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Okada ban: Fashola narrates how robbers attacked him

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The Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, says the use of motorcycles (Okada) as a major means of transportation is not in the plan of Lagos State and should be banned.

He spoke at a public lecture organised by the United Action for Change in Lagos on Thursday.

It will be recalled that Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State had banned the operations of motorcycle and tricycle in 15 Local Government Development Areas and Local Council Development Areas, including highways and major roads in the state.

The ban, however, has generated controversies and mixed reactions from residents of Lagos and other Nigerians.

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Since the enforcement of the ban, residents complained of gridlock, hike in transportation fare and unavailability of vehicles to convey them to their destinations.

But Fashola said rather than reduce crime, motorcycles aid it.

During his eight-year tenure as the Lagos State Governor, Fashola also banned Okadas, newsmen report.

“If you are concerned about security you must support the present Lagos governor now on Okada ban. As the Center of Excellence, motorcycles should not be our choice of transport,” he added.

He also advised the Lagos State Government enforcement of the law, saying, “We are more focused on launch enforcement and increasing the numbers of policemen. Capacity development is great but security is more than law enforcement.”

While giving reasons for his support for Okada ban, Fashola narrated that he was once robbed in his home.

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He said Okada riding also aided crisis and caused youths not to explore other productive ways of generating income.

He said, “Do we stand in reacting mode or proactive mode. If reacting, there is already a victim and a criminal. If we are proactive then how long can we sustain that?

“Motorcycles are means of peddling drugs to children even under the watch of parents without knowing.

I’ve always held this position. Motorcycle has always been a conduit pipe for the opioid crisis among youths. We must act to eliminate anonymity.

“I was robbed in my home, in fact on my bed in 1999. Organised crime is dynamic, criminals are aware that people don’t keep money at home again, now they diversified into kidnapping people for ransom.”

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State Govts responsible for COVID-19 patients’ evacuation – NCDC

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Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, the Director-General, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), says it is the responsibility of State Governments to evacuate COVID-19 patients to medical facilities for treatment.

Ihekweazu said this while fielding questions on Monday at the 49th joint national briefing of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 in Abuja.

According to the director-general, the NCDC cannot forcefully take a patient to the hospital as it is not a law enforcement agency.

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Ihekweazu was reacting to a viral video showing a patient being forcefully evacuated.

He said while he could not vouch for any health officer’s conduct in the country, the evacuation of patients remained the duty of the state governments.

“Every state has a responsibility for evacuation; as we start increasing the inclusion of the private sector in care, you would find that more people would start evacuating patients with the private sector services.

”So, there is a whole spectrum of possibilities that could have happened.

“What we don’t do as health workers is to use force to evacuate patients to provide them care. That would be a very unusual reaction.

”We are not law enforcement and we are not trained in law enforcement.

“We never use force to evacuate patients; if we have difficulty and there are specific circumstances because of public health reasons why an evacuation has to happen, we would invite our friends in the (security) services to support us in that act,” Ihekweazu said. 

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Gunmen shoot dead prominent Iraqi analyst and advisor – officials

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Gunmen in Baghdad killed a well-known former government advisor and political analyst near his home on Monday, government officials, police sources and medics said.

The government officials described the killing of Hisham al-Hashemi, who had written about politics, Islamic State, and the role of Iran-backed militias in Iraq as a targeted killing but did not point the finger at any particular group.

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There was no immediate claim of responsibility for Hashemi’s killing.

Police sources said two gunmen on a motorbike shot him outside his house in the Zayouna district in eastern Baghdad.

Hashemi, who was well-connected with politicians, activists, and paramilitary officials, worked as an advisor to former Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi and informally with the government of current Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi, a government official said.

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Plateau: Fashola reveals when collapsed Wase/Langtang Bridge will be completed

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Okada

The Minister of Works, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, says repairs of the collapsed Wase/Langtang Bridge in Plateau State will be completed in two months.

The minister made this known when Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau State visited his office in Abuja on Monday.

According to a statement issued by the Director of Press and Public Affairs to the Governor, Dr. Makut Masham, the minister sympathized with the state government over the natural disaster.

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Fashola said the ministry had commenced the design and cost of the bridge which would take two months to complete.

He said that immediate palliative works should be carried out to restore temporary connection for people in the area, while the permanent solution was being worked out.

”The Federal Controller of Works in Plateau had recommended the replacement of the old collapsed bridge with a new one, which was being considered,” Fashola said.

Earlier in his remarks, Lalong said the visit was to seek an immediate solution on the bridge which had completely cut off links to Wase and Langtang Local Government Areas and travelers to Taraba State.

“I took a personal visit to the area to see things for myself last week, and as you know, it is a Federal Road. From what I saw, it is something that needs the federal financial might to fix.

“I have asked my people to provide boats as alternatives for now, but this cannot be sustained for a long time considering the economic activities that take place in the area.

”We need the quick intervention of the Federal Government, which is why I decided to pay this visit to you,” he said.

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