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Infighting deepens as parallel APC congresses hold nationwide

The state congress of the All Progressives Congress (APC) was marred by irregularities on Saturday.

From violence to factional disputes, the exercise plunged the ruling party into a deeper crisis.

Various factions staged their own congresses in Lagos, Delta, Kogi, Kwara, Ondo and Oyo.

Imo congress held despite court order against it

In Imo state, the congress took place at an undisclosed venue, despite a court injunction against it.

TheCable learnt that the congress was organised by a faction of the party loyal to Hillary Eke, the party chairman in the state.

Among the officials elected at the congress — which was reportedly witnessed by officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) are Eke (chairman), Ugochukwu Nzekwe (vice chairman), and Patrick Eze, secretary.

Omo-Agege led the pack in a parallel congress in Delta

The APC congress in Delta held despite the postponement of the exercise by the party’s national working committee.

The NWC had in a letter addressed to the chairman INEC and signed by Mai Buni, APC’s national secretary, confirmed the postponement of the exercise till Monday.

Saraki and Abdullahi

In a letter dated May 18, 2018, the party’s NWC had informed INEC that the state congress had been postponed till Monday.

Unconfirmed reports had it that the reason was as a result of unresolved disputes within leaders of the party in the state.

The postponement, nonetheless, some of the stakeholders were said to have attended the congress which held in Okpanam. Among those in attendance were Ovie Omo-Agege, senator representing Delta central senatorial district.

‘Anti-Tinubu’ faction held parallel congress in Lagos

In Lagos, two different factions of the APC held parallel congress. While one of the factions — loyal to Bola Tinubu, national leader of the party — had its at the party secretariat in Ikeja, the other faction led by Fouad Oki held its at the Lagos Airport Hotel, also in Ikeja.

In February, Oki had led other aggrieved members of the party in the state to form a group — the Broom United Movement. Delegates from various wards and local government areas in the state attended the congress organised by Oki’s faction.

Geofrey Onyema, minister of foreign affairs; and Juliet Ibekaku, special adviser to the president on justice reforms,addressing reporters

Thugs chased delegates away at parallel congress in Ondo

Suspected thugs invaded the venue of a parallel congress of the party in Ondo state, destroying congress materials and also injuring some of the participants.

The thugs who invaded the venue of the congress — BTO Hall, Akure — chased away the delegates and others in attendance. Some party leaders at loggerhead with Rotimi Akeredolu, governor of the state, organised the congress.

Among those injured in the violence were Bamidele Baderinwa, a member of the house of representatives, from the state, as well journalists covering the exercise.

A separate congress by loyalists of Akeredolu held at the International Event Centre, Akure. There was no violence reported at the venue.

Delegates at the parallel congress in Oyo

In Kwara, two parallel state congresses took place, both in Ilorin.

According to NAN, while the faction loyal to the Senate President Bukola Saraki, held its congress at the Banquet Hall opposite the government house, another congress by a faction loyal to Lai Mohammed, minister of information, took place at Arca Santa Event Hall.

Abdulfatah Ahmed, governor of the state, Bolaji Abdullahi, APC spokesman; lawmakers representing Kwara at the national assembly and state assembly were present at the congress.

Saraki, while speaking at the congress commended members of the party for the peaceful conduct of the ward and local government congresses.

A member of APC, Moji Adeyemi; Munsurat Sumonu, Senator representing, Oyo central ,Senatorial district; and Shittu

He said most of the executive members at the wards and local government level were youths, adding that this was a sign of good things to come in 2019.

The congress held at Arca Santa Hall had Moshood Mustapha, a former special assistant to the senate president in attendance. Raheem Adedoyin, a former commissioner in the state; and Ganiyu Olododo, a former secretary to the state government, also witnessed it.

Executive members of the two factions emerged through consensus arrangement.

In Edo, John Oyegun, national chairman of the party was absent at the congress which held at at Imaguero College Hall, on Sapele Road in Benin City.

Anslem Ojezua was affirmed the state chairman. Ojezua was among the Edo APC Exco who were returned to office in a congress that was widely described as free and fair.

“The party is well organised. You can see that for yourself. Don’t you think this sort of experience should be taken to the federal level? Edo is the light; we want to show the light to Nigerians on how things should be done and how political parties should be organised,” Godwin Obaseki, the governor, said.

