The Familiar Story Of Christmas Hassles

By Tope Templer OLAIYA

Christmas is here and the frenzies of the season are being felt all around. When we think about Christmas, we see so many pictures of laughing children, ear-piercing firelight, Santa Claus visits and gently falling snow. However, for a great many families, this romantic view of the season is very different from reality.
The holiday season, for many people, is the hardest time of the year, in part, because of the glaring contrast between their experience and the romanticised image of Christmas so often projected.
For millions of families, their struggles to put enough food on the table, pay utility bills are mocked by commercials urging them to buy more and more expensive gifts.
The working mother, whose energy barely seems enough for the demands of the rest of the year, grows increasingly frazzled as she tries to produce all those little extras that are expected of every good mother at Christmas time.
This was the agonising tale of Mrs. Bose Tajudeen, a trader, who had visited Idumota market in Lagos Island to shop for the season. After spending over N70,000 to replenish her stock and the family shopping list, Bose made to exit the market and pondered the long trek to the bus-stop where she would board a bus.
Already exhausted and with the absence of motorcycles due to the ban on their operations in Lagos Island, she engaged two young men to help lift her goods while she strolled behind them. After walking a distance, she lost sight of the men and frantic search to pick them out from the pool of the crowd ended negative, which left the mother of four berserk and wailing on the floor.

Chaotic Lagos traffic

Chaotic Lagos traffic

This is just one of the flags of the hassles of Christmas typified by traffic jams, petty thieving, high cost of goods and transport, and low patronage. However, the scarcity of petroleum products, which is a hallmark of festive periods in the country, has been surprisingly absent.
Without the long queues at filling stations, Christmas can still be full of hassles. Since the last two weeks, the city of Lagos has been a theatre of the absurd with logjams crisscrossing major roads across the state and the best way to test one’s resilience is to navigate Lagos during this period.
It was like an apocalyptic scene last Wednesday on the Apapa-Oshodi Expressway with six lanes of buses, 18-wheelers, fuel tankers and sedans, wedged bumper-to-bumper in both directions at Apapa. Curses and horn blasts pierced the diesel exhaust-choked air. Brakes screeched as vehicles inched forward and cars rocked violently back and front, with crowbar-wielding thieves prowling the traffic jam, waiting to prey on captive motorists on the gateway to the nation’s two busiest seaports – Apapa and Tin Can Island; and home to what may be the worst chronic gridlock in the world.
The Yuletide may not totally be blamed for the logjam, as some metres away, the highway abruptly disintegrated into a moonscape of deep potholes and eroded asphalt, where three lanes squeezed into one and a flatbed truck carrying a 40-foot-long container laid on its side.

Last minute shoppers before Christmas

Last minute shoppers before Christmas

AS the long weekend of festivities begins, market men and women have complained of low patronage of their goods and products. The traders, mostly attributed the development to the poor economic situation in the country. A trader at Mile 12 market, Mrs. Florence Olaleye, said buyers’ attitude was not encouraging compared to last year. She, however, appealed to government to pay workers’ salaries on time so as to feel the impact of the festivity.
Dealers in textile and allied materials at the Balogun market have also complained of low patronage in spite of preparation for Christmas and New Year festivities. They blamed the low sales on the invasion of the market by Chinese traders. They, therefore, appealed to the Federal Government to introduce measures to enhance the quality of Nigerian-made products.
Mrs. Azeez Kuburat, who deals in textile materials popularly known as Aso-oke, said the cloth, which is indigenous to Nigerians, is now being manufactured by Chinese. “It is a shame that Chinese produce better quality and varieties of aso-oke. They claimed they get aids from their home government. We still use crude methods to weave and we need to upgrade our technology to be able to protect our cultural heritage,” she said.
Mrs. Min Zue, a Chinese trader, attributed this to the superior quality of Chinese products and their lower prices. She said Nigerians like cheap things and if there was a little slash in price that was favourable to them, Nigerians were most likely to jump at it. “We make new things everyday. So, if you come to our shop, you will see something new for good prices.”
The lamentation of low patronage is also being expressed by transporters few days to Christmas. The parks are empty with very few people travelling. Some drivers at Ojota Motor Park said the patronage was low compared to what it used to be in previous years. They claimed the increased fare was not because of the season but rather bad roads.

