Opposition Senators Unite on Special Status for Lagos

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Jul 28, 2011 No Comments ›› ACN (ji)

Babatunde Fashola

With a promise to push for a special status for Lagos, opposition senators on Monday concluded their fact-finding visit to the Centre of Excellence.

Their visit afforded them the opportunity of having an on-the-spot-assessment of the effects of the cent flooding on communities in Nigeria’s former capital.

At the forefront of the fresh battle are senators under the platforms of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) and led by Senate Minority Leader George Akume of the .

Akume, who led some senators to Lagos, admitted that the state genuinely deserves a special status.

He spoke after his team had toured some flood-ravaged communities, after which they sympathised with the government over the human and material losses it suffered from the flood triggered by the rains on July 10.

The minority leader made the declaration when the bi-partisan delegationvisited Governor Babatunde Fashola at work.

Akume noted that some of the drainage channels, built more than 15 years ago have been crying for attention.

Besides, he said that the Federal Government, being the owners of many roads and bridges in the nation’s industrial hub, should have been more alive to its responsibilities through regular maintenance.

According to him, Lagos ought to be accorded a special status whenever a thought is being given in terms of intervention in areas of critical importance. He assured that the concerned senators would look for ways of assisting the state.

Akume informed that many of his colleagues “are already signing up for the cause, which is on a moral and persuasive approach to supporting the people of Lagos particularly at this period and taking the document to Mr President.”

He said the magnitude of the flooding had shown that Lagos alone cannot handle the situation. He, however, encouraged the governor to continue with the delivery of the democratic dividends to Lagosians.

Responding, Fashola told his guests that the drainages have been discharging their responsibilities clearly, even as he noted that they are not enough for the expanding frontiers of Lagos territory, where new estates are springing up.

He explained that 10 drainage channels are being built in the Lekki axis, noting that his government has been upgrading earth-channelled canals, a process which he said, required a lot of money.

His words: “We have given notices that there would be absolutely no tolerance for people who build drainage aligments, canals, wetlands and swampy areas which are the reservoirs where the flood water should naturally drain to. Many of the devastating effects of the flood was more pronounced in areas where there should be no building. Some have built right on the drains.

“We know that there are people issues here. But we think that only the living can prosper and whose challenges we have to deal with. Our reaction is first, to save them from themselves and thereafter attend to the human issue of relocation and resettlement. This is not an ideal environment in which to plan somthing like that. But we think that we should save lives first and come back to deal with properties and resettlement as a consequence.

“Another challenge is also that the terrain of Lagos makes structures very vulnerable. Therefore many buildings, especially during this raining season, are prone to collapse when there is a lot of water and lot of seismic movement that is affecting the foundations of the structures.

“And all of the buildings that we have identified as unstable are going to be evacuated and demolished, and then we would see what we can do as a government.”

The governor added that the commissioners in charge of for physical planning and urban development and the environment have been given the matching order to remove all such decrepit structures.

Noting that the last four weeks had not been favourable for governments across the world, Fashola said: “Lagos is just having its own share of the misfortune. We need help. We need funding, particularly because we have plans to mitigate these problems. One cannot rule out the possibility of a recurrence and therefore requires a community of efforts at local and national level to put in strategies to mitigate them.”

He reiterated his personal delight at the response and interest shown by the bi-partisan delegation.

“I am encouraged by what I see these distinguished senators doing. It shows that there is hope for Nigeria. I share your strong sentiments that an investment in Lagos State, the support of Lagos and the granting of a special status is not a grant for Lagos but for Nigeria”, Fashola said.

The delegation from Abuja also include: Senate Minority Whip Ganiyu Solomon (Lagos West), Mrs Oluremi Tinubu (Lagos Central), Gbenga Ashafa (Lagos East), Chris Ngige, Abu Ibrahim, Gbenga Obadara, Femi Lanlehin, Jide Omoworare, Femi Ojudu, all of the ACN and Abu Ibrahim of the CPC.

 

The Nation


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