In 2017, the Lagos State Government’s infrastructure renewal mission continued on a larger scale across the State. Aside, the several hundreds of roads that were rehabilitated and reconstructed, the Ajah and Abule Egba Flyovers, the redeveloped Berger axis along the Lagos- Ibadan Expressway, the completed Aboru link Bridge among others were some of the stimulating projects embarked upon by the State Government in the previous year.
Cheerfully and to the admiration and excitement of Lagos residents, the Ajah fly over bridge was commissioned on the 19th of May by the State Government. Incidentally, the Abule-Egba fly over bridge was also commissioned that same day. The two projects just go to demonstrate the resolve of the State Government to upgrade infrastructure across the state.
The Ajah Bridge is a particularly significant project because of its strategic importance to the economic growth of the Lekki Free Trade Zone and the rapidly developing Ibeju-Lekki-Epe axis. This axis will play a key role in the future prosperity of Lagos State as the home to many multi-billion naira private investments in the Lekki Free Trade Zone as well as the upcoming seaport and airport. The State Government is irreversibly committed to making Lagos State an investment haven. This explains why it is putting in place top class infrastructure that will facilitate rapid socio-economic growth.
While the Ajah project is aimed at easing movement of residents and commuters on the Lagos Island- Ibeju-Lekki areas with a view to boosting the ease of doing business, the Abule-Egba Bridge is intended to bring relief to millions of commuters plying Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway in Alimosho, Agege and Ifako-Ijaiye Local Government Areas of the State.
Another major highlight of 2017 in the state is the steady availability of LAKE Rice, the product of a joint agro venture between Lagos and Kebbi states, in the market. This offers good tidings to Lagosians as it really helps cushion the effect of economic recession to a great extent. The availability of LAKE Rice is no doubt partly responsible for the fall in the price of the commodity across the country.
Aside providing succour for local consumers, one major goal of the LAKE Rice Project is economic diversification and wealth creation. Presently, the need for economic diversification in our country cannot be over emphasized. This, indeed, is the exact time for governments at all levels to embrace every creative strategy that would fast track economic emancipation. It is, therefore, quite commendable that the Lagos and Kebbi State Governments are already leading the way in this direction.
Another landmark attainment of Lagos state in the previous year was the several investments in public security. Being a cosmopolitan bursting city that rarely goes to sleep, Lagos, no doubt, has peculiar security challenges. Its special status as the commercial nerve centre of Nigeria and, indeed, West Africa, understandably poses a threat to public security as diverse people from sundry parts of the world, and for different reasons, migrate into Lagos on a daily basis. With a population that is close to 24 million out of the nation’s estimated population of 180 million, security challenge in the state is peculiar and therefore needs peculiar solution.
It is in view of this that the State Government invested massively in public security in the past year. In order to strengthen security and greatly reduce crime at the grassroots, the State Government launched the re-branded Lagos Neighbourhood Safety Corps, thereby creating employment opportunities for over 7000 Lagos residents. The State Government made available a total of 177 salon cars and vehicles equipped with necessary communication gadgets, 377 motorcycles, 377 helmets, 4,000 bicycles, and metal detectors to the new improved Neighbourhood Safety Corps. The intent is to reinforce security at the grassroots.
The move was another giant step towards enhancing security all over the State and a vital part of ongoing efforts by the State Government to reform public security in the state. The Corps is designed to provide a second layer of policing in order to ensure that all communities in the state are more secure. It will be recalled that Governor Ambode assented to the law that created the LNSC on August 15, 2016.
Significantly, 2017 further consolidated the plan of the State Government to transform Lagos into the entertainment hub of Africa. This was largely achieved through an increasing commitment to the ideals of T.H.E.S.E which stands for Tourism, Hospitality, Entertainment and Sporting Excellence. In 2017, Lagos hosted a few international and continental entertainment events. Similarly, the second edition Lagos Street Party was held in Ikeja while Lagos equally had an astonishing showing at the 2017 edition of some famous international carnivals.
The 2017 edition of the now famous One Lagos Fiesta, OLF, capped the entertainment milestone of Lagos in 2017. The event, as usual, held concurrently across the five major divisions of the state viz- a -viz at Agege, Epe, Badagry, Ikorodu and Lagos Island. The plan is to guarantee that every part of the state was given the opportunity to have a taste of the exciting experience.
One other major defining act of the Lagos State Government in the previous year is the strengthening of justice mechanism in the state. Towards this end, the first ever DNA Forensic Centre in the country, Lagos State DNA Forensics Centre (LSDFC) located on Lagos Island was commissioned. The centre is to address the sophisticated nature of crimes and criminals who are determined to escape the long arm of the law in the state. It was initiated by the State Government to demonstrate its commitment to criminal justice reform.
Equally, the State hosted the 2017 Lagos State Justice Stakeholders’ Summit from 30th to 31st January, 2017 while also passing to into law several bills such as the Lagos State Environmental Protection and Management Law 2017, the Lagos State Sports Trust Fund Law 2017, the Lagos State Sports Trust Fund Law 2017, the Lagos State Sports Commission 2017, Lagos State Kidnapping Prohibition Law, 2017, Hotel Occupancy Regulations, 2017, Lagos State Employment Trust Fund Law, 2016, Lagos State Independent Electoral Commission (Amendment) Law, 2016, Local Government Election Tribunal (Amendment) Law, 2016, Local Government Administration (Amendment) Law, 2016, Lagos State Neighborhood Safety Corps Law, 2016, among others.
As 2018 unfurls, Lagosians are certainly in for more beautiful moments. On-going projects such as the Pen-Cinema Bridge, Oshodi Transport Interchange, reconstruction of the Lagos Airport Road, opening up of the Agege Stadium for continental football, improved tourism activities among numerous others are some of the initiatives that would no doubt transform the State’s landscape in the current year.
Ogunbiyi is of the Ministry of Information & Strategy, Alausa, Ikeja, Lagos.