"Lagosians

While one may feel strongly about the hassle of Christmas – costing too much in money, time and stress trying to get things done for a befitting yearend celebration, incidentally the very first Christmas was a hassle for Joseph and Mary; the first being Mary’s pregnancy!
Joseph and Mary were engaged but not officially married when Mary learned she “was with child by the Holy Spirit”. Joseph was ready to call the whole thing off until an angel explained the situation. But the hassles are just beginning.
Not long after the wedding, the Emperor determined that every Jewish male should return to his birthplace and pay a new tax, a bill Joseph hadn’t planned on and a trip he hadn’t planned to make. They head out for Bethlehem where they met another hassle; there was no room in the inn. With his wife about to give birth, Joseph settles for the only available accommodation – a stable!
And just when they thought everything was over with, an angel brings a message to Joseph, to take Mary and the baby to Egypt, because King Herod was going to try to murder the baby.
The nativity story sure makes the hassles of Christmas a familiar story.

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Lekki-Epe Expressway… Anxiety Mounts Over Second Toll Gate

By Chijioke Iremeka

Just like it happened in 2011, this year would also end on a sour note for residents and road users of the Lekki-Epe expressway.
It was a peaceful protest by aggrieved Lekki residents under the auspices of Lekki-Etiosa-Epe Estates Indigenes and Stakeholders Association (LEEEISA) that turned gory at the Admiralty Circle Toll Plaza on the ever-busy Etiosa-Lekki-Epe expressway on December 17, 2011, exactly 24 hours to the commencement of tolls collection on the road.
The protest had started out peacefully until thugs allegedly sponsored by the ruling party in the state and carrying banners that read: “NURTW Supports Tolling,” showed up with machetes and started attacking protesters. According to eyewitness account, the protesters resisted the attacks but mobile police officers arrived the scene and beat up the people, firing tear gas and canisters at them. Some, who were not so lucky, were clamped into Black Maria vans.
One of the victims was beaten to coma. Among those driven away in Black Maria vans to the State Criminal Investigation Department (SCID) Panti, Yaba, were chairman of Lekki Residents Association, Mr. Wole Akala; leader of the Northern Foreshore Estate, Lekki, Eze; Wole Ogunkoye, a community leader; and Tony Nwaeze, a resident.
This, however, did not stop the commencement of tolling on the road the next day as the governor, Babatunde Fashola, in a great spectacle, drove himself to the toll-point, paid his way through, drove off and with that gesture, consigned the peoples’ agitation to the trashcan.
One year after, as advertised, the second tolling point will take off at the Conservation Plaza, which is 10km away from the first toll-point at Admiralty Circle Plaza. Expectedly, history will repeat itself: residents will seek to resist tolling, but Lekki Concession Company (LCC), with the full complement of the state’s security apparatus, would begin the toll collection, while Lagosians agonizingly wait the for the next toll-point on the expressway.
Despite promises made by Lagos State government and the construction firm in a Public Private Partnership (PPP) scheme to provide a coastal route as an alternative to the toll-point at Admiralty Circle Plaza for road users, as contained in the contract documents for the project, it still remains an intention on paper. Instead, the goalpost is being shifted in the middle of the game with the creation of a single-lane route along Oniru Estate.
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Traffic gridlock at the Admiralty Circle Toll Plaza

