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Omo-Agege queries sale of Zamfara gold to CBN for N5b

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THERE were more dusts on Wednesday over the alleged sale of a bar of gold to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) at N5 billion by the Zamfara State Government.

Deputy Senate President Ovie Omo-Agege and Ijaw youths kicked against the arrangement that allows a state to sell mineral resource to the Federal Government, which according to them, is the constitutionally owner.

Omo-Agege described the sale as a breach of the laws guiding exploitation of mineral resources in the country. The youths, under the Ijaw Youths Council (IYC), accused the Federal Government of double standard and injustice.

The Deputy Senate President faults the arrangement while contributing to a debate on the 2021 Appropriations Bill at yesterday’s Senate plenary.

He told his colleagues that his constituents and other Niger Deltan people were worried about the development since all proceeds from oil in their territory solely go to the Federation Account.

The senator insisted that the proceeds from the sale  ought to be remitted to the federation account and not credited to the account of the Zamfara State government.

Omo-Agege said: “There is also something that is troubling our people which I think I should also bring up here.

“It is clear that the only two sources identified in the budget for the funding of the budget is the revenue from oil on the most part and borrowings, both local and foreign.

“But, we also have other sources or potential sources of revenue that is not being looked at.

“We often talk of leakages (in the system) but why even go into leakages when we can go directly to the solid mineral sector?

“Not too long ago, we saw the Governor of Zamfara State come before the CBN to present a gold bar worth close to about N5 billion.

“The gold bar was presented for sale to the CBN. Our people are beginning to wonder who owns this gold that is being sold to the CBN.

“They don’t sell oil in any of the Niger Delta states. I am wondering why a governor of a state should be selling gold bar from Zamfara to the CBN.

“There are two problems with that. We believe that whatever revenue that ought to come from that transaction belong to the entire country and not belonging to the state government.

“That is number one and we should actually look into that. That is an area we really need to develop.

“There is a lot of revenue that could come from there that will take the burden from this international borrowing.”

In Port Harcourt, the IYC accused the Federal Government of injustice by allowing artisanal mining of gold in the North, especially in Zamafara State, and forbidding a similar practice on crude oil in the Niger Delta.

In a statement, IYC President Timothy Igbifa observed that in the North where there are gold and precious stones, the locals and indigenes were mining them unmolested to enrich themselves.

The statement reads in part: “But it is illegal in the Niger Delta to engage in artisanal exploration of the vast hydrocarbon deposits in their area. If you say, it is double standard, applying two different set of rules in the same country, it is an understatement.

“It is the height of injustice that the people of Niger Delta have been forced to live with since 1914. Several attempts have been made to re-negotiate our   continuous existence has an indivisible entity but to no avail.”

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VP Osinbajo calls for provision of capital to grow businesses for long term

The Vice President has stated that the banking sector plays a crucial role in promoting increased & inclusive growth in Nigeria.

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There is need to further deepen the provision of capital that will allow businesses to grow over the long term. This was disclosed by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo during the Bankers Committee on Friday.

He commended the DMBs for their patriotic contributions to sustain growth but called for the need to further deepen the provision of capital that would allow businesses to grow over the long term.

“The banking sector plays a crucial role in promoting increased & inclusive growth in Nigeria. I commend #CBN for the forward-looking support for growth-related initiatives, especially under the economic sustainability plan,” he said.

What you should know

  • On Friday, VP Osinbajo had called for crypto regulation, knowing fully well the role crypto plays in the global financial ecosystem, as he opined that such disruption often made room for progress, according to Nairametrics.
  • Osinbajo also advised the SEC, and Central Bank of Nigeria to create a regulatory road map, while fully appreciating the stance of the CBN, Nigerian SEC, and law enforcement agencies on the possible abuses of crypto assets.
  • The vice president further stressed the important role cryptocurrencies would play in the coming years as they would most likely challenge traditional banking, including reserve banking, in ways the world hadn’t yet imagined. He thus stressed the need for Nigeria to be prepared for such a seismic shift.

 

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Sanwo-Olu says construction work on Fourth Mainland Bridge to start end of 2021

Governor Sanwo-Olu has disclosed that the foundation for the proposed 4th Mainland Bridge would be laid before the end of 2021.

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The Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has revealed that the foundation for the proposed Fourth Mainland Bridge would be laid before the end of the year 2021.

The execution of the bridge is geared towards improving the transport infrastructure and movement across the state.

According to a report from the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), this disclosure was made by Sanwo-Olu during the 16th Executive/Legislative Parley, with the theme: ”A Consensus Agenda for Rebuilding Lagos”, organised by the Office of Civic Engagement.

He pointed out that the promise to construct the Fourth Mainland Bridge is not a political one.

