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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.

Lagos IGR hit N103.4bn in Q1

The Lagos State Government on Tuesday said its internally generated revenue for the first quarter of Y2018 stood at N103.476billion, as against N96.7billion recorded in the previous year, thereby accounting for 81 per cent of the total revenue of N141billion generated in the quarter.

Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget, Mr. Segun Banjo who disclosed this during the annual Ministerial Press Briefing to mark the third year in office of Governor Ambode’s administration held at the Bagauda Kaltho Press Centre in Alausa, said the records so far shows that the performance of the State’s Y2018 budget of N1.046trillion was heading in the right direction.

Giving a breakdown of the figures, the Commissioner said the budget performance for the first quarter has a pro-rata size of N261.530billion and in absolute term, it had performed N163.491bn, compared with N120.206billion reported for the same period in Y2017.

In terms of revenue generation, Banjo said that the sum of N141billion (63 per cent) was generated as Total Revenue against N124.141billion (77 per cent) achieved in 2017, adding that this year’s first quarter performance was N17.816billion higher than the previous year’s performance in absolute terms.

He said out of the total revenue of N141billion the State internally generated N103.476billion representing 57 per cent, as against N96.7billion in the previous year, thereby accounting for 73 percent of the total revenue for the current fiscal year.

The Commissioner explained further that the Lagos Internal Revenue Service (LIRS) generated N84.1bilion in the first quarter, which accounted for 81 per cent of the total revenue generated, a feat, he attributed to proper planning and research by the government.

“What we have said now is that in the first quarter which we just concluded of 2018, LIRS generated a total of N84 billion compared to the N74billion that was generated in 2017. Due to the research and the planning done, LIRS has been able to improve their performance and we are very glad about it,” he said.

Banjo however noted that the N84billion generated by LIRS was excluding revenue from Land Use Charge (LUC), noting that it was from the strict application of taxes from Pay As You Earn (PAYE), withholding taxes, direct assessment and other taxes.

Besides, he said that Federal transfers for the first quarter Y2018 contributed N38.481billion (87 per cent) compared to a performance of N27.364billion out of which Statutory Allocation contributed N13.868billion and N24.4billion from VAT for the same period in 2017.

“Under Capital Expenditure, Quarter 1 performance stood at N93billion (53 per cent) as against N46.7billion (37 per cent) as at the same period in Y2017. As at the end of Q1 2018, the Capital:Recurrent ratio closed at 57:43 as against 39:61 recorded same time in Y2017.

“This is a pointer to the fact that all efforts geared towards tighter control of overhead is beginning to yield fruits even though more needs to be done in this area,” he said.

He said the State Government would do everything within its powers to sustain the budget performance in the second quarter, adding that the ultimate goal was to meet the target of a Capital: Recurrent expenditure ratio of 67:33 throughout the year.

Responding to questions on the reduction in the rates payable by property owners under the Lagos State Land Use Charge Law, vis a vis the 2018 budget and its effects on the plans by the government to deliver all ongoing projects in the State, the Commissioner allayed fears, adding that the present administration had already fashioned out strategies to ensure prompt delivery of critical projects this year. 

“Definitely we have made a projection but because this is a very responsive government, we have decided to give rebates and when you give rebates, automatically the revenue will go down, the expectation might not be there in terms of what we intended in the first instance. But we can assure you that whatever we lose from the rebate we would get it somewhere else because we would continue to up our game,” Banjo said.

 

Lagos Chief Judge inaugurates small claims court

The Chief Judge of Lagos state, Justice Opeyemi Oke yesterday inaugurated Small Claims Courts to as part of efforts to fast track justice delivery in commercial disputes involving small claims.

The inauguration of the Small Claims Courts, the first in the country, took place at  JIC Taylor Court House, Igbosere, Lagos.

Justice Oke said that the Small Claims Courts would operate at the magistrate level and adjudicate on claims not exceeding N5 million.
She recalled  that the establishment of the courts was one of the reforms she promised to carry out to move the Lagos Judiciary forward in her inaugural address last year.

She disclosed that 15 magistrate courts have been designated as Small Claims Courts within the five judicial divisions in the state.
“Coincidentally, the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC), a World Bank initiative, under the office of the Vice President on the Ease of Doing Business in Nigeria, also has as part of its reforms ‘Enforcement of Contracts“, with the introduction of specialized small claims commercial courts at the centre of the reforms. For this purpose, two states were chosen as Pilot States, Lagos State and Kano State”.