Traffic gridlock at the Admiralty Circle Toll Plaza


Sad Tale By Residents At Toll Plaza

According to residents of the area, the collection of tolls on the road and commencement of a second point by the LCC amounts to unfair treatment and injustice without the construction of an alternative coastal route, as contained in the project scope.
The experiences of some users of the road, whose vehicles were smashed by the boom barriers at the first tollgate have not been pleasant, despite series of complaints lodged daily. There has been a deluge of complaints ranging from smashed vehicle windscreens by the electronic boom barriers to non-issuance of balance after payment by toll tellers on the excuse of no sufficient Naira notes.
This situation has led to frequent altercations between motorists and toll tellers. According to one of the victims, Chizea Nonyelum, prior to the day her car was hit by the barrier, she had lodged a complaint to LCC about the EZ-Pass toll-point that was malfunctioning but her complaint filled in the firm’s liability form, was not given due attention.
“I was told they were having problems with the EZ-Pass lane but nothing was done about it. On the day my car was damaged, I was driving to Ikoyi and the officials regulating the lane said I should keep moving just as they did to other drivers before me. As I was driving through, the barrier came down suddenly and smashed my car,” she said.
She noted that since then, she had lodged several complaints and sought legal assistance to extract rapid response from LCC, but nothing has so far been done, despite their 48 hours promise to investigate and repair her car. Nine months after, Nonyelum is still keeping faith, waiting on LCC to fulfill its obligation by fixing her car and iPad damaged during the incident.
Another complainant, Ibrahim Alao, who alleged that his balance was not given to him by a toll teller, said it has become the norm to decline road users their balance on the claims that the tellers do not have lower denomination of Naira notes.
According to Alao, when the teller refused to give him his balance, he insisted by refusing to drive away. This created a scene and the teller was forced to return his money to him without collecting the toll. “This has been going on since the tollgate went operational; some people would just ignore and sacrifice their money but I wasn’t in a hurry to do the same on that day,” he said.
Although no statistics is available yet on the number of vehicles plying the revamped expressway and users of the toll plaza, over one million vehicles are believed to ply Lagos roads daily with about 500,000 of that number commuting between the mainland and Lagos Island.
Residents of the Epe, Ajah and Lekki axis are wondering why the governor has decided to punish them so much, a situation, which is worsened by the ban on motorcycles, popularly called okada in the area. They also moan the absence of infrastructure such as hospitals and schools in their communities, while the cost of transportation has increased.
“Already, in anticipation of the commencement of the second tolling, the fare has increased from its post-January adjusted price after the first toll started. This is coupled with increasing cost of food items in preparation for Christmas and the New Year. Is this our Christmas gift from Fashola?” asked Olusegun Adeleye, a resident of Epe.
Mrs. Margaret Okon, a resident of Ajah, said commuters of public transport do not benefit from the alternative road. “The commercial bus drivers prefer to pay the toll and transfer the bill to passengers. The alternative routes only favour private vehicle owners and not the masses.”
Rasheed Ajasin, a bus driver plying the route, said it was justified for them to increase the fare first from N100 to N150 and now to N200 in anticipation of the second toll collection on the road.
“We have to start before Sunday, so that our passengers can get used to it. It would be a surprise to them on a Monday morning. By the time they commission the third tollgate, we will increase it to N250 or even N300. It is not our fault at all. That’s the way Fashola wants it and we have to comply. If the governor is interested in helping the masses, then he should make it toll-free for transporters like it is done on Murtala Muhammed Airport road.”

Day Lekki residents protested collection of toll

Day Lekki residents protested collection of toll


A protester rough handled by policemen.

A protester rough handled by policemen.


