The atmosphere on November 23,2020, at Alausa, ikeja, Lagos, can only be likened to a state of mourning dead love ones ,as 44 traffic Offenders wearing long faces run helter skelter in a last minute attempts to recover their hitherto cars now exhibited for Auctioning by the Lagos State government. It would be recalled that the said offenders whose cars were impounded recently for driving against traffic in Lagos State, had been arraigned before a mobile court, which found them guilty and ordered the forfeiture of their vehicles to the government.
According to the Lagos State Environmental and Special Offences (Enforcement) Unit (Taskforce) , their actions were in accordance with the Lagos State Transport Sector Reform of 2018, hence the drivers of auctioned 44 cars, drove against traffic (one-way) in various parts of the state.
The Agency’s Head, Public Affairs Unit, Adebayo Taofiq was quoted during the exercise which held at the Taskforce carpark Alausa, Ikeja that the exercise was not punitive but corrective in nature.
Taofiq said that the traffic offenders had earlier been charged to the Lagos State Mobile Court and the court had forfeited those vehicles to the Lagos State Government.
“The vehicles been auctioned today were apprehended and forfeited to the Lagos State Government for driving against traffic at different locations across the state.
“After the forfeiture, the Law says we embark on auction but before we can embark on auction, we have to get a court order which we applied for and we were given the court order.
“After which, we made a publication informing interested members of the public, particularly owners of these vehicles to come today for the auction exercise,” he said.
Taofiq said that the vehicles been auctioned was purely a law matter and that there was nothing anybody could do about it because it was the law taking it’s course.
He said that it was necessary to sanitise the state of careless and ignorant drivers and motorcycle (Okada) riders who had started misbehaving with impunity as if there was no law in Lagos.
“For instance, take the menace of the okada riders who use their bikes to rob victims across the state.
“Should the government fold their arms and watch as the standard of the state is being reduced to zero.
“Immediately after the EndSars protest, Lagos was locked down by motorist driving against traffic, driving on BRT corridors and causing obstruction on highways, not minding security personnel on the road,” Taofiq said.
He applauded the efforts of the Lagos State Taskforce,in sanitising the state against traffic offenders.
“The Agency created an anti one-way team within the agency and assigned them to different locations across the state.
“This include those monitoring the BRT corridors and those enforcing restricted routes for okada riders which is not an easy task to carry out but we just have to do it.
“The auctioning exercise been carried out is to serve as deterrent to others to desist from going against traffic rules and be orderly when on the road,” the unit head said.
Taofiq, also appreciated the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu for the support he had been giving the agency and all the enforcement officers across the state.
He reiterated that the enforcement exercise of the Taskforce was not punitive but corrective for the safety of both the driver and the passenger.
“If these laws can be adhered to, then there will not be much causalities at various hospitals because of okada accidents or from collision as a result of vehicles plying one-way.
“Those who drive against traffic usually hit people because when people want to cross the road they will not be expecting a car coming from the opposite direction.
“By the time we follow the law, there will be orderliness and sanity on our highways,” he said.
Taofiq appealed to members of the public particularly motorists and okada riders to desist from contravening the Lagos State Transport Reform Sector of 2018.
“These includes driving against traffic, driving on BRT corridors and causing obstruction on the highway as part of the law because once you are caught, you will be charged to court.
“There is no alternative way to that,” he said.
Taofiq, also advised people to stop inducing traffic officers with money whenever they were arrested saying that “the same law that affects the taker, also affects the giver”.
However, it was a difficult situation for the owners of the forfeited cars . For instance, Ade Abass, a clothier who lives in Surulere, the owner of a 2008 Hyundai Elantra said that the auctioning exercise would only throw more people into depression.
Abass said that since the beginning of the year, things had been difficult as a result of the pandemic because people had been on lockdown and unproductive for a longtime.
“Also the EndSars protest affected my business because my shop on the Lagos Island was broken into by hoodlums.
“These challenges is what made me put up my car for Uber so that the driver can be delivering some money weekly to my family for sustenance.
“We had the agreement three months ago and he has been delivering without hiccups until he was caught driving against traffic around Costain area of the state,” he said.
Abass said that he was the final bidder for his car which he bade for N300,000 but the truth is “I don’t even have the money to pay for it,” he said.
“I was recently given a court order by my landlord to evacuate his house, honestly I just do not know how I am going to make ends meet.
“I appeal to the Lagos State Government to help us out in whatever way he can use his good office to,” he said. The aggrieved owners of forfeited vehicles were present at the auction in an attempt to reclaim their once owned property that was about to be lost
Nigeria: 5.8 million COVID Infections Averted With 2020 Lockdown
As Nigeria grapples with rising infections caused by the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, a team of international public health researchers have revealed that the lockdown and restrictions imposed in the country between March and May 2020 may have averted not less than 5.8 million infections.
The team of researchers drawn from the United States, South Africa and Nigeria, said their findings “support the use of restricted mobility as a measure for infection control in Nigeria.”
They however, pointed out that, even during the lockdown and restrictions, noticeable spikes in people’s movement occurred on Saturdays and Sundays which could be attributed to social events (e.g. parties [or Ówàmbē in a local dialect]) and religious activities.
The research findings which are based on information from confirmed COVID-19 cases provided by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) from February 27 to July 21 2020 and Nigeria specific mobility data from Google in same period, was published by the highly reputable public health journal JAMA Network Open.
The researchers are drawn from institutions in the United States (i.e. Parexel International, Harvard university and Holly Hill hospital), South Africa (i.e. Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University) and Nigeria (i.e. Benue State University as well as Universities of Ibadan, Lagos and Calabar).
The researchers explained that their work was motivated by the need to better understand how the lockdown affected peoples’ movement and community spread of COVID-19: this information could inform future public health responses to subsequent waves of COVID-19.
“.. our study goals were to measure the association of government-mandated closures and restrictions with aggregate mobility, to evaluate associations between aggregate mobility and number of individuals with laboratory confirmed SARS-COV-2 infections and to estimate the number of SARS COV-2 infections that may have been averted.
They observed that the World Health Organization (WHO), Director General , Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus had on January 30, 2020 declared the COVID-19 outbreak a public health emergency of international concern, asking all countries to prepare for containment, active surveillance, early detection, isolation, case management and contact tracing.
“Most countries including Nigeria (Africa’s largest economy and the most populous country), responded accordingly, and part of the Nigerian government response included socioeconomic and public health interventions to reduce impact of the pandemic.
“Socio economic interventions included providing cash transfers, lines of credit and food assistance to poor and high-risk households, while public health interventions included government-mandated closures and restrictions on schools, social gatherings and all forms of transportation (locally referred to as lockdown)
The closures and restrictions were initiated on March 30, 2020 and partially eased on May 4, 2020. The researchers used sophisticated statistical techniques to analyze NCDC data on daily infection counts, anonymized Google mobility data from Nigeria (covering about 40 million individuals who activated location history on their smartphone google accounts), and publicly available information on the lockdown (e.g. dates for initiating and partially easing the lockdown).
The cross-sectional study found that government-mandated closures and restrictions in Nigeria owing to COVID-19 was associated with significantly reduced aggregate mobility everywhere (except in residential areas) and may have averted up to 5.8 million corona virus infections. Additionally, they found that community spread of COVID-19 in Nigeria may have been faster in residential areas , transit stations (e.g. motor parks) and workplaces (including likely venues of social events).
While stressing that “our findings support the use of restricted mobility as a measure of infection control in Nigeria should there be additional COVID-19 waves in the future”, the researchers pointed out that “restrictions on movement are unsustainable in the long term, and that “future closure and restrictions, if warranted, need to be more effective.
“Suggested areas of improvement include tougher restrictions on movement and more robust contact tracing in residential areas, transit hubs and workplaces, greater testing capacity and more political support for testing; greater access to COVID-19 data for policy and process evaluation to identify opportunities for efficiency gains: and more personal responsibility above and beyond the public health campaign dubbed the 3 Ws (i.e washing hands (or using hand sanitizer regularly wearing a cloth mask over the nose and mouth, and waiting 6 feet apart (or social distancing).”
Gov’ Fayemi Congratulates Father Kukah On New Appointment
Ekiti State Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi has congratulated the Bishop of Catholic Diocese of Sokoto, Most Revd (Dr) Matthew Hassan Kukah on his appointment into the papal dicastery on the promotion of integral human development.
The Governor, in a personally signed congratulatory letter dated 19th January 2021, stated that the appointment was an unequivocal expression of Pope Francis’ confidence in Bishop Kukah’s ability to be an “impeccable advisor on a wide range of human development issues”.
Dr Fayemi described the dicastery as a perfect place for Kukah because it is one of the apostolic ministration of the papal in “reaching the weak, seeking social justice and ending all forms of practices inimical to the dignity of man”.
“It goes without saying that your role as a pastor, social commentator, public intellectual, peace-maker, interfaith conciliator and fighter for the rights of the underprivileged, readily recommend you for this latest addition to your enviable pedigree as a social justice crusader”, the Governor said.
Fayemi added that he had no doubt that the Bishop would bring his competence and character to bear on his new role.
” On behalf of my wife, the government and good people of Ekiti State, kindly accept my best wishes as you resume your new role” , the Governor added.
Northern Elders To Akeredolu: Your Quit Notice On Herdsmen Provocative
The Northern Elders’ Forum on Wednesday described as provocative and unhelpful an order given to Fulani herdsmen to leave Ondo forests by the State governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, adding that it was shocked to have heard such directive.
The forum, which warned the governor not to allow mischief-makers to compound security challenges in the country with his order, urged him “to rescind his order on the Fulani, or clarify his position in the event that he is misunderstood.”
In a statement signed by Director, Publicity and Advocacy, Dr Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, the forum argued that Akeredolu as a senior lawyer should know that Nigerian constitution does not give him the power to deny any Nigerian the right to live where he chooses if he does not break the law in the process.
It would be recalled that Ondo State governor had ordered Fulani herdsmen residing in the various forests of the State to vacate in order to curb the rising cases of kidnapping cases in the State.
But NEF said that if there were criminal elements among the Fulani herders who live in the State, the Governor should take appropriate steps to identify them and deal with them.
The forum maintained that it was dangerous and unacceptable to profile and demonize the Fulanis and treat them outside the laws of the land like all other Nigerians.
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