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Exclusive: Residents Kick As Lagos Pulls Down Awolowo, Fela Statues On Allen Roundabout

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Residents Kick As Lagos Pulls Down Awolowo, Fela Statues On Allen Roundabout

…We Consulted Fela’s Family, Lagos Insists
…Reveals New Location For Effigy

By Augustine Akhilomen

Mixed reactions have greeted the removal of the statues of late Premier of the West African Region, Sir. Obafemi Awolowo and late Afrobeat legend, Fela Anikulapo Kuti on Allen Roundabout, Ikeja, the Lagos capital.

Residents and passersby woke up to see bull dozers inside the two parks where the statues are located.

While the Awolowo statue was erected by the Tinubu administration, Fela’s was erected by the last administration of Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode on October 15, 2017.

Worried by the development, some Lagosians took to social media to vent their disapproval with the decision to remove the statues.

An art enthusiast and resident in the State, Durosinmi Adesoye in a chat with Thepledge said it came as a total shock to him to see bulldozers bringing down the statues.

“I was shocked to say the least. But for the fact that I was driving to meet up an appointment, I was going to confront them to find out why.

“Though I later read online that the government has intention to relocate the statues of our two great icons because it wants to remove the roundabouts, the location was just befitting, being the heart and capital of the State,” Adesoye said.

Another resident, Moses Fasoranti wondered why the State Government would decide to embark on such saying that there were other areas where urgent attention was needed to address gridlock.

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“Allen Roundabout is the least cause of Lagos traffic. I agree with the removal of Lekki roundabout, but this one in Allen is not really consequential. I hope the government knows what it is doing,” he said.

For Ranmilowo Dada, the first thought that ran through his mind was that the State Government was targeting the Fela structure built by the Akinwunmi Ambode administration.

“I was reading online that Lagos has pulled down Fela statue built by Ambode, I wondered why the government under Sanwo-Olu’s watch would concede to such.”

Femi Ilesanmi, a social critic, however, said that while he can confirm that the statues were not demolished but carefully removed from the roundabout to a location later to be unveiled later.

But the government in a swift response to the news making rounds on social media, said the removal of the statues had no sinister motive as it was part of the government’s plan for junction improvement in a bid to address traffic gridlock in some parts of the m hi uuetropolis.

Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu had announced a few weeks back that some roundabout in the metropolis will have to give way to ease traffic congestion (Allen roundabout inclusive), while the Lekki roundabout has already been pulled down.

Speaking to journalists on Thursday, the State’s Commissioner for Transportation, Dr. Frederic Oladeinde who debunked the social media story said contrary to the malicious claims being spread by ill informed individuals, the statues were removed for the purpose of development.

Oladeinde said the need to carry out Junction improvements in some identified locations necessitated the removal of street furniture, statues of very notable personalities, art works and billboards.

The Commissioner noted that Lagos State Government holds the nation’s heroes in very high esteem and would not do anything to bring down the exalted heights they have attained during their lifetime directly or indirectly.

He said: “the Babajide Sanwo-Olu administration, in a bid to finding a lasting solution to traffic gridlocks in the State, identified about sixty congestion points and have started work to improve traffic experience in five major locations.

Oladeinde said the government duly informed and consulted the Fela Anikulapo-Kuti family before the action was taken, noting that the whole process is for the benefit of Lagos residents.

The Commissioner said the Fela statue will be relocated to the roundabout between Allen Avenue and Opebi-Toyin Street.

“We are in the process of erecting the beautiful work of art, depicting Fela Anikulapo-Kuti at the Opebi-Toyin street junction. The Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture is also working on a befitting location to erect the old Obafemi Awolowo statue,” he said.

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FG Launches Virtual Court Sitting At Correctional Centres

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The Federal Government on Monday launched the use of virtual court proceedings in Nigeria’s correctional centres.

The launch ceremony took place at the Kuje Correctional Centre in Abuja, the nation’s capital and had in attendance the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami; Interior Minister, Rauf Aregbesola, and the Comptroller-General of the Nigerian Correctional Service (NCS), Haliru Nababa among other top government officials.

In his remarks, the Justice Minister said the programme would reduce backlogs of court cases and the time spent on pre-trial of suspects.

Malami believes the virtual court proceedings would effectively aid in the administration of criminal justice in the country.

“This project, therefore, initiated to ensure the hearing and determination of urgent and time-bound cases using the digital platforms,” he said.

“This system will effectively ensure the speedy dispensation of trials in line with Section 36 (4) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended which provides that every person shall be entitled to fair hearing within a reasonable time.”
The Kuje Correctional Centre in Abuja.

On her part, the Secretary of the Presidential Committee on Correctional Reforms and Decongestion, Leticia Ayoola-Daniels said the virtual court proceedings would augment the already existing virtual court facilities that are inherent in the nation’s judiciary.

The move, she noted, will fast-track the dispensation of court cases that would help save the Federal Government cost on the security and mobilisation of accused persons to court.

While giving a breakdown of the number of inmates awaiting trial, the Interior Minister, also spoke on the attacks of correctional centres in recent times.

