President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday inaugurated the commercial operations of the Lagos-Ibadan railway project at the Mobolaji Johnson Railway Station, Ebute Metta, Lagos.
Governors including Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State; Seyi Makinde of Oyo State; Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State; Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State are present at the event.
Also, Nobel Laureate Prof Wole Soyinka; Minister of Works and Housing Babatunde Fashola; Minister of Information Lai Mohammed, and several other dignitaries were at the event.
President Buhari described the project as another milestone in the drive of his administration to revitalise the railway system and establish it as a choice mode of transportation for both passengers and freight.
The Ebute Metta Station, known as the Mobolaji Johnson Station, is the largest railway station in West Africa with a holding capacity of 6000 passengers.
The 156km Lagos—Ibadan standard gauge railway line in Lagos is the first double-track standard gauge rail in West Africa.
The Director-General of the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA), Olufemi Oke-Osanyintolu said the fire was caused by a power surge when electricity was restored at shanties behind the terminus.
“While there appears to be no loss of life, the agency is working alongside the Lagos and federal fire services to control the fire and curtail the extensive spread of the flames,” he said.
According to witnesses, the warehouses were filled with flammable items, including candles, which contributed to the inferno.
Lagos has recorded about three cases of building collapse in recent times.
On the 11th of July, three persons died and nine others were injured following a building collapse on Freeman Street, in the Lagos Island area of Lagos State.
Channels Television gathered that the three-story building collapsed in the early hours of Saturday when the occupants were still asleep.
The Director-General of the State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA), Dr Damilola Oke-Osanyintolu, confirmed the tragic incident to Channels Television.
According to him, the remains of the dead victims have been transported to the mortuary, while the nine injured are being administered pre-hospital care by the agency.
Oke-Osanyintolu explained that the victims comprise a child and two adults, adding that the agency is moving the ‘unstable’ structure to ground zero.
This to him is based on the safety and stability of residents of the area and indeed the state.
“We were able to rescue nine people alive and we sympathise with the people that lost their loved ones in there. We recovered three bodies. The three bodies that were rescued have been deposited in the mortuary.
“It is pertinent to note that we have served these people for over three months ago. The building controlling agency was there to serve them. The material testing did the needful in terms of doing the integrity test of this structure and it failed,” he said.
In a similar vein, another building partially collapsed in the Ikotun area of Lagos State, on the same day as the incident in the Lagos Island.
The one-storey building was said to house nine shops and 15 rooms.
Fortunately, there were no lives lost or injuries recorded.
According to the Director-General of the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA), Dr Damilola Oke-Osanyintolu, the building was found to be conspicuously distressed as many cracks were observed on the walls, pillars, and decking.
He said all the occupants were evacuated while the building was cordoned off.
Speaking at the ceremony which took place at the Nigerian Railway Compound in Ebute Metta, Professor Osinbajo restated the Federal Government’s resolve to revive and modernise rail transportation in order to ease pressure on the nation’s roads.
The Acting President, in statement made by public by his spokesman, Laolu Akande, said: “I am extremely pleased and honoured to be here this morning for the ground breaking ceremony of the Lagos-Ibadan section of the Lagos -Kano standard gauge railway project. This is an epochal moment in our national life in many ways.
“First, it signals the determination of our President and Commander-in- Chief, President Muhammadu Buhari, to modernise the national rail system in keeping with his promise to the Nigerian people. If there is a project close to the heart of the president, it is the rail project which he promised the nation upon assumption of office. The President himself made a visit to China, and reopened the negotiations on the Chinese support for this project.
“Second, this ceremony also marks the commencement of our plan to move speedily to improve links between Lagos, which is the national economic nerve centre and major port to other state capitals and towns across the country.
“Thirdly, our ground breaking today reflects the plans of the Federal Government to build a globally competitive economy with first grade infrastructure. The critical role of infrastructure, and for this purpose railways, in this strategy is underscored by our Economic Recovery and Growth Plan, as well as the 2016 and 2017 budgets. We have made provisions for matching funds in the 2016 budget to complement the concessionary loans taken from the Peoples Republic of China, and our appreciation goes to the Chinese Government and the Chinese Exim Bank, who are, and have always proved to be reliable partners to Nigeria.
