My Random Thoughts: On Lagos, and Accelerating Development Across Nigeria

My Random Thoughts: On Lagos, and Accelerating Development Across Nigeria

I am sharing my thoughts in this article, not necessarily as the governor of Lagos State but as a Nigerian; a Nigerian who wants to see progress and sustainable growth in our country.

I am lucky to be administering a State that has been put on the right track by my two predecessors, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN). I do not think I have done anything special except to bring to this my own style of leadership, my own experience and my vision.

Lagos, as it is, has not reached its peak but we can see signs of progress and positive transition to the Lagos of our dreams. What bothers me personally is that I do not see the same level of progress elsewhere in the country. I am not happy that most states in our country are not advancing like Lagos is. It will be unfair of me to think that because Lagos is functioning, then I can go to bed and assume all is well. If only one man is prospering in a village, then it is not progress. Rather, that man is in danger.

According to the statistics released by the United Nations, by 2050, Nigeria is projected to have the third largest population in the world, with two-thirds of the population today below the age of 35. What are we doing today about this? What are we planning to feed them with? How are we going to provide them with jobs, housing and infrastructure? How are we planning to make the country self-sufficient and self-reliant for the future?

One of the key instruments to the permanent prosperity of Nigeria lies in the hands of the 109 senators and 360 representatives in the National Assembly. I just want to plead that we should be open-minded and forward-thinking; we should think about the teeming millions of youth, from Kano to Ibadan, Zungeru to Warri, Jalingo to Yobe, Umuahia to Calabar, and then back to Lagos. We must give serious consideration to what we intend to bequeath to them.

In my opinion, the prosperity of this nation lies with the states. We need to get the states and regions working again and the only way we can unleash the potential of the state is for our representatives at the National Assembly to help their individual states take the next step and move to the next level. In the past, there used to be positive rivalry and competition among the regions prior to the entrance of the military into the national governance. The military split the nation into states and moved the control of all the resources to the centre for their own administrative convenience. Now that we have experienced democracy, I think it is time for us to sit back and think, for the sake of those who are older than us and for the sake of our children, and even those yet to be born.

We need to raise our voice in support of the demand for devolution of power to states and fiscal federalism, especially the review of the current revenue sharing formula. These, in my view, are fundamental and critical to creating an enabling environment that will accelerate development in all parts of the country. The ongoing process towards the review of the 1999 Constitution presents a golden opportunity for us to redress all the aberrations created by the interjection of the military that have stunted growth and inhibited the capacity of states to harness the huge potentials of our nation.

Even with the kind of resources we have in Lagos, it is very clear that there is a huge infrastructural deficit in the State. In addition, the resources are not so huge as to make Lagos globally competitive and deliver the social infrastructure we all crave. So where will the money to drive the Lagos of our dreams come from?

The economy is not doing as well as we want it to. We cannot tax the people any more than we are doing presently, but we have to become more efficient in tax collection because that is the major source of revenue with which we can protect the future, as well as improve the welfare and well-being of all Lagosians.

This takes me to the kind of reforms that we have embarked upon in the last two years. We made security a priority. Our goal has always been to deliver a clean, safe and prosperous Lagos. I want to use this platform to thank the private sector and the corporate Lagos who have been wonderful and have been silently supporting us in the provision of security equipment and infrastructure to our security agencies. Because of them we have been able to improve the performance of our security agencies but we will not take them for granted.

On Cleaner Lagos Initiative. In the last two years, we have found out that Lagos generates one of the highest waste in the world. At the last count, documented waste in Lagos was estimated at 13,000 tonnes per day. Considering undocumented statistics, we can add an additional 4,000 tonnes per day to that figure.

Now, if we want to be revolutionary, if we want to be globally competitive, if we want to deliver on the promise that I made to accomplish a clean, safe, and prosperous Lagos, we cannot use the same template that has been in use from the past. Cleaning Lagos and keeping the environment clean has nothing to do with environmental sanitation and putting your economic productivity at a standstill for three hours every month. That will not clean Lagos.

Cleaning Lagos means we should give Lagosians scientifically treated land fill sites, transfer loading stations, functional dyno-bins, functional compactors, brand new materials and also be able to employ more people. That is why I extended my hand to the private sector for a partnership that will lead to the introduction of 500 brand new compactors, employ more than 27,000 street sweepers across the various wards in Lagos and create 200,000 indirect jobs. And we are commencing this in another few weeks.

