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Lagos red rail line now at completion stage — Sanwo-Olu

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…Governor, again, inspects State-owned metro project

Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, on Sunday, again went on an extensive inspection of the ongoing construction activities around the Lagos Rail Mass Transit (LRMT) Red Line project.

It’s the fourth time in a year the Governor would be inspecting the pace of work on the 37-kilometre-long rail infrastructure wholly started by his administration, with Sanwo-Olu assuring Lagosians that the rail project would be delivered on its scheduled completion date.

The transport infrastructure being developed by the Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (LAMATA) will have the capacity to transport over 500,000 passengers daily when it becomes operational in the first quarter of next year.

The Red Line will traverse on standard gauge from Agbado to Oyingbo, in the first phase, while terminating at Iddo in the second phase. It has eight stations and it is expected to reduce travel by over two hours.

Sanwo-Olu, joined on the project tour by the Deputy Governor, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat, and members of cabinet, first stopped at the multi-level Agege Terminal, where he inspected completion work on the facility.

The Agege Red Line terminal shares the same yard with Babatunde Raji Fashola Station built by the Federal Government, but stands about 300 metres apart.

The Governor also inspected the staff quarters built by the Lagos Government for the railway workers in the employment of the Federal Government.

Sanwo-Olu, thereafter, led the team to the iconic Ikeja Station of the Red Line, where 80 per cent of the civil work had been completed. The Governor also checked the progress of the overpass being constructed on Awolowo Way axis to ensure non-interference of vehicular movement on the rail passageway.

The Governor stopped at Mushin terminal, to inspect the station and overpass, which stretches between Kayode and Ogunmokun streets, being developed there, before proceeding to Yaba and Oyingbo stations.

After the exercise that lasted for four hours, Sanwo-Olu expressed satisfaction on the quality of the work done, disclosing that most of the difficult tasks had been completed.

The entire construction, the Governor said, has moved into the finishing phase in which precast beams and other concrete fittings are being coupled to the constructed structures.

He said: “The Red Line is a project conceived and started by our Government, which will be delivered in the lifetime of this administration. We have given our commitment to ensure the project is completed by the end of this year as promised. This is our fourth inspection trip on this project within the year alone and each time we come, there is significant progress that the contractor achieves along the rail corridor.

“Along the rail corridor, there is massive regeneration that is taking place and we have paid extensive amount in terms of compensation, far more than anyone else, for those affected by the construction activities. That is why we don’t have problem with members of the communities on this corridor. After inspecting the Agege station, we went on to check the Ikeja terminal, which happens to be the iconic station of the Red Line. Its size is almost about the size of three football fields together.

“As we have seen, all the stations inspected are at the roof level, moving into the completion stage. The civil work has been completed, it’s just the finishing job we are doing at the moment. All the activities are on schedule and we are hoping the best entire project will be completed by the end of the year. There are places that were particularly challenging for the contractor to do drilling due to high vehicular density. All the challenges have been overcome; what is left is concrete in-situ and placing of precast beams.”

Sanwo-Olu said the construction work on the overpasses were at different stages of completion but assured that all work would be done by December.

He said the work on the bridge on Awolowo Way onto Agege Motor Road and inward Mongoro Bus Stop remained on track and would finish by the end of October.

Sanwo-Olu said the Mushin overpass, which crosses from Kayode Street at Ikorodu Road to Agege Motor Road in Mushin, and the one at Yaba from Tejuosho exiting onto Murtala Muhammed Road, would be completed by November.

To eliminate human interference with the rail corridor, the Governor said the rail passageway would be walled off the residential areas. This, he said, would also prevent encroachment and unapproved commercial activities around the corridor.

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Senate tasks stakeholders on strengthening commodities exchange

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The Senate has tasked relevant stakeholders in the Capital Market to strive hard to strengthen the commodities exchange toward actualising its full potential.

Sen. Osita Izunaso, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Capital Market, said this at a workshop for members of the committee, with the theme “On Infrastructure Financing Development of the Commodities Ecosystem through Commodities Exchanges” in Abuja on Sunday.

He said that executive and the legislature must work in harmony to ensure that commodities exchange was strengthened in line with the global best practices.

Izunaso said that the workshop was aimed at positioning the community exchange toward ensuring food security in the country as well as enhance foreign exchange earnings.

“We discover that people are talking about money market, capital market. Nobody is dwelling on commodity. So that is why we have to partner with Lagos Commodities and Futures Exchange to bring the story nearer home.

“There must be need for us to ensure that all the export commodities in Nigeria should pass through the commodity exchange as a way of getting revenue for the country.

“Commodities exchanges are game-changers. They enable investment diversification, manage risk, ensure fair pricing and streamline transactions.