A Boost To Economic Activities
“And some may be aware that we have the entire Lagos-Kano standard gauge track as well as the Lagos-Calabar railway track in the 2017 budget, negotiations on the Kaduna-Kano portion of the track is now completed and this phase is next in line.
“We have already provided our portion for funding Lagos-Calabar rail as well and we expect that negotiations on the foreign component of the funding will be finalised in the next three months and that the Lagos-Calabar project as well will come on stream.
“An active and vibrant railway system confers many benefits on the society and our ultimate goal is to restore a railway-using culture for both commercial and personal transportation. We are confident that the national rail project will create up to half a million jobs and facilitate the movement of over 3.2 million tonnes of cargo per annum.
“It will also reduce the burden on national highways, thus reducing the deterioration of the road network and increasing the lifespan of our roads. Indeed by helping to reduce freight cost, the railway network will support efforts to diversify the economy and enhance our export potential.
“Just as several of our cities are being known as railway towns in the past, we expect a boost to economic activities along the railway lines that will eventually cut across the entire country. To achieve this objectives, the Federal Ministry of Transportation has completed visibility studies for up to 13 routes which has been identified for connecting state capitals and major commercials centres to the rail network. We should begin to see significant activities in this regard very shortly.
Fast And Efficient Train Service
“It is important however, to have viable self-sustaining and self-improving railway service. It should be one that is not reliant on government funding which may not be available at all times. It should be one that could be upgraded and improved over time and not left to decay due to management issues or lack of attention. This is why the Federal Government supports the replacement of the 1955 Railway Act with a legal framework that opens railway projects in the country for greater private sector participation. In this way, we expect to ensure the resources and management to run efficient modern and reliable train services.
“Let me conclude by acknowledging the vigorous and energetic efforts of the Honourable Minister and his team in the Ministry of Transportation to get us to this point. The Honourable Minister of Finance also deserves to be commended for the efficient and competent handling of financial negotiations.
“But I think it bears repeating: that Rotimi Ameachi’s bulldozing approach to ensure that we are here today on this first day of construction so quickly!
“I am confident that we will see the same zeal and result in project executions so that the construction of the railway lines will be completed on schedule. Just for emphasis, as a reminder to our excellent partners and manufacturers CCECC, we are looking forward to a fast and efficient train service between Lagos and Ibadan within the projected time frame, which is on or before December 2018”.
The Lagos preliminaries of season seven of the Channels National Kids Cup is heating up as teams continue to fight for a place at the national finals. St. Paul’s skipper, Afolabi Yusuf produced another spectacular performance in the round of sixteen.
Afolabi Yusuf scored another hat-trick to become the highest goalscorer of the competition.
Day three of the preliminaries featured an intense challenge as last year’s second runners-up, Dr. Teslim Elias, crashed out of the competition. Toyibat, Ebute-Metta, St. Paul and Hopeland impressed and all four have equal chance of making it to the National event.
The first game of the day was the Ikorodu derby between Rockford and Eunifrance. Rockford’s top striker, Jonathan Okepara gave his team the lead in the 7th minute. Two minutes later, Sanni Idris scored the second. It finished 2-0 and ended the campaign of Eunifrance.
The second game between Hopeland and Innercity was a one-sided affair. Five minutes into the game, Kuti Sodiq scored the opener for Hopeland and in the 14th minute, Olagundoye Tobi made it two. In the second half, Asiba Kingsley scored another to give Hopeland an easy 3-0 victory.
Dr. Teslim Elias and Daem played arguably the toughest game of day three. Wahab Habeeb scored an own goal to give Daem the lead, before Sanni toyosi drew level in the 20th minute. Both sides took the game to each other but none could find the back of the net. At the end of regulation time, the scoreline stayed at 1-1 and penalty kicks were played to decide the winner. Daem emerged 3-1 winners in the shoot-out to send Dr. Teslim back to school. Star player Isiaka Adedeji could not control the emotions, he was so hurt by the defeat to his team.
The 4th game at the Onikan Stadium produced a 3-1 victory for Uncle Bayus over Donmen schools. Onabolu Tunisi needed just three minutes to score Uncle Bayus first goal, Adeleye Samuel added the second in the 12th minute while Ademola Samuel sealed victory in the 5oth minute.
