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Sanwo-Olu announces road diversion to observe car free day

Sanwo-Olu
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The Lagos State Government says it is collaborating with the Lagos Urban Development Initiative (LUDI) to observe the first ever ‘Car Free Day’ in Lagos on Sunday.

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The Lagos State Commissioner for Transportation, Dr Frederic Oladeinde, said this in a statement through the Deputy Director, Public Affairs Unit of the Ministry, Mrs Bolanle Ogunlola, in Lagos on Friday.

He said that the initiative was to encourage road users and motorists to set aside their cars for a day.

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Oladeinde said they were, on that day, encouraged to take up active and inclusive means of transport such as cycling and walking, known as Non Motorized Transport (NMT).

“Traffic will be diverted around Alausa/Ikeja as cyclists will utilise Governor’s Office Road, through Mobolaji Johnson Ave, Billings Way, Obafemi Awolowo Way, Aromire, Adeniyi Jones, and Oba Akran Way for bicycle rides to mark the event.

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“About 400 metres of the Governor’s Avenue will be closed for the event. The aim of the initiative is to create awareness about the benefits of Non Motorised Transport, including reduced environmental pollution.

“The initiative will also reduce insufficient physical activity and sedentary behaviour to promote health of the people regardless of their ages,” Oladeinde said.

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He cited the significant drop in air pollution recorded during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns, when movement was curtailed and many private cars and public vehicles were off the roads.

The commissioner said that this resulted in reduction of vehicular carbon emissions into the atmosphere, thereby improving the quality of air, as well as increase in physical exercise and improved health practises.

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“Vehicular emissions have now become a global issue. In Nigeria as well as other developing countries, 25% of the air pollution problems are as a result of automobile exhaust.

“This is very evident in the number of unroadworthy, smoky vehicles plying our roads on daily basis, causing not just health issues but visibility problems and sometimes accidents,” Oladeinde said.

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He also mentioned that the event provides cities and governments opportunity to do more in advancing public transport systems which could be run more efficiently through provision of viable, reliable alternative to the cars in the urban areas.

The commissioner said that this could also be done by implementing Non Motorised transport, whereby walking, cycling and inclusive mobility were given priority.

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Oladeinde said that the event was coordinated by the Lagos State Ministry of Transportation along with other Ministries, Departments, Agencies and Lagos Urban Development Initiative.

He said that the event was necessary to continuously enlighten the citizenry on the importance of environmental health.

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Oladeinde urged motorists to prepare to join the rest of the world in observing the Car Free Day, adding that hundreds of people were expected.

He urged participants to be at the Alausa, Ikeja venue where many fun and exciting activities such as cycling, cycling training, cycling competitions, skating, stretches, music, dance would take place.

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Oladeinde said that Lagos State Traffic Management Authority would work hand in hand with the Nigeria Police Force to manage vehicular movement on the diversion routes.

He pleaded with the motoring public to cooperate with the interventions put in place to minimise inconveniences.

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Bayelsa Monarch, Ijaw Leader Kick against Alleged Plan to Scrap Amnesty Programme

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By Kayode Sanni Arewa

The Federal Government has concluded plans to terminate the Presidential Amnesty Programme in May 2023, NaijaBlitzNews.com has learnt.

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Our correspondents gathered that the office of the National Security Adviser had directed the Interim Administrator of the Amnesty Programme, Major General Barry Ndiomu (retd.), to commence the process of winding down the programme.

Ndiomu, who was appointed about two weeks ago, replaced the former PAP head, Milland Dikio, although no reason was given for his unceremonious removal which was announced in a statement by a presidential media aide, Femi Adesina.

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The Presidential Amnesty Programme was established by President Musa Yar’Adua’s administration in 2009 as part of the government’s measures to reduce militancy in the oil-rich Niger Delta region.

It was reported that 30,000 former militants had been enrolled into the programme with over 65 per cent of participants said to have been successfully reintegrated

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Despite reportedly gulping over N5 billion monthly, international development consulting firm, Nextier Security, Peace and Development said the PAP had failed to address the various challenges that necessitated its establishment.

The firm, in a report released in 2020, explained that the programme was taking a heavy toll on the revenue of the Federal Government, while rewarding militancy and aggressiveness in the oil-rich Niger Delta.

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However, multiple sources said Ndiomu had been directed to shut down the programme within eight months.

He was said to have disclosed this to the PAP members of staff during a meeting last week.

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A source said, “The interim administrator informed the (member of) staff during a meeting that the ONSA has directed him to wind down the amnesty programme within eight months. In essence, Ndiomu was appointed as the undertaker of the amnesty programme. The workers were shocked and sad to hear the news.

“But there is no justification for the decision because a similar programme to rehabilitate displaced persons in the North has not been shut down. So, why should they shut down the amnesty programme which is empowering many Niger Deltans? This is unacceptable and may spark another round of unrest in the region.’’

