Legal Year: Lagos Not Opposed To Judiciary Financial Autonomy – Ipaye

Legal yearThe Lagos State Judiciary held its 2014/2015 Legal Year Ceremony with simultaneous services at the church and mosque.

The Cathedral Church at Marina, Lagos Island, played host to the Chief Judge, other judges and magistrates, lawyers and guests who came to celebrate with the judiciary.

The clergy advised the judiciary to always seek divine wisdom from God in the discharge of their duties.

It was a similar scene at the Central Mosque also on Lagos Island where judges, magistrates and guests of the Muslim faith also held a thanksgiving service.

The State Government, through it’s Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Ade Ipaye, appealed to judicial workers in the state to shelve their proposed strike as full financial autonomy for the sector was not yet feasible.

He, however, assured the judicial workers that the State Government was not opposed to the financial autonomy of the State judiciary.

The Legal Year celebrations ended with a colourful parade and inspection of guards by the Chief Judge of the State, Justice Olufunmilayo Atilade.

President Jonathan Hails Oba Akiolu’s Exemplary Dedication To Service

President Goodluck Jonathan has congratulated Oba Rilwan Babatunde Akiolu I of Lagos as he marks 70 years on October 29.

In a statement signed by the Special Adviser to the President on Media & Publicity, Reuben Abati:

“President Jonathan joins the people of Lagos and Oba Akiolu’s friends, associates and peers across the country in felicitating with the monarch who has exhibited exemplary wisdom, courage, selflessness, philanthropy and dedication to the service of his people since his ascension to the revered throne of Lagos over 10 years ago”.

The President assures Oba Akiolu, on the occasion of his 70th birthday that the Federal Government will continue to work diligently, in cooperation with all other tiers of government in the country, towards progressively improving the living conditions of people in his domain and all other parts of Nigeria.

President Jonathan prayed that God will grant Oba Akiolu continued good health and many more years of commendable service to the people of Lagos and Nigeria.

Fashola To Demolish Adeniji Adele Estate

Residents of Adeniji Adele estate on Lagos Island may soon be homeless as their entire neighbourhood has been declared a danger zone, owing to its swampy terrain and old rickety buildings.

The Governor of Lagos state, Mr Babatunde Fashola, who made the pronouncement on Sunday, while inspecting the area, however promised that alternative arrangements would be made for their accommodation.

According to the governor, after the existing structures are demolished, durable houses would be rebuilt for the occupants and lawful flat owners will be returned.

He explained that the measure was to prevent further incidents of rampant building collapse in the state.

Building The Great Wall Of Lagos

This episode of Earthfile focuses on the environmental consequences of the construction and land reclamation of the planned financial hub, Eko Atlantic City in the Atlantic coast of Lagos state.

The coastal city which will be resident for over 100,000 to date has 3million cubic meters of the land that has been sand filled in the reclamation with about 35,ooo tonnes of rock delivered to the site.

The state government has built what is called ‘The Great Wall of Lagos’; the sea defence system to prevent rising ocean surge on the proposed Atlantic city.

The Great Wall which will be over 7km long is also to shield the Eko Atlantic City from the erosion of the Lagos coastline.

An Assistant Director with the Federal Road Maintenance Agency (FERMA), Olusegun Toluhi, warns of the potential disaster inherent with the project which he claims is largely driven by investors who are only seeking profit.

He claims the permanent solution to the impending problem is “to do it the way God will dot it.”

But the Commissioner for Water Front Infrastructure in Lagos; Olusegun Oniru, claims that what the Atlantic City is to protect Victoria Island and other parts of Lagos Island.

Mr Oniru however warns that the permanent solution to the environmental threats is the reduction of global warming. While that is hoped, the state government promises to continue taming the ocean currents.

Fashola Expresses Satisfaction Over Isale Gangan Residential Project

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola paid a working visit to the Isale Gangan Urban Regeneration Residential Development Project in Central Lagos today as he expressed satisfaction saying that with the progress of work at the site, the project would likely be delivered next year.

Isale Gangan Residential Development is an 11-storey, 54-flat housing project being developed in the historic Isale Gangan area in Central Lagos both to house some residents  of the area whose houses collapsed several years ago and as a means of renewing the blighted area.

