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The Mega City / Life

Pen-Cinema: Bearing the brunt of mordernisation



Prior to the New Year celebrations, the people of Pen-Cinema bus stop in the Agege axis of the state had their own share of the Christmas parcel amidst tears and sorrows.

Their places of abode and business units were ripped off from them. Information gathered indicates that the people had been served eviction notices a year earlier as plans to embark on the construction of a flyover was underway.

Sentiments flooded people across the state as waves of anger mixed with pity overwhelmed passersby, who visited the area. People became more concerned with the time the project execution would commence while relating with the heavy flow of traffic that usually characterized areas where massive construction works are ongoing with the most recent one in Abule-Egba.

When New Telegraph visited the area, it observed that the construction work had commenced by HiTech Construction Company which was awarded the contract.

As a result of this, the area seems to have been placed under a siege with iron fences built around the site as protective measures. As expected, traffic is now being diverted to other roads which are known for heavy flow of traffic before.

This, according to many residents and passersby, has now made the gridlock unbearable.

However, the Lagos State Transportation Management Agency (LASTMA) has recently made a timely intervention through the creation of a round-the-clock special intervention and response unit. According to the General Manager of LASTMA, Mr. Olawale Musa, the unit is basically to ensure the safety of road users.

“The creation the 24-hour special intervention and rapid response unit by LASTMA is as a result of the need to address the spillover effect of the road closure and thereby assist in managing traffic across all the affected zones in the affected areas.

In addition, the Rescue and Response Department of LASTMA has been re-organised and re-invigorated to respond timely to issues of accidents, abandoned and accident vehicles on the highways in the state with special focus and attention on all areas where construction works are on-going and bridges across the state,” He said.

New Telegraph gathered that the traffic flow has been diverted to Odejobi road linking Iju road in Pen Cinema to areas like Iju, Fagba, Jungle etc.

Speaking with New Telegraph, residents and road users lamented the effect of the gridlock on not just pedestrians but most especially vehicular movements.

Mr. Akeem Alowonle, a civil servant who comes from the Iju direction, stated that the road has been known for heavy gridlock before but that the current construction which led to the diversion of traffic flow from Ogba, Agidingbi areas to the road has succeeded in multiplying the traffic congestion on the road.

He averred that though traffic jam is highly characteristic of the road, the level of congestion there presently is highly intolerable.

“Before now, if I enter this road by 5am, I arrive at work on time as I spend twenty to thirty minutes on the road and that’s why I wake up as early as possible but now I leave home by 4am and still don’t get to work on time. It has become worse to the extent that I spend over thirty to forty-five minutes in the gridlock. I still get to work on time though.”

He, however, confirmed the presence of the LASTMA rescue squad in the area and their effort to reduce the traffic congestion but stated that he has not felt it yet.

Alowonle believes that probably after some time, their efforts would be felt. Also, Mr. Timilehin Ogunmefun, spoke with New Telegraph. He said that the diversion affects him as expected but that the effort of the LASTMA squad is felt as they are always seen anytime he passes through the route.

“They are really trying their best on this road. It would have been worse than this. I have been in a traffic situation that lasted for over five hours before and there was nothing we could do.

We sat in the car waiting patiently since we would not leave our vehicles there. At least, this one is not like that and I know it is the handiwork of the LASTMA squad.” He, however, hoped that they would be consistent in what they were doing.

This, he believes, would reduce the current situation. New Telegraph also spoke with some of the road side sellers on their after-demolition experiences and the aftermath of the current blockade on their businesses.

Mrs. Adeola Bolaji, a jeweller said that she is affected by the restriction just like every other person in the area, but that she had no other option than to endure.

According to her, “This construction work would be to the benefit of every one of us, so I don’t think there is a reason to complain yet.

All I know is that if they are able to finish within the stipulated time, we would enjoy it and forget the current inconveniences we are passing through” On the effect of the restriction on sales, she said that those that are passing by are still patronizing her and she is grateful for that.

Mr. Tobiloba Jeremiah, a bread seller in the area stated that the construction has a huge negative effect on his business thereby bringing about a reduction in sales and turn out.

