Tackling insecurity, traffic congestion and infrastructure deficit in Lagos – The Sun Nigeria

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By Jobs Osazuwa

Disturbed by relentless crimes in Lagos State, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu recently banned commercial motorbikes, commonly known as Okada, in six Local Government Areas (LGAs).

The governor announced that the the total ban, which takes effect from June 1, covers Ikeja, Surulere, Eti-Osa, Lagos Mainland, Lagos Island and Apapa. He ordered the police to enforce the ban without compromise. The governor explained that the decision was to immediately address the chaos and threat created by Okada runners in the listed areas.

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The ban came days after Okada riders killed and burned a young sound engineer in Lekki after an argument over N100 balance.

Many locals believe the total ban was long overdue, saying the threat posed by runners continues unabated

Indeed, theft and other forms of crime have unleashed the sufferings of the people of Lagos.

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Additionally, traffic congestion suffocating Lagos residents and slow travel are some of the issues that have given Sanwo-Olu a nagging headache since becoming governor of Lagos, Nigeria’s industrial heartland.

The infrastructure deficit in many parts of the state, high unemployment and an avalanche of other socio-economic challenges are also staring the governor in the face.

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As head of state security, he had repeatedly admitted the need to eradicate all forms of criminal elements from the state, while seeking the collaboration of all stakeholders to tame this ugly trend. .

He said equipping vigilante groups such as the Lagos Neighborhood Safety Corps (LNSC) with new vehicles and modern security gadgets to complement the efforts of all security agencies has paid off in making the state safe for all.

Lagos State witnessed an unprecedented security challenge during the 2020 #EndSARS police brutality protests which resulted in the destruction of public and private property including 27 police stations and the Igbosere High Court , among others. However, the governor said the state was able to bounce back thanks to his administration’s consistent donation of security equipment to law enforcement.

“These days, not a day goes by that law enforcement in Lagos, especially the police, including the special task force, announcing arrests of suspects,” he said.

Sanwo-Olu recalled how on June 10, 2021, the state government donated 150 vehicles, four high-capacity personnel carriers, 30 patrol cars and two water cannon riot vehicles to the police. to strengthen security measures across the state. President Muhammadu Buhari, who was visiting the state, personally took inventory and inaugurated the security equipment.

In April, the state said it had donated billions of naira worth of security equipment to the police, including 180 patrol vehicles, 200 patrol motorcycles, 1,000 security gadgets and the regional center of emergency security, Epe, among others.

Regarding the deplorable state of the roads, the governor observed that many critical national roads and several others belonging to the federal government needed urgent attention, especially as they were aggravated by persistent downpours.

Bad roads had made the user experience painful. Some of the roads affected include the Ojota section of the Ikorodu road, the highways-Kudirat Abiola Way, the Apogbon highway, the Babs Animashaun road, the Agric/Ishawo and Ijede roads in Ikorodu and the Lekki-Epe highway, from Abraham Adesanya at Eleko Junction, among others.

Sanwo-Olu identified these bad roads as the main cause of the traffic jams and on October 13, 2019 declared a state of emergency. The governor has hired eight construction companies to immediately repair roads “deemed critical to reducing traffic congestion in the state.”

He added that while the highways are being renovated, the Lagos State Public Works Corporation (LSPWC) will carry out repairs on 116 inland roads across the state. More than two years later, he said he was delighted with the relief from most of those traffic jam hotspots.

According to data published on the official website of the Lagos State Government in April 2022, the roads completed and open to the public include 34 roads in Kosofe, Somolu, Victoria Island and Ikoyi, a multi-level car park with 384 spaces in Onikan , three road networks in Oniru, Victoria Island (Adeola Hopewell, Idowu Taylor and Afribank/Churchgate streets) and Ijede Road Phase 1 in Ikorodu. Others are the 1.4 km viaduct and the two-lane viaduct Pen-Cinema, Agege; Tedi-Muwo Link bridge, Lagos-Ogun to Alimosho border roads and Agbado-Oke-Odo access roads. They also include a network of 31 roads in the Ojokoro Local Council Development Area (LCDA).

According to Sanwo-Olu, a key road infrastructure that will undoubtedly resolve major traffic conflicts in and around Ikeja is the 3.89 kilometer Ojota-Opebi Link Bridge, which will open on the Ojota axis at Kosofe, taking traffic from Opebi U-Turn and dropping it off at Ikorodu Road via an intersection to be built under the Odo Iya Alaro Bridge in Mende. It was reported on January 27.

The causeway, which is a new connection, would create an easy exit for commuters leaving Ikeja-Onigbongbo towards Ojota and Maryland. The project was initiated to provide a permanent solution to the inadequacies of the Opebi Link bridge and the Opebi U-Turn, and to relieve the pressure on congested roads within Ikeja, with the aim of reducing travel time along along the corridor.

To combat high unemployment and boost residents’ livelihoods and businesses, the governor said 1,050 rural women received intensive training to increase yields from agricultural production and beneficiaries were given access equal to markets.

“The state has also supported 2,704 residents whose livelihoods have been disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, supported 18 outstanding Skills Acquisition Center students with 100,000 Naira each in 2019 and rescued 48,000 households out of poverty through various social intervention programs in which women received cash transfers and acquired skills.

“Added to this are the Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) programs of the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund, under which the state has supported 3,673 businesses with $1.156 billion. naira and supported 1,835 businesses with 939.97 million naira. And it saved 10,005 direct jobs, 40,020 indirect jobs through the MSME Recovery Fund, a response program to cushion the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and #EndSARS protests on businesses, launched the N5 billion EduFund in partnership with First Bank and EdFin MFB, set up a N1 billion fund for businesses in the tourism, hospitality, entertainment, arts and culture sectors. The loans and grants have introduced a N1 billion agricultural value chain fund for businesses that operate within the agricultural value chain, among others,” the governor said.

Sanwo-Olu on July 24, 2021 rewarded Nigeria’s only individual Olympic gold medalist, Chioma Ajunwa, a policeman, with a three-bedroom apartment in the Babatunde Raji Fashola housing estate, Iponri. The reward came 25 years after the former Lagos State military administrator promised Ajunwa a home for winning the long jump gold medal at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.

The governor said the house was one of 132 housing units (88 housing units and 44 three-bedroom apartment housing units respectively) competed by his administration. Others include the housing project of 480 houses in Ibeshe, Ikorodu, 774 houses LagosHOMS, Sangotedo Phase 1, 100 houses in Ikate, Lekki, 360 houses, comprising 120 houses in Igbogbo, 252 houses, Idale, Badagry, and 120 units Courtland Villas, Igbokushu, Lekki, among others.

In health, Sanwo-Olu said that 563,210 Lagos residents were covered by the health insurance scheme, adding that he had set up 10 triage and oxygen centers, completed and launched the Mother- child (MCC), Epe, Eti-Osa, and MCC, Ajah, among others.

Other health projects, according to the governor, include the activation of an oxygen plant in Yaba for COVID-19, while 1,417 residents have successfully undergone pediatric eye surgery, adult eye surgery, eye surgery pediatric surgery, dental surgery, orthopedic surgery and ear, nose and throat surgery through the initiative.

The schools built and rehabilitated, according to government records, are recreational facilities at Elemoro Secondary School, Ibeju-Lekki, a 180-bed hostel, a classroom block at Model College, Igbokuta, two converted higher institutions in universities, 4,000 apartments for Lagos State University (LASU) staff, 243 digitized public secondary school libraries and 8,272 beds for LASU students, among others.

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