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Lagos procures additional rolling stock for Blue, Red lines from China

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…Lagos Red Line operations likely to kick off February

In line with its THEMES agenda to bolster the infrastructure of Lagos State, Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu has procured additional rolling stocks for the Blue Line and Red Line rail operations, to bring more relief to millions of Lagos residents.

The Governor who is currently in China to further discussions on the Blue and Red rail lines explained the new purchase will improve the travel experience of residents in the State.

He said the additional rolling stocks are expected to arrive in Lagos before the end of the year.

The Lagos State team through its partners was able to secure an agreement for the additional rolling stocks for the Blue Line and Red Line rail lines to be ready within a year and delivered before the end of the year as against the normal two-year period that it takes for the construction company to build the coaches.

Speaking during a high-level meeting of Lagos State Government officials with the President and management of the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) at its headquarters in Beijing, China, on Thursday, Governor Sanwo-Olu reiterated his administration’s commitment to the completion of the second phase of the Blue Line rail project and flag off of the commercial operations of the Red Line rail project.

“We have made requests for additional rolling stocks for Red Line and Blue Line. That conversation is ongoing. We have started making payments and hope that because of our commitment, we will get those rolling stocks before the end of the year. It would improve the journey experience of our people. It would improve citizens’ appreciation of what the government is doing to reduce transportation pressure in a big city like Lagos.

“With the new rolling stocks, we will have a more predictable journey time; the commuters and passengers would be more committed and we will see an improvement in the quality of lives and reduction of traffic gridlocks in the city,” the Governor said.    

Governor Sanwo-Olu, who was accompanied to the meeting by the Commissioner of Transportation, Mr. Oluwaseun Osiyemi; the Managing Director of Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (LAMATA), Mrs. Abimbola Akinajo, Chairman of the Lagos State House of Assembly Committee on Transportation, Honourable Temitope Adewale and his Environment parastatals counterpart, Hon. Rasheed Shabi and other top government officials, informed the CCECC team, that his government had promised over 22 million Lagosians that it would solve the traffic and transportation challenges they currently faced hence the need for the red line to take off without any further delay.

The Governor, who expressed satisfaction with the pace of progress of the Red Line project, hinted that the State Government is ready to inaugurate the Red Line rail for commercial operations as soon as the Presidency communicates the availability of President Bola Tinubu, who had agreed in principle to officially commission the project.

He said, “We are happy that during our tenure, we were able to complete phase one of the Blue Line and not just completing it, we started its operation and now we are seeing an increase in the passenger traffic every month. We have also increased the number of trips.

“People expect a lot more from us and that is why we are committed to phase two of the project. The work has started and we are trying to make money available for you (CCECC) to continue to push. I have said to people that within our second term, we should complete phase two of the Blue Line.  

“For the Red Line, which is even more exciting for us because we started the construction during our administration; we are happy that phase one of it is practically completed and I am happy to invite you when Mr. President, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, would be commissioning the Red Line. We are still hoping to commission it within this February. 

“We believe the Red Line will carry more passengers than the Blue Line. The Red Line is longer and it has a lot of other infrastructure. All the bridge components that we are committed to have been completed and commissioned, with the exception of the one in Mushin.

“I want you to encourage the Federal Government to also complete their bridge components of the Red Line so that we can have a rail system that would not have any incident of traffic or interaction with vehicles or passengers and we can wall off and ensure it is a very safe rail corridor. There are a lot of interactions on the Red Line, so we need to ensure that we operate a rail corridor that is very safe for passengers, citizens and vehicular movement.

“We are also advancing conversation on the right of way at the corridor for phase two of the Red Line, which will take it based on what we are seeing to the connection of the Blue Line. That makes it a lot more functional because what it means is that passengers can hop in and hop out between the Red Line and Blue Line when phase two is completed.”    

Sanwo-Olu during his meeting with the President and management of the China Civil Engineering Construction Company (CCECC) also had trade and investment discussions with the top officials of the company.

Governor Sanwo-Olu, also inspected one of the project sites of the China Railway Construction Group (CRCG) in Beijing, China. He was conducted around the major project facility of the Chinese construction company.

The fact-finding mission is connected to Governor Sanwo-Olu’s plan for the construction of some major infrastructural projects in Lagos State and his determination to increase the infrastructure stock of Lagos, especially in transportation.

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EID-el-Kabir: Tinubu calls for reflection on sacrifice, duty, unity

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President Bola Tinubu has urged Muslim faithful to reflect on the occasion of Eid-el-Kabir, an event that denotes sacrifice, faith, and obedience to the will of the Almighty.

“The President congratulates the Muslim faithful and prays that Allah accepts their supplications and acts of obedience,” Chief Ajuri Ngelale, Special Adviser to the President, Media and Publicity, said in a statement in Abuja on Saturday.

Tinubu enjoined Nigerians to reflect on the essence of the occasion, which bears strong meaning and significance for the nation.

