Potholes, potholes everywhere you go!

Federal mess in Lagos (Part 1)
By Tope Templer Olaiya,
Assistant Lagos City Editor

Failed portion of Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway at Ile-Epo bus-stop, Abule-Egba

Failed portion of Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway at Ile-Epo bus-stop, Abule-Egba

LIVING in Lagos can be as stressful as living in a war zone; the weather is constantly humid, traffic is hellish, living conditions are horrid, roads are terribly bad and the government appears to be ‘indifferent’. In the last few weeks, the combined problem of traffic logjam and insecurity across the state have made many Lagosians wondered aloud what is going wrong with their beloved Centre of Excellence.
A latest survey conducted by leading research institute, NOIPolls, revealed that severe traffic gridlock and heightened crime rate have now become the major sources of concern to the residents of Nigeria’s commercial capital, since Governor Akinwunmi Ambode assumed office in May 2015.
Predictably, the latter (heightened crime rate) exists because of the precarious situation of the former (severe traffic gridlock), which regrettably have been blamed on the lukewarm attitude to work by the state’s traffic regulatory personnel and hideous potholes littering many of the major artery roads in the state.

Creek Road, Apapa

Creek Road, Apapa

Lagos has elevated the definition of potholes. They are no longer small openings carved out on its roads by rainfall and lack of drainage but are alternatively death traps, that an unsuspecting motorist can pay dearly for.
These potholes, mostly on federal roads, have widened into craters and usually cause unnecessary traffic gridlocks. In some cases, car owners have to visit mechanics after a trip or two on these roads. More so, it has become an eyesore to Nigeria, the nation’s former political capital.
Lagos is encircled by dreadful roads on all fronts. Lagos-Ibadan Expressway is perennially a motorist’s nightmare; Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway is caving in under pressure and influx of citizens to the fringes of Lagos; Lagos-Badagry Expressway is taking forever to remodel and expand; too much has been written and said about the deplorable but busy Apapa-Oshodi Expressway; and the situation remains the same with Ikorodu-Sagamu Expressway.

Wharf Road, Apapa

Wharf Road, Apapa

At a time, former governor and now member of President Buhari’s cabinet as a minister, Babatunde Fashola, had relentlessy told the world how the Federal Government has over the years neglected Lagos and why a special status needed to be granted.
It is no longer fruitless to play politics with Lagos. Concrete action must now be taken to arrest the rot, which is threatening the economy of Nigeria’s biggest cash cow after oil. If taken as a country on its own, Lagos would be among the largest economies in Africa. According to a recent Economist report, the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Lagos exceeds that of Kenya, East Africa’s beefiest economy.
All these have made life miserable for Lagosians. There is an increase in the number of vehicles on the roads. As a result of the traffic, many have missed business engagements, while those gainfully engaged have lost productive man-hours to the traffic.

The worries do not end there, as every person behind the wheels are weary of daredevil robbers clutching dangerous weapons in the bid to disposes motorists of money, phones and valuables. And these men of the underworld have found a new hobby in plying their trade during traffic. They are so brazen they don’t need the cover of darkness anymore.
All these are enough to stress out even the calmest soul, and sometimes most people who are stressed out don’t even know it until it’s too late.
Little wonder then Lagos was listed as one of the least livable cities in the world alongside Pakistan, Harare in Zimbabwe and Dhaka in Bangladesh by a study conducted by The Economist Intelligence Unit’s Global Liveability Ranking, which rated 140 cities in the areas of stability, healthcare, culture and environment, education and infrastructure.
Inspite of this, it is an irony of sorts that the city of Lagos still attracts visitors in their hundreds daily.