Adegboruwa: Why We Oppose Tolling

A human rights activist and lawyer, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, holding brief for LEEEISA, said as long as the driving force of LCC is profit at the expense of safety, the state will continue to record more injustices at the toll plaza.
“The questions, which no answers have been provided to include: what exactly is the project about? Who are the financiers? Who are the owners and promoters of LCC? How did the government and LCC arrive at the prices they fixed as toll? How much is the cost of the project that would require a whooping 30 years to recoup? What about the alternative route, what happened to the Coastal Road? Why three toll gates in a 20 km road?”
  On the website of the project financier, African Development Bank (AfDB), http://www.afdb.org/en/projects, the project comprise rehabilitation and widening of the first 23km and rehabilitation of the last 26.5km of the 49.5km Lekki-Epe expressway; building of a new ramp at Falomo junction to carry right-turning traffic onto the Falomo Bridge; building of new foot bridges along the right of way to carry pedestrian traffic; building of the first 6km of the coastal road by Lagos State government; and the rehabilitation/building of 10 inter-connecting roads between the expressway and the coastal road.
“This simply means that a coastal road should have been constructed before or at least simultaneously alongside the main Lekki-Epe road, to serve as an alternative road, not some single lane hidden in the Oniru Private Estate. This means the conditions for the collection of toll under the contract have not been met.
“This is the basis of our resistance to the tolling regime. Till date, Lagosians do not know the details of the concession agreement signed between the state government and LCC. Huge loans have been secured on behalf of the people without the slightest information available to the people. This should not be so in a transaction that is to last for as long as 30 years, and which is subject to renewal,” he said.

State Of The Alternative Roads

REGARDLESS of the initial hitches, the Lagos State government last week unveiled a toll free alternative road for motorists plying the newly upgraded Eti Osa-Lekki-Epe Expressway. The 3.6km road is to provide opportunity to those who choose to avoid the newly completed toll plaza.
Accessing the road, commuters coming from Lagos Island-Victoria Island en-route Lekki-Epe, who wish to bye pass the plaza would make a detour at Chevron Drive Roundabout, passing through Poroku Village and exiting through the back of Oluwa Ni Sola Estate.
The infrastructure is accompanied with drainage facilities, streetlight, sidewalk and 24-hour police patrol to ensure adequate security.
Briefing journalists during the project tour, Special Adviser on the Public Private Partnership (PPP), Mr. Ayo Gbeleyi, said the road was designed as an alternative for those who might not want to use the plaza and that it was part of the on-going reconstruction of the main expressway.
Gbeleyi, who was conducted around the 3.6-kilometre road by the Managing Director of Metropolitan Construction Company, Mr. Carlos Franji and an Executive Director, Mr. Tony Fagbuaro, said that the alternative road is part of the original design of the 49. 36-kilometre highway.   
According to him, the alternative road, which did not exist before, was constructed to have a 90 degree angle and there is no road alignment along the route, noting that the angle would aid easy maneuvering of vehicles on the road.

Governor Fashola paying his toll at the flag-off of the toll collection

Governor Fashola paying his toll at the flag-off of the toll collection


Govt Defers Tolling
On Second Toll Plaza

THE Lagos State government and LCC on Friday evening announced a deferment of the commencement of tolling at the second toll plaza.
In a joint statement signed by the Special Adviser/Director-General of the Public Private Partnership Office, Mr. Ayo Gbeleyi and Acting Managing Director of LCC, Mr. Mike Edington, both parties said the decision was in deference to appeals made to the governor by well meaning Lagosians and also in the spirit of the season.
The statement added that both parties would in the days ahead continue their constructive engagement towards addressing the impact of the situation within the purview of their respective contractual obligations. It also wished motorists on the Eti-Osa Lekki-Epe expressway a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year in advance while they continue to observe all safety regulations and continue to drive safely, giving due consideration to other road users.
It would be recalled that it had earlier been announced that tolling at the second toll plaza would commence by midnight of today, December 16. Present at the briefing, which preceded the issuance of the statement, were other representatives of LCC, including Opuiyo Oforiokuma and the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Ade Ipaiye.

2012… Air Crashes Too Many In Nigeria

By TOPE TEMPLER OLAIYA
Six years after a Nigerian 18-seater Dornier 228 Air Force transport plane, carrying 15 senior army officers and three crewmembers crashed leaving only three survivors that sustained serious injuries on September 17, 2006, 2012 will go down in history as the year that recorded the most recurrence of plane crashes in the country since the first recorded incident, which happened on January 22, 1973, when Royal Jordanian Airlines flight 707, carrying 171 Nigerian Muslims returning from Mecca crashed in Kano, killing five crewmen.

Wreckage of the ill-fated Dana crash of June 3, being removed at Iju Ishaga, agege, Lagos.