According to Aregbesola, most of the attacks on the custodial centres are linked to suspects that are awaiting trial because they make up 74 per cent of the total population of inmates in the nation’s correctional facilities.

He said, “50,992 inmates representing 74 per cent of the total population of inmates in our custodial centres are awaiting trial suspects while only 17,755 inmates which is a mere 26 per cent area actual convicts.

“The challenges of safety and external attacks at the custodial centres for most parts come therefore from the awaiting trial inmates given their numerical strengths.”

The launch of the project followed the Federal Government’s collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme and the Japanese Government.

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COVID-19: Lagos Announces Beginning Of 4th Wave

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……Says Erring Foreigners Risk Deportation

The Lagos State Government has raised alarm over the fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in the state with its positivity rate at six per cent.

Governor Babajide who made the declaration in a statement on Tuesday said the state had begun to experience the beginnings of a fourth wave of the pandemic.

The current positivity rate, according to him, is against the positivity rate of 0.1 per cent recorded as of mid-November and analyses revealed that the fourth wave is a result of non-adherence to the laid down protocols.

As a way to tackle the rising cases, the governor appealed to residents to go to the various approved centres for the vaccine jabs to protect themselves from the virus.

He also asked them to support the government in its effort to manage the fourth wave of the pandemic, especially during the festive season.

Governor Sanwo-Olu noted the review of Nigeria’s travel protocol by the Presidential Steering Committee, saying the state government would ensure total enforcement.

He stressed the need for inbound passengers to take the post-arrival Day 2 test within 48 hours of arrival into the country, as well as an additional Day 7 PCR test for all partially or unvaccinated returning travellers.

The governor warned that the government would soon commence the prosecution of those that refuse to submit themselves for the tests by blacklisting their passports for one year.

According to him, this will be done in synergy with the Presidential Steering Committee while foreigners who flout the rules risk deportation.

Read the full statement below:

MR GOVERNOR’S CORONAVIRUS PRESS STATEMENT– DECEMBER 07, 2021

Fellow Lagosians,

Firstly, I would like to commiserate with all Lagos residents who lost their loved ones during the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our hearts go out to you and the Incident Command System will continue to do everything that we can to mitigate the impact of this pandemic.

Secondly, most of the continents of the world – including Africa – are now experiencing a fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. Unfortunately, Lagos State is not left out as we are also experiencing the beginnings of a fourth wave with the current positivity rate at 6%.

This is against the positivity rates of 0.1% as of the middle of November 2021. Based on our analysis, the fourth wave was brought by the non-adherence to the laid down protocols to mitigate this pandemic.

I would want to use this opportunity to, once again, plead with everyone to get vaccinated and join hands with the Lagos State Government in managing this wave of the pandemic in this festive season by following the guidelines we have set, especially regarding the use of face masks, public gatherings and travelling in and out of Lagos State.

Epidemiology Update

As of the 5th of December 2021, Lagos State had recorded a total of 78,564 confirmed cases of COVID-19. Of this number, 71,977 have recovered in community and 612 are being managed actively in community.

Over the course of managing the COVID-19 pandemic, about 6,066 patients have been admitted into our various COVID-19 care centres in Lagos: with 686 registered fatalities.

Let me take this opportunity to, once again, urge all residents of Lagos State to take advantage of EKOTELEMED and our home-based care programme.

Please, reach out to EKOTELEMED on our toll-free number 08000EKOMED (08000356633) if you have any symptoms associated with COVID-19 or have tested positive for the virus.

Travel Protocols

Based on the review of the current guidelines on travel protocols, the Presidential Steering Committee has released new rules which must be followed by all passengers arriving in Nigeria. These include:

A COVID-19 PCR test is to be done within 48hrs before departure.

Post-arrival Day 2 COVID-19 PCR test

All partially and unvaccinated individuals to self-isolate for 7 days following arrival into the country and a Day 7 release PCR test.

All outbound passengers to demonstrate evidence of full vaccination against COVID-19

Negative PCR test results within 48hrs from the time to boarding a flight out of Nigeria.

It is important to note that the review of the protocols was based on science, national experience and global developments. The Lagos State Government will do all within its power to enforce these new mandates and will prosecute anyone found wanting in compliance with them through our mobile courts.

Regulation Of Day 2 And Day 7 Tests For Inbound Passengers For International Flights

While it is a stringent requirement that all inbound passengers perform a Day 2 test within 48 hours of arrival into the country; and an additional Day 7 PCR test for all partially or unvaccinated inbound passengers, we cannot stress enough how important the strict adherence to these protocols are.

These tests are mandatory to assist the State monitor the inflow of positive passengers, which we have identified as a veritable source of our waves and community spread.

Based on this, we will commence the prosecution of those that refuse to submit themselves for these mandatory tests by blacklisting their passports for 1 year.

This would be carried out in partnership with the Presidential Steering Committee. In addition, all foreigners that flout the rules would be subject to possible deportation

Therefore, I implore all intending inbound passengers to perform their required tests at any of the private laboratories within the Lagos State Private Laboratory Consortium as and at when due.