He believes that this is the same with other business men around the area only that he sells perishable goods which can only stand the test of two days before turning stale. He, however, revealed that the road side sellers are opportuned to enter into the site after work hours by 6pm and make sales. “That is the only savior for now because that is where we sell.

As we are here now, passers-by don’t even look at us because this allowance they gave is quite tight for them to tread conveniently so they pass without patronizing.”

Mr. Jeremiah believes that the project execution is for the good of all but he called for immediate delivery as extending the contract more would affect his business gruesomely. Miss Mariam, a young lady in charge of a Provision store (now demolished) said that the new mode of selling she has adopted is not convenient for her at all.

According to her, she had been selling comfortably in the shop without any qualms before the demolition but that the current situation is not so good. Speaking further, Mariam said, “I would love to leave this place and get a shop for myself but where will we get the money to rent with? Shop rents are high now.

This is January and everywhere is dry; everybody wants money.” She also said that the effect of the blockade on her trade is not palatable as she had not sold a thing since the construction work started, though she confirmed the permission by construction workers to allow them sell on the site at night, and that, according to her, is where she makes minimal sales.

Sales Rep for X-right technologies, Mr. Samuel Akiode, in an interactive session with New Telegraph said that the demolition has affected his company sales as it had been on the decline since the beginning of the construction. “Before now, we used to make sales of a million naira per day but since the commencement of this work, we haven’t been able to make up to 500, 000 in a day.”

He lamented that it had been tough stating that if they (business men) knew it would be like this, they would have planned ahead.

Akiode, however, believes that the end result of it all would be to the good of all in the area. Mr. Raheem Saheed, a safety official for HiTech Construction Company spoke with New Telegraph. He believes that the current construction work was given to the company because of a job well done in Ajah.

He said that they were awarded a contract for a period of one year six months which was completed before the stipulated time. “This particular one is slated for thirteen months but I believe we would complete this before the period elapses.” He also revealed that work has not started fully as they are still on day duty but will soon become a day and night duty.

Speaking on the functions of safety officials, he stated that they are to stop people from entering into the enclave as some reluctant passers-by still want to enter there which might result in mishap.

“See the big machines that are being used here, if anything happens that’s trouble. We are here to avoid that. We’ve created diversion to other roads to allow for ease of access for road-users.

By the two sides of this barricade are paths pedestrians can tread easily without using the diversion but for car owners and other vehicle drivers we have opened the Odejobi street at the next junction which links to Iju road to places like Iju, Jungle, Fagba, Ishaga etc.”

On the consistency of the response and rescue unit in the area, Raheem confirmed that the presence of the LASTMA rescue squad is highly. For him, the members of the squad are really doing their job the way they ought to.

Speaking with LASTMA officials on the level of cooperation of commuters and road users, they revealed that the level of cooperation is quite high considering the reaction of road users to the ongoing construction and the resultant diversion. They also stated that there is usually a heavy flow of traffic in the axis in the early hours of the day unlike in the afternoon and early evening which are off-traffic periods.

They however affirmed that the traffic is usually stiff from late evening to early morning as LASTMA officials close by 8pm.

They said that as at early afternoon the places that have huge flow of traffic in the afternoon is in the Jungle, Iju and Fagba areas of the state because people retire towards that place at such a time. Mega cities in the world are best described as the stage where Darwin’s theory of survival of the fittest is acted out as the hassle and dazzle of city life seems to be ever persistent.

Therefore, people of mega cities are known for possessing the strong will to survive coupled with the requisite skills and perseverance. All in all, they must eke out a living from something no matter how minimal.









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The Mega City / Life

Collaborating for cleaner Lagos



As part of measures towards ensuring safety of the citizens in a mega city, the Lagos State government has left no stone unturned in providing for a healthy environment by adopting appropriate waste management techniques with the recent one being Cleaner Lagos Initiative (CLI) managed by Visionscape resources.



However, there seems to be a recent upsurge of filthiness in the state as Lagos streets and medians have become mini depot of dirt.