• Federal Ministry of Works keeps mum

Oshodi-Isale service lane, Oshodi

Oshodi-Isale service lane, Oshodi

WHEN The Guardian contacted a deputy Director, in the Federal Ministry of Works, Mr. Godwin Eke, for comment on the bad state of the road, he directed the reporter to contact the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Works in Abuja, on the ground that he is not allowed to speak to the press.
When reminded that he has been talking to the Press in the past on the parking of trucks and petrol tankers constituted nuisance on the highway, Eke, who is in charge of Section I of the Federal Highway said it was in the past and not now.
Minister-designate and former governor of Lagos State, Babatunde Fashola, had last year, said a good number of federal roads in the state were in a state of disrepair, pointing out that the situation would have been worse if his administration had not intervened on some of them, adding that he spent over N50 billion of tax-payers money to fix federal roads without getting any refund, despite acknowledgement by the Federal Government.
“We intervened in federal roads because they would disrupt economic activities if we leave them in a state of disrepair. One can imagine the economic impact of watching Apapa-Oshodi Expressway to be completely unmotorable. We can’t just watch these roads to rot away because we feel the pains.”

• Quick Facts

• Lagos has 117 federal roads.
• Length of state roads is 328.
• Length of local government roads is 6,415.

• Length of federal roads in Lagos is 719.2km.
• Length of trunk routes is 646.2km.
• Length of secondary routes is 73km.

 

Federal mess in Lagos (Part 1)

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Neglecting Lagos

By Eric Teniola
NIGERIA is not the first country to move its capital, but Nigeria must be one of the few countries that has abandoned its old capital.

L9Parana was the former capital of Argentina before it was moved to Buenos Aires, Rio de Janeiro was former capital of Brazil before it was moved to Brasilia,Salvador da Bahia was former capital before it was moved to Rio de Janeiro, Jauja was former capital of Peru before it was moved to Lima, Coro was former capital of Venezuela before it was moved to Caracas, Caparra was former capital of Puerto Rico before it was moved San Juan, Old Road Town was former capital of Saints Kitts before it was moved to Basseterre, Granada was former capital of Nicaragua before it was moved to Managua, Cartago was former of Costa Rica before it was to move to San Jose, James Town was former capital of Barbados before it was moved to Bridge Town, Russell was former capital of New Zealand before it was moved to Auckland, Levuka was former capital of Fiji before it was moved to Suva, Krakow was former capital of Poland before it was moved to Warsaw. Kragujevac was former capital of Serbia before it was moved to Belgrade, Kharkiv was former capital of Ukraine before it was moved to Kiev, Dares Salaam was former capital of Tanzania before it was moved to Dodoma in 1996, Nanking was former capital of the Republic of China before it was moved to Beijing, Kandy was former capital of Sri Lanka before it was moved to Colombo, Karachi was former capital of Pakistan before it was moved to Islamabad, Mandalay was former capital of Myanmar (Burma) before it was moved Rangoon, Calcutta was former capital of India before it was moved to New Delhi, Diriyah was former capital of Saudi Arabia before it was moved to Riyadh, Gondar was capital of Ethiopia before it moved to Addis Abba, Zomba was capital of Malawi before it was moved to Lilongwe, Aneho was former capital of Togo before it was moved to Lome,Bolama was former capital of Guinea-Bissau before it moved to Bissau and Al-Askarwas former capital of Egypt in centuries ago before it was moved to Cairo.

WelcomeThere are numerous examples of old capitals but none was abandoned by the central government, except of course, Nigeria.
On August 7, 1975, the then Head of State, General Murtala Ramat Mohammed (1938-1976) inaugurated a five man panel on the creation of more states in the country. The committee was headed by Justice Ayo Gabriel Irikefe (1922-1996). It was the panel that increased the number of states in Nigeria from twelve (12) to nineteen (19). Justice Irikefe later became the ninth Chief Justice of the Federation between (1985-1987).

Two days later on August 9, 1975, General MurtalaMohammed inaugurated another committee on the new Federal Capital for the country. The committee was headed by the former Chief Justice of Botswana, late Justice Timothy Akinola Aguda (1923-2001).