Wreckage of the ill-fated Dana crash of June 3, being removed at Iju Ishaga, agege, Lagos.

Though air transportation is seen as the fastest and safest of the three forms of transportation; water, land and air, but it is not short of its disasters.
The first of five crashes that threw the country into national mourning this year was on Wednesday, March 14, when a helicopter conveying the newly promoted Deputy Inspector General of Police, Haruna John, with three other senior police officers crashed in Jos. The Police helicopter was to convey the officers from Jos to Abuja, and took off from the Jos prison field. However, after one and half kilometer of flight, it crashed into a house where the occupants were said to have escaped before the planed finally crash landed.

President Goodluck Jonathan (left) and Lagos State Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN) at the scene of the Dana Air plane crash in Lagos.                        PHOTO: PAUL OLOKO

President Goodluck Jonathan (left) and Lagos State Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN) at the scene of the Dana Air plane crash in Lagos… June 5, 2012. PHOTO: PAUL OLOKO

Just before Sunday, June 3, when the nation was thrown into mourning again as a Dana Airlines Flight 9J 992 carrying 153 passengers on board crashed into Iju-Ishaga, a densely populated residential area of Lagos, killing all passengers on board, a Nigerian cargo plane, attempting to take off from the Kotoka International Airport in Accra, Ghana, crashed few hours earlier on Saturday night, killing 10 people and injuring an unspecified number of others. The plane smashed through the airport’s fence before slamming into cars and a bus loaded with passengers on a nearby street.
Four months after, precisely October 25, governor of Taraba State, Danbaba Suntai and five of his aides narrowly escaped death when a Cessna 208 aircraft marked 5N-BMJ and was piloted by Suntai, reportedly lost contact with the Yola Control Tower 38 miles to landing, after leaving Jalingo, the Taraba State capital and crashed into a hill in Adamawa.

Late Yakowa (right) with Special Assistant to the President on Research and Documentation, Oronto Douglas (left) and Bayelsa State Governor Seriake Dickson at the burial in Okoroba, Bayelsa ... shortly before the crash

Late Yakowa (right) with Special Assistant to the President on Research and Documentation, Oronto Douglas (left) and Bayelsa State Governor Seriake Dickson at the burial in Okoroba, Bayelsa … shortly before the crash


Just when the nation thought they had seen an end to air crashes for 2012, the nation was jolted with the news of four persons, including Governor Patrick Yakowa of Kaduna State and former National Security Adviser to the president, General Owoeye Azazi, who were reportedly burnt in a helicopter crash that occurred in the forest of Okoroba community in Nembe local government of Bayelsa State.
Suntai-crash

HERE is a chronicle of some recent plane crashes in Nigeria.
December 10, 2005 – A Nigerian Sosoliso Airlines DC-9 crashes in Port Harcourt, killing all 103 on board. Most on board were school children going home for Christmas.
October 22, 2005 – A Nigerian Bellview Airlines Boeing 737 airliner with 117 people on board crashes and disintegrates in flames shortly after take-off from Lagos. All on board killed.
May 4, 2002 – Nigerian EAS Airlines’ BAC 1-11-500 with 105 people on board crashed and burst into flames in a poor, densely populated suburb of Kano killing 76 on board and 72 on the ground, a total of 148 dead.

The first of the casualties of air crashed in 2012,late DIG John Haruna

The first of the casualties of air crashed in 2012,late DIG John Haruna

November 7, 1996 – A Nigerian ADC (Aviation Development Corporation) Airline Boeing 727-231 flying from Port Harcourt to Lagos with 142 passengers and nine crew members crashed on landing, plunging into a lagoon with all on board killed.
November 13, 1995 – Nigeria Airways Boeing 737-2F9 crashes on landing in Kaduna killing nine.
June 24, 1995 – Harka Air Services Tupolev 34 crashes on landing in Lagos killing 16.

