•Governor Winds Up 2-Day Working Visit to Free Trade Zone
•‘Lagos Governor Has Made Free Z
ones Business Friendly’ – Dangote
Construction of the ancillary road infrastructure leading to the Free Zones in Ibeju Lekki will kick off in the coming months.
Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu disclosed to very excited community leaders in the axis that construction work will begin on Magbon Alade Road in the next two months.
The carriageway extends from Lekki-Epe Expressway into the Free Trade Zone area, covering several kilometres. The rehabilitation of the road is a partnership between Lagos State Government and Dangote Group.
The development was made known when Sanwo-Olu and members of the State’s Executive Council visited the Dangote Refinery and Petrochemical facilities on Saturday, the second day of the Governor’s working tour of Free Trade Zone in Ibeju Lekki area of Lagos.
Chairman of Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote, and the Group’s Executive Director on Strategy, Portfolio Development and Capital Projects, Mr. Devakumar Edwin, personally led the State Government’s team on the excursion.
After the five-hour tour, both Sanwo-Olu and Dangote went into a private discussion where they agreed on the timeline for the kick of the road project.
Briefing the press after the meeting, the Governor said: “Today, we have taken a five-hour tour of the Dangote Refinery, which is the biggest single refinery in the world, and also visited its fertilizer factory, which is the second largest in the world. Between the time I came here in 2019 and now, there has been huge improvement in the construction and layout on the entire site.
“For us as a Government, it’s not to fold our arms and be expecting that all is well in this corridor. We are here to encourage the investors and to show them that we are with them. The Government is in place to serve them; anything that will ease business is critical to us.
“We have met and cleared out few issues around approvals, right-of-way and the infrastructure that needs to come on this axis. We don’t want a replay of Apapa gridlock here. So, we have agreed and we have planned a timeline for ourselves on the construction of Magbon Alade Highway, which comes to the free zones from Lekki-Epe Expressway.”
Sanwo-Olu said the State Government would be complementing the infrastructure being initiated in the Free Trade Zone with Green Rail Line, which would raise transportation capacity in and out of the corridor. The rail, the Governor said, will kick off when feasibility study for the project is completed.
He added that the layout for an airport being developed in Epe axis was being done, promising to prioritise its completion.
He said: “In our master plan for the free zones, there is a metro Green Line that will come from
Lekki. We have done expression of interest already for the metro line. We are currently doing feasibility study required for investment on the rail project. We are also looking at the airport project of which we have done the layout. This is also receiving consideration as we speak.”
“What is happening in this corridor is big enough to take three days of our time. The development is about jobs for the youth population and catalyst for the local economy. Local residents and other Nigerians are being engaged in the refinery and petrochemicals projects. The Government in a position to resolve any issue in order to create enabling environment for businesses to thrive.”
The Governor said the kind of development being implemented in the free zones was one that create a work-and-live ecosystem.
Dangote noted that the refinery and petrochemicals projects were his largest investment worldwide, applauding the State Government for his support to investors.
The billionaire said Sanwo-Olu’s commitment made the free zone to be business-friendly, pointing out that the area would become the hub of industrialisation in the country.
Speaking on the road project, Dangote said: “As Mr. Governor mentioned, we are eager to start this project. As soon as we have the green light, we will go ahead with the construction before we even sign the Tax Deductible Agreement on Presidential Order 7. I have promised the Governor that we will start the road in the next two months.”
The billionaire said the host community had not been neglected in the construction value chain happening in the free zones, stressing that hundreds of local residents were part of the 20, 000 Nigerians being engaged in the projects.
Besides, Dangote said the Group had intervened in lifting members of the host community, by donating modern boats for local fishermen, building hospitals, schools and giving deserving students scholarship.
Part of the sections toured by the Governor is the Catalytic Distillation Unit of the Dangote refinery, which is the first processing compartment in the refinery to distill crude oil into various hydrocarbon fractions.
The Government’s team also stopped by Fertilizer industry and Dangote’s trestles, shoreline jetties, where crude oil will be transferred to the refinery.
Earlier, Sanwo-Olu and his team were at Longrich and Colori Lekki Manufacture in Lekki Free Zone to inspect the processing plant of the Chinese firm.
