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Lagos state government signs $1.35 billion deal for Fourth Mainland Bridge, other key projects

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The Lagos State Government has signed a partnership with the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) and Access Bank for an investment of $1.352 billion investment in long-term infrastructure projects in the state.

The Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who signed on behalf of the state government, in a post on his official X (formerly Twitter) account, said the deal was signed at the Africaribbean Trade and Investment Forum 2023 in Guyana.

The governor mentioned some key projects including Fourth Mainland Bridge, Omu Creek Project, and the 2nd Phase of the LRMT Blue Line from Mile 2 to Okokomaiko, noting that his administration is committed to creating a better future for the state.

The governor said that the vision for Lagos is becoming a reality with the Lekki-Epe International Airport and the Lagos Food Systems and Logistics Hub in Epe.

Sanwo-Olu posted, ‘’It was a significant moment in Guyana at the Africaribbean Trade and Investment Forum 2023 as we’ve secured a partnership with the African Export-Import Bank and Access Bank for a massive investment of $1.352 billion in Lagos.

‘’This investment will power our long-term infrastructure projects, demonstrating confidence from international and local partners in our growing economy.

‘’As we move forward, this investment will help us realize key projects, including the Fourth Mainland Bridge, Omu Creek Project, and the 2nd Phase of the LRMT Blue Line from Mile 2 to Okokomaiko. We’re committed to creating a better future for Lagos and its people.

‘’Our vision for Lagos is becoming a reality with the Lekki-Epe International Airport and the Lagos Food Systems and Logistics Hub in Epe. These projects will further boost our economy and serve generations to come.

‘’The future of Lagos is brighter than ever.’’

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‘Accept old, new naira notes’ — CBN notifies banks after Supreme Court judgment

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has directed all banks to accept old and redesigned naira notes indefinitely.

The development is coming a few hours after the judgement of the supreme court.

Last week, Lateef Fagbemi, attorney general of the federation, filed an application before the supreme court, seeking a deadline extension.

Following the court’s decision, the apex bank directed all banks to accept the N200, N500, and N1000 old notes alongside the redesigned versions.

The financial regulator in a statement signed by Ali Hakama, its director of corporate communications, also urged Nigerians to accept and handle the naira notes with respect.

“The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has directed all its branches to continue to issue and accept all denominations of Nigerian banknotes, old and re-designed, to and from deposit money banks (DMBs),” the apex bank said.

“For the avoidance of doubt, the Supreme Court ordered that the old versions of N200, N500, and N1,000 banknotes shall continue to be legal tender, alongside the re-designed versions.

“Accordingly, in line with section 20(5) of the CBN Act 2007, all banknotes issued by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), will continue to remain legal tender, indefinitely.

“Members of the public are enjoined to continue to accept all Naira banknotes (old or re-designed) for their day-to-day transactions and handle these banknotes with the utmost care, to safeguard and protect the lifecycle of the banknotes.

“Furthermore, the general public is encouraged to embrace alternative modes of payment, e-channels, in order to reduce pressure on the use of physical cash.”

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Court orders Betta Edu to disclose details of ₦535.8m school feeding expenditure during lockdown

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A Federal High Court, Abuja has ordered Dr Betta Edu, the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, to release details of how the sum of ₦535.8 million was expended on feeding of school children during COVID-19 lockdown.

Justice Nkeonye Maha, in a judgment, directed the minister and the ministry to furnish a civil society group with parts of the information sought in line with Section 25(1) of the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act, 2011.

Justice Maha held that the minister’s failure to respond to the group’s letter dated August 6, 2020 or even give reason for the refusal to respond to the request as prescribed under the FOI Act contravened the provisions of Section 4(a) and (b) of the act.

“In view of all the matters before me and flowing from the objectives of the FOI Act 2011, the court hereby orders the 1st and 2nd defendants, in line with Section 25(1) of the FOI Act, to furnish the plaintiff with the information sought in Reliefs 3(a), (b), (c), (d),” she declared.

The judge also ordered the minister to comply with the orders of the court within 21 days upon receipt of the orders. She, however, refused to grant “Reliefs 3(e), (f) and (g) of the plaintiff.”