Justice Oke stated that in January this year, she set up a five-member Small Claims Court Committee comprising a Judge of the High Court, Justice Yetunde Adesanya, as Chairman and four Magistrates, three of whom she said are Chief Magistrates with administrative portfolios, in fulfilment of her commitment to the Lagos State Judiciary and the court’s role in the provision of Enabling Business Environment Initiative.

According to her, the committee was required to draft a Small Claims Court procedures and guidelines and make recommendations for  matters incidental to the workings of the Small Claims Courts within the Magistrates Courts’ system.

She was elated that the Lagos State Judiciary now has the “Magistrates‘ Court Law (Practice Directions on  Small Claims)“ for the operation of the Small Claims Court”.

“The objective of the Small Claims Court’s Procedure is to provide easy access to an informal, inexpensive and Speedy resolution of simple debt recovery disputes in the Magistrates’ Courts, of ciaims, not exceeding N5million.

She stated: “The Small Claims Court’s Procedure is simplified, in that every step has been reduced into standard forms, which the claimant or defendant/counter claimant as the case may be simply fills and files, i.e. Letter of demand, Complaint Form, Claim’s Form/Summons among others.

“There is a handbook/guide, which explains each step of the process, guides through the filling of the forms and provide answers to almost every conceivable question that a party who is desirous of using the process may have.

“There is a plan to have the Handbook printed in other languages, including Yoruba, Hausa, Ibo and Pidgin English, to encourage the use of the procedure and self representation by semi illiterates and illiterates.

“The Procedure is inexpensive, in that it encourages self representation by parties. It also encourages amicable settlement of the disputes.
The Procedure is fast and efficient,  every step is time-bound with sanctions for default.

“The entire hearing period from the first date of hearing, inclusive of the time allowed for exploring amicable, settlements must not exceed 30 days. The entire period of proceedings from filing till judgment is not to exceed 60 days”, she stated.

The state Attorney General, Mr Adeniji Kazeem, in his remarks at the ocassion, said that the establishment of the courts will complement the efforts of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode’s administration geared towards enhancing justice delivery in the state.
He noted the courts are features of developed countries like Britain, Russia, America, Japan among others.

Kazeem remarked Lagos state, through the various reforms being implemented in the judiciary by the Chief Judge, Justice Oke, contributed immensely towards the rating of the country as the eighth among ten most improved countries by the World Bank.

He commended the Chief Judge for her foresight for the establishment of the Small Claims Court which he described as “a worthy legacy and succour to legal and business community”.

Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to the President on Enabling Business Environment Council in the office of the Vice President, Dr Jumoke Oduwole, commended the Chief Judge, Justice Oke and the Lagos Judiciary for been the first Judiciary to break the World Bank deadline of April 30.

While expressing delight at the establishment of the courts, Dr Oduwole stressed the need for the training of the Magistrates that will adjudicate on matters involving small claims to ensure fast and efficient justice delivery.

Ile Epo Market remodelling to give traders better deal – Contractor

Total Value Nigeria Limited, the contractor handling the remodelling of Ile epo Marker in Agbado oke Odo Local government area of Lagos state said Traders are in for a better deal upon the completion of the project.

Speaking through its alter ego, Chris Simon Onyekachi, the company said the present location of the market deserves nothing but a good structure.

While speaking on the need to have the old market rebuilt, he noted that the market as it is presently, constitute an eyesore and is not befitting the Mega City status of Lagos state.

Onyekachi said the new design is to accommodate modern facilities to enhance easy buying and selling.

In addition, he said adequate securiy arrangements would be emplaced to guarantee security of lives and properties are in place.

Onyekachi stated further that when completed, the current occupiers would be given rights of first purchase at discount rate.

He solicited for the cooperation of all the stakeholders to ensure the success of the project.

Finally, he expressed appreciation to the Governor of Lagos State Akinwumi Ambode for his vision in transforming the state to a mega city saying the company will always work in line with that vision.

Lagos to unveil Gani Fawehinmi’s statue, celebrates 80th post humous birthday

The Lagos State Government will this Sunday, April 22 2018 unveil a new statue of Chief Gani Fawehinmi, SAN sited at the beautiful park in Ojota which is named after the late legal luminary and human rights advocate.

His Excellency, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, with members of the Gani Fawehinmi family, leading voices in human rights and other dignitaries across the state, will unveil the edifying statue in commemoration of the late activist’s 80th posthumous birthday.