Ebute-Elefun also advanced to the quarter-finals after beating National Primary school 3-1. Last year’s losing finalist, Ebute-Metta did not lose a sweat to beat CMS 5-0 for a place in the last eight.
Defending Champions, Toyibat defeated Ladi-Lak 5-1 to progress. Samuel Idowu netted a hat-trick, Timileyin Ola and Azeez Salami scored one each to ensure a smooth passage into the quarter-finals.
The major talking point of day three of the Lagos preliminaries was the game between St. Paul’s Anglican School and The Tennets. It was an A+ performance from St. Paul’s skipper, Afolabi Yusuf, who scored a hat-trick to give his team a resounding 7-0 victory over their opponents. After the game, Yusuf was given the match ball and spectators asked for a photograph with the rising star.
At the end of day 33, goals were scored with the favourites advancing into the quarter-final stage.
DAY THREE RESULTS
St. Paul Anglican Church 7 The Tenets 0
Ebute-Metta 5 CMS Primary School 0
Ebute-Elefun 3 National Primary School 1
Uncle Bayus 3 Donmen Schools 1
Rockford 2 Eunifrance 0
Toyibat 5 Ladi-Lak 1
Hopeland 3 InnerCity 0
Daem 1 Dr. Teslim Elias 1 (Daem won 3-1 on penalties)
Three people have been confirmed dead after a two story building under construction collapsed at the Ishaga area of Surulere, Lagos state on Sunday.
The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), initially said that two people died and three others were rescued, but sadly the body of a 13 year old girl recovered from the scene has taken the death toll to three people.
NEMA spokesman in Lagos, Mr. Ibrahim Farinloye told Channels Television that the three rescued alive have been rushed to the hospital, with one of them needing to be operated on.
Sunday’s collapse comes barely two weeks after a three-story building located at Olota Street, off Herbert Macaulay Way, Ebute Metta, Lagos collapsed, leaving seven people dead.
Fire ripped through the waterfront suburb of Ebute Metta in Lagos on Tuesday, burning down ramshackle homes and workshops as firefighters fought to stop the blaze. Channels Television’s correspondent, Seun Okinbaloye, who was at the scene of the incidence, reported that there were no casualties from the fire, which began around 5pm and was yet to be put out as it was fanned by swirling winds.
Dozens of buildings were burned to the ground in the community located along the Lagos lagoon where sawmills process timber brought from different parts of Nigeria.
“Millions of people live in this area and more than 250 residencies have been burned up,” Paul Apeti, a 48-year-old timber factory owner said.
“Fire consumed the whole place, we were fighting the flames ourselves until the fire fighters got here,” he added.
Lagos is the commercial hub of Nigeria and is home to an estimated 17 million people.
Fresh charges have been filed against the seven suspects implicated in the murder of 25 year old, Cynthia Osokogu.
Ms Osokogu, a post graduate student of the Nasarrawa State University, was allegedly killed after she was drugged and raped at an hotel in Lagos on the 22nd of July, 2012.
The police had initially arrested and charged four men in connection with the crime before subsequently charging another three.
At the resumed hearing of the matter before a Yaba Magistrate Court sitting in Ebute Metta, Lagos, police prosecutor, Chukwu Agwu withdrew the three different charge sheets filed against all the suspects and substituted them with a consolidated eleven count charge against all seven defendants.
In the consolidated charge, Okwuomo Nwabufo, Ezike Olisaeloka, Orji Osita, Maduakor Chukwunonso and Gideon Okechukwu the taxi driver and some other unknown persons said to be at large were named in eight of the charges as having conspired to murder the late Cynthia Osokogu by administering her with an obnoxious substance known as Rophynol Flunitrazepam tablets via a Ribena fruit juice.
They were also charged with binding her hands, torture, rape and theft of her valuable property.
A new charge, that of inviting the late Cynthia Osokogu through a phone call, was also brought against the first two defendants.
The last two defendants, Ezike Ifechukwu and Ezeaka Chinonso were named in the last two counts as having conspired to rob and receive the stolen property of Cynthia Osokogu.
Magistrate Olalekan has ordered that all seven defendants be remanded in prison custody pending the advice of the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP).
The Magistrate also asked the prosecution to expedite action with regards to obtaining the advice before adjourning till the 5th of November.