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LAGOS EXPLAINS OKADA CLAMPDOWN

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Lagos State Government has described the ongoing enforcement of restrictions on the operations of commercial motorcycles, popularly called okada, in certain parts of the State as a necessary step to curb their indiscipline, save lives and improve security.

Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Gbenga Omotoso, spoke on Channels TV Sunrise Daily about the new enforcement order given by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu and the backlash recorded in a part of the State.

According to Omotoso, the resurgence of Okada operations and acts of indiscipline being exhibited by riders have become a serious source of concern as many people have lost their limbs and lives through Okada accidents.

His words: “Our doctors are complaining that more and more people are coming with Okada-related emergency. About 1,712 accidents have been recorded in Lagos in the first quarter of this year. Out of this figure, about 45 percent; to be precise, 767 of the accidents were caused by Okada. And it is shocking to know that about 54 percent of the victims are between the ages of 30 and 39. These are our able-bodied young people who are getting cut down like that all because they mounted okada.”

Attributing the high fatality rate of riders and passengers to plying about 500 highways, major roads and bridges, which the Road Traffic Law prohibited, Omotoso affirmed that Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s order was to reinforce the law and give the riders an opportunity to move out and find some other things to do.

He said: “There is a Law that lists all the routes commercial motorcycles are restricted from plying. The Law is still there; it has not been repealed. So, the enforcement is not new and it is going to continue as the June 1st deadline stands.”

Describing as unfortunate the insecurity in some parts of the country that has forced many people to migrate to Lagos to make ends meet by riding Okada, the Commissioner explained that the development led to complaints from residents who have expressed their rejection of okada.

“Lagosians are worried about the mystery of Okada; they don’t know where they come from; the riders are unknown; they don’t even have number plates. They don’t come for LASRRA registration, so we can’t account for them,” he said.

Speaking further, the Commissioner described the approach to the renewed enforcement as well planned and strategic because the State expected the kind of backlash the exercise has generated, but assured all that it was an experience the law enforcement agents were used to.

On possible increase in crime rate, following the enforcement, Omotoso said “everything the law enforcement agencies need in terms of equipment, welfare and encouragement would be provided for them to step up enforcement and security of lives and property.”

The Commissioner expressed the determination of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu to ensure full enforcement and allayed fears that the government would want to go back because of politics.

He said: “Mr. Governor is a man of integrity; he is a man of his words. He is going to ensure that whatever it takes to enforce the law will be done. We have been encouraged by Lagosians who have seen the danger and who feel that moving with Okada from one place to another because it is very fast cannot be compared to the security threat they pose. The goal is to have a Lagos without motorcycles because there is no megacity in the world that you go to and find this kind of mode of transportation.

“It is also preposterous for anybody to say for our votes come and mess up Lagos. No, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, the Governor, is not going to do that. This is the last time we are going to have this as the bikes are being crushed to show people that we are very serious, and communicate to those bringing them in, that enough is enough.”

Omotoso advised okada riders to look for something else to do as there are so many opportunities in Lagos for anyone who wants to stay in Lagos and wants to be law-abiding.

“You should go and collect your LASRRA card and be an official resident of Lagos and find something to do. Artisans who left their jobs to ride Okada should find a reason now to go back to their jobs,” he said.

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Senate adjourns for Sallah break, to resume July 19

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The Senate, on Wednesday, adjourned plenary to enable it proceed on the Sallah break.

The Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, accordingly, announced July 19, 2022, as resumption date.

The Senate, before embarking on the three weeks recess, forwarded President Muhammadu Buhari’s request for the confirmation of Mohammed Bello as Chairman of the Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission to the Committee on National Planning.

It also passed the Federal Medical Centres (Establishment) Bill, 2022, after re-committal to the Committee of the Whole for consideration and passage.

The Deputy Senate Leader, Ajayi Boroffice (APC, Ondo North), who sponsored the motion for re-committal, recalled that the bill was passed by the National Assembly and forwarded to President Buhari for assent.

According to him, some fundamental issues which required fresh legislative action by both houses of the National Assembly emerged after critical analysis of the bill.

He added that a Technical Committee of the Senate and House of Representatives and Directorate of Legal Services met and worked on the bill.

The Senate, while relying on order 1(b) and order 52(6) of the Senate Standing Order, 2022 as amended, rescinded its decision on the bill as passed and re-committed same to the Committee of the Whole for re-consideration and passage.

 

 

 

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Senate confirms Buhari’s seven nominees as minister-designates 

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The Senate, on Wednesday, screened and confirmed the seven ministerial nominees whose names were sent last week by President Muhammadu Buhari for confirmation as Minister-designates.