The streets of Lagos seem to be in aggressive competition for highest prize of the dirtiest street. Dirt litters everywhere with wraps and leftover bursting out of bins and sacks accommodating such. Day after day, the filth goes beyond the streets to road medians, bus stops and market areas.



Concerned Lagosians spoke with New Telegraph on this new development. Mr. Stanley Okoro, a resident of Arobaba in Idimu said that the manner in which people dispose of their wastes after several attempts by the government to keep Lagos clean was not encouraging.



He believed that the mentality of most Nigerians, which is that of individualism, was responsible for the activities of some, who drop their waste by the roadside.



All they do is just to get rid of the wastes from their houses. “This is not fair at all. It is good to want to keep our houses clean but doing that at the expense of others’ health is not fair. How can a human being in his right senses drop dirt at the bus stop and still live with a clean conscience. That is a strategic place to spread diseases because a lot of people alight from buses at that same spot.”



He stated that when people start thinking beyond themselves to include other people’s feelings, such things would be reduced. He also called on the government and the managers of CLI to ensure the efficiency of the CLI in Lagos State. Mr. Ayobami Franklin, a barber, confirms that Lagos is truly dirty. “It is only the blind that would say that they don’t know that Lagos is dirty. It is obvious; it is there for all to see.


The streets are dirty but the markets are worse and now, waiting at the bus stops has become a problem, flies would just be perching on someone anyhow because of the refuse dumped there,” he said.



He asserted that Lagos residents are not to be blamed but government who is not stable in waste management policies. He noted that the government does not know the policy to adopt to make Lagos a cleaner place. “Even the new policy, CLI, has already started failing”.



He, however, believed that the people needed re-orientation first before anything because every policy would fail without people’s cooperation.



In a similar vein, Mrs Olabimpe Tijani believes that the people’s cooperation is key because “the waste we are talking about here is not coming from Ambode’s office, neither is it coming from the house of whoever is in charge of the CLI and this is not affecting them.



We are the ones that should be responsible for our actions. Government cannot do everything for us. After all, there was a primitive way of dealing with dirt which was burning.



Now, they told us not to burn again because there is something called Global Warming and decided to give us bin bags.



How many people would say they use the bin bags? Rather, people prefer to turn their wastes into the drainage when it starts raining, which is not proper. Let’s all support the government and everyone would be in a better position.” Mr. Rasheed Olowolayemo noted that the CLI is already toeing the path of the PSP and this, he believes, is a cause for alarm.


According to him, the PSP’s visitation interval to streets takes too much for the wastes produced on streets of a mega city like Lagos. The Visionscape’s waste trucks are also taking too long before picking waste from each bus stops “and what I have noticed is that the Visionscape trucks do not go into the streets. They pick refuse by the roadside and just move on.



Are they not communicating something to the people?” he quipped. In a reaction to the presumed inefficiencies of the CLI, the operations manager of the CLI, Mr. Aravind.V, spoke at great length in an interview with New Telegraph.


He said:”The government is focusing on waste management because the scheme has so many facets: health related issues, hazards and hygiene conditions. Moreover, cleanliness is godliness. Whatever waste generated has to be handled scientifically. So, we have been given the opportunity to bring better waste management system to Lagos.


The waste management companies of the past was working but the collection mechanism was a little bit poor. According to the information we gathered, in some areas, they were not constant in their visits to those areas and the truth is that once trash is generated, it should not be kept for a longer time.



It should be taken to the appropriate place. I am from India and I have been to some places in Lagos. I have not seen much difference between the Indian metropolis and Lagos city.



The people’s habits are almost the same. The government has been focusing on cleaner environment and all the officials over there are working hard to bring better waste management practices. So, for the last 20 years I have been working in this field”.



He maintained that the goal of a cleaner Lagos could only be achieved through a continuous and collaborative effort that needs some dedication, honesty and sincerity.



Citing Singapore as an example, he averred that 30 years ago, Singapore was very dirty but had the goal of making their city a better place and this involved a lot of sacrifices on the part of the government and the governed. He believes that if Lagos residents see this as a collective responsibility, the goal of a cleaner Lagos would be achieved in no time at all.


Aravind said that the state is in a transformation stage and that the CLI would take some time before its impact would be felt in the state but solicited for people’s cooperation and optimum support.


Also, he revealed that the company has plans of bringing in compactors and various equipment with which the waste can be managed properly, stating that the people need to be patient with the company.


He further stated: “We cannot expect 100 per cent perfection in the first place. So, basically, what we are doing now is to sensitize the people.



The people’s mindset has to change. They have to see it as their own house, their streets, their wastes. They have to take care of their trash. People should be responsible and not wait to be held accountable to how they dispose their trash before they get it right. Everybody really and strongly desires for a change but change does not happen in a day. So, it takes time.


This is a large project and you would see the results. It may take one year and a half but the result would be visible, so that ultimately, a day would come that there would be no waste on Lagos roads and we can say that Lagos is clean,” he said.

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The Mega City / Life

A different way of budgeting at Alimosho



The current administration of the Alimosho Local Government under the leadership of Hon. Jelili Sulaimon, has really proven its worth. Barely three months in office, the administration has organised a stakeholders meeting where the people’s representatives from each ward and district were given the opportunity to present the needs of their people to the government.




This was done with a view to incorporating the requests into the 2018 budget. Some days ago, the administration organized another stakeholders meeting which involved the presentation of the 2018 budget to the stakeholders for executive endorsement.


The budget christened, “Budget of Human and Infrastructural Development” focused essentially on construction, education, health, capacity building, social engineering and poverty alleviation. Chairman of the occasion during his speech had claimed that the budget was not yet approved because of the acknowledgement of the fact that people are the ones to award the budget executive endorsement.



The 2018 budget for the local government which stands at the sum of N1, 445,257,332.74 (One billion, four hundred and forty five million, two hundred and fifty seven thousand, three hundred and thirty two naira, seventy four kobo is 24.9 per cent higher than the LG’s budget for the year 2017. It is made up of N370,930,443.83 (25.66%) capital expenditure and N1,074,326,888.91 (74.34%) recurrent expenditure.



Based on the breakdown, the recurrent expenditure includes human development and overhead while the capital expenditure includes the construction of a good number of roads as presented during the November meeting, construction of the Akowonjo Primary healthcare centre, provision of streetlights, and rehabilitation of markets, among others.


Hon. Jelili specifically stated that the budget also included the procurement of skill acquisition machines for all the governmentowned primary schools in the area. He stated that the machines would be used to train children in the senior classes in any trade of choice.


This, he believed, would not only be to equip the children for the future but also to provide them complete education.


Speaking on processes of arriving at the budget, Superintendent Councillor for Budget, Hon Yakub Raji, said that the 2018 Budget is a unique one as the legislators had to pass through rigorous processes in arriving at the total estimate.


According to him: “The chairman did not allow us to rest. We worked tirelessly on arriving at the final budget of the LG. He ensured that we covered the whole departments in the budget.” Speaking on what made the budget a unique one, the Chairman, Hon. Jelili said that the budget is the first of its kind in the whole of Lagos State.



“In 2017, we called for stakeholders meeting to hear from you. We gathered all the information given. We went for budget retreat and used the accumulated information to plan this budget. Normally, what happens is that when the legislators approve a budget, the executive continues to work with it but we decided to call you and present this to you.



We want you to give the budget executive endorsement because we believe that the people we are serving are the government. We are only representatives”. Stakeholders present at the occasion, spoke with New Telegraph on essence of the gathering.


The Oba of Shasha Kingdom, Oba Nasiru Lawal Ogunronbi, believed that the Chairman should be commended for the contents of the budget and the stakeholders meeting he organizes at intervals. He said: “The chairman has really done well.


If you go through the budget, you will see that the contents of the budget is different from what his predecessors include in their budget especially the idea of empowering primary school pupils. If that idea is executed successfully, it is going to go a long way in empowering the children”.



The Oba therefore called on the people of Alimosho Local Government to grant their full support to the LG chairman by paying their taxes because without revenue, there would be a limit to the execution of the plans included in the budget. Chief Edward Aderemi Obisesan, Alimosho LG APC chairman, stated that the Local Government chairman has done well and that he has been doing well since the beginning of his administration.


“All that he has been doing are things to improve the image of the local government. This year’s budget approval is the first of its kind in the whole of Lagos State. Never has this happened anywhere in this state.”


The chief thereafter urged the people to be patient with the chairman as a way of supporting him while bearing in mind that the programmes and policies of the Local Government means well for all the communities in the local government.



Also speaking, Chief Sola Ogunyombo, the CDC chairman of Alimosho LG said that the budget is a laudable budget because it focuses on infrastructure and human development. He averred that before the appraisal of the budget, the local government leaders called the CDA, CDC, artisans and all concerned to make their contributions which was incorporated into the budget.




Yet, the LG still called stakeholders together to assent the budget, which has never been done before. He maintained that it is a very commendable move which they all appreciate. He added that the next move by community leaders is to tell their people to contribute meaningfully towards the successful execution of the plans in the budget by encouraging the people to pay their taxes and all necessary levies, “Because if there is no income, it would be difficult to execute the budget”, he said.



“When they brought the budget to the house and we went through it, we discovered that it focuses on key areas, which is human and infrastructural development and since that is what we also wanted, we had to approve it but we want to beg the people to believe in our chairman and be patient.



He is a man that promises and fulfils”, the leader of the house, Hon. Ahmed Obadina said. Speaking on behalf of the entire youths of Alimosho Local Government on the level of their optimism concerning the budget, the President of the Youth council, Mr. Kolade Abdulrasheed, said: “Without any sentiments, the budget is indeed a unique one. It is the first of its kind.


This is the first time I would be seeing a program like this-the budget innovation, the budget process; it passed through the legislators, to the executive and now it is going to the populace before the final approval.


The normal thing that is usually done is for the budget to go to the legislature, it comes back to the executive for the final assent and implementation starts immediately, but this is a different thing and for me, it is the best”. He stated that the youths of Alimosho LG were highly optimistic of the success of the budget, considering the political will of the chairman.



“The chairman has the strength and the zeal to do it. Looking at the past budget, even though they started very late, they were able to achieve some things that we can see to show that this year’s budget would be a huge success”.



He said. Thereafter the group proceeded to the Akowonjo primary health centre already under construction and the Rauf Aregbesola Primary School, where the construction of a modern building is ongoing. Both are to be completed within six months.




Speaking on the new projects, Mrs. Lateefat Adebimpe, the head teacher of Rauf Aregbesola school expressed her gratitude to the chairman and strongly believed that the pupils would benefit a lot from the modern building the chairman has decided to construct for the school. Hon. Jelili emphasized the uniqueness of the budget, stating that as the name implies, the budget is direct and specific and that the budget answers both human and infrastructural challenges.


He however implored the people to pay their levies to the appropriate channels and ensure that they remain law abiding citizens.

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The Mega City / Life

Lagos reads riot act to butchers



As part of measures towards the actualization of the mega city status of Lagos state, the state government, its various agencies and parastatals have adopted the people oriented governance as priority thus endless stakeholders meetings and workshops are held at regular intervals.


This is done to sensitize the people on how collaborative efforts help to move the state forward. Few days ago, the Lagos State Ministry of Agriculture organized a one-day workshop for Oko-Oba Agege butchers stakeholders on the theme, ‘Lagos state abattoir and lirage complex, Oko Oba: Current status and way forward’.


Speaking on the essence of the workshop, the Honourable Commissioner for Agriculture, Hon. Oluwatoyin Suarau stated that it became necessary to call all the stakeholders together following a report released in a national daily which revealed the filthiness and other unaccepted practices of the abattoir. He averred that the management of the abattoir is not encouraging and that a stop must come to it.


“We are here to brainstorm not witch hunt; to point out things we ought to do that we have not done and to imbibe what is right. In other countries, they bathe their animals before slaughtering but we do not do that here. We are ready to hear from everyone here.”


Highlighting the objectives of the gathering, the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Dr. Olayiwole Onasanya asserted that the workshop is aimed at ensuring that the Oko Oba Abattoir as the biggest abattoir in Nigeria is upgraded to a level that is of International Standards; to professionalize the abattoir by making sure that the professionals and the concessionaires that are supposed to be in the abattoir are the ones there and to ensure that the standard operative procedures for an abattoir is followed.



