Guarantor, Oníìdúró mi! And I became totally free to walk as I should in destiny, to grow and thrive as should be…
We see in parts. GOD, The FATHER Is revealed to us in different ways and sides depending on many things…
Concluding based on the bit we are granted to see is dangerous and not fair on humanity. There are many ways we approach GOD and words we use based on our limited understanding but I know that by mercy, the state of the heart is understood…
Is it not by mercy that we can approach in the first place? Remember that I am a learner…
ONÍÌDÚRÓ MI, Ẹ ṢÉ OOOO! Mo dúpẹ́!!
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LAGOS POLICE LAUNCH NEW EQUIPMENT, FLOOD FLASH POINTS, ARREST 19 SUSPECTED TRAFFIC ROBBERS

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The Lagos State Police Command immediately swung into action on a show of force across strategic locations in Lagos today Thursday 10th June, 2021, with some of the newly received security vehicles and gadgets from the Lagos State Govenrment, just after the Commissioning of the equipment by the President and Commader-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari today at the Police College,Ikeja-Lagos.

The RRS team, led by the Commander RRS, CSP Yinka Egbeyemi, in the process hit notorious flashpoints in Agege, Seven Up cum Ojota axis, Surulere to Eko bridge where notorious traffic robbers and miscreants have been terrorising innocent motorists and commuters, and arrested nineteen (19) suspected traffic robbers. The operation is ongoing and currently mounting surveillance on the Eko bridge.

The Commissioner of Police, Lagos State, CP Hakeem Odumosu, has ordered the Area Commanders, Divisional Police Officers and tactical Commanders, especially the Commander RRS, CSP Yinka Egbeyemi, to make judicious use of the newly donated equipment and decimate the activities of hoodlums at the identified areas across the state. He further directed that additional traffic surveillance officers, with motor bikes, be deployed to the strategic places in the state in order to suppress keep criminals at bay.

CP Hakeem Odumosu also assured the general public of adequate security of lives and property in the state, while he orederd that the suspects be transferred to the Command’s Special Squad for thorough investigation.

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NDPHC, Eko Disco, address electricity supply shortfall in Lekki and Agbara

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In order to improve electricity supply around Ibeju-Lekki area in Lagos and Agbara Industrial area in Ogun State, the Niger Delta Power Holding Company (NDPHC) and Eko Electricity Distribution Company Plc (Eko Disco), have signed a bilateral agreement for the sale of up to 300MW of power from NDPHC’s power plants to customers in these areas within Eko Disco’s franchise areas.

The Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu who hosted the signing of the agreement for these projects at Lagos House, Marina recently, commended the initiative by NDPHC and Eko Disco, and stated that “he will monitor the implementation of the agreement.” The Governor expressed his confidence that the collaboration between NDPHC and Eko Disco will complement the current policies of the state government in economic and infrastructure development.

NDPHC and Eko Disco have committed to work together to deliver safe, reliable and steady supply of power to customers in the areas of collaboration. The project will be structured to remove the commercial and technical inefficiencies in the Nigerian electricity market and will mobilise significant capital investment in transmission/distribution infrastructure and metering technology.

In his remarks, the NDPHC Managing Director/CEO, Mr. Chiedu Ugbo stated that the challenges in the industry inspired NDPHC to “source alternative means to sell and ensure dispatch of its stranded power generation capacity and explore innovative ways to unlock investment in infrastructure for improved supply to customers.”

In turn, the MD of Eko Disco, Engr. Adeoye Fadeyibi said that the partnership aligns with the efforts of the Eko Disco to bridge the metering gap and improve the quality of electricity supply to customers. He appreciated customers for their continued support for the Company in its quest to continue to empower the quality of lives of all stakeholders.

The agreement signed between NDPHC and Eko Disco is only the latest milestone in NDPHC’s innovative and ambitious programme to tackle the industry-wide challenges in the Nigerian power sector. These challenges have resulted in the inability of the operators in the industry to fulfil their investment and industry payment obligations, and a continuing low access to reliable power for industry, businesses and homes.

Despite a significant installed generation capacity – estimated to be more than 13,000 MW – access to electricity remains acutely low because much of this installed capacity is stranded and cannot be conveyed to customers because of inadequate transmission and distribution capacity. Operators insist that tariffs remain at a level that cannot guarantee returns for investors in the sector and as a result, an estimated $20 billion capital investment required to upgrade the transmission and generation infrastructure is not available. Insufficient investment in metering, collection and surveillance, among other factors, has also made collections by the distribution companies inefficient, thereby causing revenue loss across the value chain. A combination of these factors has led to severe liquidity shortfalls and a ballooning deficit in the market, and there simply is not enough collections from customers to cover the cost of power generation and delivery. The Federal Government has on several occasions intervened with financial bailouts to the sector, but this solution is only short term and is becoming an increasingly heavy burden on a cash-strapped government struggling with low oil prices and a struggling national economy.

The operators in the industry have had to innovate or go out of business. It is in this regard that NDPHC is blazing a trail in structuring deals that are solving many of the industry-wide challenges affecting its business. NDPHC, holds a portfolio of 10 power plants with aggregate installed capacity of more than 4,000MW and growing. To ensure that much of its capacity does not remain idle, NDPHC, with support from Electric Utilities Nigeria Limited, is now targeting to work with discos and other project developers to, in the first phase, sell more than 1,000MW from its power plants in manner that resolves the current commercial and technical inefficiencies in the market without a need for government funding intervention.

In addition to the agreement signed with Eko Disco, NDPHC has executed similar agreements with Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company Plc, Enugu Electricity Distribution Company Plc, Kaduna Electricity Distribution Company Plc and Benin Electricity Distribution Company Plc. In each case, the parties will mobilise investment in the expansion of the distribution network of the discos to enable increased offtake of power and in metering technology including smart meters in order to increase the collection rate of the discos.

For NDPHC, these collaborations will lead to greater offtake of power from its under-dispatched power plants, thereby increasing the company’s revenue. For the industry generally, these collaborations will attract the requisite investment in the industry and increase liquidity that enables higher payment receipts across the value chain. Now that NDPHC has executed the agreements with 5 discos and more in the pipeline, it is projected that the impact on the Nigerian power sector will be massive in improving electricity access, market payments and attracting more investments to the industry.

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