In a press release signed onThursday by the state’s Commissioner for Tourism, Arts and Culture, Mr. Steve Ayorinde, the remodelling of the magnificent Gani Fawehinmi statue is part of the state’s strategy to enhance the aesthetic beauty of open public spaces and parks across the state and to celebrate and immortalise worthy icons that contributed immensely to the development of Lagos State.

According to the commissioner, this new statue is also informed by the desire of Lagos State government to project and entrench the enduring legacy of the country’s foremost human right lawyer, activist, philanthropist and one of the icons of pro-democracy movement in Nigeria.

“Lagos State is proud that Chief Gani Fawehinmi’s courageous voice was loud enough for the world to take notice of socio-political developments in Nigeria. His fearless activism and constant interventions on behalf of the voiceless were legendary and helped ignite global interest on the plight of the masses and on Lagos as a liberal State that created an enabling environment for voices against oppression to be heard,” Ayorinde said.

The 34-feet high statue will serve as one of the many iconic edifices that highlight the Akinwunmi Ambode-led administration’s quest to transform the landscape of the state with artistic aesthetics, while also signposting the belief in giving honour to whom honour is due.

The commissioner quoted goveror Ambode as saying that the relevance of Gani’s struggle for transparent and responsive governance remains the pillar of our progressive leadership in Lagos State in particular  and Nigeria in general. “It is therefore pertinent to accord him the needed reference and respect in the company of great and revered minds that considered Lagos as home and an integral part of their success story.”

The statement added that Governor Ambode and his entire cabinet, on behalf of the good people of Lagos State appreciate and congratulate the Fawehinmi family for keeping the flag of what Gani represents to the law profession and the civil society flying through the sustenance of the colloquium to celebrate his birthday annually.

Sunday’s unveiling is expected to be witnessed by members of Gani’s family,  friends, proteges and loyalists that have sustained the legacy of the late legal icon by keeping the flag of human rights advocacy, fairness and justice flying.

The Commissioner added that adequate security measures and traffic control have been provided to ensure that the two-hour ceremony is orderly and befitting of Chief Gani Fawehinmi’s legacy.

Lagos to award 4th Mainland Bridge contract in June

The Lagos State Government will in June award contract for the construction of the Fourth Mainland Bridge, an official said on Wednesday.

The state Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure, Mr Ade Akinsanya, gave the assurance at a ministerial press briefing at Alausa, Ikeja.

He said that the state was collating technical proposals and evaluating costs toward awarding contract.

Akinsanya said that committees had been set up to shop for quality contractors on the project.

“I do hope that before the end of May or June, we will announce the preferred bidder for the project.

“We are working very hard to select the appropriate and responsible contractor or partners that will execute the project.

“Before the end of the year, the project will commence,” he said.

The official said that the ministry was ready to partner with the Nigerian Society of Engineers to ensure quality project execution in the state.

He also said that the Oshodi-Abule Egba Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) lane construction on the Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway was 55 per cent completed.

Akinsanya said that the project would be completed by October.

“The contractor is working day and night even at weekends to achieve this target.

“Bear with us, if there are inconveniences on the way; we are trying to minimise the inconveniences to accelerate the work,’’ he said.

The commissioner said that the state government was committed to quality project delivery and would address concerns of some badly constructed walkways.

“On the issue of the walkway from Cement Bus Stop, I will go and check.

“We will talk to the contractor and we will go there ourselves and verify.

“No shoddy work will be allowed; there is a specification; the contractor is required to adhere to the specification,” he said.

Mr Tobun Abiodun, Chairman, Committee on Works and Infrastructure, Lagos State House of Assembly, said that the ministry had done well in road, bridge and other constructions.

“Lagosians appreciate what the ministry is doing because they have witnessed good governance in the state,” he said

Lagos govt takes over 3000-capacity truck terminal in Orile-Iganmu to tackle Apapa gridlock

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode on Tuesday said that the State Government would immediately take over the ABAT Truck Terminal Orile-Iganmu and commence immediate repairs on the terminal as part of efforts to permanently address the perennial traffic in Apapa axis majorly caused by breakdown of operations at the ports.

Governor Ambode, who disclosed this at the 2nd Quarter 2018 Town Hall Meeting, the 11th in the Series, held at the Apapa Amusement Park, said he was seriously concerned about the hardship residents in the axis were being subjected to as a result of the activities of containerized trucks and tankers moving in and out of the ports and tank farms, hence the decision to hold the meeting in the area to find lasting solutions.