Okey Onyejekwe, chairman of the congress committee, commended the 1, 265 delegates drawn from the 18 local government area of the state for their conduct during the exercise.

In Katsina and Jigawa, all the officials of the party were returned through a consensus arrangement.

But in Oyo, there was a repeat of the May 13 parallel local government congress. Two factions held the exercise in two locations in Ibadan, the state capital.

While Abiola Ajimobi, the governor attended the congress held at the Lekan Salami Stadium, the unity forum led by Adebayo Shittus, minister of communications, held its own at the Liberty Stadium.

Present at the Lekan Salami Stadium were Adebayo Alao-Akala, a former governor; Abdulfatai Buhari, senator representing Oyo north; Olagunju Ojo, speaker, Oyo state house of assembly and Teslim Folarin, a former senate leader.

Ajimobi, Alao-Akala and Folarin, addressing the crowd

Akin Oke, the APC chairman in the state, and several others were returned through consensus.

But at the congress of the unity forum Shittu, said members must check the impunity that had characterised the running of the party’s affairs in the state.

He expressed concern over what he called the dictatorial attitude of a few persons running the party without any consideration for those that had worked for its success.

“It is in the course of our efforts to liberate the party from these individuals that we have brought this congress and we will continue to do the wishes of the people so as to bring sanity into the system,’’ he said.
In Enugu, suspected thugs broke into Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium, Enugu and disrupted the exercise.

Banire confronts Tinubu in Lagos, holds parallel APC congress

The festering crisis in the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Lagos, blew open on Saturday as two parallel state congresses were held by opposing factions.

One congress was held at the party secretariat on ACME Road, Ogba, Lagos, while the other held at the Airport Hotels, Ikeja Lagos.

While the ACME Congress comprises of those loyal to APC leader, Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu, the Airport Hotel Congress were those loyal to APC National Legal Adviser, Mr Muiz Banire

Benitez, an erstwhile Tinubu loyalist has been at loggerheads with the party leader over control of structures after he lost a bid for the party’s ticket at the 2015 governorship elections.

APC Banire Congress at Airport Hotel, Ikeja

The Asiwaju Tinubu faction elected Alhaji Tunde Balogun as chairman, while the Banire faction elected Fuad Oke as chairman. Election of other officers are still on going.

The Banire group dismissed Tinubu’s Congress as illegal, citing that it is based on 57 Local Governments while theirs was based on the Constitutional 20 Local Governments as stipulated in the constitution of Nigeria.

Mr Banire while addressing his supporters said, they will not surrender Lagos to those who only want to keep enriching themselves without the interest of the masses, saying that they will do everything possible to truncate the continued reign of Tinubu in Lagos.

Food security: Lagos spends N1.05bn on LAKE rice subsidy

Lagos State Government on Thursday said it has subsidized LAKE Rice to the tune of N1.049bn from December 2016 till date, as part of efforts aimed at sustaining food sufficiency and food security in the State.

Speaking at the ongoing annual Ministerial Press Briefing to mark the third anniversary of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode’s administration held at Bagauda Kaltho Press Centre in Alausa, Commissioner for Agriculture, Mr. Oluwatoyin Suarau said that LAKE Rice, which is being sold at a highly subsidized rate of N12,000 per bag of 50kg, has helped crashed the skyrocketing price of rice in the country.

“The State Government has subsidized LAKE Rice under this review period with One Billion, Forty Nine Million, One Hundred and Forty Thousand, Three Hundred and Ninety Five Naira (N1,049,140,395.00). This is targeted towards ensuring food sustainability and food security in the state and as an end result, making Lake Rice a national brand,” he said.

Suarau explained that the subsidy include cost of transportation, bagging and difference in cost price of the rice from other brands, adding that a total of 150 marketers and other ancillary service providers have been empowered through the sale of LAKE Rice.

The Commissioner while restating the commitment of the Governor Akinwunmi Ambode led administration to boost the production of rice disclosed that the State government has completed an agreement to acquire and establish a 32 tonnes per hour rice mill with AG (“Bühler”), a leading rice-mill producer in the world stressing that the establishment of the rice mill is targeted at enhancing food security and creating employment in the State.

