By Modupe Gbadeyanka
Delta State Governor, Mr Ifeanyi Okowa, has explained why his administration decided to divest shares of the state-owned transport company, Delta Line, to a private organisation.
In a statement issued in Asaba, the Executive Assistant to the Governor on Communications, Barrister Fred Latimore Oghenesivbe, emphasised that Delta Line was not outrightly sold to God is Good Motors as being peddled on social media.
According to him, government is making solid plans to divest part of its shares in the transport company to pave the way for joint ownership with the highest bidder, adding that the divestment of shares became necessary to make the company viable and better managed by tested and trusted stakeholders in the transportation sector.
“The state government is not comfortable with the poor financial status of Delta Line despite the huge investments in billions of Naira pumped into it in the past; a development so frightening due to inability of the company management to pay staff salaries and maintain its fleet let alone making profit for government.
“Similar transport companies in the state and elsewhere managed by private investors are doing very well, declaring huge profits year after year while Delta Line continue to degenerate; and all efforts put in place to make the company viable proved abortive hence government decided to divest part of its shares and partner with professional managers in the transport sector to manage Delta Line efficiently and profitably.
“The huge leakage of funds became unbearable which led to the sack of various key management staff of the transport company and strict checks and balances were introduced. These measures could not also solve the problems as rogue elements within the system quickly devised new unscrupulous methods of stealing money.
“The company was unable to save money to pay backlog of salaries and entitlements and therefore could not function effectively and efficiently without partial funding by government,” he said.
On the allegation that the Delta State Chapter of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) offered N2 billion in its bid but government decided to sell its shares to God is Good Motors, Mr Oghenesivbe explained that there is no concrete evidence that NLC presented financial statements showing capacity to pay for the shares, adding that it is hazy as to NLC strict compliance with the bid.
On the unconfirmed rumour that some members of Delta State Chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) are planning to stage protest to force government to reverse its decision to stop the divestment process, Mr Oghenesivbe said the decision subsists and cannot be put on hold or jettisoned for any reason whatsoever, adding that the divestment is a well throughout strategy to revive Delta line, manage it efficiently, imbibe good corporate governance and make profits for government and other shareholders.
“APC Delta is completely out of the political radar in the state hence its leaders and docile handful of members want to busy themselves with a matter that was well deliberated upon and proper decisions taken for the interest of the state and Deltans.
“APC should concentrate on how to manage its three years old internal crisis rather than meddle with issues of good governance alien to the party’s (APC) mediocre leaders and their overzealous followers in Delta State.
“The co-shareholders saddled with the responsibility of managing Delta Line shall retain the work force after critical staff audit and competence evaluation exercise expected to weed out ghost workers and redundant human elements in the now unprofitable transport company.
“There is nothing to worry about because the name and corporate colours of Delta Line shall be retained, operational routes and scope of daily commercial and administrative activities sustained and modified except for strategic restructuring as may be effected by the new managers for the purposes of good corporate governance and viability,” the statement added.
Passengers Stranded as Abuja-Kaduna Train Derails
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
Passengers on the Abuja-Kaduna train were stranded on Friday in the Kubwa area of Abuja when the train conveying them derailed.
According to reports, the incident happened a few distances to its destination at about 3:20 pm and left the passengers frustrated.
Today’s derailment occurred barely a week after 300 stranded passengers on the Warri-Itakpe train missed its track in Kogi State.
In the latest incident, there were no reports of casualties, though the exact reason for the derailment is still sketchy.
The Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC), which manages rail transportation in the country, was yet to give an update on the situation.
The administration of President Muhammadu Buhari revamped the rail system in the country. Loans were taken from China to build rail tracks to ease the movement of people from one point to another.
Airtel Supports Police for Safety of Lagos Road Users
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
As part of its commitment to support the activities of the police in ensuring the coordination and safety of Lagos road users, Airtel Nigeria has donated some traffic booths.
According to the Commissioner of Police for the Lagos Police Command, Mr Abiodun Alabi, the booths will be placed in strategic locations across the state to serve as an inspiration to other organisations to support the police in the discharging of their duties.
At a brief ceremony to hand over the items at the Lagos State Police headquarters, Ikeja, on Thursday, January 19, 2023, Mr Alabi thanked the telecommunications service provider for the gesture, recounting previous support over the years.
Some of which included the donation of phones to all police commissions in Lagos, donation of patrol vehicles, renovation of Zone 2 Command, renovation of Lekki Phase 1 Police post and the provision of CCTV cameras, etc.
“On behalf of the Inspector General of Police, Mr Alkali Baba Usman, and the Lagos State Police Command, I would like to thank Airtel for their support to the Nigeria Police over the years and for this particular donation of traffic booths for our traffic officers through its corporate social responsibility.
“Not everyone or every organisation appreciates what the police does for society; therefore, we are pleased to see that Airtel recognizes and supports our effort to carry out our duties optimally,” he said.
Also speaking, the Director of Corporate Communications at Airtel Nigeria, Mr Femi Adeniran, said, “Over the years, Airtel Nigeria has worked closely with the Lagos Police Command, and we have collaborated on several initiatives with a positive impact towards making Lagos a safer and more secured State to live in and do business.
“We are firm in our resolve to drive the vision of Airtel Africa towards sustainability consistently, and we consistently work to demonstrate this in our deeds through our CSR interventions.
“We are always glad to support the police force in the great work they do daily because we understand that once there is security, people can live and make ends meet without fear, and that is the only way we can say that we have a good society.”
Traffic Gridlock: Lagos Directs Petrol Stations to Close by 4pm
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
Petrol stations located along the major roads in Lagos will now operate from 9 am to 4 pm daily, the Lagos State government has directed.
A statement signed by the Commissioner for Transportation, Mr Frederic Oladeinde, explained that the move was to curtail the traffic gridlock witnessed around such fuelling stations in the metropolis.
The incessant scarcity of premium motor spirit (PMS), otherwise known as petrol, in the city and other parts of Nigeria has caused vehicles to queue for the product, causing a clog in vehicular movement.
Most of the queues are seen around petrol stations belonging to major oil marketers because of their pump price. At the moment, most of them sell at the official price of N169 per litre, while other fuelling stations sell between N240 per litre and N260 per litre.
The quest to buy cheaper fuel has forced most motorists to queue for many hours at stations selling the official pump price.
To address traffic caused by the queues and ensure the free flow of vehicular movement in the metropolis, the state government has moved to “regulate the activities of major and independent petroleum marketers operating along major roads and traffic-prone areas within the state,” according to the statement.
Mr Oladeinde said the state government was not happy with the “indiscriminate activities of motorists queuing to buy petroleum products and often impeding the free flow of traffic on some roads.”
He said the government has now decided to ensure that, “petroleum marketers whose filling stations are situated on major highways and areas susceptible to traffic will henceforth be allowed to operate only between the hours of 9 am to 4 pm daily, pending when the fuel shortage crisis subsides.”
The Commissioner added that the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA), Vehicle Inspection Service (VIS), Transport Operations Compliance Unit (TOCU) and other law enforcement agencies have been charged to ensure a seamless flow of traffic across the State.
Mr Oladeinde urged “all major and independent petroleum marketers operating across the state to comply with the directive to avoid sanctions.”
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