The Minister of Transportation, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, has announced that President Muhammadu Buhari will commission the Lagos-Ibadan railway in January 2021 to improve movement for cargoes and passengers in the country.
Amaechi made the disclosure during an oversight visit from Lagos to Ibadan to inspect the ongoing construction of the standard gauge in Ibadan on Saturday.
The Minister said that the contractors had done their best with the project while attributing weather conditions as one of the challenges being faced by the contractors.
Amaechi said, “We have cooperation from the various communities along with the standard gauge construction. The contractors have done what they could do but the problem is a change in weather. They couldn’t work beyond that period, besides that, I think the contractors have done well.’’
“The construction is coming to an end, they are trying to beat the target they gave the ministry of transportation because there is a huge improvement. Is there any facility in Nigeria that is better than the one in Ebute-Meta?” he asked.
The Minister tasked the contractors on the Lagos-Ibadan railway line to ensure completion of all the stations by December including the Apapa station which started late, so it can be commissioned and the route made fully operational. He said the contractors have also given us a timeline.
Amaechi said that the transition period between now and January would enable the Federal Government to acquire the Right of Way for the Lagos-Ibadan route.
He urged people trading along the rail line to please move far away from the tracks as it is unsafe to peddle around the tracks, and emphasized that it could be difficult to embark on perimeter fencing, adding that the fence constructed in Warri had been pulled down by hoodlums.
The Chairman, Board of Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC), Alhaji Ibrahim Musa, said in the course of the project, the NRC management sat with Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (LAMATA) and agreed on areas where overhead crossing and bridges would be constructed.
Musa said, “We agreed that some bridges and overhead crossing will be constructed by the Federal Government, while others will be done by state governments. For instance, we constructed new two-line bridges at Costain and brought down the old ones to enable us to have access.’’
“As we are coming, you can see that passengers’ movement is under the track, while in some places we could see overhead bridges from Lagos to Ibadan in consideration of human and goods trafficking along the corridors,” he said.
Musa said that the standard gauge between Lagos and Ibadan was the first moving train compared to the narrow gauge that the country had in the past.
He said that although people were still asking for more access to the corridor; however, they would be considered based on merit and the finances available on the ground.
The Director of Railway, Federal Ministry of Transportation, Mr. Babakobi Muhammed, said the ministry officials held meetings with the Transportation ministries of Lagos, Ogun, and Oyo states to ensure safe corridor for the train.
The Managing Director, Nigeria Railway Corporation, Mr. Fidet Okhiria said that the corporation would start the Lagos-Ibadan train transportation in November to reduce road traffic during the festive period.
Reps oppose school resumption date, ask for 3 months extension
The lower legislative chamber has flawed FG’s directive on public and private schools’ January 18, 2021 resumption date.
The House of Representatives has moved against the Federal Government’s directive that schools should resume on Monday, January 18, despite the rising cases of the coronavirus disease.
The lower house, while expressing its concern, wondered why schools were closed when the infection rates were around 500 and below, but now that it hovers well above 1000 infections daily, schools are being reopened.
This disclosure is contained in a statement titled, “School Resumption: Are We Truly Prepared?” which was issued by the Chairman, House Committee on Basic Education and Services, Prof. Julius Ihonvbere, on Saturday, January 16, 2021.
Ihonvbere in his statement said that public enlightenment campaigns have more or less stopped, as merely saying that protocol would be adhered to is no guarantee with the situation even being worse in rural areas.
The house, therefore, demanded for the postponement of resumption of schools by 3 months, if some critical steps are not taken, so as to enable the local and state governments put things in place adequately.
He said that apart from Lagos and a couple of other states, governments have been unable to enforce Covid-19 protocols with people no longer wearing facemasks or use sanitisers, especially in secondary schools. There are no facilities for effective social distancing in the classrooms.
Ihonvbere said they have not heard how the schools would address the issues of introduction of morning and afternoon batches into the schools when they reopen to reduce overcrowding, special cleaning crews with sufficient sanitisers in classrooms, insisting on facemasks and sanitisers for the students and others.
What Prof. Ihonvbere is saying
The statement from the House partly reads,
- “The Committee on Basic Education and Services, House of Representatives, has received with concern the decision of the Federal Government to reopen schools on January 18, 2021.
- “We are particularly concerned that when the infection rates hovered around 500 and under, schools were closed; but now that it hovers well above 1,000 infections daily, schools are being reopened. Why are we rushing to reopen schools without adequate verifiable and sustainable arrangements to protect and secure our children?
- “Similarly, we acknowledge the argument that most young persons have not been as affected by Covid-19 and many are asymptomatic. Yet, it does not mean they have full immunity against the virus. We also know that they would be working and interacting with adult teachers, administrative workers and other persons that do not live within the institutions.
- ‘’People no longer wear facemasks or use sanitisers. Public enlightenment campaigns have more or less stopped. Merely saying they would adhere to the protocols is no guarantee. In rural areas, the situation is worse.