The President emphasised that sacrifice and duty were essential ingredients to nation-building, “noting that it takes collective purpose, will, and action to bring about great change.”

He called on citizens to spare a prayer for the nation for continuous peace and stability while working according to purpose in promoting unity, peace, and progress.

“The President acknowledges the sacrifices that Nigerians have made in the past one year as his administration sets the nation on a firm pedestal of growth and development.

“President Tinubu affirms that the sacrifices and great expectations of citizens will not come to nought as already propitious outcomes are beginning to manifest with the economy strengthening and vibrancy returning to critical sectors.

“The President reassures Nigerians that his administration is prioritizing their physical, social, and economic security and will not relent on this noble endeavour,” Ngelale said.

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Nigerian airspace fully covered by radar – NAMA

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This is contained in a statement signed by the Managing Director of NAMA, Mr Ahmed Farouk, on Saturday in Lagos.

Farouk said that the radar stations in Nigeria located in Kano, Lagos, Abuja, and Port-Harcourt are all serviceable.

He described as false and misleading the claims by a blogger that an unidentified aircraft was spotted at the Presidential Villa, Abuja undetected.

According to him, radar services for Terminal and Enroute flights are positively identified and provide air navigation services to airspace users.

“The agency hereby wishes to state that the claim that the Nigerian airspace is not covered by radar is false and misleading.

“The radar stations in Nigeria (Kano, Lagos, Abuja, and Port-Harcourt) are serviceable. Radar services for terminal and enroute flights are positively identified and provide air navigation services to airspace users.

“Yes, it is true that the TRACON system, like any other electronics systems, is undergoing an upgrade of software and modernisation to meet the ever growing demand for efficient, effective and seamless air traffic management services.

“Furthermore, the welfare of Nigerian Air Traffic Controllers in terms of salaries and allowances is not in contention, as to suggest that it is the lowest in the world.”

Farouk added: “The reported ‘unidentified’ aircraft is a security terminology. In real terms, the aircraft in question is known, but only to the ATC.

“The violation was in the interest of safety, as a result of adverse weather (serious thunderstorm) on the said date.

“The purported circular issued by the NCAA is for airlines to be guided from straying into the marked and published prohibited or restricted areas of the Nigerian airspace.

“It is obvious that the journalist in question does not understand the workings of the surveillance systems, hence his misconstrued and misguided information on Primary and Secondary Radar.

“The agency shall willfully volunteer information on her services to anyone who requires them at any time,” said Farouk.”

The NAMA boss assured of the agency’s commitment to ensure sustainable welfare packages for its staff, especially the Air Traffic Controllers.

According to him, NAMA remains committed to its responsibility to provide safe, effective, economic, and efficient air navigation services in Nigeria.

He said that the existence of robust, effective civil and military coordination and collaboration guarantees a secured airspace and air navigation.

“We are pleased to say that the Nigerian airspace is safe and secured,” he noted.

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Ohanaeze felicitates Okonjo-Iweala at 70

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The Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide has felicitated with the Director-General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), Dr Okonjo-Iweala, as she clocked 70 years on Thursday.

The congratulatory message is contained in a statement in Enugu on Saturday by the Publicity Secretary of the group, Dr Alex Ogbonnia.

Ogbonnia said that the President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu and Ohanaeze Ndigbo joined other numerous admirers to felicitate with Okonjo-Iweala.

Iwuanyanwu said “We felicitate one of our best; a cerebral modest woman of substance, a distinctive global icon and a renowned development economist.

“Ngozi Okonjo Iweala is a quintessential Igbo in character, ingenuity, elegance and integrity.

“Her trajectory is a veritable testament to the audacity of intellectual prowess, hard work, competence, self-confidence, humility, prudence and service to humanity.

“Our daughter, Okonjo-Iweala is a source of pride. She has distinguished herself in all the facets she has ever set her foot; at the Harvard, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Brookings Institution, World Bank and in the Nigerian government, among others”.

The Igbo leading group said Nigerians would always recall with nostalgia, the various economic reforms that Iweala introduced into the Nigerian financial institutions as a Minister of Finance; under President Olusegun Obasanjo.

He said she spearheaded negotiations with the Paris Club which led to the wiping out about $30 Billion of Nigeria’s Debt, including the outright cancellation of $18 Billion in favour of Nigeria.

Iwuanyanwu added that she introduced the monthly publication of the federal, state and local government shares of revenue from the country’s federation account.

“Back home, the keynote address delivered by Okonjo-Iweala at the South East Economic Summit at Owerri, Imo State, on Sept. 28, 2023 still reverberates with profound wisdom, and instructive reflections.

“On behalf of all the National Executive Committee (NEC), states and local government structures of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide; and indeed all the sons and daughters of Igbo land, I wish you many more years in good health and full of more accomplishments.”

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