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Ember months: FG commits N75.8 bln to road rehabilitation

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Ember months: FG commits N75.8 bln to road rehabilitation

… As Reps mull N500bn increase for road infrastructure for 2022 Budget***

The Federal Government on Wednesday, says it will commit N75,765,087,178.28 to carry out palliative works on collapsed portions of roads across the country.

This, according to the Director, Highway Construction and Rehabilitation, Federal Ministry of Works and Housing, Mr Folorunso Esan, is to ease movement of people and goods during the Ember Months.

Esan disclosed this in Abuja at the meeting of stakeholders in the transport sector to plan and prepare making the roads motorable and ensure the safety of lives on the country’s highways.

He said the rainy season had affected many sections of the road across the country, hence the need for urgent palliative works to avoid further deterioration.

He said such bad roads have been identified, indicating that the affected roads had been mapped out and contracts for the repairs would be awarded to contractors as part of preparation for the ember months.

According to him, the total cost for the repair works is N75,765,087,178.28.

In his address, the Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, appealed to stakeholders in the road sector to rededicate their efforts towards improving safety and sanity on the highways.

Fashola said that government is doing all it can to move Cargos by rail as it was fast and make the roads more durable.

“The President Muhammadu Buhari administration is making efforts to ensure that overloaded trucks no longer ply the nation’s highways.”

According to him, a measurement scale device installed on a computer will be put in place around the nation to ensure that trucks and haulage vans do not convey excess goods.

“You may not be aware of this, the government is building the Kano, Lagos and the Abeokuta pipeline and we want to see petrol tankers, timber going on railway and we hope this can relieve pressure on the road.

“I want to appeal to road users, NUPENG, NATO, NURTW and FRSC that we have to work together. Our responsibility is to ensure safety of the road users.

“All the data that we have about the road show us that most of the accidents on the road are as a result of speed violation.

Fashola said speed violation usually leads to loss of control, adding that traffic light violation, dangerous driving, wrongful overtaking, among others, are the causes of all road crashes across the country.

“We are going to start our restrictions with overloading. We are going to start it in Lagos at the tollgate.

“If your vehicle is overloaded, you will pay fines, so the reason we have done that is that we want to make it cheaper to comply and make it very expensive to break the law.

“That way, we hope that people will choose to comply instead of paying excessive penalties,” he said.

On his part, the Corps Safety Engineering Officer of the Federal Road Safety Corps, Mr Rindom Kumven, said safety campaign are being launched in all our sectors and zonal commands across the country to create awareness for all road users.

“Along side road condition, surveys are being conducted to see the real conditions of the road and the report will also be forwarded to the ministry.

“We are also identifying the black spot which we have identified over time which can possibly pose a challenge to us.

“All these areas have been identified and are being addressed so that all Nigerians will have a safe travel throughout the ember months and beyond,” Kumven said.

Also speaking at the meeting, NUPENG Deputy National Chairman, Lucky Osezuwa, appealed to the government to make good the promise to fix the roads.

Stakeholders in attendance include representatives from the National Road Transport Owners, NARTO, National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, NUPENG, National Union of Road Transport Workers, NURTW, Federal Road Safety Corps, FRSC.

Others are the Federal Road Maintenance Agency, FERMA, and contractor handling the various road projects in the country, where they have promised to fix failed portions of critical roads across the Federation.

In another development,  Rep. Abubakar Kabir, Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Works, has underscored the need for upward review of the proposed allocation for execution of various road projects across the country.

Kabir said this during the debate on the general principles of the 2022 budget estimates on Wednesday in Abuja.

This is against the backdrop of the 2022 Appropriation Bill presented by President Muhammadu Buhari before the joint session of the National Assembly.

The newsmen report that N481,964,861,868 was proposed for the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing in the 2022 budget.

The lawmaker,  while expressing concern over the state of federal roads and the need for adequate funding, said there was need to upscale the budget for the ministry of works.

According to him, the proposed budget showed that the sums of N15,050,141,513 is for personnel; N16,885,462,684 for overhead; and N450,029,257,671 is for capital expenditure.

Hr pointed out that the allocation to the Ministry of Works was inadequate, adding that only N280 billion was allocated in the 2022 budget.

He added that currently the country had about N640 billion certificates owing contractors.

“So, if we apply N280 billion against N640 billion for our outstanding certificates, that means in 2022 there is nothing we can see in any road infrastructure such as bridges and construction of roads.

“Of course the President has done very well in terms of initiation of SUKUK, NSIA, HDMI, they are doing very well.

“But honestly we need more funding, at least additional of N500 billion for massive development in road infrastructure,” he urged

He also called for the adoption of the policy on Tax Credit Scheme, where companies would be allowed to develop road infrastructure with tax holidays to the tune of the cost of the project.