“It is estimated that the partnership would facilitate the creation of  274,000 jobs across the agriculture value chain, and will also bring about the cultivation of 32,000 hectares of farm land to produce rice paddy, equating to an estimated 130million Kg of processed rice per year which is an equivalent of 2.6milion 50kg bags of rice”, he said.

The Commissioner said that the establishment of the state-of-the-art rice mill will serve as a platform for Lagos to partner with other South-West States aside the existing collaboration with Kebbi State.

This, he said, was in consonance with the region’s resolve towards achieving economic integration, ensure that adequate rice is supplied to the 32 metric tonnes per hour rice mill and make provision for empowerment programmes for farmers across all the value chains of Agriculture.

Suarau said that the present administration has since inception embarked on agricultural policies and programmes aimed at enhancing food security in the Stated noted that State government has made a lot of deliberate efforts to enhance agriculture with the introduction of programmes in Vegetable farming, poultry, cassava farming and various forms of agro- processing programmes to the youths.

He said that the commitment of the State Government towards the attainment of food security depended largely on cooperation of every resident of the State, stressing that food security and hygienic environment occupies the front burner of the present administration’s plans to facilitate job and wealth creation as well as reduce poverty in the State.

He said during the period under review, a village listing survey was carried out in three agricultural zones of the State with results revealing that about 711,736 families now take farming as occupation in the State.

“The State carried out Village Listing Survey in the three Agricultural Zones, namely West (Badagry); East (Ikorodu) and far East (Epe). The survey revealed that the estimated number of families taking farming as primary occupation is 558,420 while those taking it as secondary occupation is 153,316 in the State,” Suarau said.

The Commissioner also said that a total of 1,500 farmers and marketers across the Five administrative divisions of the State has been empowered  adding also that the Agric Youth Empowerment Scheme has trained over 600 youths in various agricultural enterprises such as Poultry, Fishery and Crop production.

“The State Government has also provided 12 units of coconut processing equipment for coconut processors in the State and this include Stainless two ton per hour coconut greater, 7.5 H.P Electric motor, Industrial burners, Aluminium bowls and spoon among other equipment”, Suarau said.

He assured that the present administration was totally committed to ensuring that the State becomes food secured and continue to demonstrate its all-inclusive system of governance as a means of expanding the dividends of democracy.

Stop rejecting gunshot victims, Lagos police commissioner warns doctors, hospitals

…says offenders risk five years in jail

The Lagos State Police Command on Wednesday warned hospitals and doctors to henceforth desist from rejecting gunshot victims, saying such act constitutes a flagrant violation of an existing law.

Reacting to a media report on the refusal of an hospital to treat a victim who was shot and wounded by armed robbers, the police said it must be noted that doctors who do so are criminally liable on account of the provision of the Compulsory Treatment and Care of Victims Of Gunshot Act, 2017. 

In a statement by the Command’s Public Relations Officer, SP Chike Oti, the police said it would henceforth arrest and prosecute any medical practitioner who rejects gunshot victims on the ground of police report.

“The attention of the Nigeria Police, Lagos State Command, has been drawn to the Punch Newspapers publication of Monday, May 14, 2018, captioned ” Hospital rejects victim over bullet injuries.” 

“The story goes that one Engr. Adebayo Akinwunmi, a senior engineer with an Information and Communications Technology company, was shot and wounded by armed robbers in his house at Ofada-Mokoloki, Ogun state and was brought to Reddington hospital, Ikeja for treatment only to be refused admission on the unlawful and inexcusable grounds that there was no police report. 

“The Command considers the action of the hospital as cruel; perhaps, an indication that the hospital management may be ignorant of the “Compulsory Treatment and Care of Victims Of Gunshot Act, 2017,” Oti said. 

He said the Act demands that every hospital in Nigeria whether public or private ‘shall accept or receive for immediate and adequate treatment with or without police clearance any person with a gunshot wounds.’

“The Act, however requires the hospital treating such a patient to report the fact to the nearest police station within two (2) hours of commencement of treatment,” Oti clarified.

He said the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, CP Imohimi Edgal was saddened by the allegation against the said hospital, and had henceforth directed the arrest and prosecution of any medical practitioner who violates the law.

“The Commissioner of Police, Lagos State, CP Imohimi Edgal, saddened by the allegation against the Reddington Hospital, has directed all Area Commanders and Divisional Police Officers in Lagos State to henceforth arrest and diligently prosecute any medical practitioner who rejects a gunshot victim on the ground of no police report.

“The CP wants doctors to note that the Act recommends a 5-year-jail term for any person, hospital or authority who stands by or omits to do his bit which results in the unnecessary death of any person with bullet wounds,” Oti said.

One killed in Lagos APC congress violence

One person was reportedly shot dead on Saturday as the All Progressives Congress (APC) congress in Lagos state turned violent.

It was learned that the exercise was going on smoothly at Central School, Dopemu, until suspected thugs invaded the area, shooting sporadically into the air.

The shootings had resulted in chaos in the area as participants in the congress scurried to safety.

The thugs were said to have killed one Nurudeen Olanose while an unconfirmed number of persons were injured.

The police say three persons have been arrested over their alleged involvement in the killing.

Chike Oti, spokesman of the command, said the suspects have been taken to the criminal investigation department, Panti, for interrogation.

He said: “We confirmed that one person was killed on Saturday at Central Primary School, Oniwaya Agege. Three persons allegedly involved in the killing have been arrested.

“The suspects have been taken to the State Criminal Investigation Department, Panti for interrogations. The victim was killed outside the venue of the APC ward election.

“The victims and those arrested had nothing to do with the election as they were not accredited.”

In a similar development, the congress in Ifako-Ijaiye local government area was brought to an abrupt end as a mild violence erupted over the choice of candidates.

Trouble started when the electoral officers announced some names as elected executive members after which some party members immediately protested in opposition.

The intervention of security personnel on ground prevented a breakdown of law and order.

The electoral officers in charge of the process were whisked away by security officials after some persons attempted to attack them.

Lagos ICT hub to raise new set of entrepreneurs – Commissioner

Lagos State Government has concluded plans to transform the Sabo Industrial Estate in Yaba into a Technology Hub and another Silicon Valley where a new set of entrepreneurs will be raised to address the challenges confronting the nation in the ICT sector.

The State Commissioner for Science and Technology, Mr. Hakeem Popoola Fahm disclosed this while briefing the press on the activities and achievements of the Ministry at the ongoing Y2018 Ministerial Press Briefing at the Bagauda Kaltho Press Centre, Alausa in commemoration of the Third Year in Office of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode led administration.

He explained that the State government saw the need to embrace software development and key into its vast available employment opportunities to drastically reduce the problem of youth mass unemployment, stressing that the present administration has set up a Committee on the ICT Hub and all hands are on deck to ensure a successful implementation.

Fahm noted that upon successful implementation of the ICT Hub, Lagos State will become the catalyst for IT penetration and enablement in Nigeria and Africa.

In his words, “One of the benefits of the hub is to promote knowledge, employment generation, wealth creation and economic prosperity for the citizens of the State and Government”.

He said that ICT is more of a tool than a need itself as the growth of ICT in the State has affected every aspect of human life as virtually every aspect of our lives has a digital dimension.

Speaking on the Smart City Initiative, the Commissioner said it is an all-encompassing project that will holistically address all sectors of the economy, noting that the need for a smart city arises from global advancements in Technology and its ability to impact speedily in almost all challenges facing a Megacity like Lagos.

“The main objective of the Lagos Smart City initiative is to connect human capital, social capital and ICT infrastructure in order to address public issues, achieve a sustainable development and increase the quality of life of its citizens within the shortest possible time”, he enthused.

Fahm asserted that the Citizens Gate project, which is aimed at facilitating online interaction, communication and connectivity between the citizen and the State Government, has captured 22 critical Ministries, Departments and Agencies in its first phase in 2017, revealing that an additional 95 MDAs will soon be added to the portal within the next few weeks for completion of the second phase.  

He said the Ministry has continued to make remarkable progress through the e-governance platform by providing portals for the verification/processing of vehicle registration on www.lsmvaapvs.orgwhile the platform for processing of drivers’ licence is underway.

The Commissioner assured that theState government will soon provide additional Wi-Fi access at bus terminals and several parks/gardens in addition to such facility already existing at the Ndubuisi Kanu; Johnson, Jakande & Tinubu as well as Muri Okunola Parks in Lagos.