“To boost Nigeria’s competitiveness, we need a thriving commodities trading ecosystem,” he said.
Izunaso added:“Recent global events highlight the urgent need to diversify our economy. Prioritising and accelerating the development of non-oil commodities is crucial, especially to diversify foreign exchange sources.”

He said that the Lagos Commodities Exchange had recorded some major achievements lately.
recorded an upswing

“This demonstrates the potential of the sector. Commodities Exchanges are a path to progress.There is a clear consensus,” he said.

He also said that for Nigeria to overcome its challenges, economic diversification was essential adding that commodities exchanges could play a vital role in achieving the goals of job creation and economic growth.

The lawmaker said that the Senate through legislation, would ensure that there were adequate legal frameworks for commodity exchanges, warehouses and financing.

Also speaking, the Minister of State for Agriculture and Food Security, Sen. Sabi Abdullahi said the ministry had been working to reverse food inflation and stem food crisis in the country.

He said that Nigeria had about 73 million hectares of arable land out of which only about 33 hectares were being cultivated.

“With this, our productivity is still low. I believe there is a lot to be done to raise the productivity of farmers.”

He said that to increase productivity, there was the need to improve on irrigation capabilities through dry season farming.

“Our findings show that farmers are finding it difficult to fuel irrigation facilities.

“We are suggesting that there are solar-powered irrigation pumps that members of the national assembly can use as part of their constituency programmes.

“So as to empower their farmers who are involved in dry season farming so that together, we can increase our production and improve the volume of food available, thereby reducing the impact of food inflation and of course, guaranteeing food security for our citizens,” he said.

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Low turnout of voters recorded in APC primary rerun in Okitipupa LGA

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The rerun of the All Progressives Congress (APC) primary election in Okitipupa Local Government Area of Ondo State on Sunday recorded a low turnout in some wards.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Gov. Usman Ododo led APC Primary Election Committee had declared the exercise held on Saturday in the 203 wards in 18 local government area of the state inconclusive .

In a statement issued in the early hours of Sunday in Akure, Ododo said that reports reaching the committee indicated that the electoral process in 13 wards in Okitipupa LGA suffered some hitches.

Accordingly, the governor declared the governorship primary inconclusive and directed that a rerun be held in the 13 wards in Okitipupa LGA, having a total validated registered members of 9,515.

A NAN correspondent who monitored the rerun in some wards in Okitipupa reports low turnout of voters and security agents, compared to the large voter turnout on Saturday.

The wards visited are: Okitipupa Ward 1 at Stellamaris College, Okitipupa, Ward 2 at St. John Primary School, Ayeka/Igbodigo ward and Ikoya/Igbinsin/Oloto ward in Ikoya, all in Okitipupa LGA.

NAN reports that no officials, APC committee members or election materials were seen in sight at the wards as at the time of filling this report.

The low turnout of voters might also be unconnected with the violence recorded in some wards on Saturday.

Chief Adebayo Ogunedowo, an APC chieftain, who spoke with NAN, said that the APC primary was a big fraud to the people and democracy.

He said that voters are scared of being lynched or injured because of the breakout of violence at some wards in the state.

“Supporters of some aspirants refused to come here with directives from their principal.

“The primary election is a big fraud. A slap to residents of Ondo State and a shame to democracy.

“This is an indictment on Gov. Ododo led APC Primary Election Committee except the whole election is cancelled in the state,” he said.

Gov. Lucky Aiyedatiwa of Ondo State and 15 other aspirants are jostling to pick the party’s ticket ahead of the Nov. 16, governorship election in the state.

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Nigerian Aviation workers threaten to shut down sector over 50% revenue deduction

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The Air Transport Service Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, ATSSSAN, has threatened to ground aviation operations in Nigeria over the Federal government’s 50 per cent internal revenue deduction policy for Ministries, Agencies and Departments, MDAs, and government-owned enterprises.

ATSSSAN’s National Executive Council disclosed this in a recent communique after NEC in Ibadan, Oyo State.

Recall that the Federal Government, in a letter through the Minister of Finance, Wale Edun, mandated all MDAs to remit 50 per cent of all their internally generated revenue to the government’s confers.

However, ATSSSAN asked for exempting aviation agencies from the deduction of 50 per cent of their IGR under the Fiscal Responsibility Act.

The association said the agencies were not established for profit, adding that stifling them of the required funds would jeopardise the effective performance of their safety and security mandates.

ATSSAN warned that if the federal government insisted on the deduction, thereby compounding the current financial state of the agencies, “we may be forced to direct all aviation workers to down tools until the government reverses itself.”

Last year, through the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation, the government commenced the 50 per cent internally generated revenue deduction from federal government-owned enterprises.

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