The Scent Of Xmas… Its Two Weeks To Go

By Gbenga Salau and Abraham Oladipupo

Lagosians admiring the tallest Christmas light in Africa after it was commissioned by the Lagos State government at the Heritage Park, Oshodi... 
on Friday. 										                   PHOTO: AYODELE ADENIRAN

Lagosians admiring the tallest Christmas light in Africa after it was commissioned by the Lagos State government at the Heritage Park, Oshodi…
on Friday. PHOTO: AYODELE ADENIRAN

Christmas is almost here and the frenzies of the season are being felt all around. At every turn of the corner on the streets, loud speakers blare out Christmas tunes, ear-piercing firecrackers constantly rattle the eardrums, banners dot major streets announcing dates of carnivals, corporations and public buildings are adorned in the Christmas colours of red, white and green, and major markets are abuzz with end-of-year shopping bazaar.
Christmas comes with high expectation. For companies, apart from it being a time to celebrate and appreciate staff and customers, it is a period to take stock of the firm’s financial position in the fiscal year. Individuals take time off to reflect on the passing year and visit loved ones.
Arguably the most celebrated event in the world, Christmas comes with a lot of festivities. Everybody celebrates it, which explains why both the young and old proudly wear and decorate their surroundings with emblems of the season.
Decorations As Signpost Of The Season

IN Lagos, shops, malls and corporate buildings are adored in Christmas motifs. Zenith Bank has beautifully decorated the stretch of Ajose Adeogun Street in Victoria Island with various Christmas ornaments and lighting. Apart from helping to create the mood for the season, it is a beautiful sight at night, when the decoration lights are on.
Oshodi, the heart of Lagos, has been transformed from what it once was – a symphony of chaos – into an aesthetics garden park. The state government at the weekend unveiled a giant Christmas tree, beautifully decorating the relaxation garden at Oshodi.
The festive decoration, however, is not restricted to commercial business districts. Most residential areas and streets are lined with Christmas lights in the countdown to the carnival nite, where residents, neighbours and well-wishers gather to dine and wine in a convivial atmosphere to enjoy either a live band or deejay dishing out music till the early hours of the morning.
Across Lagos, children are kept happy and busy with trips to visit Father Christmas where Santa Claus presents them with gifts. They are also dressed in some of the paraphernalia of their Father Christmas. Some schools even have a dummy Santa Claus erected within its compound.

Shopping For The Festivities Ahead

THE season is also a time to go shopping and it is a period when markets make peak sales. This is evident in the high traffic of movement seen in most markets during this time.
At Ikeja, many streets are already wearing new look and the euphoria is hot in the air, with many event centres advertising special offers for the season. One of those on parade is the Wow Christmas 2012 Shopping, which is in its third edition.
The event, laden with loads of fun, has on display artistes performances, karaoke, gaming, variety of Christmas gifts to buy and a Santa’s grotto for kids. There are also lots of prizes to be won at the raffle draw with an all expenses paid trip to Ghana, an iPad, Samsung S3, Samsung LCD TV, amongst other offers.
At Ikeja Shopping Mall, apart from offering customers a conducive platform to shop, allowance is made to excite and make them feel the mood of season. Within the complex, a Christmas tree is erected alongside a dummy Santa Claus, and each shop within the mall take turns to give out gifts to visitors. There is also a raffle draw for customers buying goods worth N5,000 and above with an opportunity to win several mouth-watering prizes.
According to the Centre Manager of Broll Nigeria Ltd, managers of the shopping mall, Mrs. Debola Majekodunmi, Ikeja mall is a one-stop shop, where all shopping for Christmas can be made with convenience. “The mall has in stock what any human would need to celebrate Christmas successfully. All the shops within the mall just replenished their stocks with new arrivals to ensure that shoppers have the best. From shoes to bags, drinks, clothes and home consumables and appliances, the stores are fully loaded with new arrivals.
She reminded that the car park is big enough to accommodate a huge number of cars. “Apart from shopping, the mall is also equipped with cinema and eateries where people can bring their loved ones and friends to hang out and catch some fun.”