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The National Association of Seadogs (Pyrates Confraternity), has warned security agencies against extra-judicial killing and harassment of innocent Nigerians in the course of fishing out those responsible for the killings of security personnel and attacks on security formations and those fuelling insecurity in the South- East and South-South.
President Muhammadu Buhari had on Tuesday during deliberations of the Security Council meeting approved undisclosed new security measures for the two regions aftermath of multiple attacks on security formations.
The NAS Capoon, Mr Abiola Owoaje, in a statement titled ‘The Growing Tempest in East & South’ said it is important “that the security services do not engage in presumption group-blame, collective punishment, and extra-judicial killings in the course of investigating these crimes”.
Owoaje pointed out that such “unbridled illegalities and high-handedness will only go to further alienate local communities, and deepen the antipathy that already characterizes the relationship between them and law enforcement agencies.”
The association while strongly condemning the attacks and killing of security personnel condoled with families that lost loved ones and urged the government to do all within the confines of the law to get the perpetrators and make them face the fall wrath of the law.
According to him, NAS is disturbed that the insecurity in the two regions has further exacerbated the deteriorating security situation in the country.
Owoaje called on the government to move swiftly, and with unaccustomed competence and diligence, to arrest the current climate of insecurity across the two regions.
The statement read in part “This gradual slide into anarchy in the South-East and South-South regions has the potential to expand the number of ungoverned spaces in Nigeria, further, stretch our security apparatus, and engender devastating social and economic consequences for the country as a whole.
“We urge the security agencies in the two regions to resist the temptation of seeing themselves as a force of occupation out to subjugate the people and unleash terror among the teeming law-abiding citizens. They should approach their task with a sincerity of purpose, and rein in the criminal elements intent on foisting terror and bloodletting. Evidence abounds of previous overzealous interventions by security agencies that have aggravated insecurity in the two regions rather than contain the same. Unprofessional conduct and prejudice from those entrusted with such operations must not be tolerated.
“The government and security agencies have a constitutional duty to protect the lives and property of the peace-loving residents of the two regions from harm. No innocent Nigerian should be harassed, intimidated, or made to suffer under any guise of combing for suspected criminal elements in the South-East and South-South regions.”
As part of efforts to develop manpower that can address future challenges in Nigeria, the Lagos State Lotteries Board (LSBL) has established a science-based educational quiz competition that would aid young inventors towards achieving their goals of producing technologies that could proffer solution to human needs across the country.
The science-based quiz competition, LSBL said, is Eko S.T.E.M Quiz, would prepare the students for science and technology and bridge the invention gap between Nigeria particularly in Lagos and other major cities globally.
According to the lotteries board, the EKO STEM competition was designed for the public and low-cost private secondary school students in Senior Secondary School (SSS) 2 to boost their passion for science and technology.
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the lotteries board, Bashir Are, while addressing pressmen yesterday in Ikeja, added that the aim was to further sustain the ongoing development in the education sector embarked upon by the State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, to take education to next level in Lagos.
Are noted that the intervention was part of the board’s functions, saying, we are allowed by section 33 of Lagos State Lotteries Board (amended) law of 2008 to give some interventions in Education, infrastructure, environment, social, and health in the state.
He added that the intervention in education development would ensure that the state has a skilled workforce that could address its challenges in science and technology which had continued to alter previous workforce arrangements globally.
Earlier, the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Lotteries, Olufunmilola Olotu, stressed that to prepare the students for the future, “it is important to proactively promote the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) curriculum”.
Olotu stated that quiz competition is a form of education, just as she described education as a process of acquiring general knowledge, developing the powers of reasoning and judgment, and generally preparing oneself or others intellectually for mature life.
Olotu explained that this competition would provide the ground for the state government to achieve its goal in technology, preparing the mind of the students for the future, adding, the contents could be re-used for teaching.
The senior special assistant explained that the competition was essential for the children and that it would not only educate but also entertain the students in the country particularly Lagos.
She argued that the EKO STEM quiz competition would afford the students an opportunity to choose their career path and understand importance of teamwork.
Olotu, who emphasized that the year-long competition would be broadcast on Television for viewers that would watch from home, hinted that the ultimate prize for winners is a Scholarship award to study anywhere globally and a visit to the Silicon Valley.