Governor Fashola, who was conducted round the project by the Managing Director of the construction company, Mr. Chahid Raffoul, was accompanied on the tour by the Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure, Dr. Olufemi Hamzat and his Physical Planning and Urban Development counterpart, Town Planner Olutoyin Ayinde, among other top government officials first visited the site in early February this year, told newsmen after the inspection, “The first two floors have been cast indicating that they could do two of these floors every two months, hopefully by next year we should be out of here”.

“This is the beginning of urban regeneration in Central Lagos where people brought together small parcels of land to create large buildable parcel of land and that is the way we must begin to use our land”.

“That is the way places like Hong Kong were regenerated and rebuilt. So we are on our way, we have taken the first bold step. I encourage other families who have contiguous land to talk to one another, create more space up”, Governor Fashola said adding that   such developments would create more space for roads and drainages resulting to better living environment for the people.

Describing the area as “the heart of Lagos” and “where it all began” Governor Fashola declared there is a time to rebuild it and that time is now”, adding, “This is strictly residential. Almost all the others have taken off so we have the markets now, the Oluwole Market second phase is coming up. So as congested as it seems if properly planned, properly laid out with separate residencies from business areas, we will have a better life.

Governor Fashola first inspected the project on Sunday February 3 this year, when he assured residents of the area that although there would surely be challenges ahead, his administration was not looking back in its determination to deliver the project.

The Governor, who also fielded questions from newsmen after the inspection, said although there were challenges on the way to the completion, the important thing was that the project has moved from a dream to a plan and from a plan to reality adding that the structure was being built to ensure that it would not collapse.

Giving background information about the project, Governor Fashola, who said the area suffered collapse of buildings several years back, pointed out that the unfortunate incident created an opportunity for his administration to decide to renew the area and put some solid structures in place.

According to the Governor, “This place will be a residential home for all of the families who own small pieces of land here. Each of them now has an apartment here instead of the small piece which cannot contain a house. We have helped them merge into this very big space so their lands are now in the vertical space. We have relocated them to Ipaja so that after the completion of this project those who want to return here can do so but those who do not want to return can let theirs out. But each family that owns land here has already been resettled”.

The 11-floor residential building, being constructed by Anatolia International Limited, consists of nine residential floors with a total of 54 flats made up of 36 2-bedroom flats and 18 3-bedroom flats. Each floor contains six flats made up of four 2-bedroom flats and two 3-bedroom flats while the ground and first floors are for parking lots. Other facilities include two lifts, two main staircases and four escape staircases.



Senate Charges Works Ministry To Commence Work On Niger Bridge

 The Senate has urged the Federal Ministry of Works to commence immediate repairs of the Niger Bridge and take urgent action to commence work on the second bridge across the river.

The upper chamber also directed its Committee on Works to carry out investigation with the Ministry of Works and proffer immediate solution to the poor state of the Third Mainland Bridge in Lagos.

The federal lawmakers made these recommendations after two lawmakers brought up the issue of the poor state of the Niger and Third Mainland Bridges.

Senator Hope Uzodinma pointed out the worsening condition of the River Niger Bridge and the need for the federal government to ensure that the second bridge becomes a reality.

Senator Gbenga Ashafa, who moved the motion on the Third Mainland Bridge, noted that if the deplorable condition of the bridge is not addressed immediately, it could lead to a national disaster.

The Third Mainland Bridge which measures 11.8 km is the longest bridge in the country and connects the Lagos Mainland to the Island.

It was built by Julius Berger Nigeria Plc and Borini Prono, and commissioned by former military president Ibrahim Babangida in 1990.

The Federal Ministry of Works completed repair works on the bridge in October 2012.

However, some of the lawmakers are of the opinion that the repair works done on the bridge is not sufficient.

Lagos Fire Cracker Explosion: About 20 Buildings To Be Demolished

About 20 buildings have been pencilled down for integrity test and possible demolition after Wednesday’s fire cracker explosion and inferno at Jankara market area of Lagos Island.

A number of buildings affected by the explosion were pulled down hours after the explosion and more are lined up for a similar feature.

Five buildings were totally destroyed in the explosion and another three were partially touched.