“I cannot end this address without acknowledging that in Apapa, we have a major challenge; the menace of trucks on our roads and bridges causing endless traffic and loss of business time by Lagosians. This is why we have come here today. To see for ourselves and find a solution.

“Effective today, our government will take over the ABAT Truck Terminal Orile-Iganmu and commence immediate repairs to make the park ready for effective use. In the meantime, we will appeal to the Tanker Drivers Association to conduct themselves in an orderly manner and cooperate with our Task Force to ensure smooth flow of traffic and better access to the Ports.

“We thank the people of Apapa for enduring such harsh conditions but I assure you that this situation will be a thing of the past by the end of this year,” he said.

Governor Ambode said the ABAT Truck Terminal has a capacity to accommodate at least 3000 trucks, adding that the government was already working with security agencies to see how some of the trucks parked on the Western Avenue Bridge would be moved into the park.

“Already, we have cleared the shanties and the way we are trying to run it is such that we will be able to accommodate at least 3,000 trucks in the park. In addition to that, we will work with security agencies and see how we can move the trucks into the park because right now the park can accommodate about 300 trucks but the people are not using it.

“So, if I tell you that one of the areas that I always feel very bad about is this Apapa gridlock and that is the truth and that is why I have decided that lets bring all our resources together; let’s discuss with people; let’s also talk to the experts and see what is happening there,” he said.

The Governor, while responding to complaints from residents on the menace of motorcycle operators popularly called Okada riders, ordered the Police and other security agencies to enforce the State Traffic Law especially with regards to their restriction on major highways and roads so as to bring about sanity in the Apapa axis.

He added that as part of his administration’s efforts to regenerate the axis, Fadaini Road currently in a deplorable state would be fixed while Orile- Mile 2- Trade Fair- CMS Road would also be repaired to open up alternative roads for motorists plying the axis.

Besides, the Governor while alluding to the fact that the 2019 election is fast approaching, said his administration would nonetheless complete all ongoing projects in the State and continue to ensure that residents enjoy the dividends of democracy.

He also urged residents to go all out and collect their Permanent Voters Card (PVC), saying that the State must use the election to confirm its status as the most populous State in Nigeria and thereby help to correct the anomaly in distribution of resources.

“I want to strongly appeal to all Lagosians, this coming election is a different one. We want to define once and for all where the population of Nigeria lies. So it’s not just about APC or about any other party or people that are not interested, we want to use the PVC to send a message that the real population is in Lagos State.

‎”So the duty of all of us ‎is to say that before any census, there is one census, the census of votes and that PVC, so it becomes a finality that the real population is in Lagos State and that is why we must encourage each and every one of us to push ourselves if it is door to door or house to house, in our various groups and unions to ensure that they go out and get our PVC.

“Because each time we make our own State to look good, other people coming in and also put pressure on it for us and that’s why we are having too much pressure on our health facilities, our schools and other facilities that we have arranged, but because we have refused to participate in our civic obligations, the long result is the shortchanging of the resources that is distributed across Nigeria. I want to appeal to all Lagosians and all party leaders that this mobilization for the PVC has a longer reach than what you think,” Governor Ambode said

Assuring that his administration would spare no effort that Lagos remains safe, clean and prosperous, the Governor said that the prosperity of Lagos would automatically translate to greater prosperity for Nigeria.

“Without mincing words, the prosperity of Lagos State is on a positive trajectory. We believe strongly in it, it is our vision and our mission and nobody is going to stop it that if we secure the prosperity of Lagos, we have secured the prosperity of Nigeria. Everything that we need to do to ensure that every Lagosian has something to do is what this government is committed to do. We would use everything within our reach to ensure that Lagos remains safe, clean and prosperous. Continue to fulfill your obligations and we would do more because that’s how Lagos stands to grow,” Governor Ambode said.

Lagos investing huge resources in tourism infrastructure – Ambode

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode on Monday said his administration was consciously investing huge resources to develop an enduring infrastructural architecture that would ensure that the State’s tourism potentials are fully harnessed for all round economic growth and development.  

The Governor, who spoke at the Lagos Tourism Summit, held at the Eko Hotels and Suites, Victoria Island, with the theme- ‘Destination Lagos: Towards A Sustainable Tourism-Driven Economy’, said the plans, concepts and executions of his administration are deliberate and well thought-out to make the highly populated mega city-state culturally attractive and artistically functional.