Dr.Aguda,who later became the Director of the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, was from Akure in Ondo state. Other members of the committee were Dr. Tai Solarin,Col, Monsignor Pedro Martins, AlhajiMohammed Musa Isma,Chief Owen Feibai, Dr.AjutoGandonu and Professor O.K. Ogan.

After the submission of the committee’s report, the Federal Government then enacted Decree 6 of 1976 which gave birth to Abuja as the new Federal Capital. In the 72-page report of Aguda’scommittee, it was recommended that Lagos has become “over congested” and as a result the Federal Capital should be moved out of the city for Administrative purposes. The committee recommended further that the movement to Abuja should be gradual and should be in seven phases. Drawing a lesson from the Tanzanian experience it was the contention of the Aguda committee that Abuja should be functional by the year 2025. It should be noted that the committee’s report was accepted by the Federal Government.

FLOOD 1.jpgOk.It was not until 1979 that Mr. John Jatau Kadiya was appointed the first Minister for Abuja. At that time the appointment was made just to facilitate the creation of Abuja out of Nassarawa, Niger and Kogi states. Former President Usman Aliyu Shagari replaced Kadiya with Irro AbubakarDan Musa in 1982 and later named Aliru Dantorro as Minister in 1983. The post became not too important at that time because Abuja was not considered a priority. Following the complete movement of the Federal capital to Abuja in December 12, 1991 by General Ibrahim Babangida (72), Lagos has been abandoned since then. Not a single block has been erected by any Head of State in Lagos. The city right now is like a car park.

The last biggest project so far executed by the Federal Government in Lagos, was the Third Mainland Bridge of 11.8kilometre built by General Babangida which is the longest bridge connecting the Lagos Island to the Mainland. The Eko Bridge which is the shortest of the three bridges, the other two being the Third Mainland and Carter bridges. It spans a distance of 430 metres and its landward extension of 1350 metres was constructed in phases between 1965 and 1975 during the tenure General Yakubu Gowon. The first Carter Bridge named after Governor Gilbert Thomas Carter (1848 -1927)was constructed by the British Government in 1901. After Independence, the Bridge was dismantled and redesigned and rebuilt in the late 1970s. The Alaka-Ijora flyover of the Carter Bridge was completed in 1973.

Governor Babatunde Fashola

Governor Babatunde Fashola

Since December 12, 1991, when General Babangida finally moved the capital to Abuja, we have had six presidential tenures.None has thought it fit to develop Lagos. The Interim Government of Chief Earnest Shonekan (26 August 1993 to 17 November 1993), General Sanni Abacha from 17 November 1993 to 8 June 1998, General AbdusalamAbubakar (9 June 1998 to 29 May 1999), President Olusegun Obasanjo (29 May 1999 to 29 May 2007), President Musa Yar’adua (29May 2007 – 5 May 2010) and President Goodluck Jonathan from 6 May 2010 till date.

It is to be hoped that Lagos with 5.8 million voters will receive the concern of the coming President of Nigeria. For Lagos is beyond the capability of any state government however prudent it could be.

 

School of Banking Honours… The making of an enterprise

By Tope Templer Olaiya, Assistant Lagos City Editor
From an obscure location in the Centre of Excellence is coming the biggest news of the year: 300,000 new jobs, plus annual revenue of over N2 trillion to the Federal Government.

Great things often come in small packages, and for most passersby, 74 Ogunnusi Road (All Seasons Place) at Ojodu Berger, does not command a second look as the building beside it, which is the Lagos Zonal Command of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), grabs all the attention.

SCH

But that is about to change soon as School of Banking Honours (SBH), an innovation enterprise institution (IEI) accredited by National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) to drive the country’s policy on banking skills and entrepreneurship studies, is set to lead the N50 stamping on all banking transaction receipts in form of electronic money transfers and manual banking tellers with values of N1,000 and above.