Some shop owners in the famous Jankara market have already begun moving their goods to another location as they are unsure of what will become of their buildings after the test.

An official of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Mr Ibrahim Farinloye, had earlier confirmed to Channels TV that “The use of residential buildings for both residential and commercial use, which is against the Building Code of Nigeria, complicates the rescue operations of the fire fighters.”

Jankara market is located in the heart of the densely populated Lagos Island market where massive structures of three to four storey buildings are built inches away from each other.

Fire crackers popularly known as banger are major features of celebrations during Christmas and New Year across Nigeria.

Meanwhile, NEMA has declared that the Lagos State Authorities would take over the control of the site while the state’s Commissioner for Home Affairs has called for residents in the state to assist government in curbing the spate of disasters.

Some form of order has been restored in Jankara market, as the crowd are now controlled and put behind the barricades to allow relevant agencies perform their duties without any hindrance.

Our correspondent who was at the scene on the second day, observed that some fire crackers are still going off.

Lagos explosion was due to fire crackers and not bomb – Fashola

The Lagos State Government has assured all residents of the state of their safety during the festive season, stating that the explosion which occurred on Lagos Island early Wednesday morning was not caused by a bomb.

The state government in a statement signed by the Special Adviser to the state governor on media, Mr Hakeem Bello, said “there was a need to correct the impression created this morning by speculations that an explosion heard was as a result of a bomb planted in the Lagos Island neighbourhood.”

He explained that “the incident occurred in a warehouse used to store fireworks meant for sale this season at the Jankara Market and which due to the nature of the materials resulted in a blaze which affected nearby buildings.”

This is coming as the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA) blamed the fire outbreak at Jankara market in Lagos state on fire crackers.

The general manager of LASEMA, Dr Femi Osanyintolu, said the state government has banned the use of fire crackers and he added that the storage is criminal.

According to Mr Bello, the explosion did not record any casualty saying, “the incident which took place on Ojo Giwa Street in front of King Ado High School, Lagos Island did not record any casualty due to the prompt response by the Lagos State Emergency Management Authority (LASEMA) team led by Dr Oke Osanyintolu and men of the Lagos State Fire Service as all the occupants were rescued.”


Breadfruit inferno: Fashola orders building to be cordoned off

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN), today visited the scene of Saturday’s fire disaster, Euroasia Plaza, on 10/12 Breadfruit Street and afterwards ordered that the street be cordoned off until firemen completely put off the fire and have engineers determine the structural strength of the building even as he sympathized with traders over the incident.

The Euroasia Plaza which is a five-storey building housing wholesale and retail shops as well as a branch of a major commercial bank, was engulfed by fire in the afternoon of Saturday with the two top floors collapsing on each other just as men of the Lagos State Fire Service, arrived in good time to battle inferno on the fourth and fifth floors of the building atop a Bronto Skylift, an aerial ladder firefighting equipment, a battle that the firemen are still fighting.

Speaking to newsmen after inspecting the damage, Governor Fashola said it was expedient to cordon off the street on which the building stands for the safety of all which will ensure that further incident will not be recorded after the incident as no one could yet determine the structural strength of the damaged building.

“At this stage, we are still battling with the fire. We are yet to know the strength of the damaged building; but meanwhile, the paramount thing is to minimize the loss. I have asked the Divisional Police Officer here to cordon off the street. Our Engineers will come to determine the structural strength of the damaged building”, the Governor said.

After visiting the scene of the incident, Governor Fashola addressed traders and other stakeholders in the area appealing to them to cooperate with the police and the firemen by being patient until both the firemen and the structural engineers finish their work on the building explaining that it was necessary to prevent people from trading or going near the building in order to avoid loss of life.

He told the agitated traders, “I apologize to you and others who are doing business here, but we are taking precaution to avoid any loss of life. Every other thing that is lost in the fire is replaceable but we cannot replace life. So let us eliminate the fire and save life”.

He advised them and others living or doing business around the building to keep a safe distance from the building until engineers assess its strength to determine how safe it is adding, “You can see, the fire is not fully out. Until we finish our work, we will not allow you to go close or into the building to avoid any loss of life”.