- “Our position is that in spite of the very comprehensive protocols established by the Federal Ministry of Education, not up to 10 per cent of our educational institutions have implemented five per cent of the protocols. In most of our primary and secondary schools nationwide, adequate furniture, water and other sanitation and hygiene facilities do not exist.
- “As a government that has committed to protecting the interests of the Nigerian people, it would be wrong to allow unprepared state governments, of which many did not take the pandemic too seriously anyway, to hoodwink or pressure it into this reopening game.
- “The Committee believes that if these and other critical steps are not taken, there should be a postponement by three months to enable the local and state governments put things in place adequately. A word, they say, is enough for the wise.’’
What you should know
- The Presidential Task Force (PTF) on Covid-19, a few days ago, insisted on the January 18 resumption date for schools until the Federal Ministry of Education advises otherwise.
- The clarification became necessary following the earlier comment by the Minister for Education, Adamu Adamu, that government may review the resumption date following the outbreak of the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic across the country.
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES COMMITTEE ON BASIC EDUCATION AND SERVICES, ABUJA.
SCHOOL RESUMPTION: ARE WE TRULY PREPARED?
The Committee on Basic Education and Services, House of Representatives has received with some concern the decision of the Federal Government to reopen schools pic.twitter.com/wehOd7QoXG
— Hon. Prof. Julius Ihonvbere,OON (@HonIhonvbere) January 16, 2021
FG announces mandatory NIN enrolment for foreign diplomats
The Federal Government has directed foreign diplomats in the country to also partake in the mandatory NIN registration.
The Federal Government on Sunday announced the mandatory National Identity Number (NIN) enrolment for foreign diplomats in the country.
While making the announcement, the government said that approval has been gotten for the establishment of enrolment centre at the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs by January 19, 2021.
According to a press statement which was signed by the Technical Adviser (Information Technology) to the Minister for Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Femi Adeluyi, the special centre will be managed by his ministry.
Adeluyi, in the statement, disclosed that the Communications Minister, Isa Pantami, said the centre is being set up based on the request of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama.
He said that the enrolment centre will provide support for members of the diplomatic corps and will be managed by the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy through the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC).
What the statement from the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy is saying
The statement reads, ” The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, has approved the setting up of a National Identity Number (NIN) enrolment centre at the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The desk will be set up by Tuesday, 19th of January, 2021.
“This enrolment centre will provide support for members of the Diplomatic Corps and will be managed by the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, through the National Identity Management Commission.
” The centre is being set up based on the request of the Honourable Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, in order to simplify the process for diplomats.
“The National Identity Number is mandatory for diplomats who will reside in Nigeria for a continuous period of two years or more. It is also mandatory for all other lawful residents in the country as stated in Section 16 of the National Identity Management Commission Act 2007.’’
The statement also says that the compliance for NIN enrolment has been low until recently despite the Law making it mandatory for Nigerians and legal residents since 2007.
What you should know
- It can be recalled that on December 15, 2020, the Federal Government had declared that after December 30, 2020, all SIMs that were not registered with valid NIN on the network of telecommunications companies would be blocked.
- However, following public outcry against the short notice, it later extended December 30, 2020, giving 3 weeks’ extension for subscribers with NIN from December 30, 2020, to January 19, 2021, and a 6-week extension for subscribers without NIN from December 30, 2020, to February 9, 2021.
- However, it yet to be seen if the deadline will be met with the large crowd that turn out every day at NIMC offices without being attended to
— Fed Ministry of Communications & Digital Economy (@FMoCDENigeria) January 17, 2021
PayVIS: New Lagos State platform to use traffic cameras to fine traffic offenders
Lagos State’s Vehicle Inspection Service has launched a technology-based initiative to track, monitor and book traffic offenders.
The Lagos State Government has launched PayVIS, a number plate detection platform that captures vehicle offenders when they violate traffic laws and then bills them.
PayVIS is an initiative of the Lagos State Vehicle Inspection Service.
According to the information contained in the website of PayVis,
- “PlateDetect is a Traffic analytics and access control application developed for Lagos State’s Vehicle Inspection Service to track, monitor, and book traffic offenders.”
- “LASG VIS’s PlateDetect ensures that all vehicle documentation (vehicle license, Insurance policy, Roadworthiness certificate, Driver’s license, Hackney permit (Commercial vehicles only), Lagos State Drivers’ Institute card (Commercial vehicles) can be verified and tickets raised for violators.”
How it works
- From an advert seen by Nairametrics, traffic cameras located beside traffic lights will capture traffic offenders without the presence of traffic officials.
- The camera takes a photo shot of the vehicle’s plate number, and runs a scan of the vehicle’s records in the state’s database.
- To detect whether you may have had a prior traffic offense, vehicle owners are to visit their website, type in their plate number and then click on search.
- Once this is done, a bill is generated for any outstanding offense.
On its Facebook page, the Vehicle Inspection Service said that it will be showing an understanding of the current economic situation to exhibit fairness and good faith by offering a 50% rebate on existing unpaid fines from January 1 to 31st January 2021.
Offenders are advised to take opportunity of the period to pay up, as 100% penalty would be payable after the deadline.
Watch the advert below: