By Aduragbemi Omiyale
A new ride-hailing company known as AfriCar has commenced operations in Ibadan, the capital of Oyo State and it intends to expand its services to other neighbouring states in the future.
Speaking at a ceremony to unveil the launch of its services on Thursday, the chief executive of AfriCar, Mr Sahil Vaswani, disclosed that all its cars are assembled in Lagos at Stallion Group’s Von Plant.
According to him, his organisation has partnered with the National Automotive Design and Development Council (NADDC) to develop the Bajaj Qute cars used for the new ride-hailing taxi.
“This car is assembled in Nigeria by Nigerians and is environmentally friendly, with 50 per cent lower carbon emissions than the average car,” he said at the event attended by Governor Seyi Makinde and the Minister of Industry, Trades and Investment, Mr Adeniyi Adebayo.
Also speaking at the event, Mr Makinde thanked the company for choosing Ibadan as its first base in ride-hailing service, saying this attests to the business-friendly atmosphere for investors in the state.
He said the introduction of the service into Ibadan was in line with his administration’s goal to invite new investors into the State.
Governor Makinde, who spoke through his Chief of Staff, Mr Segun Ogunwuyi, also said he was delighted to witness another demonstration of his administration’s commitment to make life comfortable for residents of the state.
“I am very delighted to be at the event of today which is a further demonstration of our administration’s commitment to making life comfortable for our people and thereby improving the socio-economic activities of the citizenry and the state at large,” he said.
He noted that transportation is evidently important for economic activity and social life in a state, adding that the current economic status of Oyo State is due to many factors, chief among these factors is the development and continuous improvement of our public transport system.
“The state has witnessed and as a matter of fact still witnessing a tremendous growth in the transport sector since the inception of this administration in the areas of transport infrastructures and procurement of vehicles for mass transit,” he added.
The Governor said as part of his administration’s efforts to improve the transportation sector in the state, he has purchased 109 buses for mass transit tagged Omituntun Bus Mass Transit.
He also said he has constructed four bus terminals at Iwo road, Challenge, and Ojo to ease commuting in the state capital.
Congratulating Stallion Group, owners of AfriCar, the Governor expressed hope that the launch will birth more interesting fruits as the group collaborates with his government for the well-being of the people of Oyo State.
On his part, the Minister appreciated Stallion Group, a home-grown conglomerate, for adding value to the economy of the country for the past 52 years, thanking Mr Makinde for the welcoming environment that has been provided to AfriCar.
He said the firm has the potential to transform the transportation industry in the state, providing both employment opportunities and low-cost rides.
Maritime Truck Owners Threaten Strike Over Arrests by Customs
By Adedapo Adesanya
The Association of Maritime Truck Owners (AMATO) has threatened to down tools nationwide to protest the incessant arrest and detention of its members by officials of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS).
In a letter to the Comptroller General of Customs, Mr Hameed Ali, the President of AMATO, Mr Remi Ogungbemi, warned that if all detained trucks are not released immediately, the group will have no other choice than withdraw its services nationwide.
Mr Ogungbemi also said that the seizure and possible auction of their trucks is causing untold hardship on truck owners, adding that for a long time, truckers have been passing through this injustice in the hands of the Customs.
“We have been passing through this injustice in the hands of Nigeria Customs Service as a result of the dishonest declaration of actual goods that importers and their collaborating agents are having in their containers.
“Truckers are just commercial transporters of goods. We are only invited by the agents to come and carry goods to and from the ports after Customs must have examined and approved the release of goods in containers to importers and agents.
“But unfortunately, after loading, the containers are duly examined and released by Customs on our trucks, they will waylay the trucks on the road, seize and detain our trucks in their yard together with containers with question marks.
“Does Customs arrest ships that do bring illicit goods to Nigeria for complicity? Does Customs seal the terminal that receives contraband and dangerous consignments in their yards for complicity in storing illicit consignments?
“Are commercial trucks involved in the physical examination of goods in the ports together with Customs, police, DSS, NDLEA, and others to see what the containers are carrying?
“Does it sound just for Customs officers and other government agencies that jointly examined and approved the exit of contraband and other dangerous goods in the ports to be holding truckers responsible for their fault and negligence?
“Is it the truckers that are short paying the government import duty on goods or the importers and their agents?
“If the answer is no, we are calling on the Nigeria Customs Service to release all our trucks detained in their yard or withdraw our service nationwide in protest against the unjust seizure of our trucks.
“Our members are facing agonizing economic hardships. Their source of livelihood is being seized by the Nigeria Customs for the offence committed by importers and their dubious collaborating agents,” the letter read.