 

 

Health and Safety

INCESSANT TRUCK ACCIDENTS: LASG Warns Truck Drivers, Owners Against Recklessness

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INCESSANT TRUCK ACCIDENTS: LASG Warns Truck Drivers, Owners Against Recklessness

… Vows To prosecute anyone found culpable***

The Lagos State Government has again condemned in strong terms, the incessant truck accidents happening within the State and read the riot act, warning owners and drivers of articulated vehicles against recklessness, and saying any driver or owner found to be complicit in any truck accident will be arrested and prosecuted in accordance with the State Transport Sector Reform Law (TSRL), 2018.

A statement released by the Ministry of Transportation noted that the warning becomes necessary, following recent truck accidents at Ojuelegba and Ikotun area which claimed lives of innocent citizens and leaving scores of people injured, also at Abule-Egba road, and Odoyalaro (Maryland) Bridge which fortunately were without casualties.

According to the Statement, investigation reveals that the accidents happen most times, due to negligence and recklessness on the part of the drivers, reiterating that the State Government has resolved not to tolerate unabated truck accidents caused by large containers falling off trucks that injure or kill citizens, who are going about their daily activities.

Having carried out a critical forensic investigation on the causes of these accidents, the State Government has resolved to evoke the full wrath of the laws stipulated in its Transport Sector Reform Law (TSRL), 2018, on liability of owners for safety.

The law clearly stated that a person who drives a commercial vehicle whose condition does not conform with the provisions of the law commits an offense and is liable on conviction to the penalty stated in Section 18 (2) and in situations where the driver of the vehicle is not the owner, the owner will also be liable in line with Section 18 (3).

The Statement further read that enforcement strategies to checkmate the operations and activities of articulated vehicles plying the State Roads is sacrosanct and will be enforced.

The State Government having registered its displeasure and position on the current situation sought the full cooperation of all relevant Stakeholders in the implementation of the exercise/enforcement in a bid to erase needless deaths, enhance movement without fear on our roads and safety of lives and property.

The Statement further commiserates with families who lost their loved ones in the recent accidents assuring them that justice will be served.

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Health and Safety

Nigeria records 244 confirmed cases of Lassa fever, 37 deaths in 16 states and FCT

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Nigeria records 244 confirmed cases of Lassa fever, 37 deaths in 16 states and FCT

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (NCDC) registered 244 confirmed cases of Lassa Fever in 16 states and the FCT as of Jan. 22.

Director-General, NCDC, Dr Ifedayo Adetifa, indicated this on Monday in Abuja, adding that the centre also recorded 37 deaths, a case fatality rate of 15.1 per cent.

The Lassa fever infections were recorded in Ondo State (90), Edo (89), Bauchi (13), Taraba (10), Benue (9), Ebonyi (9), Nasarawa (7) and Plateau (5).

Others are Kogi (4), Anambra (2), Delta (1), Oyo (1), Adamawa (1), Enugu (1), Imo (1), and the FCT (1).

He said among five health workers confirmed infected in the line of duty, one of them died.

Dr Adetifa said the centre activated a national multi-sectorial Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) on Jan. 20 to coordinate and strengthen ongoing response activities.

The centre is powered by officials of the NCDC and those of relevant ministries, departments, and agencies, other stakeholders and major partners.

“The outcome of the risk assessment placed Nigeria at a very high risk as increased transmission has been recorded compared to previous years, just as the number of states infected has risen.

“Healthcare workers have also been shown to be at increased risk of infection and death,’’ he said.

Adetifa also told NAN that the EOC would coordinate the national response, especially across affected states to interrupt disease transmission, reduce impact by reducing suffering and death.

He appealed to states of the federation to support the NCDC as lead agency in the development and implementation of evidence-driven outbreak response plans for their territories.

He said that prior to the activation of EOC, the NCDC had deployed national rapid response teams to hotspot states to support contact tracing, case management, risk communication and community engagement, among others.

It also developed a national Incident Action Plan to ensure coordinated response at all levels and planned the deployment of surge staff for Lassa fever case management to high-burden states.

He explained that healthcare workers at most risk were those who clean and disinfect contaminated surfaces, materials, and supplies without adequate protective gear.

Laboratory workers who handle blood samples of suspected Lassa fever patients without appropriate precautions are also at high risk, he added.

“Most at risk for Lassa fever are persons who prepare and or handle bodies of deceased Lassa fever cases without appropriate precautions,’’ he stressed.

Adetifa enjoined healthcare workers to always wear gloves and other appropriate personal protective equipment while handling patients or providing care to patients and their relatives.