Court lifts injunction restraining Lagos from implementing consumption tax law

A Federal High Court in Lagos on Monday lifted its interim injunction restraining the Lagos State Government from enforcing the provisions of Hotel Occupancy and Restaurant Consumption Tax Law, 2015.

Justice Rilwan Aikawa, in a ruling on a motion filed by the Registered Trustees of Hotel Owners and Managers Association of Lagos, had restrained the State Government from further enforcing the law pending the determination of the matter.

Joined as defendants are the Attorney General of Lagos State and the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS).

The plaintiff is urging the court to strike out the Hotel Occupancy and Restaurant Consumption Law, Cap H8, Laws of Lagos State 2015.

The plaintiff also asked the court to restrain the State Government from enforcing the provisions of its new Hotel Occupancy and Restaurant Consumption (Fiscalisation) Regulations 2017.

At the last adjournment on April 17, counsel to the first defendant, Mr Lawal Pedro (SAN), had informed the court of his motion, seeking a variation of the court’s interim orders made on March 21.

Pedro, in the motion, argued that the interim order was made following misrepresentations and concealment of material facts by the plaintiff.

He had specifically argued that the interim injunction was irregular for not being within the scope of the relief sought by the plaintiff (hotel operators) in the suit.

“Not discharging the interim injunction will cause greater hardship, damages and injustice to the Lagos State Government which cannot be compensated by the plaintiff,” Pedro had argued.

When the case came up again on Monday, Olasupo Shasore (SAN), announced appearance for the plaintiff and informed the court that he had reached an agreement with the defence counsel for a variation of the existing orders, pending determination of the suit.

He added that it was also agreed that no new measures would be introduced by the defendants until determination of the substantive suit.

In response, Pedro confirmed the position, and added that the restraining orders be lifted on the Hotel Occupancy and Restaurant Consumption Law, Cap H8, Laws of Lagos State 2015 which has been in force in the State.

According to him, the restraining orders on the Regulation 2017 can be allowed to subsist pending determination of the suit.

He, then, moved his motion, seeking variation of the interim orders.

The court consequently ruled: “An Order is hereby made, varying the orders made on March 21, 2018.

“The variation shall be to the extent that the restraining orders against the first defendant from implementing the Hotel Occupancy and Restaurant Consumption Laws of Lagos State, be expunged from the said order, while retaining the restraining orders on Hotel Occupancy and Restaurant Consumption (Fiscalisation) Regulations 2017.”

While ordering the plaintiff to comply with the laws of the State, the Court added that no new measures should be introduced by the first defendant pending the determination of the suit.

Meanwhile, the court has granted an accelerated hearing of the matter and adjourned till June 4, 2018.

 

Religious tourism captured in sector master plan – Ayorinde

 

The Lagos State Government on Monday said that the State’s Tourism Master Plan has adequately captured the potential of spiritual or religious tourism, adding that the primary concern of government was to ensure that the infrastructure and enabling environment to drive tourism development was fully in place.

Commissioner for Tourism, Arts and Culture, Mr. Steve Ayorinde who disclosed this while addressing journalists at the annual Ministerial Press Briefing to mark the third year anniversary of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode’s administration held at the Bagauda Kaltho Press Centre in Alausa, said the Master Plan, which would be ready by the end of May 2018, was geared toward showcasing the State as major tourism destination across the world.

According to Ayorinde, the long term strategic master plan, which is being prepared by Messrs Ernst & Young, will focus on six sectors including Culture and Heritage, Film, Art and Entertainment, Business Tourism, Nature and Adventure, Medical and Wellness, Beach and Leisure.

Responding to a question on if the Master Plan took cognisance of the multi billion naira generated by tourists visiting the State for spiritual purposes on a yearly basis, the Commissioner said that though not explicitly mentioned in the plan, said that every area of tourism had been adequately provided for in the document.

“If you look at the six sectors in broad terms, you will see that they have captured every area of tourism as far as business development and promotion are concerned and the interest of government is to develop the ecosystem of tourism, the practitioners, the tour operators everybody who has been involved over the years, will basically drive their businesses.

“But what government is interested in is to say that in the first two years after we have released the tourism master plan, what are the things that we need get done, what sort of policies should guise us, do we require any tweaking in the existing policies and programmes, who do we speak to, where do we seek money and who should we identify and those six pillars that our consultants have identified, frankly speaking has captured everywhere.

