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Sanwo-Olu, Fashola seek support for proposed 4th Mainland Bridge

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Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has appealed for cooperation from Lagos residents and all other stakeholders toward the successful execution of the proposed 4th Mainland Bridge in the state.

Represented by his deputy, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat, the governor made the appeal on Tuesday during a maiden stakeholders meeting on the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment for the Lagos 4th Mainland Bridge in Ikeja.
Sanwo-Olu said, “There is a need to review and evaluate the gains we have made so far, assess the bottlenecks we have encountered and recommend necessary steps towards achieving our desired objective, that is the delivery of the 4th Mainland Bridge.

“It is instructive to note that the commencement of the project will be another undeniably flagship project of this administration.

“We must therefore use this stakeholders meeting to consult amongst ourselves as we take steps to remove all the bottlenecks that may impede the delivery of the bridge.

“All the components of Lagos mobility must be considered.”

According to him, the proposed 4th Mainland bridge project has been well integrated into the overall Lagos Master Plan in relation to transportation infrastructure and will boost the economy of the state.

“The project allows for the first time direct access from the large suburb of Ikorodu to the Island and the Lekki Free Trade Zone area,” he said.

Sanwo-Olu said the meeting, which would be replicated in various local government areas where the project would be extended, was expected to boost the acceptability and implementation ratings of the bridge.

The governor recalled that the 4th mainland bridge project was conceived 15 years ago to complement the existing 3rd Mainland Bridge in addressing the transportation needs of the growing population.

Sanwo-Olu explained that government was working with other agencies and the private sector and had also appointed a dedicated advisory team, including KPMG Nigeria, to handle the financial aspects.

He added that Olaniwun Ajayi and AEC-Rendel were to handle the legal and technical areas respectively.
Sanwo-Olu said the team evolved strategies working through various stages of selecting a consortium to deliver the project, which was at the sixth and final stage for construction to begin.

The governor said in order to proceed to the next phase of the process, six consortia were selected, including Mota-Engil/CCCC Consortium and Power China International Group Limited/Power Construction Corporation of China.

Others are China State Construction Engineering Corporation Nigeria Limited, CGGC/CGC Consortium, CCECC/CCRICG Consortium and ICICTAS Insaat San ve Tic ASIConds INds and Trade Corp.
Sanwo-Olu explained that the various stages of negotiation and construction would be handled by different layers of experts, giving opportunity for replacement of under performing preferred bidders in the six categories on the project.

In his remarks, the Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, assured Lagos residents of his “unalloyed support toward the construction of the 4th Mainland Bridge”.

He noted that the bridge would create job opportunities, both direct and indirect, for the people of Lagos and its neighbouring states.

He said, “It will empower a lot of its citizens and a lot of businesses will blossom.

“Currently, the 6 October Bridge, Cairo, Egypt, which measures 20.5km, holds the continent’s length-crown.

“When completed, the Fourth Mainland Bridge will be the longest in Africa.”’

Giving a brief of the project, Dr Peter Agunbiade of Advance Engineering Consultants said the project was redesigned to reduce the length of the bridge, travel time and number of houses to be demolished on the alignment of the construction.

According to him, the project is now a 37.4km freeway, subdivided into three sections, namely: Island Section, Lagoon Section and Mainland Section.

He said, “It starts at the Abraham Adesanya Roundabout in Lekki, where a free flow interchange will be constructed, as well as some traffic flow alterations to the existing Lekki-Epe Expressway so as to maintain traffic movements during construction.

“The freeway then proceeds north, toward the lagoon, passing through Ajah and Langbasa areas, crossing the Addo Badore Road, before arriving at the lagoon shoreline.

“The road crosses the lagoon via a 4.5km lagoon bridge and land between Bayeiku and Ijede villages.

“It continues northward, passing through the Ikorodu/Epe and Ikorodu/Sagamu expressways and then continue and turns northwest, within Ikorodu suburbs toward Isawo Road.

“The freeway continues west, where it briefly enters and exits Ogun State toward the Lagos-Ibadan expressway, where it will interfaces with the federal highway.”

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Buhari to present 2023 budget proposal to NASS Friday

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President Muhammadu Buhari will present the 2023 Appropriations bill to a joint session of the National Assembly on Friday.

The appropriations bill will contain budget proposals for the 2023 fiscal year.

He made this known in a letter to the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, which was read out at the start of plenary on Tuesday.

The formal budget presentation is scheduled for 10am

and it will be the last main budget Buhari will be presenting as he will leave office on 29 May 2023 when his second four year term will end.

