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217 roads’ll be repaired this year, says Fashola

  • Lagos to build Mother & Child centres in Badagry, Epe

Lagos State Governor Babatunde Fashola has said 217 roads across the state will be built / repaired this year.

Fashola spoke yesterday at the Lagos Television premises, Ikeja, during the celebration of his 1,700 days in office.

He said: “Critical areas of activities for us will be the construction and rehabilitation of inner city roads. Work has commenced in some parts of Ogudu, Surulere, Mushin, Ajegunle, Ifako Ijaiye, Alimosho and Ikorodu.

“The Ministry of Works and Infrastructure has identified 396 roads across the state as being of high priority. But due to budgetary restraint, we plan to build, repair and rebuild 152 inner roads across all local governments this year.

“In addition to those 152 roads, there are 65 roads upon which work commenced in the last 12 to 18 months, bringing the total of roads we hope to deliver at the end of this budget cycle to 217.”

On the modernisation of the Mile 12-Ikorodu Road, Fashola said: “The design of the road is ready and we are working with the Federal Government and the World Bank to conclude financing on the project, which will cost N30 billion.

“We are mindful of the present discomfort that commuters in that area face, but we assure Lagosians that relief will come soon.”

The governor said in the last 100 days, the Public Works Corporation (PWC) has fixed 230 roads across the state.

He said the state would soon launch the Lagos Home Ownership Mortgage Scheme (HOMS), which he said would enable residents access affordable mortgage finance.

Fashola said: “We have identified several sites, out of which awards have been made for the construction of housing blocks of one, two and three bedroom units. Such places include Ogba, Omole, Alimosho, Lekki, Surulere, Ikorodu, Ilupeju, Amuwo Odofin, Agbowa and Magodo, among others.”

On the security challenges in the country, he urged residents to report any suspicious movement noticed within their neigbourhood to the authorities.

The governor said: “Report every unusual development around your neighbourhood. The peace we enjoy here today is because of our respect for one another’s religion and ethnic background.

“There is no community where there will be no dispute, but when something wrong takes place, let us address it on that basis, rather than ethnic or religious diversity that will escalate the situation.”

Also yesterday, Commissioner for Health Jide Idris told reporters in Alausa that the state government plans to build two Maternal and Child Care Centres (MCCs) in Badagry and Epe.

He assured residents that all health facilities under construction, such as the Cardiac, Renal and Trauma Centres at Ayinke House; Critical Care Centre at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH); and the Staff Clinic at Alausa Secretariat would be completed this year.

Idris said: “Many of these projects are in their final stages, some are 80 per cent completed and we want to accomplish all these projects this year, as well as embark on some new ones.”

He said plans are in top gear to make health care affordable and accessible by all, as well as develop the state primary health care system.

Idris said: “Primary healthcare remains a pertinent focus of this administration. Part of the reason that sector is not functional today is the problem of staffing and we will work that out in line with the budgetary provision.”

He said the government is working on a model primary healthcace centre, which would be established in each of the 57 local governments and local council development areas.

The commissioner said the government would also focus on disease prevention and control. He said screening for hypertension and diabetes is ongoing at motor parks in the state.


By Miriam Ndikanwu via The Nation


Fearing the Floods – Sleeping with One Eye Open

LAGOS, Nigeria, Dec 15, 2011 (IPS) – The women of Makoko, a low-lying slum close to the Lagos Lagoon along Nigeria’s Atlantic coast, always sleep with one eye open. Many live in fear that when they go to sleep at night they will wake to flooded homes and business.

“The other day, I slept and dreamt that a cold breeze was blowing on me. When I woke up I realised that I was actually sleeping in a flooded room,” Dupe Faseun, a single mother of five and self-employed canteen owner, told IPS.

“Flooding is a major problem here, the water takes over everything, even the cooking pots are filled with the dirty water,” Faseun said adding that the frequency of the flooding has increased in recent years. Low-lying urban slums spread across Lagos are suffering from the worst impact of flooding caused by climate change, according to Desmond Majekodunmi, an environmentalist with the Nigerian Conservation Foundation.

The United Nations Human Settlements Programme, UN-HABITAT, lists Lagos as among the major coastal African cities that could be severely affected by the impact of rising sea levels.

Lagos Lagoon, which is connected to the Atlantic Ocean, has seen an increase in water levels following a rise in the ocean’s level.

The Atlantic Ocean has been experiencing the fastest rise in water levels in history because of climate change, according to research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal.

Rainfall in the region has also increased, according to a recent report by the Nigerian Institute of Social and Economic Research.

“The trend indicates that rainfall has been on the increase. Respondents reported that in the past 10 years in Lagos, there has been a rise in sea levels resulting in flooding in many parts of the state,” the report said. The organisation did not, however, indicate the frequency of flooding.

The Nigerian Meteorological Agency, NIMET, attributes the prolonged and increased rainfall in this region to climate change. Though the consequences of this has been devastating. In July more than 25 people died following torrential rains.

“The water level had risen incredibly and the channels that were meant to discharge water from the roads and drainages are completely blocked because of the high tide and because the Atlantic Ocean and Lagos Lagoon have risen more than usual,” Tunji Bello, Lagos State Commissioner for Environment, said shortly after the incident.

Majekodunmi said that the most disturbing aspect was the threat climate change posed to economic activities in these poor neighbourhoods. He added that Nigerian women were among the worst affected because many had to solely fend for their families.

“They are the ones who are directly responsible to feed their babies and to feed their children. And some of them have pretty large families because the culture in Nigeria is to proliferate and to have large families,” he said.

Faseun, who owns a small food canteen near her house, said the flooding poses the biggest threat to her business because she sometimes spends up to a week waiting for the floodwaters to recede before she resumes work again.

“Nobody wants to come and buy food while the dirty flood water is everywhere.

“I normally get very depressed whenever the flood prevents me from selling food, I will always wonder where I will get money to take care of my children,” she said.

In Ajegunle, another low-lying slum in Lagos, flooding is also disrupting the economic activities of women.

Most of the women here earn a living processing fresh fish, but this is difficult to do when the area is flooded.

“They are unable to work when the places they smoke their fish at are flooded. Because they don’t have access to cold rooms, most times the fish goes bad before the flood water recedes,” Fatai Ojulari, head of the fishermen’s union in Ajegunle, told IPS.

“The women are experiencing hard times and there is no financial assistance from anywhere,” he said.

The government, however, said it is addressing this challenge.

“We have a coastal defense strategy, which involves providing a sea defense wall to secure and protect Lagos from the threat of the Atlantic,” Lagos State Governor Babatunde Fashola told IPS.

Tunde Akingbade, an environmentalist who has attended many climate change conferences said that adaptation funding, like that committed to at the recently concluded 17th Conference of Parties in Durban, South Africa, could ultimately help vulnerable Africans like those living in Makoko and Ajegunle.

“It is, however, important to point out that the level of transparency and good governance in place is crucial to how the funding will meet the needs of the people,” he told IPS.

But until then, there is not much that Faseun and women like her can do about their situation.

“Even though the flooding is getting worse every year, I cannot leave because I don’t have the money to relocate to a better place.”

By Sam Olukoya via IPS

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