Responding to a question by one of the affected traders on what Government would do to assist them, Governor Fashola said the major priority for now was to ensure the safety of all, the complete stoppage of the fire and determination of the structural integrity of the building adding that when work on the building was finished, the possibility or otherwise of traders retrieving their goods will be determined following which government could assess and assist on the losses.

The Governor, however, advised the traders not to crowd around fire disaster scenes in future in order not to obstruct firemen from seeing to their core duty, that is to put off the fire adding that such obstructions would not only lead to further spread of the fire but could increase the possibility of loss of life.

“We appreciate your efforts to put out the fire. We understand your sense of being your brothers’ keepers. But it must stop. We have built the capacity to fight fire disasters so your efforts can only aggravate the damage and increase the danger of loss of life. Henceforth, you should keep off the scene and allow professional firemen to do their job”, the Governor said.

He said the difficulty experienced by firemen while trying to gain access to the scene was caused by the traders who chose to trade on the streets instead of the modern markets built by the Government in different parts of the State adding, however, that Government would continue to engage with the traders on the issue.

Governor Fashola also advised the traders to take out insurance policies on their businesses against loss and damages such as they experienced as a result of the fire pointing out that in cases like the present fire disaster, insurance companies with which they insured their goods would come to their aid.

Addressing another group of traders and residents of the area at the Martin Street roundabout, the Governor again reiterated the necessity of Government’s action in cordoning off the Breadfruit Street adding, however, that anybody who goes in there would be arrested by the Police.

As at the time of the late morning visit, firemen were still battling with the fire as they continuously fired jets of water towards the smoking ruins of the top floors. No less than 10 modern fire trucks, including aerial ladders, were deployed on the street to fight the fire and prevent it from spreading to adjourning buildings.

The Commissioner for Special Duties, Dr. Wale Ahmed, the Special Adviser on the Central Business District, Mrs. Derin Disu were part of the entourage of the Lagos State Governor on the Breadfruit fire visit plus other top government officials.


5-storey building gutted by fire in Lagos

Tragedy struck on Saturday as a five storey building in Lagos was razed by fire, destroying property worth millions of naira.

The five-storey building, known as UBA Plaza, on Bread Fruit Street because the building houses a branch of the bank  on its third floor started burning around 5:00pm according to those present at the scene.

Uzuoma Aniekwe; a shop owner in the building, said the fire started shortly before 5:00 p.m., and as he got wind of it he started evacuating his goods from inside his shop on the ground floor and according to Aniekwe the fire started on the fourth floor and flowed rapidly to the fifth floor.

As of 08:20 p.m. in the evening of Saturday, firemen from the Lagos State Fire Service, UBA and Julius Berger Plc., were still battling the fire according to our reporter who was present at the scene of the incident as report had it that the fourth and the fifth floors were mostly affected by the fire.

A senior official with the Lagos State Fire Service in charge of rescue operation, said the arrangements products inside the warehouses was too compact for water to get through which gave rise to the unsuccessful penetration of water into the core part where the fire started from.

The official said the banking hall on the third floor might have remained intact, as well as many offices on the second floor.

In order to secure properties worth millions of naira to be looted by miscreants in the Breadfruit area police and officials of other security agencies quickly swung to action to protect these wares.

Fuel Subsidy Scam:Court remands Capital Oil boss, four others in police custody

A  Magistrate Court sitting in Lagos has granted a request by the Special Fraud Unit (SFU) of the Nigerian Police to keep the Managing Director of Capital Oil and Gas Limited, Patrick Ifeanyi Uba in its custody for the next fourteen days.

Magistrate Martins Owunmi granted the permission of the SFU  to remand Mr Uba and four members of his management team in custody pending the conclusion of investigation into an alleged N43.291 billion oil subsidy fraud.

The four others remanded alongside the Capital Oil Boss are Nsikan Usoro, Capital Oil’s Head of Trading; Godfrey Okorie, Capital Oil’s Deport Manager; Chibuzor Ogbuokiri, General Manager in charge of Operations in the company, and Orji Joseph Anayo, the company’s Executive Director, Operations.