I fully appreciate the concerns of the people who have been cleaning Lagos in the past years. I do not take them for granted, neither am I going to ignore them. The new model is a win-win for all of us; I have offered them a 100 percent income from the commercial enterprise, so that our private sector participants (PSPs) can gain capacity and also get more capital to do more work. There are over 5,000 companies in Lagos – enough to go around all the PSP operators, with a minimum of 15 companies to each PSP. The government can support them to make their contract with those companies bankable.

So, while we are using the Cleaner Lagos Initiative to clean private residences and domestic refuse, our original PSP operators are compensated by dealing with companies and getting 100 percent revenues with just one percent administrative charges to Lagos State Waste Management Authority (LAWMA). In the past, LAWMA collected 40 percent in charges. This reform is a product of deep thought and serious human consideration for the environment and all stakeholders. We promise Lagosians that effective from September – within six months – they will see the difference. All they need to do to help us achieve this goal is to cooperate with the government and pay the annual public utility levy in accordance with the law. This is what will fund the project. Our bins will be cleared systematically on a daily basis. The same way the refuse on Adeola Odeku is cleared is the same way refuse in Badagry, Ayobo, Agege and other parts of Lagos will be cleared.

In the transport sector, we have decided that to integrate our rail, road and water transportation systems, it will take time; but I believe in the philosophy of Think It, Plan It and then Act It. Sometimes, people can be impatient and say we are not responsive, but the issue is that when you run a government, you cannot run a reactionary government. We are running a responsive government which is one of the tenets of good governance. We must and are expected to think through all our policies properly and to the end before planning and executing. The difference between the thinking time, planning time, the execution time and the action time demanded by the populace is what makes people cry out.

There are a lot of things coming up under the bus reforms initiative. We are introducing new bus terminals; there are already new terminals at Tafawa Balewa Square and in Ikeja. We are constructing more in Yaba, Oyingbo, Mile 2, Ojodu Berger, Ogba and Agege. All these things will be in place before our new buses come in February 2018.

We are doing a lot on water transportation also. We want to make sure that everyone is able to move from one place to another.

Like the transport sector, we are doing new things in the health sector. We do not have enough General and Specialist hospitals. From Lekki to Epe, there is no General Hospital along that axis and we need to do something about it. More Specialist Hospitals are coming up but the government cannot do it alone. My take is that the private sector needs to come on board. The private sector is at the front burner of what we are doing and we have a management team made up of experts from the private sector. We welcome ideas and projects that can bring value to the majority of Lagosians. We believe strongly that value is driven by its impact on humanity and that is what all our story is all about.

We love the criticism that Lagos is the second least livable city. It is a challenge to us and we are working on disproving the fasle basis of this ranking, but people forget that the major considerations for this classification are terrorism and crime, which I believe we do not have in Lagos. I am passionate about Lagos. But I will not compare Lagos with Melbourne. What is important is that we are making some giant strides, positively affecting the lives of our people and even receiving accolades for what we have been doing. There is still a lot more to come and in another one year, I believe that people will see that Lagos has taken proper shape. I am a good listener and I appreciate objective criticism. I read and listen even though I often do not respond.

Lagos is the most thriving cosmopolitan city right now in Sub-Saharan Africa. Our goal is to expand capital expenditure such that in another two to three years, Lagos State will become the third largest economy in Africa.

These are just some of my random thoughts…

Support Devolution Of Power To States, Fiscal Federalism, LASG Tasks Lawyers

Support Devolution Of Power To States, Fiscal Federalism, LASG Tasks Lawyers

…Says Weak Institutions Impeding Ease Of Doing Business

…Lagos Has Made Greatest Institutional Transformation, Says NBA President

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode on Sunday called on lawyers in the country to raise their voices in support of the demand for devolution of power to States and fiscal federalism, especially the review of the current revenue sharing formula.

By the current revenue allocation formula, the Federal Government takes as much as 52.68% of centrally-collected revenues in the federation account, while States and Local Governments share 26.72% and 20.60% respectively.

Speaking at the opening ceremony of the 57th Annual General Conference of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) held in Lagos, Governor Ambode tasked lawyers to utilize the golden opportunity of the ongoing review of the 1999 Constitution to lend their voices to the call for redress of all the aberrations that had stunted growth and inhibited capacity of States to harness their potentials.