With its research since February, 2012, resulting in a Masters Services Agreement (MSA) between SBH and Nigeria Postal Service (NIPOST) to enforce the Stamp Duty Act 2004 and NIPOST Act 2004, SBH is set to make history with target 300,000 jobs that are expected to rollout with an immediate sign-on of 100,000 young graduates on its “em-Bankers” programme.

Also, ex-bankers that were recently disengaged from the banking industry will be absorbed to lead the re-skilling of young em-Bankers in a “shadow-banking” model across the country.

N50 NIPOST Stamp

N50 NIPOST Stamp

Several months after the agreement between NIPOST and SBH was signed, the project take-off has been delayed by non-release of a circular by Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to back-up its approval letters to SBH, as Master Services Agent of NIPOST, for all banks and other financial institutions to comply with the Stamp Duties Act, which stipulates in Section 89(2) that “every receipt given by any person in acknowledgement of goods purchased or services rendered should be denoted by an adhesive postage stamp worth N50 issued by NIPOST.”

The project consultant and head of School of Banking Honours, Mr. Adetola Adekoya FCA, told The Guardian that while the compliance circular by the CBN to the banks is being awaited, the federation account is deliberately being denied an annual injection of over N2 trillion.

The sad reality of the present situation, according to him, is that a heinous economic crime is being committed against the Nigerian state, as the law has been in force since 2004, and a Federal Treasury circular issued to all Government agencies (including CBN) since 2006, while a preceding circular was also issued by CBN in 2009 for compliance of subsidiaries of banks operating in the capital market.

Adekoya

Adekoya

However, the same CBN that is denying Federal Government its fair revenue on stamp duties in money market and banking transactions, is allowing similar charges to be going into private hands through the back channels, and these run into billions of Naira.

A new twist was added to the project when a firm, Kasmal Financial Services Ltd (owned by a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Prince Buruji Kashamu) on October 25, 2013, obtained an Order by ex-parte motion against 22 Nigerian banks for their alleged failure to remit stamp duties by virtue of a further agreement it had with NIPOST in August 2013.

Kasmal obtained the Order through Justice Chukwuejekwu Aneke of the Federal High Court, Lagos, with NIPOST and School of Banking Honours as defendants in the suit. Kasmal’s counsel, Prince Ajibola Oluyede, argued that the banks, having defaulted in paying the duties since 2004, prayed the court to compel the banks to pay a cumulating amount of N70 on all eligible transactions since 2004 till when judgment would be delivered.

The claim by Kasmal was however countered by SBH, who insists that it has the authentic Master Services Agent to NIPOST on the stamp duty project since 14th September, 2012, and any other one is fake.

According to Mr. Adekoya of SBH, he was seeking an audience with President Goodluck Jonathan to draw his attention to the delay from CBN when an Ogun State traditional ruler advised him to seek the support of Prince Buruji Kashamu, also from Ogun State, to facilitate his meeting the President.

Kashamu

Kashamu

“We met with Prince Kashamu and his lawyer, Prince Ajibola Oluyede on Saturday, October 12, 2013 to assist us in alerting President Jonathan on our job-creation effort that was being delayed by CBN. But it was shocking that after our first and only meeting, Kashamu, using Kasmal Financial Services (an unregistered company) went to negotiate a ‘further agreement’ with NIPOST (back-dated two months to August 2013), to duplicate our responsibility of September 14, 2012, on the project, for an illegal commission deductible from Federal Government’s revenue.

“The matter at hand is therefore a criminal case of Prince Kashamu using a fake company on a back-dated agreement, to fake locus standi, in obtaining a Court Order by ex-parte motion against 22 banks,” he stated.

When The Guardian contacted NIPOST office in Abuja, the Postmaster-General, Alhaji Ibrahim Mori Baba, was not available for comment. While the legal brickbats continue, interested parties await how President Jonathan will intervene decisively on this first youth research project.