OYSROMA Moves to Ease Movement of Traffic
By Aduragbemi Omiyale
The Oyo State Road Maintenance Agency (OYSROMA) has commenced the rehabilitation of roads in the state to ease the movement of traffic.
The chairman of the agency, Mr Ogunlade Busoye Soladoye, said the roads to receive facelift include Molete-Fire-Challenge roads, Mokola-Dugbe and the Femi Johnson Junction along Oke-Ado Road, among others.
In a statement on Monday, it was stated that it is part of the Operation Zero Potholes initiative of Governor Seyi Makinde.
When completed, he said, the rehabilitation of the roads as well as the desilting of drainages across the Ibadan metropolis and its environs, would create a better environment for the populace.
While speaking after visiting some of the roads to be transformed by OYSROMA, Mr Soladoye said “This is one of our feedback mechanisms concerning the deplorable condition of roads during the rainy season.”
He also implored the residents to desist from the act of dumping refuse on waterways, as the agency has started clearing drainages across the state, promising that the agency will live up to its mandate.
Lagos Red Line Rail Project Nears Completion
By Adedapo Adesanya
The Lagos State Government has assured residents that the Lagos Rail Mass Transit (LRMT), also known as the red line project, would be completed soon.
The Governor of Lagos State, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, in a statement issued by his Chief Press Secretary (CPS), Mr Gboyega Akosile, said the transport infrastructure being developed by the Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (LAMATA) will have the capacity to transport over 500,000 passengers daily when it becomes operational in the first quarter of next year.
The Lagos red line rail will traverse on the standard gauge from Agbado to Oyingbo, in the first phase, while terminating at Iddo in the second phase. It has eight stations and it is expected to reduce travel by over two hours.
Mr Sanwo-Olu, joined on the project tour by the Deputy Governor, Mr Obafemi Hamzat, and members of the cabinet, first stopped at the multi-level Agege Terminal, where he inspected completion work on the facility.
The Agege Red Line terminal shares the same yard with Babatunde Raji Fashola Station built by the federal government but stands about 300 metres apart.
The Governor also inspected the staff quarters built by the Lagos Government for the railway workers in employment by the federal government.
Mr Sanwo-Olu, thereafter, led the team to the iconic Ikeja Station of the Red Line, where 80 per cent of the civil work had been complete where he checked the progress of the overpass being constructed on the Awolowo Way axis to ensure non-interference of vehicular movement on the rail passageway.
The Governor stopped at Mushin terminal, to inspect the station and overpass, which stretches between Kayode and Ogunmokun streets, being developed there, before proceeding to Yaba and Oyingbo stations.
After the exercise that lasted for four hours, Mr Sanwo-Olu expressed satisfaction on the quality of the work done, disclosing that most of the difficult tasks had been completed.
The entire construction, the Governor said, has moved into the finishing phase in which precast beams and other concrete fittings are being coupled to the constructed structures.
He said: “The Red Line is a project conceived and started by our Government, which will be delivered in the lifetime of this administration. We have given our commitment to ensure the project is completed by the end of this year as promised. This is our fourth inspection trip on this project within the year alone and each time we come, there is significant progress that the contractor achieves along the rail corridor.
“Along the rail corridor, there is massive regeneration that is taking place and we have paid an extensive amount in terms of compensation, far more than anyone else, for those affected by the construction activities. That is why we don’t have problems with members of the communities on this corridor. After inspecting the Agege station, we went on to check the Ikeja terminal, which happens to be the iconic station of the Red Line. Its size is almost about the size of three football fields together.
“As we have seen, all the stations inspected are at the roof level, moving into the completion stage. The civil work has been completed, it’s just the finishing job we are doing at the moment. All the activities are on schedule and we are hoping the best entire project will be completed by the end of the year. There are places that were particularly challenging for the contractor to do drilling due to high vehicular density. All the challenges have been overcome; what is left is concrete in-situ and placing of precast beams.”
Mr Sanwo-Olu said the construction work on the overpasses was at different stages of completion but assured that all work would be done by December.
He said the work on the bridge on Awolowo Way onto Agege Motor Road and inward Mongoro Bus Stop remained on track and would finish by the end of October.
Mr Sanwo-Olu said the Mushin overpass, which crosses from Kayode Street at Ikorodu Road to Agege Motor Road in Mushin, and the one at Yaba from Tejuosho exiting onto Murtala Muhammed Road would be completed by November.
To eliminate human interference with the rail corridor, the Governor said the rail passageway would be walled off the residential areas. This, he said, would also prevent encroachment and unapproved commercial activities around the corridor.
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