He said: “Let me use this opportunity to call on the Nigerian Bar Association as a body and members to raise your voices in support of the demand for devolution of power to States and fiscal federalism, especially the review of the current revenue sharing formula.

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode (right); President, Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Mr. Abubakar Balarabe Mahmoud, SAN and his wife, Justice Patricia Mahmoud and representative of the Vice President & Minister of Works, Power & Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, SAN during the opening ceremony of 2017 Annual General Conference of the Nigerian Bar Association at Landmark Centre, Oniru, Lagos, on Sunday, August 20, 2017
Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode (right); President, Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Mr. Abubakar Balarabe Mahmoud, SAN and his wife, Justice Patricia Mahmoud and representative of the Vice President & Minister of Works, Power & Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, SAN during the opening ceremony of 2017 Annual General Conference of the Nigerian Bar Association at Landmark Centre, Oniru, Lagos, on Sunday, August 20, 2017

“These, in my view, are fundamental and critical to creating an enabling environment that will accelerate development in all parts of the country. The ongoing process for the review of the 1999 Constitution presents a golden opportunity for us to redress all the aberrations created by the interjection of the military that have stunted growth and inhibited the capacity of States to harness the huge potentials of our nation.”

Speaking on the theme of the conference, “African Business: Penetrating Through Institution Building,” Governor Ambode identified weak institutions as a major factor inhibiting growth in Nigeria and Africa, saying that the development had constituted a major disincentive for investment in the continent, which in turn, was hampering efficient and effective harnessing of the huge resources in the continent.

He said in most cases, institutions are weak because their establishment is influenced by personal and short-term considerations, while in some other cases, institutions are deliberately weakened in order to make them subject to the whims and caprices of the leadership.

Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje of Kano State; Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State; Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State; Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau State; Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State; Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State during the opening ceremony of 2017 Annual General Conference of the Nigerian Bar Association at Landmark Centre, Oniru, Lagos, on Sunday, August 20, 2017. Behind them are Governor Mohammed Abubakar of Bauchi State (2nd left); President, Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Mr. Abubakar Balarabe Mahmoud, SAN (middle); President, Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote (2nd right) and Managing Director/C.E.O, Access Bank Plc, Mr. Herbert Wigwe (right).
Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje of Kano State; Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State; Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State; Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau State; Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State; Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State during the opening ceremony of 2017 Annual General Conference of the Nigerian Bar Association at Landmark Centre, Oniru, Lagos, on Sunday, August 20, 2017. Behind them are Governor Mohammed Abubakar of Bauchi State (2nd left); President, Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Mr. Abubakar Balarabe Mahmoud, SAN (middle); President, Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote (2nd right) and Managing Director/C.E.O, Access Bank Plc, Mr. Herbert Wigwe (right).

As a way out, Governor Ambode said: “Building and sustaining strong institution requires our collective commitment to the rule of law.  It entails building the capacity of such institutions to be able to discharge their responsibilities effectively and transparently while also being accountable to the people. It must create an atmosphere of confidence, mutual understanding and protection against arbitrariness.

“We must take a cue from developed economies where the integrity of their institutions is not compromised for whatever reason. In those climes, it is the institution that puts officials of the State in check and not vice versa as we have experienced and are still experiencing in most parts of the continent.”

The Governor said such ideal situation and global best practice was what Lagos State had been striving very strongly to attain in order to build an economy that is globally competitive.

“This has been one of our key commitments in the past two years as exemplified by the fa- reaching reforms we are implementing by way of security and judicial sector reforms. Happily, these efforts are yielding the expected outcomes,” Governor Ambode said.

Besides, Governor Ambode expressed excitement at the recovery and return of President Muhammadu Buhari back to the country after long medical vacation in the United Kingdom.

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode (6th left), with President, Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Mr. Abubakar Balarabe Mahmoud, SAN (6th right); his wife, Justice Patricia Mahmoud (5th right); Governor Mohammed Abubakar of Bauchi State (4th right); Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau State (3rd right); President, Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote (2nd right); Managing Director/C.E.O, Access Bank Plc, Mr. Herbert Wigwe (right); Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State (left); Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State (3rd left); Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State (4th left) and Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje of Kano State (5th left) during the opening ceremony of 2017 Annual General Conference of the Nigerian Bar Association at Landmark Centre, Oniru, Lagos, on Sunday, August 20, 2017.
Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode (6th left), with President, Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Mr. Abubakar Balarabe Mahmoud, SAN (6th right); his wife, Justice Patricia Mahmoud (5th right); Governor Mohammed Abubakar of Bauchi State (4th right); Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau State (3rd right); President, Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote (2nd right); Managing Director/C.E.O, Access Bank Plc, Mr. Herbert Wigwe (right); Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State (left); Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State (3rd left); Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State (4th left) and Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje of Kano State (5th left) during the opening ceremony of 2017 Annual General Conference of the Nigerian Bar Association at Landmark Centre, Oniru, Lagos, on Sunday, August 20, 2017.

