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Lagos And The Coming Rains



Lagos And The Coming Rains

In Lagos, a few days back, the heavens opened and it rained profusely. If the enormity of the recent rainfall is anything to go by, Lagos residents must gear up for more of such fierce moments in the coming days.

Indeed, experts have predicted that the intensity of this year’s rains will be more than what we had in the past. For instance, the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet) had earlier predicted “extended rains for areas in and around Adamawa, Ogun, Edo, Niger Delta and low-lying areas such as Lagos.

As Lagosians await the rains, certain issues need to be put into proper perspective. First is the topography of Lagos. A critical feature of Lagos topography is that the state is essentially made up of low lying terrain up to 0.4 per cent below the sea level. Naturally, this arrangement is the source of huge drainage challenges that confront the state. If this is added to the volume of rain that is being experienced in the state lately, it would be realized that there is possibly no way there would not be flash flooding in Lagos.

Second, certain negative practices such as indiscriminate dumping of refuse and blockade of drainage easily aid flooding. This is often rampant in markets and other commercial centres as well as densely populated areas in the state. Often, the effects of such poor sanitary habit on affected residents are unquantifiable and devastating. Some have been rendered homeless and miserable, no thanks to human induced environmental hazards. Thus, we all need to fully embrace the culture of proper waste disposal, comply with building regulations, tap into alternative energy use, and pay necessary attention to sanitation issues among others.

Lagosians must be ready to cooperate with the state government by embracing positive attitude in their response to the environment. These include proper waste disposal, compliance with building regulations, embracing alternative energy use, paying necessary attention to sanitation issues, not building structures on drainage channels, flood plains and on water pathways.

As always, the state government is committed to a cleaner environment and quality public health through implementation of community based solid waste management, flood control, vegetal control and high standard of home and personal hygiene, sanitation, control of environment pollution (air, water and noise), beautification and advertisement control. Consequently, its approach to tackling the issue of flooding in the state is multi-faceted and multi-dimensional. It includes dredging, massive construction and expansion of drainage channels, desilting and excavation of silts to dumpsites, regular repair, clearing and cleaning of drainage, canals and collector drains across the state.

Whenever it is observed that the intensity of the rains is high, it is advisable that people vacate flood-prone areas. Equally, it is also important for the citizenry, especially children to stay indoors in order to reduce movement to the barest minimum. In fact, if it could be avoided, it is better not to drive while it is raining heavily. Similarly, we need to maintain strict personal and environmental hygiene at all times to avoid being victims of water-borne diseases. Also, to mitigate the effects of cold, we must ensure that children and the elderly are properly clothed with warm clothing during the rains. It is only when this is done that we will be able to curb the spread of rain- induced health hazard such as cough, cold and other related ones. Additionally, this is the time to embrace the culture of taking plenty of thoroughly washed fruits in order to boost the immune system. This is in addition to drinking water from only trusted and well- tested safe sources.

Since we now live in a hi-tech information age, it is also imperative that people listen to news reports and information on weather situation from various available credible media. This will really aid in planning movements and avoiding flood-prone locations. Also, in view of likely destructive thunder strikes that usually accompany windy rainfall, Lagos residents are strongly advised to always disconnect all electrical appliances whenever they want to sleep or go out. This will go a long way in checkmating rain-induced electrical debacles. Similarly, children should be discouraged from touching electrical equipment when wet.

In as much as it is beyond human powers to stop rains, we should, at least, do things that are in our powers to lessen their negative consequences. This includes regular clearing of gutters and drainage in our areas, making use of suitable services to dispose waste, reporting anyone dumping refuse in drains, gutters and canals to appropriate authorities, moving immediately to higher ground when flooding is imminent wherever we are, staying away from submerged electricity cables, cleaning and disinfecting everything that gets wet, staying away from canals and drainage evacuating or leaving danger zones immediately, calling 767 in case of emergency among others.

––Tayo Ogunbiyi, Ministry of Information and Strategy, Alausa, Ikeja.

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Lagos Transporters To Pay ₦800 Daily Levy, Excluding RTEAN, NURTW Dues



…Effective From February 1

Lagos State government, on Tuesday, introduced a daily ₦800 consolidated informal transport levy for transporters in the state.

The levy is outside the union dues collected by the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) and the Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria (RTEAN).

Lagos State finance commissioner, Dr Rabiu Olowo, who revealed this at the agreement-signing ceremony by Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), local councils and transport unions, said that the consolidated levy collection will start February 1.