The court made the order for the remand of all five after listening to arguments from both Uba’s lawyer, Joseph Nwobike (SAN), and the prosecuting counsel, Effiong Asuquo.

In a similar fashion, the SFU also secured an order of the same court to keep the Managing Director of Matrix Energy Limited, Abdulkabir Adisa Aliu and two other top staff of the company in custody pending the conclusion of investigation into an oil subsidy scam estimated at N13.376 billion.

The two staff members are Matrix Energy’s Operations Manager, Yusuf Adebowale Oyolola and the company’s Accountant, Adewale Akinde.

Third Mainland Bridge will not be closed during repairs – Fashola

The Lagos State governor, Babatunde Fashola on Monday said that contrary to what has been reported, the Third Mainland Bridge will not be shut down from July but that diversions will take place depending on what sections of the road will be worked upon.

He urged residents of the State not to entertain any needless fear about the impending repair works on the Third Mainland Bridge, saying it is all about proper management of the situation.

Mr Fashola who spoke in an interview with State House Correspondents at Lagos House, Ikeja said that it is a process which has taken place before and when it took place the people went through it and it was managed successfully even though there were some traffic.

“Let us remember that we have done this before. Two years ago four joints were fixed and I think we managed the traffic by communicating with our people. So, contrary to what has been reported, it is not a total closure but a partial closure.

“But let us contextualize it; we are better off today than we were when we did it, at that time we diverted traffic mainly to Funsho Williams, Western Avenue, Ikorodu Road and also Murtala Mohammed Way and through Carter Bridge into Lagos Island and out. Remember that at the time this happened we were constructing those two roads. Now they have been finished.

“So in terms of roads infrastructure, we are better off now than when we first undertook the repairs and managed it successfully, so it should be less painful. We have also agreed with the Federal Ministry of Works and chosen this period so that we will utilize the time the students are on vacation”.

The governor reiterated that the repair works will start hopefully on July 1st but that much of the work will deepen during the period when the school pupils are expected to be on holidays and that the traffic impact is expected to reduce.

He added that the work will continue till after the school children resume but that government is targeting “that before the end of year rush and traffic starts mounting by October to November, we would have finished so that people will have a pleasurable and comfortable drive on that bridge in and out of Lagos”.

Mr Fashola said the road will also save the residents the wear and tear on their suspension and shock absorber, adding that it is in their own interest for it to be repaired and that they should not panic.

He said that State has a Radio station dedicated to traffic issues. He said that when the Third Mainland Bridge first underwent repairs, there was no Traffic Radio in the state which is now available to enable information and movement to be communicated regularly.

The Governor also reiterated the need for efficient management of roads as a resource noting that part of the question which the people should be asking themselves now is if they have to be on the road, stating that such pertinent question should be asked especially during rush hours in the morning when people are heading to Lagos Island, is it necessary to be on the road at that time?

He stressed that if there is no compelling reason to be on the road, one can make a telephone call, send an SMS, or use a Blackberry to chat as these constitute some of the traffic management strategies that can be utilized within the few weeks that the repairs would last.

The Governor who also spoke on media reports about the announcement of the closure of the Third Mainland Bridge for repairs by an agency of the Federal Government like the Federal Road Safety Corps said the Constitution clearly spells out what responsibilities each tier of government handles, adding: “We cannot continue this desperate encroachment of territories”.

He said whilst the responsibility for managing the Third Mainland Bridge and maintenance is that of the Federal Government, that of managing traffic on it belongs to the State.

The traffic management responsibility belongs to the state, a bridge that crosses a Lagoon within the territory of a state lies within its municipal control for traffic.

“A trunk road by definition is a road that connects two states like Lagos Ibadan Expressway. That is where the Federal Roads Safety Corps (FRSC) should be, not within the territory of the municipality of a State. It is this desperate encroachment of territories that might be responsible for the inaccurate information”.

He said it is the expansion joints which are eight in number that is about to be fixed on the Third Mainland Bridge.

“Contrary to what has been reported, it is not a total closure but a partial closure where diversions will take place depending on what sections of the road will be worked upon. The Honourable Commissioner for Works, Transportation and Special Adviser on Works will brief you in details most probably by Wednesday about where the diversions will be and what to expect”, Mr Fashola said.