“lt is our belief that in any educational system, academic competition is of utmost importance because it contributes to a child’s development and learning process. A healthy competition among academic institutions nurtures various values and opportunities, including but not limited to prestige, media exposure, monetary donations, and research grants,” she added.
Explaining modalities for the competition that is set to provide a platform for over 1,500 students to achieve their dream, the governor’s aide explained that preliminary examination would hold May 15th for both public and private schools across the 57 Local Government and Local Council Development Area (LCDA).
According to her, all results will be collated and input into the online system, and with the system cut-off mark, those that had better scores will proceed to the Computer-Based examination stage and other stages.
… 21 Schemes In The Works, Says Commissioner
By the end of 2023, Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu would have delivered 35 housing schemes to close the huge deficit in the sector, Commissioner for Housing Mr. Moruf Akinderu-Fatai has said on Tuesday.
Of the schemes, 14 have been delivered within the first two years of the Sanwo-Olu administration, adding over 7,000 affordable housing units to the market.
Akinderu-Fatai spoke on the achievements of the Ministry of Housing during the ongoing inter-ministerial briefing to commemorate Governor Sanwo-Olu’s second year in office.
He said the Government was committed to reducing the housing deficit and providing affordable homes for the greater number of residents, stressing that the Sanwo-Olu administration would be delivering 21 housing schemes before the end of 2023.
The Commissioner was optimistic that the administration would realise its mass housing programmes, despite the prevailing economic situation in the country, adding that policies initiated had enhanced access for low- and high-income families.
He said: “The last two years have been eventful in the Ministry of Housing, as we have strengthened our efforts to realise the housing programmes of the current administration. We have completed and delivered various schemes across Lagos, including Lateef Jakande Gardens in Igando, Lagos State Affordable Public Housing Scheme in Idale Badagry, LagosHOMS Lekki Phase 2 and Babatunde Raji Fashola Estate, Courtland Villas, Igbokushu, among others.
“We have four housing schemes recently completed and are due for commissioning in the coming days. They are located in Odo Onosa Ayandelu, Agbowa, Magodo/Omole, Gbagada and Ibeshe. In all, a total of 14 schemes have been completed and these added over 7,000 affordable housing units to the market. We have other ongoing housing projects, totalling 21 schemes, which are being developed through budgetary allocation and joint ventures.”
Speaking on affordability and accessibility of the schemes, Akinderu-Fatai said the homes are for both low and high net worth individuals in highbrow and low-income settlements, including Igando, Igbokusu, Lekki, Badagry, Igbogbo, Odo-Onosa/Ayandelu, Agbowa, Sangotedo, Epe, Ilubirin, Epe and Egan-Igando.
On the strategies to tackle the housing deficit, Akinderu-Fatai hinted that the State Government was partnering multinational development partners for the construction of mass housing estates. He said henceforth, housing provision would be in the realm of thousands of homes to drastically reduce the burden.
The Commissioner praised Sanwo-Olu for his commitment and passion at ensuring that greater number of residents achieve their dream of becoming homeowners, adding that the State Government needed the support of all stakeholders towards providing decent and stable shelter for residents.
He said: “The task of bridging the housing gap in Lagos is demanding and we are extending our willingness to private sector participants to come in and invest in the housing sector to reduce the hardship faced by the people in their quest for decent shelter.”
Akinderu-Fatai said that the Lagos Mortgage Board had strengthened the “Rent-to-Own” policy, putting many residents on the homeownership ladder. He pointed out that the scheme targeted first-time homeowners, saying: “It has given a good opportunity to both to the low and middle-income citizens to become home owners.”
In the housing development projects, the Commissioner said the State Government had boosted the local economy by hundreds of local workers, artisans, suppliers and contractors for the scheme.
“There are intense construction activities on many housing schemes all over the State revitalising the housing delivery value chain. The fact that the construction sites are active means economic engagement for hundreds of workers, artisans, suppliers and contractors. This brings vibrancy that increases the economic resilience of our people,” Akinderu-Fatai said.
The Special Adviser to the Governor on Housing, Mrs. Toke Awoyinka-Benson, said the Government made efforts to make Lagos an investor-friendly State, given its housing development laws, and establishment of the Lagos State Real Estate Regulatory Authority (LASRERA).
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