“Visitors, who come in for spiritual tourism, most times come for conferences, for spiritual healing and exhibition. It shouldn’t matter to the State what you have come for, what matters to the State is that visitors are coming, when they come, they see our city, they sleep in our hotels, they buy our foods, etc. So it’s all about tourism and entertainment,” Ayorinde said.

The Commissioner said that Lagos had continued to attract visitors from all over the globe due to its commercial activities and tourism potentials, adding that recently, the State was ranked as number one tourism destination in Africa for British residents ahead of South Africa and Kenya.

He added that that the plan by two top Hollywood actors to shoot movies in the State this year would further boost the State’s economy and generate employment for those in the movie business.

“Recently John Boyega, a British-Nigerian made his intention known to make a film which has a budget of about $25million (about N9billion). Also Lupita Nyong’o, a Kenyan born Hollywood actress will be shooting a film based on the adaptation of Chimamanda Adichie’s novel Americanah in Lagos and the budget for the film is even much bigger. We cannot quantify what the economic benefits of this would be.

“All these are coming at a time when Governor Ambode is doing everything possible to improve on the development of Tourism, Hospitality Entertainment and Sporting Excellence in the State,” he said.

He also disclosed that the State Government would be playing a key role during the visit of the French President, Emmanuel Macron, who is scheduled to visit Nigeria and also Lagos later in July this year, adding that the Ministry of Tourism had held series of meeting with the French Ambassador as well as the representatives of the French President to facilitate the visit.

Speaking on the proposed Lagos Museum project to be sited at the New Eko Court, Marina, Ayorinde revealed that the State has already received $400,000 out of the $600,000 grant donated by the Ford Foundation, adding that the entire fund would go into the design and preparation for the museum.

The Commissioner also said that during the year under review, the Ministry in partnership with the Federal Government stepped up its clampdown on piracy and indecent display of adult contents on the streets, saying that the government would not hesitate to prosecute those who display and patronise such materials going forward.

Lagos to address waste challenges before rainy season

The Lagos State Government on Wednesday said all hands are on deck to holistically address the challenges being experienced in waste management with the implementation of the Cleaner Lagos Initiative (CLI), assuring that the issue would be addressed before the rainy season. 

Speaking at the annual Ministerial Press Briefing to mark the third year anniversary of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode’s administration held at the Bagauda Kaltho Press Centre in Alausa, Commissioner for the Environment, Mr Babatunde Durosinmi-Etti, said the CLI was introduced last year to foster broad reforms in solid waste management, saying that the scheme remained the panacea for delivering efficient, effective and sustainable environment with its attendant benefits such as job creation, cleaner, safer and healthy environment. 

Responding to question on state of refuse in public places, the Commissioner said the government, in partnership with all stakeholders, was working hard to address the challenge, just as he assured that it would soon be a thing of the past. 

“Very soon, Lagos will be very clean. We are working hard in partnership with all stakeholders to ensure we address the challenges. Both the government and the residents will jointly address the challenges and with Visionscape and the Private Sector Participation (PSP) operators working together, and the cooperation of the people, the challenges would soon be over.

“We know that our population is increasing as available statistics indicate that 85 people enter Lagos every hour and very few of them go back, and as more people come in, the waste generated in the State is also increasing but we are working to put the right infrastructure and equipment in place to address waste management.

“However, one thing I can assure the people is that we are working and in another one month before the raining season, it will be over. We know that the raining season is fast approaching and we are also preparing but I like to assure that soon, the challenges will be surmounted,” Durosinmi-Etti said.

He said 13,958 Community Sanitation Workers (CSW) have so far been employed to sweep inner streets in the 377 political wards in the State, with recruitment exercise still ongoing, adding that under the new arrangement, the sweepers would be directly supervised by the Ministry, while mechanized sweeping would be managed by three companies – Avatar, Wastercare and Corporate Solutions.

He said the PSP operators have now been charged with the responsibility of managing residential and general waste collection, while Visionscape now has the mandate of implementing waste management infrastructure development across the State, in addition to intervening in public waste collection to cover any service lapses that may occur.