The Federal Government is already proposing an aggregate expenditure of N19.76 trillion for the 2023 fiscal year with a budget deficit of about N12.41 trillion.

Some key assumptions in the proposal include an estimated oil benchmark of $70, crude oil production put at 1.69mbpd, exchange rate of N435.57/$ and inflation rate at 17.16 per cent.

The Federal Government pegged growth rate at 3.75 per cent because it believes that “Growth is expected to be moderated to 3.30% in 2024 before picking up to 3.46% in 2025.”

The Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, had disclosed that the federal government will borrow over N11 trillion and sell national assets to finance the budget deficit in 2023.

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ASUU also corrupt, undermining govt investment – Buhari

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President Muhammadu Buhari has said a number of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) are involved in corrupt practices.

He said the corruption in the universities and other institutions was undermining government’s funding and investment in education.

ASUU has been on strike since February 14 over increase in lecturers’ allowances and salaries as well as improved funding for the universities.

Buhari has appealed to the union to call off the strike but the lecturers have stood their ground.

The President on Tuesday while declaring open the Fourth National Summit on Diminishing Corruption organised by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), Office of Secretary to Government of the Federation (OSGF) and Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB), said ASUU was no less complicit in the corruption in tertiary education.

He said corruption in the education sector had continued to undermine investments, while critics downplayed funding by focusing only on budgetary allocations, urging a more comprehensive re-evaluation of expenditure.

The President said, “This year’s summit will mirror how corruption undermines educational policies, investments and create an unfriendly learning environment for our youths.

“Incessant strikes especially by unions in the tertiary education often imply that government is grossly underfunding education, but I must say that corruption in the education system from basic level to the tertiary level has been undermining our investment in the sector and those who go on prolonged strikes on flimsy reasons are no less complicit.

“The 1999 Constitution places a premium on education by placing it on the Concurrent List, thereby laying the responsibilities of budgeting and underwriting qualitative education on both the Federal and State Governments.

“The total education budget for each year is therefore a reflection of both federal and state budgets and should be viewed as other financial commitments in their totality.

“The allocation to education in the federal budget should not be considered via allocation to the Federal Ministry of Education and also academic institutions alone, but should include allocation to the Universal Basic Education, transfers to TETFUND and refund from the Education Tax Pool Account to TETFUND.

“Corruption in the expenditure of internally generated revenue of tertiary institutions is a matter that has strangely not received the attention of stakeholders in tertiary education, including unions.

“I call on stakeholders to demand accountability in the administration of academic institutions and for unions to interrogate the bloated personnel and recurrent expenditure of their institutions. Let me also implore the Unions to work with the government to put faces and identities to names on the payroll.

“Due to declining resources, the government cannot bear the cost of funding education alone. I task our academics to attract endowments, research and other grants to universities, polytechnics and colleges of education similar to what obtains in other countries.”

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Seven police officers dismissed, 10 others demoted

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The Police Service Commission (PSC), on Tuesday, dismissed seven senior police officers over gross misconduct.

The commission also announced the demotion of 10 other officers through reduction in rank.

These decisions were taken during the continuation of the 15th plenary meeting of the commission.

The meeting is expected to end on Thursday, October 6, 2022, according to a report by The Trust.

Presided over by its acting chairman, Justice Clara Ogunbiyi, the meeting considered all the Pending Disciplinary Matters (PDM) before the commission.

The PDMs, which totalled 47, also treated some appeals from dismissed police officers.

Addressing newsmen shortly after the meeting in Abuja, the spokesman for the commission, Ikechukwu Ani, said, the dismissed officers include one CSP, one SP and five ASPs.

He said that one SP was retired in public interest, adding that the commission reduced the ranks of one CSP to SP, three SPs to DSP, and two DSPs to ASPs.

The commission further reduced the ranks of four ASPs to Inspectors.

10 senior police officers, including an ACP, a CSP, a SP and two DSPs were given the punishment of severe reprimand.

Five ASPs were also awarded the punishment of severe reprimand.

Thirteen officers received the punishment of reprimand; two are to receive letters of warning while four officers were exonerated.

Ani quoted Justice Ogunbiyi as saying the commission would henceforth give the desired attention to Pending Disciplinary Matters so that those found guilty are punished immediately while those found not guilty are cleared to continue with their career progression.

Justice Ogunbiyi called on police officers to ensure they operate within established rules and avoid taking laws into their hands.

The commission, she said, would continue to work to sustain a professional police force.

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