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Sanwo-Olu makes case for Lagos Airport remodelling

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Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, on Tuesday, met with the management team of the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) ahead of the next Saturday’s re-opening of airspace for international flights.

Discussions at the meeting focused partly on actionable steps being put in place at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport (MMIA) by the Federal and State governments to give travellers comfort and better experience when the facility is opened for air traffic.

The FAAN team, led by its Managing Director, Captain Rabiu Yadudu, also made requests to the Governor for interventions germane to the seamless operations of the Lagos airport, which contributes 70 per cent of FAAN’s total revenue.

Sanwo-Olu said officials of the State Government have been working round the clock with the Federal Government to initiate safety protocols in place at the airport and drive compliance. The effort, he said, will be followed by a joint assessment of the airport facility with FAAN and other agencies.

The Governor used the occasion to explain the development activities embarked on by the State Government to ensure travellers have better experience while passing through the airport, disclosing that the State had already started the construction of a world-class bus terminal close to the airport.

The bus terminal, the Governor said, will serve as holding station for international passengers who will not be driving into the airport. He said the bus station would be complemented with rail infrastructure to shuttle air passengers from the metropolis departure terminals.

He said: “An airport is a gateway that defines the nation, because it is the first facility to be seen by international travellers. The Murtala Mohammed International Airport is an important asset, not only to the Federal Government but also to Lagos State. The strategic use of this airport should necessitate that need for us to fully harness the asset and make it a bubbling destination for tourists and businessmen coming into the country.

“As a State Government, we are taking complementary efforts to ensure the airport promotes business and is safe for travellers. We have started the construction of a massive bus terminal along the airport road, which will be complemented with a rail project. The rail project is part of the Red Line Rail project which will start from Ebute Metta and pass through Oshodi. The right-of-way of this project has been determined and we are hoping the project will start before the end of the year.”

Sanwo-Olu charged FAAN management on remodelling of the airport’s facilities to become a hub of business and tourism. He said some of the facilities installed in the airport at inception were due for modernisation and upgrading.

The Governor particularly made a case for the provision of fast free internet connectivity within lounges at the airport, noting that the era of passengers sitting for long without internet access had passed.

He said the functionality of the airport must be fully explored, urging the management to invest in facilities that would drive more passenger traffic to the airport.

He said: “Travellers across the world are looking for destinations where things they enjoy in their comfort zones are provided. When we provide services and infrastructure that will drive traffic to our airport, not only will it triple the revenue generated for the Government, it will also improve the status of the airport within the continent.”

Yadudu used the opportunity to thank the State Government for the construction of the airport road from Oshodi, noting that the intervention had strengthened the partnership between Lagos Government and FAAN.

The FAAN boss, however, pleaded with the Governor to intervene in ensuring smooth safety compliance and provision services as the airport prepared to re-open for commercial activities.

Some of the FAAN requests included provision of BRT buses to commute passengers from car park to departure and arrival halls, expansion of strategic airport roads, and halting of encroachment on the airport land around Ajao Estate and Shasha, among other.

Governor promised further engagements with Aviation Minister on ways to resolve other issues around the Lagos airport.

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Lagos Univeils plans for Nigeria @60 Independence Celebrations

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By Timi Joshua

The Lagos State Government has set in motion,programmes to celebrate Nigeria’s 60th Independence Anniversary.

The state Commissioner for Tourism, Pharmacist Uzamat Yusuff, who unveiled the plans on Wednesday said the celebrations will open with a two-day event to be hosted by the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture on the 30th of September and 1st of October.

According to her, the Day 1 of the event which is on the 30th of September, 2020 will be the parade of lead voices in Nigeria’s Entertainment scene. “On this day, the likes of Juju Maestro, Chief Commander Ebenezer Obey, King Sunny Ade, Sir Victor Uwaifo and Onyeka Onwenu would thrill Lagosians and indeed the entire world to lofty tunes which the celebration will be a mix of the old and up-coming musicians that will feature some Grade A Musical Artists, World famous Ali Baba, Kenny Blaq, DJ Neptune, DJ Kaywise, DJ Biggy, some Nollywood celebrities and Dance Groups are billed to perform at this event that will be a packed 12 hours entertainment, beginning from 12noon to 12midnight to usher in October 1st in a grand style.

“In addition to the above, the Ministry will also be extending invitation to renowned Social Clubs in Lagos State whose social gatherings had be interrupted since covid-19 pandemic some months ago.”
She added that “It is our belief that these musicians especially the very old names in the industry should be a part of this milestone celebrations. As a matter of fact, their songs have been very significant in promoting One and indivisible Nigeria for the past decades.

“Let me state categorically that we are mindful of the prevailing covid-19 among us and as such the event would be streamed live on Lagos State Government Social Media Platforms as well as on Television Stations for wider participation by members of the public while invitation would only be extended to a very few individuals in compliance with the State Government’s existing guidelines for social gatherings” she said.

Pharmacist Akinbile also said “The main Independence celebration on 1st of October will be held at Teslim Balogun Stadium, Surulere for wider participation by members of the public, that will lead a new narrative of an emergent Nigerian, inspired to taking positive action and achieving great feats.

“Hence, Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babjide Olusola Sanwo-Olu will graciously attend the two days event as a way of demonstrating his interest to the promotion of Entertainment being one of the pillars of his THEMES agenda.

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School building collapses in Ejigbo, no casualty recorded

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By Kareem Hassan, Ikotun

A three-storey building has collapsed in Ejigbo.

The building, located at 15 Ansarudeen Street, Ile-Epo Bus Stop, Ejigbo was housing a private school.

According to the Director General of the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency, LASEMA, Dr. Femi Oke-Osanyintolu who confirmed the incident,  the building collapsed at about 8:15am.

Witnesses said prior to the collapse, the building had shown signs of distress and the school was planning to renovate and refortify the structure.

The three-storey building has two wings conjoined, the wing that collapsed has seriously affected the second wing as visible cracks can be seen on the walls, pillars and decking.

Dr Oke’-Osanyintolu saud: “Fortunately, nobody was trapped, no injuries and no fatality has been recorded. Responders to the incident scene are LASEMA, LASBCA, Police (Ejigbo Division),”

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Lagos, FG seek partnership for infrastructural development

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The Federal Government and Lagos State Government have found a common ground to address degeneration of infrastructure in Festac Town – a federal housing estate situated in Amuwo-Odofin area of the State.

The resolve by the two parties to jointly confront the inordinate property development and facility deficit in the housing estate was the outcome of a meeting, held on Wednesday, between Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu and the Managing Director of the Federal Housing Authority (FHA), Senator Gbenga Ashafa, signaling an end to the lingering disagreement between the State and the Federal Government over the matter.

Ashafa led top officials of FHA – a department in the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing – on a courtesy visit to the Governor at the State House in Alausa. FHA’s Executive Director for Business Development, Hon. Abdulmumin Jibrin, was in attendance.

The FHA team presented four partnership requests to the Lagos Government, among which include knowledge sharing and technology transfer, cooperation on infrastructure delivery and quick resolution of development crisis in Festac Town.

Sanwo-Olu said the State Government took land administration and property development as critical, stressing that his administration’s urban renewal project was being implemented with the objective to open up remote communities for healthy living and investment drive.

The Governor described development crisis in Festac Town as “unpleasant”, pointing out that the population growth and influx of people led to the degeneration of the neighbourhood. He also said failure of oversight on activities of property developers in Festac Town distorted the original master plan of the area.

He said: “Festac Town as it is today is not what it looked like from 1970s to 1990s, given the degeneration of infrastructure and the unpleasant development observed in the community. The original master plan did not consider population growth, which reflected in the calibre of allotees that got the property then. As a result of lack of monitoring and enforcement, people took advantage of this weakness to build indiscriminately on every available space.

“I think we can still correct this irregularity and regenerate the entire area for healthy living and business, now that the Federal Housing Authority is headed by a highly knowledgeable indigene of Lagos. Once the Federal Government is ready, Lagos State will cooperate fully and work through our Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development on agreed plan. We are ready to give waiver on statutory issues that may aid the progress of this move. Lagos is not the owner of the estate but we have a sense of duty to prevent the depreciation of the asset on that corridor.”

The Governor also conceded to FHA’s request to collaborate in the area of technology transfer, pledging to work with the federal housing agency to raise its capability by creating electronic solution that would further ease allocation of property, land administration and approval of survey plan.

He added that the State would be willing to work with the federal housing agency on estate property development in the Lagos East and West senatorial districts.

Sanwo-Olu praised President Muhammadu Buhari and Minister for Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, SAN, for the choice of Sen. Ashafa as the head of the federal housing agency, noting that the FHA boss’ tenure as Executive Secretary on Land Matters in Lagos boosted the value of land and property in the State.

The Governor said: “We want you to succeed in this new assignment you have taken up, because we believe that you have vast knowledge in land administration matters. Development is critical to us in Lagos, and we will be willing to cooperate with you for more development. We are convinced that your tenure will bring about solution to challenges the nation faces in land administration.”

Ashafa, a former Senator representing Lagos East, said FHA was ready to resolve all lingering crises delaying the re-modelling and regeneration of Festac Town, expressing confidence that the mid-way approach adopted by the agency would yield positive outcome for the both Governments and residents of the estate.

He described his meeting with the Governor as “productive and fruitful”, pledging to take the discussion further.

He said: “ All the four issues we presented were taken in by the Governor positively. With some of the relevant cabinet members in attendance at the meeting, we will be engaging in further discussions on how to go about our plan for urban regeneration in Lagos.”

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