“Healthcare providers should report all suspected cases of Lassa fever to their local government Disease Surveillance and Notification Officer for immediate access to healthcare.

“This is essential because early identification and treatment of cases appear to be more effective and can save lives,’’ he said.

Adetifa enjoined Nigerians to keep their environment clean always; block all holes in residences to prevent access by rats and other rodents, cover dustbins and dispose of refuse properly.

“Communities should set up dump sites very far from their homes so as not to attract rats and other rodents just as foodstuffs should be kept in containers with tight-fitting lids.

“Avoid drying foodstuffs on roadsides where they will be at risk of contamination. Avoid bush burning which can lead to the displacement of rats from bushes to human dwellings.

“Practice good personal and hand hygiene by frequently washing hands with soap under running water or use of hand sanitisers when appropriate.

“Visit the nearest health facility if you notice any of the signs and symptoms associated with Lassa fever and avoid self-medication,’’ he advised.

Lassa fever is an acute viral haemorrhagic fever caused by the Lassa virus. The natural reservoir for the virus is the rat and other rodents.

The virus spreads through direct contact with the urine, faeces, saliva, or blood of infected rats and contact with objects, household items and surfaces contaminated with the urine, faeces, saliva, or blood of infected rats.

Consumption of food or water contaminated with the urine, faeces, saliva, or blood of infected rats; person-to-person contact with blood, urine, faeces and other body fluids of an infected person could also lead to infection.

Lassa fever initially presents like other commonplace illnesses accompanied by a fever such as malaria.

Other symptoms include headache, general body weakness, cough, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, muscle pains, chest pain, sore throat, and in severe cases, bleeding from ears, eyes, nose, mouth, and other body openings.

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Health and Safety

EFCC secures 166 convictions, recovers N1.4bn in Kano; Student docked for alleged threat to life, stabbing another with bottle

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EFCC secures 166 convictions, recovers N1.4bn in Kano

 The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Kano Zonal Command, said it secured 166 convictions and recovered N1.4 billion in 2022.

The Zonal Commander of EFCC, Mr. Farouk Dogondaji, made the disclosure during a courtesy visit by Head of News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) office in Kano State, Aminu Garko, on Thursday in Kano.

“In 2022 the commission investigated, prosecuted, secured 166 convictions and recovered N1.4 billion in Kano, Katsina and Jigawa. We still have pending cases in court.

“The Government of President Muhammadu Buhari has given all Nigerians the opportunity to report cases of economic and financial crime.

“EFCC Chairman, Mr. Abdulrashid Bawa, brought a lot of changes and policies among which is the development of EFCC strategic plan to improve public participation in the fight against corruption.

“Fighting corruption is for all of us Nigerians. We have to put our hands together to push our country forward,” Dogondaji said.

He noted that the issue of corruption in Nigeria was of great concern to all patriotic citizens, and as such various stakeholders must work together to tame it, especially as the country goes into election.

“Citizens have to know what corruption has done to Nigeria so that when they go to cast their votes, they vote for credible Nigerians. Even as citizens, we have a duty to Nigeria,” he said.

He commended NAN for its zeal to partner with the commission to win the war against corruption.

Earlier, the head of the Kano state NAN office said corruption has been the major problem militating against the smooth implementation of government policies and programmes that would impact the well-being of the populace.

“Fighting corruption is like fighting a war among communities, we cannot move forward without fighting corruption,” he said.

Garko called for synergy between NAN and the EFCC in the ongoing fight against corruption in the country. 

In another development, a 26-year-old student, Victor Adegbulugbe, was on Friday docked in an Ogudu Magistrate’s Court in Lagos, for allegedly stabbing another with a broken bottle on the head and back.

The police charged Adegbulugbe, who resides at Kazeem Street, Ojota, Lagos, with count bordering on assault, threat to life, grievous confrontation and breach of peace.

He, however, pleaded not guilty to the charge.

The Prosecutor, Insp Donjor Perezi, had told the court that the defendant committed the offence on Jan. 19, 2023, at about 9 a.m. at Muwazani hotel, located on No 22 Ogudu road, Ojota, Lagos State.

Perezi told the court that the defendant stabbed one Akeem Adebare, during an altercation and threatened the lives of Sharon Eunkoroh and Ibrahim Adebare that he would kill them with a gun.

He said that the offences contravened the provisions of Section 175, 56 (1)(a), 168 and 173 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2015.

According to section 173, anyone found guilty of the offence will be liable to three years imprisonment

The Magistrate, Mrs M.O. Tanimola, granted the defendant bail in the sum of N200,000, with two sureties in like sum.

She said that the sureties must be gainfully employed and must show evidence of tax payments to Lagos Government.

Tanimola adjourned the case until Feb. 15 for mention.

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