The screening exercise which started at about 12 noon lasted till 4:37 p.m.

Those screened and confirmed as minister-designates include Henry Ikechukwu Ikoh (Abia), Umana Okon Umana (Akwa-Ibom), and Ekumankama Joseph Nkama (Ebonyi).

Others are Goodluck Nana Opiah (Imo), Umar Ibrahim El-Yakub (Kano), Ademola Adewole Adegoroye (Ondo), and Udi Odum (Rivers).

While fielding questions from lawmakers, the first nominee, Ikechukwu Ikoh, said in tackling the issue of job creation, efforts must be made to grant operational licenses to operators of modular refineries in the country.

Another nominee from Akwa-Ibom State, Umana Okon Umana, who is the Managing Director of the Oil and Gas Free Zones Authority, underscored the need for Nigeria to step-up its production capacity so as to boost foreign exchange earnings and reduce the country’s reliance on importation.

Ekumankama Joseph Nkama, on his part, admonished young Nigerians to tap into new areas of investment, so as to foster self-reliance and productivity, particularly in the country’s trade sector.

On the lingering strike action by the Academic Staff Union of Universities, Nkama called on the federal government and ASUU to reach a compromise.

He also asked the National Assembly to provide additional funding for the educational sector, so as to meet some of the needs of the union.

He said, “there will be the need for compromise. For a very long time ASUU has been sticking to their guns that all the agreements reached earlier must be implemented.

“And we know that from the same source – the same national purse – there are several contending interest seeking for attention.

“My advise will be that federal government and ASUU will have to come to a compromise, and through this, we would be able to solve the issue of ASUU strike once and for all.

“I know the importance of budgetary provision. I want to appeal to the Senate that when the budget is being made for the coming year, there will be adequate provision for the education sector, so that some of these needs that the ASUU members are asking for as a union will be met.”

Lending his voice on the need for an end to the ASUU strike, Ademola Adewole Adegoroye, said the action by the union is against interest of Nigerian students, adding that more effort must be made by government to find a lasting solution to same.

Goodluck Nana Opiah, a former member of the House of Representatives, was asked by the chamber to take a bow, in accordance with its tradition of extending such privilege to past members of the National Assembly.

Umar Ibrahim El-Yakub, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (House of Representatives), said when sworn-in as a member of the Federal Executive Council, he would sustain and consolidate on the harmonious working relationship between the Executive and National Assembly.

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Senate delegation to visit Ekweremadu, wife in London

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President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, has disclosed that a delegation from its Committee on Foreign Affairs would depart Nigeria for London on July 1, 2022, to pay a visit to Senator Ike Ekweremadu and his wife, who are both presently in detention over an allegation of organ harvesting.

Lawan made this known on Wednesday, while giving details into the outcome of a closed session held by the upper chamber before the start of plenary proceedings.

The closed door session which started about 10:57 a.m ended at 11:49 a.m.

According to Lawan, the decision to wade into Ekweremadu’s arrest and detention was against the backdrop of a briefing received by the Nigerian High Commissioner to London.

He further disclosed that the Senate would engage the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Nigerian High Commission in London on the recent arrest of Senator Ike Ekweremadu by the London Metropolitan Police in the United Kingdom.

He said, “I had a personal engagement with our Nigerian High Commissioner to Britain, Alhaji Isola Sarafa, who has done so well to establish contact with our colleague, who has been able to get his team to be in the court at Uxbridge  where Ekweremadu was taken to.

“The high Commission has also been able to provide some consular services that include the engagement of some lawyers who will defend our colleague.

“We commend them for giving attention to the issue at stake. Equally, the Nigeria Foreign Affairs Minister has been engaged here, so that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs takes steps to provide diplomatic support for our colleague.

“Because this issue is already in court, we have limited opportunity to discuss beyond what we have done so far.

“But I want to ensure the family of our colleague, Senator Ike Ekweremadu and Nigerians, that the Senate will continue to engage with our ministry of foreign affairs as well as our high commission in London.

“The High Commission has done so much but we still expect that it will continue to provide any other further consular services.

“We have also mandated our committee on foreign affairs to engage with the British high commission here in Nigeria, to find more details on this case, as  as far as the high commission is involved.

“There will be a delegation to London to see Senator Ike Ekweremadu and his wife. A delegation from the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs of the Senate will leave in the next two days to London for that purpose.

“I want to urge all all federal government institutions that can do anything to ensure that Justice prevails in this case, that they do so.”

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