Fake Covid Test Results And Vaccination Cards

It is also pertinent to mention at this point that we have received very disturbing information about intending outbound passengers procuring fake Covid test results and/or vaccination cards for travel purposes.

This is a very worrisome trend for us to note and we are currently working with the NCDC, DSS and the Police to investigate and bring to book the criminal gangs involved in this reprehensible activity.

We implore everyone to desist from patronizing these gangs, as anyone found with a fake COVID test result and/or vaccination card will also be liable to prosecution and very stiff penalties.

Our State Mobile Courts will be used to prosecute all those involved in flouting the regulations; as well as those engaged in the fraudulent production of fake covid test results and vaccination certificates.

Testing Protocols

Up until today and into the future, the Lagos State Government is still offering free COVID-19 testing at all our public facilities for those that fit our case definition for COVID-19 infections. If anyone has any symptoms indicating a possible infection, please proceed to any of our public laboratories to get tested.

We are also still operating our 10 sample collection sites at the level of our LGAs and encourage residents to proceed to these centres to get their samples taken if they feel ill or have been exposed to anyone who has an infection.

It is also important to reiterate that our private laboratories are still available for those who want to test outside of the public health response.

Booster Doses

I am also very happy to announce that the Presidential Steering Committee, in partnership with the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency and the Federal Ministry of Health, has approved the administration of booster doses for anyone with the criteria below:

Any persons 18 years and above;

Time interval of 6 months or more after receiving the second dose of Astra Zeneca, Moderna or Pfizer Bio-N-Tech; or

Time interval of 2 months or more after receiving the Johnson and Johnson vaccine.

Consequently, all Lagos residents should proceed to any of our public health facilities to receive these vaccines for free and at any of our 30 private priority health facilities to access them for an administrative fee of N4,500 per dose.

Mitigating the Fourth Wave of the COVID-19 Pandemic

Our approach to mitigating the effects of the ongoing wave of the COVID-19 pandemic include the following:

Increasing the percentage of vaccinated residents of Lagos State from 1.6% to 30% within one year. I have specifically mandated the Lagos State Ministry of Health to administer 8 million doses to 4 million residents by the 25th of December 2021 under the Count Me In campaign.

We have deployed a robust strategy that involves the private sector to improve access to vaccines. We are launching 30 private priority sites for those who want to be vaccinated within a private health facility.

While vaccination at public centres remains free, there is an administration fee (N4,500 per dose and N6,000 for two doses) at private centres. To register for the vaccination, please visit the registration portal at https://nphcda.vaccination.gov.ng/

Over the next couple of days, the Lagos State Government will release policies to facilitate the uptake of vaccines to achieve desirable herd immunity.

Guidelines for Social Events and Gatherings During the Festive Period

All Social Events must be duly registered to obtain Event Safety Clearance from the Lagos State Safety Commission website: www.lasgsafetyreg.com prior to holding; and the guidelines set out below must be strictly adhered to.

Where possible events should be held outdoors.

Occupancy limit at any event must not exceed 60% of maximum design capacity of the event centre.

Every attendee of a social gathering MUST present their Vaccination Cards or digital bar code page showing at least first dose but preferably double dose full vaccination.

In unvaccinated people, a negative PCR within 72 hours will be an exemption.

Everybody, irrespective of vaccination status, MUST be subject to Rapid Diagnostic test (Antigen) to be conducted AT THE EVENT VENUE OR within 24hrs prior to the event at designated laboratories. (Request for rapid tests at the venue requires an application through the Safety Commission).

Under 18 years of age are unvaccinated and the above applies.

Guests and service providers with high temperature (above 37.5) are to be politely turned back and referred to paramedics or the emergency response team on the ground.

All guests and service providers at the event must wear a nose mask or face shield before entry.

All guests and service providers must endeavour to wash their hands before entering the venue or use hand sanitisers after which temperature checks should be carried out.

Hand sanitisers to be positioned at the entry point and at different spots within the venue.

In Conclusion

Despite the huge financial obligation and constraints associated with managing this pandemic, our administration will continue to do everything within its power to ensure the preservation of the lives and livelihood of residents of Lagos State.

As always, I would like to thank all members of our Emergency Operations Centre and our Incident Command System, in addition to all our health workers in the public and private sectors, without leaving out our colleagues in the federal institutions for their dedication and commitment in the management of this response.

Once again, I implore all residents of Lagos to comply with all guidelines and join hands with the government in the management of this pandemic.

Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu

Governor of Lagos State

December 7, 2021

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Former PMAN President, Bolaji Rosiji Dies At 56

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Bolaji Rosiji, a former president of the Performing Musicians Association of Nigeria (PMAN), is dead.

Rosiji’s death was announced by one of his friends and colleague, renowned flutist Tee Mac Omatsola Iseli.

Until his death, he was the founder and brain behind Guarapad Charities.

In a statement by Olayemi Esan, the Public Relations Officer, Gaurapad Charities, Rosiji died in Lagos on Sunday after a brief illness.

He said burial arrangements will be announced in coming days.

The late Rosiji founded Gaurapad Charities in 2004, and was the former Secretary-General of the Nigeria Network of NGOs (NNNGO).

He is survived by wife and children.

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