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Lagos gov okays special security team for BRT, transport facilities

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Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has approved a dedicated security team for the monitoring of transport infrastructure and the enforcement of extant rules on the use of the Bus Rapid Transit regulation.

Approval for the dedicated security team followed frequent damage to transport infrastructure and violation of the BRT lanes which more often impeded the operation of the BRT system.

With more transport infrastructure being constructed, the Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority reasoned that there was the need for a higher measure of security and vigilance especially in the light of last year’s attack on Lagos State government and LAMATA facilities perpetrated by hoodlums who hijacked the EndSARS protest.

LAMATA’s spokesman, Kolawole Ojelabi, said in a statement that during the attack, the newly completed Oyingbo Bus Terminal was vandalized, and 57 new BRT buses ready for deployment for passenger operations were set ablaze.

On the same day, Berger Bus Terminal and 23 new buses parked were also set ablaze.

The approval granted by the governor states that the dedicated team, headed by a Superintendent of Police, would be composed of 70 officers and men of the Nigeria police force charged with the protection of existing LAMATA facilities and others currently under construction.

The dedicated security team will ensure that the lifespan of transport infrastructure would be guaranteed and not be truncated by needless and unforeseen attacks as well as make passengers feel secure at LAMATA facilities while using regulated.

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Nigeria, three others top World Bank debtors’ list

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Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed

Rising debt has pushed Nigeria up the World Bank’s top 10 International Development Association borrowers’ list.

The World Bank Fiscal Year 2021 audited financial statements, known as the IDA financial statement, showed that Nigeria was rated fifth on the list with $11.7bn IDA debt stock as of June 30, 2021.

However, the newly released World Bank Fiscal Year 2022 audited financial statements for IDA showed that Nigeria has moved to the fourth position on the list, with $13bn IDA debt stock as of June 30, 2022.

This shows that Nigeria accumulated about $1.3bn IDA debt within a fiscal year, with the country taking over the fourth top debtor position from Vietnam.

This debt is different from the outstanding loan of $486m from World Bank’s International Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

The top five countries on the list slightly reduced their IDA debt stock except Nigeria.

India, which is still the first on the list reduced its IDA debt stock from $22bn in the previous fiscal year to $19.7bn, followed by Bangladesh from $18.1bn to $18bn.

It is followed by Pakistan which cut its debt from $16.4bn to $15.8bn, and lastly, Vietnam, which went down the list to fifth position, from $14.1bn to $12.9bn.

Nigeria has the highest IDA debt in Africa, as the top three IDA borrowers (India, Bangladesh and Pakistan) are from Asia. The World Bank disclosed recently that Nigeria’s debt, which may be considered sustainable for now, is vulnerable and costly.

The bank said, “Nigeria’s debt remains sustainable, albeit vulnerable and costly, especially due to large and growing financing from the Central Bank of Nigeria.”

However, the Washington-based global financial institution added that the country’s debt was also at risk of becoming unsustainable in the event of macro-fiscal shocks.

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The bank further expressed concerns over the nation’s cost of debt servicing, which according to it, disrupted public investments and critical service delivery spending.

Economists have also raised concerns over the rising debt profile of the Federal Government.

The Fiscal Policy Partner and Africa Tax Leader of PwC, Mr Taiwo Oyedele, expressed his agreement with the World Bank on the high cost of debt servicing.

He said, “I agree with the World Bank. Although the debt to GDP ratio is not too high, if you think about the debt service cost to revenue ratio, it is already over 70 per cent. That’s when you know it’s costly.

“Nigeria borrows at double-digit, and even when we borrow in dollars, the rates are very high and then you devalue the naira and the cost of servicing the debt in naira goes up because it is dollar-dominated debt.

“Put all of that together, and you can easily say to yourself that even though our debt to GDP ratio is very low, our cost of borrowing is unsustainable because it is very high, and therefore, make it very costly.”

A former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria and former presidential candidate, Kingsley Moghalu, also criticised the increasing borrowing tendency of the government, urging the officials to re-consider other ways of generating revenue for the country.

According to Moghalu, it was also not reasonable to borrow for infrastructural development as the government could expand the public-private partnership options for such development.

In a document by the Director General of the Debt Management Office, Patience Oniha, recently obtained by our correspondent, the DMO stated that high debt levels would often lead to high debt services and affect investments in infrastructure.

According to the DMO DG, “High debt levels lead to heavy debt service which reduces resources available for investment in infrastructure and key sectors of the economy.”

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Saudi Explains Why Lightning Can Only Strike Crescent Moon on Holy Mosque’s Towers

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The Holy Mosque in Saudi (Masjid Al Haram and Masjid Al-Nabawi) has explained in a tweet on Sunday night why lighting only strikes the Crescent Moon on the clock tower.

The mosque, through its handle @theholymosques stated that the lightning only strikes the crescent on the clock tower because of the Makkah clock which consists of 20 automatically extending lightning conductors and 800 fixed rods to protect the watch and lights from lightning.

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“The lightning only strikes the crescent moon on top of the clock tower because the Makkah clock contains 20 automatically extending lightning conductors and 800 fixed rods to protect the watch and lights from the lightning.”
The Holy Mosque attracts millions of worshippers annually.

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El-Rufai: Not Even My Corpse Will Be Found Near PDP

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Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State

Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State has said he can never decamp to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

El-Rufai said this while reacting to claim of Daniel Bwala, spokesperson of PDP presidential campaign, that he would soon dump the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).

In a tweet, Bwala who until recently was a member of the APC, said he was optimistic that El-Rufai would be in the PDP even before the 2023 elections.

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“My attention was drawn to @elrufai laughing at a comment made about me on my past video. Hmm @elrufai is one of the finest we have from the north, I will never join issues with him, especially because I am optimistic he will be with us before the 2023 elections,” he tweeted.

Reacting, El-Rufai quoted the tweet and wrote: “Thanks @BwalaDaniel but no, thanks. Never ever, not even my corpse will be found in the vicinities of your new-found political party. I still dey laugh!!! – @elrufai.”

Bwala recently announced his resignation from the ruling APC to the PDP over the decision of former presidential candidate for the 2023 elections, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu’s choice of a Muslim-Muslim ticket.

Before decamping, Bwala made a lot of TV appearances where he harshly criticised the opposition PDP, his new party.

Just last week, he was appointed alongside a former federal lawmaker, Senator Dino Melaye, as spokesperson of the Atiku Presidential Campaign for next year’s elections.

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