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Another source observed that the scrapping of the amnesty programme was not acceptable to the Niger Delta region, saying the fact that the government awarded a N4.5 billion pipeline protection contract to a former militant leader, Government Ekpemopolo aka Tompolo, was not a tenable reason to end the programme.

But reacting to the development, the President of the Ijaw National Congress, Prof Benjamin Okaba, argued that the government should ‘’re-strategise the programme’’ rather than end it.

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The Ijaw leader admitted that the rehabilitation phase of the amnesty programme had not been fully achieved while the training aspect had successfully produced many beneficiaries.

Okaba, however, said whatever failure had been identified should be blamed on those who were in charge of its operations, insisting that the programme itself did not fail.

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According to the INC leader, the disarmament of the militants was one part of the programme that had run smoothly, adding that the rehabilitation phase posed the greatest problems.

Okaba stated, “What I’m saying is that the amnesty programme itself did not fail, it is the operators of the programme that failed. The intentions of (former) President Yar’Adua in putting together the programme was to address the fundamental developmental question in the Niger Delta.”

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‘’So, if they want to scrap it, what is the alternative to the amnesty programme? Now that there is no alternative to the amnesty programme, I think the best option is to re-strategise.”

When contacted for a reaction on Saturday, the PAP spokesperson, Ms Donu Kogbara, promised to respond on Tuesday but when asked to provide an immediate response, she said, “If you are keen to wrap this up quickly, let me see whether I can talk to the interim administrator later tonight or tomorrow,” in a text message.

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The Head, Strategic Communications, ONSA, Zakari Usman, did not respond to calls and a text message sent to his phone on Saturday

END

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World Bank commits $8bn to Nigeria in 12 months

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The World Bank has committed a total of $7.93 billion in the 2022 fiscal year, which was from July 2021 to June 2022.
Data obtained from the bank’s website showed that this was an increase of 74.67 per cent from the $4.54bn recorded in the 2021 fiscal year, which began in July 2020 and ended in June 2021.

According to the World Bank, commitments covered the total amount of loans for which contracts were signed in the year specified.

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The data obtained ran from 2018 to 2022, covering both loans from the World Bank’s International Development Association and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

Between 2018 and 2022, a total of $38.2bn was committed to Nigeria by the World Bank.

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Within this period, the highest commitment of $10.45bn was in 2018.

Recall that rising debt pushed Nigeria up the World Bank’s top 10 International Development Association borrowers’ list.

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The World Bank Fiscal Year 2021 audited financial statements, particularly the IDA financial statement, showed that Nigeria was rated fifth on the list with $11.7bn IDA debt stock as of June 30, 2021.

However, the World Bank Fiscal Year 2022 audited financial statements for IDA showed that Nigeria had moved to the fourth position on the list, with $13bn IDA debt stock as of June 30, 2022.

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The top five countries on the list slightly reduced their IDA debt stock except Nigeria.

In a statement issued on Thursday by the World Bank, the global lender said it had approved the Nigeria State Action on Business Enabling Reforms Program-for-Results.

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The $750 million IDA credit is expected to help Nigeria accelerate the implementation of critical actions that will improve the business enabling environment in states.

The World Bank Country Director for Nigeria, Shubham Chaudhuri, was quoted in the statement as saying, “Following the significant progress made by states on fiscal reforms through the State Fiscal Transparency, Accountability and Sustainability program, the SABER programme endeavours to offer similar support to the states to undertake critical business-enabling policy and institutional actions that will incentivize private sector development.

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“Private sector investments remain the major vehicle to create more jobs, increase revenues to the states and improve social and economic outcomes for citizens.”

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Independence Day: Mimiko Expresses Hope in Nigeria’s Greatness

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The immediate past governor of Ondo State, Dr Olusegun Mimiko said he is optimistic that Nigeria will reclaim its lost glory in the comity of nations and be great again, if all begin to do the right things.
In a press statement by John Paul Akinduro, his Special Assistant on Media and Digital Communications, the former governor urged Nigerians to be steadfast in their prayers and unshaken in their conviction as the country approaches National elections in 2023.
According to him, “As the 2023 elections draw nigh, it is time for all to walk the talk and work assiduously for equity, justice and fairness in all our dealings with one another as citizens.
“Let me restate that Nigeria’s challenges are temporary and will be surmounted if Nigerians are determined to rework its charter of association and pursue justice and fairness in choosing those who will steer the ship of the country.
“We must never forget as we race towards another election year that the country is structurally defective and that we must factor the need to, as a matter of urgency, restructure to make it easier for us to develop by creating healthy competition among the federating units.”
He tasked government at all levels to prioritize the security of every Nigerian, among many other things, where they live, work and play even as he prayed for better days for the country.

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