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Incorporated Trustees of Kingdom Human Rights Foundation International had filed the suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/1162/2020 following alleged refusal of the then Minister, Hajia Sadiya Umar-Farouq, and her ministry to respond to the information sought.

Umar-Farouq was the minister under the Muhammadu Buhari-led government. The group alleged that independent investigation and information available to it “revealed that the so-called modified and implemented school feeding programme during lockdown against coronavirus pandemic was a scam, cover-up and well-articulated fiction to embezzle public funds.”

It said that the development was contrary to the statement made by Umar-Farouq during the taskforce briefing on COVID-19 on August 3, 2020. Therefore, in the originating summons, the group sued the minister, the ministry and the Presidential Taskforce on COVID-19 as 1st, 2nd and 3rd defendants respectively.

Also joined in the suit were the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and Independent Corrupt Practice and other related offences Commission (ICPC) as 4th and 5th defendants.

The group sought an order of mandamus compelling the 1st defendant (minister) to immediately release and make available to it all the information and documents requested in its application letter to with:

“a. Details, accompanied with documentary evidence of how the N523,273,800 million was spent on school feeding programme during the COVID-19 LOCKDOWN in three states following presidential directive as disclosed to Nigerians by the 1st defendant during the Presidential Taskforce on Covid-19 briefing of Monday, 3 August, 2020 in Abuja.

“b. Details with the aid of documentary evidence disclosing how the said ₦523,273,800 million was dispatched/distributed to the 124,589 households whom the 1st defendant claimed received take-home rations valued at ₦4,200. 00 to wit:”In the FCT, 29,609 households were impacted; 37,589 households in Lagos and 60,391 in Ogun, making a total of 124,589 households impacted between May 14, and July 6. ‘if 124,589 households received take-home rations valued at N4,200, the amount will be N523,273,800.’

“¢. Facts with the aid of documentary evidence, disclosing whether the 124,589 households whom the 1st defendant claimed received take-home rations valued at ₦4,200 received it in cash or if they received food items.

“d. If the 124,589 households whom the 1st defendant claimed received take-home rations valued at ₦4,200 received it by cash, facts with the aid of documentary evidence, including state by state photographs of those distributing and those receiving, disclosing whether they were given cash of ₦4,200 or food items valued ₦4,200.

“e. Should the 1st defendant claim that the 124,589 households received ₦4,200 by bank transfer, facts disclosing that the ₦4,200 was paid into their various bank accounts, including disclosing the bank account numbers of the 124,589 households whom the 1st defendant claimed received take-home rations valued at 4,200 each.

“f. Phone numbers of the 124,589 households whom the 1st defendant claimed received take-home rations valued at ₦4,200 or the phone numbers of their heads of family.

“g. State by state addresses of the 124,589 households whom the 1st defendant claimed received take-home rations valued at ₦4,200 to enable the plaintiff immediately confirm if they received the items.”

The group said it instituted the suit in the overall public interest and promotion of rule of law, accountability, probity transparency and strengthening constitutional democracy and good governance.

Responding the minister and the ministry, in their counter affidavit, argued that they did not refuse to provide the information sought as the information had been disclosed in their counter affidavit.

They also argued that information sought by the plaintiff which bordered on addresses and phone numbers of beneficiaries were personal information and that such disclosure was exempted under Section 14 of FOI Act. They corrected that the total sum was ₦535, 873, 800 for 127, 789 households and not 523, 273, 800 for 124, 589 as alleged by the group.

They, however, said that they did not disburse cash but food items. Delivering the judgment, Justice Maha struck out the names of 3rd, 4th and 5th defendants’ from the suit, the plaintiff, having failed to disclose a cause of action against them.

The judge, in the decision delivered on October 30 but the certified true copy (CTC) sighted on Wednesday, said the suit succeeded in part. She agreed with the argument of the minister and the ministry that the 127, 789 households had not consented to the disclosure of their personal details as required by law.