On infrastructure, the Commissioner said the retrofitting of Transfer Loading Stations in Agege, Oshodi and Lagos Island had attained over 80 per cent completion with plans for more, while Epe Landfill under construction had achieved remarkable progress with completion of the weigh-in bridge, adding that government in partnership with the private sector would soon commence another engineered hazardous landfill in Erikiti, Badagry.

He also said the responsibility for maintenance of drainage infrastructure across the State had been ceded to the Lagos State Public Works Corporation, while based on ongoing efforts, the challenges to residents following the fire at Olusosun dump site would soon be over.

Speaking on other activities of the Ministry and its agencies, Durosinmi-Etti said the State Government rapidly increased access to safe drinking water by adding 10million gallons per day to bring water supply to 220MGD within the last one year, adding that a total of 48 mini waterworks were rehabilitated in Ikeja, Surulere, Onikan, Epe, Ikorodu, Dolphin, Ajangbadi, Victoria Island, VI Annex, among others.

He said the 220MGD was in addition to Iju and Adiyan Phase I major waterworks with 45MGD and 70MGD capacity respectively, while work was ongoing on 70MGD Adiyan Water Treatment Plant Phase II, 4MGD Ishasi waterworks, 2MGD Imeke-Iworo waterworks and 2MGD Oke-Odo mini waterworks.

To enhance environmental sustainability, the Commissioner said the State Government, in the last one year, commissioned JJT Park in Alausa, Rafiu Jafojo Park in Shasha and Badagry Recreational Park, while six new parks have been earmarked for development in Oregun, Iponri, Ikotun, Queens Drive, Iganmu and Epe, in addition to establishment of a florist’s village in Osborne, Ikoyi to enhance the greening programme.

He said government, through the Lagos State Parks and Gardens (LASPARK) propagated over 100,000 nursery plant seedlings of various species with the period under review, while it cumulatively planted 7,388,096 trees.

In the area of noise pollution, the Commissioner said the government treated a total of 1,185 petitions out of which 60 per cent were abated, while the Lagos State Environmental Sanitation Corps (LAGESC) arrested 2,097 environmental offenders comprising illegal street traders, hawkers, highway pedestrian defaulters, environmental nuisance polluters and cart pushers, among other achievements.

Zenith Bank NextGen Junior Masters Tennis tourney debuts in Lagos

Sixteen players served off the Zenith Bank NextGen Junior Masters on Tuesday as Stephen Augustine defeats Emmanuel Jebutu 9-7, while Omolade Adeyemi beat Kausarat Adegboyega 9-1 in day one actions.

The players — male and female — began the quest to emerge the best player of the elite competitions for U-18 players will be concluded on April 28.

The competition is holding at the Tennis Courts of the National Stadium, Surulere, Lagos.

Godwin Kienka, the organiser of the tournament, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) during the day one action that the players on parade are the best in the junior ranks.

Mr Kienka, who is director of the International Tennis Academy, said the tournament had always given players the opportunity to develop into the senior ranks.

“The junior masters basically is for players who have made their necessary marks based on last year’s performance at the other junior cadres of competitions.

“The top eight in the country have been isolated so that they can compete among themselves to make a quick transition to the senior ranks.

“The competition is set aside to give players that psychological boost to strive to be among the best eight to be discovered and make it as a great tennis player,” Kienka said.

NAN reports that the eight boys invited for Masters are Michael Oshewa boy’s 18 champions, Godgift Timibra, Stephen Augustine, Tochukwu Ezeh, Michael Ayoola, Emma Jebutu, Philip Abayomi and Gabriel Friday.

Friday was the winner of the boys U-16 title at the just-concluded CBN Junior Championships which held in Abuja, while Mathew Abamu the runner-up will standby as the alternate.

To slug it out in the girl’s category are Oyin Quadre, semi-finalist at the African Junior Championship Girl’s U-16, Favour Moses winner of CBN Junior Championship, Omolade Aderemi, Omolayo Bamidele and Toyin Asogba.

Others are Kasara Adegboyega, Mariam Alli-Balogun, and Rebecca Ekpeyong, while Oiza Yakubu, winner of the Girl’s U-14 CBN Juniors will serve as alternate.

The tournament, according to the organisers, will have the players divided into two round robin groups of four with the top two finishers playing a cross semi-finals.