Ajose Adeogun Roundabout, Victoria Island, Lagos beautifully decorated with Chritmas ornaments and lighting by Zenith Bank.     PHOTO: GBENGA SALAU

Ajose Adeogun Roundabout, Victoria Island, Lagos beautifully decorated with Chritmas ornaments and lighting by Zenith Bank. PHOTO: GBENGA SALAU


A Feast Of Carnivals

Absolutely, street carnivals are the biggest socio-cultural events on the calendar of Lagos metropolis every Christmas. This is marked by the voyage of music, dance, and fun-loving youths from all parts of the cities to catch fun. From the popular Lagos carnival, Surulere carnival, Ajegunle carnival, Badagry carnival, the list is endless.
Others are Alaba International carnival, Oyingbo carnival, Alaba Suru rally, Somolu Central Carnival, Zion Carnival (Ebute Ikorodu), Ikosi Carnival (Ikosi Agbowa-Epe), Rail Line Carnival (Mushin), and Alagomeji Carnival (Yaba).
Some boys were seen putting up Christmas light in Ikeja in preparation for the year-end gig. “We don’t take money from anyone as they do in other areas. Here, we try to make our environment look neat without disturbing anyone. Christmas is for all of us and we have to celebrate it in grand style,” Jimoh Saka said.
In Ajegunle, schools are daily staging nativity plays depicting the birth of Christ, while the youths are engaged in a football competition, where teams put on jerseys of foreign clubs. “We do this to show support for our teams. This is the fourth year. Arsenal won the last edition and Real Madrid won the year before. That is the way we mark our Christmas here,” said Wasiu Iginla.
Roadblocks, usual avenue where street boys raise funds for carnivals, have not yet been erected in most of the areas visited. “We are not extorting money from people; we are celebrating with them and the money will be used to make the community look beautiful. It is part of the celebration. Jesus was born and he died for all of us, hence we must all give for the development and beautification of the area,” said a youth identified as Bambam.

Prostitutes Give Out December Bonanza

While the streets are warming up for this year’s celebration, some sex workers in a chat with The Guardian said they have also lined up several activities to mark the end-of-year. Prostitutes based in Ajegunle have promised to dish out gifts to their loyal customers, who had patronised them throughout the year.
And they are not discreet about this, as the offer is boldly advertised on banners hanging in some of the hotels. “It is proper we show appreciation to our customers too. Some of them come here everyday and some weekly to patronize us and we thought it nice to appreciate them with this bonanza,” said a call girl at one of the hotels.
When asked if the dreaded HIV/AIDS would not be spread indiscriminately during the period of this special offer, she said: “We don’t allow sex without the use of condom. You must use it and if you don’t want to use it, we send you away. For instance, since December 1, I allow my customers to have one day free if they patronize me for five days a week. During the Christmas week, our customers will have a token to take home.”
christmas 2

National Theatre Hosts Christmas Party For Children

THE National Arts Theatre, Iganmu Lagos, Rosella Park, Igando, and Ikorodu Amusement Park all came alive last week as pupils from various schools kicked off the Christmas party. Organised by Dufil Prima Foods Plc, makers of Indomie Instant Noodles, through the Indomie Fan Club (IFC), the kids were fed to satisfaction while having unlimited fun.
The event, which kicked off on Monday at Igando moved to Ikorodu on Wednesday before arriving Iganmu for the grand party on Thursday and Friday. The roads were busy as school buses moved in quick succession in and out of the venues.
According to Mr. Tope Ashiwaju, Public Relations Officer of Dufil Prima, the event was staged to celebrate Christmas with kids. “It was our way of appreciating the kids, who remain loyal to our brand.”
  Co-ordinator of the Indomie Fan Club, Mrs. Faith Joshua, said over 100,000 children participated in the party. “This same event is going on at Abuja, Akure and Ibadan and we are hosting over 40,000 schools. We believe in the future of the kids, hence it is our way of giving back to them.
  An enthused Tope Owolabi said: “I feel like staying here. I enjoyed the meal, music, excitements, gifts and fun. I want Christmas to come quickly because I love Christmas.”