What the Lagos State Governor is saying

Sanwo-Olu during the interactive session said, ”We did not politically promise Fourth Mainland Bridge but we are going to do Fourth Mainland Bridge.

”With your prayers and by the grace of Almighty God, we shall turn the sod and lay the foundation for the building and construction of that Fourth Mainland Bridge before the end of this year.

”We are on course and I am sure that the 37km ring road is on track, which will change the face of transportation and movement in Lagos,” the governor said.

The governor also disclosed that his administration was on course to complete the Blue Line and Red Line rail projects which were started several years back, saying the project will be completed and trains will move on the two rail lines before the end of his administration.

He said, ”It is a commitment that we have given to Lagosians and it is a commitment that we will see will come to fruition because we have finished the financial closure and we are excited about that project.’

Speaking at the event, the Special Adviser, Office Of Civic Engagement, Princess Aderemi Adebowale, said that the executive and legislature would discuss extensively the theme of the retreat, “A Consensus Agenda for Rebuilding Lagos”.

While saying that the discussion in the next 48 hours would help to fast track the rebuilding of the state, Adebowale said that they would delve deeply into issues such as Youth Leadership Role, Grassroots Development: a catalyst for growth, and Role of Social Media in Nation Building, among others.

What you should know

  • It can be recalled that the Lagos State Government has shortlisted 6 companies for the design, development, construction, operation, and maintenance of the Fourth Mainland Bridge.
  • This followed the government’s issuance of a Request for Qualification (RFQ) in February this year. The 6 companies were said to have completed the technical and financial capacity requirements.
  • Lagos State said it will announce the selection of the next stage in due course, even as the RFQ will be given to the pre-qualified bidders.
  • The Fourth Mainland Bridge is a 37.4km freeway subdivided into three sections namely Island Section, Lagoon Section and Mainland Section. It will commence from Abraham Adesanya Roundabout in Lekki through Ajah and Langbasa areas, crossing the Ado Badore Road before arriving at the Lagoon shoreline.
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Lagos says blue, red rail lines will be ready by December 2022

The state government expects the 2 lines to change the transport landscape of the state when fully operational.

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The Lagos State Government has revealed that the Lagos Blue and Red rail lines will be operational by December 2022.

This is as the state government expects the 2 lines to change the transport landscape of the state when fully operational, and part of the traffic management plan to actualize the Lagos Rail Mass Transit.

According to a report from the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), this disclosure was made by the General Manager of the Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (LAMATA), Mrs Abimbola Akinajo, during a visit by the officials of the Office of Transformation, Creativity and innovation, (Office of Head of Service) on Wednesday, in Lagos.

Akinajo said that LAMATA was working assiduously to ensure the delivery of the rail lines to passenger operation by December 2022.

What the General Manager of LAMATA is saying

Mrs Akinajo, in her statement, said, “These two lines will change the transport landscape of Lagos when operational. We have a transport master plan which speaks to the vision of Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu on transportation.

“We have six rail lines and one monorail, 14 Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) corridors, over 20 water routes and we are sure that when all of these are properly harnessed, Lagos will join the league of cities with an efficient transport system.

“We have advertised four other rail lines for the private sector to invest. We are working on the private sector so they could bring in about 1,500 high capacity buses by 2022. We would be launching our First Mile Last Mile scheme very soon. We are working on the construction of two interchanges at Mile 2 and CMS. We want to ensure that Lagosians travel in comfort.”

The LAMATA boss explained that the vision of an intermodal integrated transport system was meant to create choices for Lagos commuters without stress to achieve their daily commute needs, and meet up their economic and social engagements.

Akinajo also disclosed that LAMATA had opened up 57 routes for operators which include the 2 main transport unions, the National Union of Road Transport Workers and the Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria.

While noting that they were currently operating on the Oshodi-Abule Egba BRT corridor and other standard bus routes, she told the officials that LAMATA needed to increase its manpower as the transport networks unfolded, and an office complex to accommodate its staff.

What you should know

  • It can be recalled that about 2 weeks ago, the Lagos State Government announced the temporary closure of the Yaba overpass for 3 weeks for Red Line soil testing.
  • The Lagos Rail Mass Transit is an urban rail system being developed in Lagos. The system is managed by LAMATA.
  • The railway equipment including electric power, signalling, rolling stock, and fare collection equipment will be provided by the private sector under a Concession Contract. LAMATA is responsible for policy direction, regulation, and infrastructure for the network.
  • The first 2 lines of the urban light rail project are estimated to cost $1.4bn. The Red line will be 30km long and will run between Marina and Agbado. The Blue line will be 27km long, connecting Okokomaiko to Marina.
  • The Blue line will cost $1.2bn and is being funded entirely by the Lagos State Government.
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