“As a government, we are conscious of the fact that infrastructure, security, stability and partnership with all stakeholders are fundamental ingredients for tourism development. We have channeled a lot of resources into creating an enduring infrastructural architecture for the business of tourism to thrive,” he said.

He said his administration was not unmindful of the fact that for the State to match up with other leading world tourism destinations like Miami; São Paulo; Dubai, Singapore and Tokyo as well as African cities such as Cape Town, Cairo, Marrakech and Accra, the right infrastructure has to be put in place.

“In order to do this successfully, we must first build a solid infrastructural architecture that will endure. It must be safe and secure; it must provide functional and diverse venues for the arts, culture, festivals, creative industry, recreation and wildlife; and it must constantly and productively engage with its critical stakeholders.

“So when you see us reclaim 50 hectares of land at the Oworonshoki end of our lagoon; when you see us clear a whole stretch at the Badagry and Epe Marina; when we insist that our prime waterfront must not be taken over by shanties and slums; when you see us embark on some ambitious road, fly-over and modern bus terminal constructions; we are preparing the grounds for a major source of employment and prosperity.

“When you see us continue to plead for the control of wasting federal assets like the National Arts Theatre, National Museum and National Stadium and possibly declare our intention to have the Muritala Mohammed International Airport concessioned to us; we are focused on our tourism sector.

“When you see our unwavering commitment in changing the face of public transportation, committing more funds to providing jetties and expanding access to waterways, please know that we are driven only by the need to build and sustain the needed infrastructure upon which an enduring tourism landscape can stand and outlive our administration and those coming after us,” the Governor said.

Alluding to the massive opportunities available in the sector, Governor Ambode said that the activities within the tourism sector contributed about N800billion to the State’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2017.

“The tourism sector contributed about $2.2billion (N800billion) to the Lagos GDP in 2017 and with the infrastructure and resources we are deploying in this sector, we expect this figure to double or treble in the next 5 years.

“The enormous resources we have deployed in physical and social infrastructure across the State will begin to crystallize by December into mega structures that will support tourism and market our state as a smart destination,” the Governor said.

Noting that Nigeria boasts of very rich culture and heritage, Governor Ambode said it was not in doubt that the country has the largest concentration of the black race, adding that Lagos sits in a better position to tell the story of the black race.

He said the Lagos Tourism Master plan, which would emerge at the end of the summit was premised in the context of the fact that the State can become an iconic brand of the black race.

“The Tourism Master Plan is focused on Six (6) key sectors; Culture and Heritage, Film, Art and Entertainment, Business Tourism, Nature and Adventure, Medical and Wellness, Beach and Leisure,” Governor Ambode said.

Besides, he said the Tourism Summit, coming a week after a Security Summit was held at the same venue was a demonstration of the government’s commitment to find alternative platforms that can enrich and propel the State to prosperity continuously.

In his keynote address, former President of Ghana, Mr. John Dramani Mahama said that Lagos has the potentials to emerge as a foremost destination for tourism development in Africa.

While commending Governor Ambode for his efforts towards growing tourism through investment in infrastructure, he said with the billions of dollars revolving in the sector across the world and over 1.8billion tourists, the State was heading in the right direction in its bid to become Africa’s tourism hub.

“I’ve been following the progress Lagos has made on various fronts and I join those who have celebrated Governor Akinwunmi Ambode for the contributions he has made within this short period to enhance the efforts and contributions of his predecessors.

“There are potential billions of naira in revenue that Lagos State could earn in the next several years with the successful implementation of the plan that you intend could come out of this summit. 

“If you look at the nearly $7trillion that is supposed to be earned from tourism, then definitely Lagos State positioning itself as a favourite destination for tourism in order to get a share of this huge cake is a very wise decision by Governor Ambode and his team.

“Thankfully, Lagos in preparation for the launch of the State’s tourism master plan has began upgrading and expanding critical infrastructure including transportation, roads and of course the recent reclamation that is ongoing,” Mahama said. 

Several paper presentations by speakers at the Summit including Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Professor Pat Utomi, Mr. Desmond Majekodunmi, Mrs Omotayo Omotosho, Mr. Philip Hughes, while commending the State Government for putting together the summit, made recommendations on what Lagos must do to harness the massive potentials in the tourism sector.