He stated that the harmonized levy became expedient to ensure that the transport sector in the state is organised and fits into a 21st-century economy.

Olowo added that the consolidated levy takes into consideration all the elements in a sane society.

According to him, the levy takes care of dues previously accrued to local councils across the state, as well as revenue for Lagos Waste Management Authority (LASWA) and Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency (LASEPA), Lagos State Inland Revenue Service (LIRS) among other MDAs.

He said that the state government expects that once a transporter pays the ₦800 at a point, he or she is expected not to pay at any other park or bus stop throughout the day.

He also said that the government expects that union members will not collect levies from transporters as they are not expected to pay at every bus stop or park.

Olowo said the consolidated levy would reduce the multiplicity of levies collection as many residents and transporters have complained about the huge levies unions often collected.

The commissioner also made an allusion to a report about the ₦150bn that transport unions collect in Lagos under the disguise of collecting dues, saying the new development will eliminate multiple taxes.

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People Using Zamfara As Killing Field To Prove Nigeria Ungovernable, Fani-Kayode Speaks




Femi Fani-Kayode, a former Minister of Aviation, has called on Nigerians to unite and stand against the foreign elements that are bent on destabilising the country and killing innocent citizens, especially in Zamfara State.

The Director of Press to Zamfara Governor, Jamilu Illiyasu, made this known in a statement he issued to newsmen in Gusau on Monday.

Fani-Kayode expressed the belief that some people were using the state and the entire North-West zone as a killing field to prove to the world that Nigeria was ungovernable, divided and that things were not right in the country.

He also commiserated with the Zamfara State Government over the killing of 58 citizens in Anka and Bukkuyum local government areas of the state.

Fani-Kayode described the killing as a tragedy of monumental proportion and commended the efforts of Gov. Bello Matawalle in the ongoing fight against banditry and other crimes in the state.

He, therefore, called on all Nigerians to unite to fight foreigners who claimed to be Nigerians but could only speak Arabic and French.

He also urged the Federal Government to fish out sponsors of banditry and other individuals inflating casualty figures.

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Buhari Unveils Abuja’s Rice Pyramids, Says Nigeria Becoming Self-Sufficient In Food Production



…As CBN Gov, Fayemi Laud President’s Initiative

 President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday said that the commissioning of rice pyramids in Abuja was an indication that Nigeria is making steady and assured progress towards self-sufficiency in food production.

The President expressed expectation that other agricultural commodity associations that were yet to participate under the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)-funded Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP) will emulate the rice farmers association of Nigeria in supporting his administration’s drive for food self-sufficiency.

The President made the remarks at the unveiling of the FCT Mega Rice Pyramids in Abuja on Tuesday morning.

He unveiled 13 rice pyramids (one million bags of rice) at the event that was attended by some state governors and business operators.

“As a critical policy of the government, the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme is expected to catalyse the agricultural productive base of the nation, which is a major part of our economic plan to uplift the economy, create jobs, reduce reliance on imported food and industrial raw materials, and conserve foreign exchange”, Buhari said.

Speaking at the event, CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele, said beyond increasing the national output from about 5.4 million metric tonnes in 2015 to over 9 million metric tonnes in 2021, the CBN in collaboration with the rice farmers have also significantly improved the productivity per hectare of the smallholder farmer from about 2.4 metric tonnes per hectares in 2015 to between about 5 metric tonnes per hectares in 2021.

Emefiele said the unveiling of the rice pyramids was one of the many achievements of the CBN funded Anchored Borrowers’ Programme, saying the feat was achieved due to the vision and determination of the Buhari-led administration to deliver on food security.

“I salute your vision of making agriculture a cornerstone”, Emefiele said to the President, even as he appreciated the resilience of the smallholder farmers and the stakeholders in the rice production line.

He reminded the President that the farmers have battled lots of insurgency, banditry and kidnapping to which some of them have lost their lives while others could not access their farms.

Emefiele said the bank has financed about 5 million small holder framers on rice farming, saying that is still a far cry from the desired goals. He said Covid-19 has shown that Nigeria cannot rely on import.

Ekiti State governor, Kayode Fayemi, said it was clear from the beginning in 2015, when Buhari was seeking the position of the President of the country, that agriculture was going to be the major thrust if the Buhari administration, a reason he said it wasn’t surprising to see the president live up to that promise.

Fayemi said the doubt about food insecurity must now be removed with the rice revolution in Nigeria. “This is about food security. National security now means food security and food security means national security.

“The job is not done. We shall not relent until the availability of rice as a stable food is achieved”, he said.

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