She also refused to grant the request for the release of bank account numbers of the beneficiaries, having stated that no cash was disbursed. But Justice Maha held that there was nothing before the court to show how the said food items were disbursed and the defendants had not proved nor shown how the said ₦535, 873, 800 was distributed to the beneficiaries.

“The 1st and 2nd defendants merely stated facts without proof of how the said sum was allegedly spent.

“All these lapses give room for conjecture and speculation, and the court does not act on speculation; rather on material evidence placed before it,” she said, citing Section 167 of the Evidence Act.

She, therefore, granted Reliefs (a), (b), (c), and (d) above but declined to grant Reliefs (e), (f) and (g).

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United Nigeria Airlines suspends flight dispatcher

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United Nigeria Airlines (UNA) has suspended with immediate effect its flight dispatcher who gave the wrong dispatch code on its flight NUA 0504 departing from Lagos to Abuja on Sunday.

A source close to the airline confided in our correspondent on Wednesday that the flight dispatcher (names withheld) who had been working with it since its inception about three years was issued the suspension letter on Tuesday.

The source who declined to be quoted told our correspondent that the suspension was to allow non-interference in the ongoing investigation into the incident, which she said was embarrassing.

It was gathered that the suspension order would remain in place until after the conclusion of the ongoing investigation into the incident.

When contacted, Mr. Achilleus-Chud Uchegbu, Head of Corporate Communications, at United Nigeria Airlines, confirmed the suspension to our correspondent.

He, however, declined to comment further on it saying that the suspension didn’t mean the dispatcher was already found guilty.

  • He said: “The suspension was not an indictment, but an action to enable investigation.”

However, the Flight Dispatcher Association of Nigeria (FLIDAN), the association of flight dispatchers in the country, had called for an investigation into the incident.

FLIDAN in a statement by Victoria Adegbe, Secretary General, insisted that the flight dispatcher followed the Nigeria Civil Aviation Regulations, Part 8-Operations in its conduct.

Adegbe said that the flight dispatcher filed a flight plan with the Aeronautical Information Service (AIS) which was transmitted to the control tower.

The flight plan according to the association indicated Lagos as a departure, while Abuja was the destination.

Enugu and Port Harcourt airports were also given as first and second alternates, respectively.

The body further said that the weather folder given showed that Abuja weather was good as at the time of the departure from Lagos, but regretted that the pilot called the Air Traffic Control (Tower) for clearance to depart to Asaba, rather than Abuja.

FLIDAN regretted that the tower granted the pilot’s request against the legal flight plan submitted by the flight dispatcher, maintaining that the pilot and air traffic controller team seemed not to follow what was filed, which by implication, meant that they disregarded “Operational Control ” of the flight dispatcher, which empowers a 50 per cent Joint and Equal Responsibility of the Safety of the flight to the Flight Dispatcher.

  • The body added: “The Airlines’ Operational control, which allowed a pilot to generate his own Operational Flight Plan (OFP), thereby taking full responsibility for the dispatch release is an outright breach of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Regulations, NCAR Part 8.
  • “The Airlines’ Operations Control further contravened the NCAR, which states that an airline pilot shall take to the destination airport a copy of the flight plan, dispatch release and load manifest. By implication, if the pilot had the flight plan on him, he would have gotten his destination right, the dispatch release if it was with him summarises the departure and destination, which was clearly disregarded.
  • “The ATC should not have granted a scheduled flight clearance to depart to a destination that was not as filed by the flight dispatcher. The airline in a show of absolute disregard for aviation law went ahead to suspend the flight dispatcher who upheld the licence issued by the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) and carried out his job as required by law.”
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Bodex F. Hungbo, SPMIIM is a multiple award-winning Nigerian Digital Media Practitioner, Digital Strategist, PR consultant, Brand and Event Expert, Tv Presenter, Tier-A Blogger/Influencer, and a top cobbler in Nigeria.

She has widespread experiences across different professions and skills, which includes experiences in; Marketing, Media, Broadcasting, Brand and Event Management, Administration and Management with prior stints at MTN, NAPIMS-NNPC, GLOBAL FLEET OIL AND GAS, LTV, Silverbird and a host of others

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