The stakeholders present spoke with New Telegraph on their cooperation with the government concerning the ongoing unacceptable practices in the abattoir.



Mr. Abdulganiyu Abdulmojeed, financial secretary of Eko refrigerated meat van said that the association is ready to cooperate with the government on the cleanup of the abattoir.



He said that the government has been assisting the union in ensuring that people make use of the refrigerated meat van but urged the government to do more by reading the riot acts to the people.



This, he believes would ensure the cooperation of the people with the Eko meat van association.



He said, “The essence of our own operation is that when they slaughter, we would take them to the market, but there are some hiccups here.


They’ve read the riot acts in the past and I know that’s what they’ll do today again and we are cooperating with the government on this one”. The chairman of Lagos state Butchers association, Alhaji Malomo Bakisu, stated that in the past, the state government had done a lot already.


According to him, the government set up a committee, the butchers travelled to Botswana and other countries to observe how meat processing was done there and that the stakeholders’ workshop is just a plus. He added that the union would agree with the government on this one.


He said, “What we would do now is to call all the butchers and let them know that what the government is doing is to add value to their business and ensure that meat processing is done in a hygienic way.” Alhaji Malomo stated that the association would discipline that any of the butchers who refuse to obey directives of the government.


He revealed that prior to this time, meat transportation was done with rickety vehicles and motorcycles but with the help of the Lagos state government, it was stopped “whatever policy government brings must be obeyed.



Now we are benefitting from our exports to Turkey, before now, they do not come to Nigeria for exportation because they say the way we process our meat is not hygienic but today it is. It is not government that is benefitting; it is we butchers that are benefitting”. Dr. Igbokwe, the Secretary General of the Nigerian Veterinary Medical Association, Lagos chapter believes that the work- shop is quintessential considering the ties of Animal health and human health.



He said, “there is so much connection between animal health and human health. Over 60 per cent of the diseases that affect human beings actually come from animals. We are insisting that the way our meat is being handled is not up to the standard of a mega city status that Lagos is pursuing and the little that needs to be done must be done now.”



On the part of veterinarians, he added that the butchers are being monitored but that, that is not enough because there are issues of human resources, budgetary limitations on the part of government but he believes that such issues are not to be treated as secondary or even tertiary.


“There is an issue of compensation where the butchers shy away from condemning animals that have tuberculosis. Nigeria today has the highest number of tuberculosis cases in the world. So, if you tell them to condemn such animals, you have to compensate them by law.



In some cases, the butchers become violet and butcher the veterinarian.” He appealed to media practitioners to help shine more light on medical issues because there are lots to be done In an interview with journalists, the Commissioner for Agriculture said that the ministry has been on the issue of the abattoir for a while.


He revealed that before he became the commissioner for the ministry the abattoir was not fenced and the governor who found it difficult to operate in such manner approved the fencing of abattoir and the cleanup of the refuse that was there.


“After that, we had a lot of meetings with them that if they want the abattoir to be upgraded to the standard of Botswana and Namibia, that people would come and patronize them and this would add value to the business they are doing and they all agreed.” He added that, all of a sudden, the people started reneging on the agreement and people outside started complaining about the activities going on in the abattoir.



“People even live in the Lirage and that place is meant for Animals not human beings but when we tell them, our people would not heed. We want abattoir to be upgraded to the standard of having the meat exported. In Africa today, Nigeria has animals more than any other African country. So we need to upgrade to a level that will require patronage.”



The commissioner revealed that the butchers would be given the ultimatum of three to four months to transform the abattoir into the acceptable standard and anyone who refuses to agree with government would have to leave or the abattoir would be shutdown.



“We have management in the abattoir, they are private companies. We would sign a contract with them today, in the next six months, they should have completed that” The permanent secretary said, “What I expect from the stakeholders is to adhere to what the government wants them to do.



We need to improve the slaughtering process, ensure that the abattoir is cleaner than before and devoid of miscreants and be of international standards.”

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