“Let me firstly on behalf of all the people of Lagos State and all Nigerians thank God for the safe return of Mr President, General Muhammadu Buhari. Mr President, we wish you well always,” Governor Ambode said.

In his opening remarks, NBA President, Abubakar Mahmoud (SAN), acknowledged the efforts of the Lagos State Government at building strong institutions, saying that the State had made greatest institutional transformation in recent times.

He said the decision to host the conference in Lagos again was not just because of the facilities and infrastructure but also to support the transformative journey which the State had witnessed.

“Our last conference in Lagos was in 2009. We are delighted to be here once again, especially to join the State to celebrate its 50th anniversary. We have come back here not just because of the conference facilities and other infrastructure but also to support the transformative journey that this State has witnessed in the last several years.

“If we are talking of institutions, there is no better place to do that than in Lagos. Lagos is a State that has perhaps made the greatest institutional transformation in recent times. Many of us remember Lagos in the 80s and 90s with the state of the frustrating traffic, the very frustrating pollution, the hold-up, the smoky roads and army of unemployed youths rooming the street to what you now see as a much more modern city, a true centre of excellence. I therefore wish to thank His Excellency, Governor Ambode for the tremendous work he is doing in Lagos and also for being a strong partner to the Bar Association,” Mahmoud said.

The conference, which is still ongoing, was attended by 11,935 delegates and 142 speakers from 15 countries.

Opening Remarks At The  Opening Ceremony Of Nigerian Bar Association Annual Conference

Opening Remarks At The  Opening Ceremony Of Nigerian Bar Association Annual Conference

On behalf of the government and people of Lagos State, it gives me great pleasure to welcome you all to the nation’s Center of Excellence and the 5th largest economy in Africa.

Lagos State is connected in many ways to the history of Nigeria including the study and practice of law.  It is home to the brightest legal minds that laid the foundation for the legal profession in Nigeria. It is home to great and world acclaimed men such as Chief Frederick Rotimi Williams, the first Nigerian to become a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Taslim Olawale Elias, the first black African President of the International Court of Justice, Christopher Sapara Williams, first indigenous Nigerian Lawyer called to the English Bar. e.t.c.

 These distinguished and illustrious sons and daughters of our nation contributed greatly not only to the evolution of the legal profession in Nigeria but also to the greatness of our State over the past 50 years.

AX8W6860

Indeed it will be extremely difficult if not impossible to identify the icons of the profession in contemporary time without a story to tell about the limitless opportunities which Lagos offers for all to realise our dreams and reach the peak of their potentials irrespective of race, ethnic, religious or socio-economic background.  This is the legacy that has been jealously cherished by succeeding generations and which we will continue to build on because it is the source of our strength, leadership and prosperity.

It is against this background and in the spirit of Lagos at 50 celebration that we feel excited to partner with the Nigeria Bar Association in hosting this year’s annual conference.

The NBA has chosen for this 57th conference, a theme that speaks pointedly to one of the issues that have kept Africa far behind on the scale of ease of doing business. Weak Institutions constitute a major disincentive for investment which is extremely important for the efficient and effective harnessing of the huge resources that nature has blessed us with.

AX8W6818

Our Institutions are weak because in most cases, their establishment is influenced by personal and short term considerations. In some other cases, they are deliberately weakened in order to make them subject to the whims and caprices of the leadership.

Building and sustaining strong institution requires our collective commitment to the rule of law.  It entails building the capacity of such institutions to be able to discharge their responsibilities effectively and transparently while also being accountable to the people.   It must create an atmosphere of confidence, mutual understanding and protection against arbitrariness.

We must take a cue from developed economies where the integrity of their institutions is not compromised for whatever reason. In those climes, it is the institution that puts officials of the State in check and not vice versa as we have experienced and are still experiencing in most parts of the continent.

Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, this is the ideal and best global practice which we, in Lagos State are striving very strongly to attain towards building an economy that is globally competitive. It has been one of our key commitments in the past two years as exemplified by the far reaching reforms we are implementing by way of security and judicial sector reforms. Happily, these efforts are yielding the expected outcomes.

061A5221

I have no doubt in my mind that this conference will produce new and useful ideas which will help in deepening the effects of ongoing efforts to build and strengthen our institutions in line with global best practice.

Before I end this brief remark, let me use this opportunity to call on the Nigerian Bar Association as a body and members to raise your voices in support of the demand for devolution of power to States and fiscal federalism, especially the review of the current revenue sharing formula.

These, in my view, are fundamental and critical to creating an enabling environment that will accelerate development in all parts of the country. The ongoing process for the review of the 1999 Constitution presents a golden opportunity for us to redress all the aberrations created by the interjection of the military that have stunted growth and inhibited the capacity of States to harness the huge potentials of our nation.

Once again, I welcome you all to the Nation’s Centre of excellence. I would have been one of you. I made a failed attempt to become a lawyer but JAMB messed me up.

Address Delivered At The Quarterly Town Hall Meeting  ( The Eight In The  Series) Held At Badore  On August  2nd,  2017

Address Delivered At The Quarterly Town Hall Meeting ( The Eight In The Series) Held At Badore On August 2nd, 2017

Today marks the 8th in the series of our quarterly town hall meetings and we are so proud to be in the midst of our people living in the Central Senatorial zone, most especially the Ajah, Badore-Langbasa environ of Central Lagos.

Before I go into the future plans of our administration, I am sure you are aware of our achievements in the last quarter. – They are visible in Housing, Education, Works and Health sectors as shown to us in the documentary.
OUTLOOK FOR NEXT QUARTER
Transportation
We will continue to identify areas of intervention to ease traffic congestion and stimulate economic activities in the Central Axis.

New, modern Bus terminals will be constructed in Marina, Ajah, Oworonshoki, Ojota, Agege, Iju-Ishaga and Iyana Ipaja. We shall also introduce new Bus depots for BRT buses.

IMG-20170802-WA0010

We will commence the construction of the Oshodi-International Airport road in this quarter.

Our Cleaner Lagos initiative will start in full swing in this quarter and Lagosians will experience a new dimension in sanitation, waste solid waste collection and disposal.

We have commenced the removal of illegal structures hindering drainage and free flow of water in the metropolis. We shall no longer tolerate any breach of our environmental laws and regulations. Obalende (under bridges) will also wear a new look before the year ends

Last week we signed an agreement with Buhler AG a leading Rice Mill producer for the acquisition of a 32 tonnes per hour rice mill. This will create about 32,000 jobs directly and 200,000 jobs indirectly along the rice value chain. This will lead to the cultivation of 32,000 hectares of farm land per year, producing processed rice of 130,000 metric tonnes per year which translates to 2,600,000 bags of 50kg rice.

IMG-20170802-WA0008

SAFETY AND SECURITY
The safety and security of lives and property of every individual remains our priority and we are determined to keep Lagos safe at all times.

We will continue to equip the security agencies in our State and expect them to double their efforts to end crime in our State. We have been boosted with the arrest of notorious criminals who used to terrorize many residents of our State.

CONCLUSION
Ladies and gentlemen, the future of our State is very bright. We have tremendous potential to be one of the most successful City-States in the world but we have to make some sacrifices today to have a wonderful tomorrow.

Our government feels emboldened by the tremendous support and cooperation you have continued to give us. This was also evident in your action of July 22nd when you voted massively for the All Progressives Congress during the just concluded Local Government elections.

Equipped with your support, we remain firmly committed in our quest to deliver a Lagos that works for us all and gives our people the opportunities to achieve their dreams.

IMG-20170802-WA0012

We thank alI tax paying Lagosians for their cooperation and for helping our administration to translate all our visions and plans for Lagos State to reality. I urge all other taxable individuals yet to join the tax net to go to the nearest Lagos State Inland Revenue office to register. Feel free to honour your civic obligations. We believe we have earned your trust. Every kobo paid as tax will be judiciously used for the good of Lagosians.

I thank you for your attention and God bless.

Itesiwaju Ipinle Eko, lo je wa logun.

Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode
Governor of Lagos State

August 2, 2017

We’ll Embark On Holistic Solutions To Permanently Address Flooding

We’ll Embark On Holistic Solutions To Permanently Address Flooding

…To Re-engineer Drainage Systems, Enforce Physical Planning Laws
…Says Govt Will Step Up Campaign Against Dumping Of Refuse Into Canals

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode on Monday said the flooding caused by torrential rainfalls in the State within the last few days would soon be a thing of the past, as the State Government was working towards embarking on holistic solutions to address the situation once and for all.

Speaking at a sensitization workshop on water management and environmental control held at Ikeja which is a prelude to a Water Technology and Environmental Control (WATEC) exhibition holding in Israel later in the year, the Governor said aside the fact that the issue of flooding was not peculiar to the State or Nigeria as it was a global phenomenon, but that urgent steps are being taken to tackle the challenge in a holistic manner and protect the State from future re-occurrence.

The Governor, who empathized with people who lost properties to the flood, said that it was painful to see most prime estates flooded with water, roads taken over by floods, while many homesteads literally became pools.

Describing the workshop as apt coming at a time the State witnessed flooding in some parts, Governor Ambode said in as much as the development was a trying period for him given the fact that so much had been expended in providing infrastructure for the people, but that major strategies would be implemented with the view to bequeathing the State with enduring solution to water management and environmental control.

“However, if we have learnt anything in the on-going flooding of some parts of the State, it is that there is an immediate, even urgent need for us to embark upon a review and reengineering of our canals and drainage systems.

“This must be pursued hand-in-hand with a clear and crystal re-envisioning of our water management system. So, in effect, what we should immediately pursue is a holistic solution to what is certain to be a recurring problem. It must be a sincere collaboration between government and the citizenry,” Governor Ambode said.

The Governor said despite the fact that the State had been denied ecological funds by the previous federal government for political reasons, several reforms were being implemented in line with the capacity of the State Government to protect the shoreline and carry out de-flooding, which according to him, are equally expensive to implement.

 “The issue is when you are talking about reforms, it comes with pains but it is only the vision that drives it through and that is what we are doing,” he said.

Speaking on the import of the workshop, Governor Ambode said the State Government was partnering with Israel which is one of the first countries to successfully overcome its limitations in water resources to develop water technology and environmental control, adding that the intention would be to explore a wide array of technological advancements and possibilities to ensure best solutions.

He said as a first step, the State Government would participate at the WATEC exhibition and take full advantage of state of the art technology in Israel, with the view to applying same solution in the State.

While alluding to the fact that the incidence of flooding was not circumscribed to Nigeria or Third World countries as United Kingdom and even Japan recently witnessed heavily flooding, the Governor said no matter how well a society may be prepared, natural occurrences could not be totally ruled out, and such was why Lagos State and indeed the country fully subscribes to the tenets of Climate Change Solutions by the United Nations.

“While all the aforementioned examples enjoin us to put our experience and pains into perspective, they also impress on us as a State and a government that we must learn from all these examples in order to better prepare for the future.

“To that extent, we will reinvigorate our campaign against the dumping of refuse by citizens into canals. We will be stronger in enforcing our physical planning laws especially those building illegally on canals and blocking the free flow of water across the State,” Governor Ambode vowed.

Speaking on the new waste management strategy being adopted by the State Government encapsulated in the Cleaner Lagos Initiative (CLI), Governor Ambode said available statistics show that the State generate 13, 000 tonnes of waste per day which is the highest in the world, and that the new approach was aimed at revolutionizing waste management with particular emphasis on reusing waste for other critical purposes and growing the economy, as against the present practice of dumping.

Besides, the Governor said as government would be implementing new strategies to find a lasting solution to the problem of water shortages and flooding, it was also important for residents to play their part by bearing new attitudes towards civic obligations at all times, without which the efforts of government would be in futility.

Also, the State’s Commissioner for Waterfront Infrastructure Development, Engr Ade Adesanya said the torrential rainfalls witnessed in the State in the past few days accumulated a total of 477mm of water, which was equivalent to the rainfalls experienced in other climes for six months, and that the successful management of the situation was commendable, while expressing the determination of the government to mitigate the impact of such in future.

On his part, Israeli Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Guy Feldman said his country was delighted to partner with the Lagos State Government to bring about lasting solutions to water management and environmental control.