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Amaechi to investigate cause of water accidents in Lagos

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The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, has promised to investigate the cause of the accidents around Magazine Point in the Marina area of Lagos.

According to a statement released by his spokesman, Eric Ojiekwe, the minister made the pledge on Sunday after a championship organised by the Lagos Yacht Club.

While presenting the club’s Governor’s Cup to the winner, the minister asked the management to formally write to his ministry on the accidents.

“I have always passed here without knowing what danger the construction of the bridge poses to Nigerians. But being here today, I have learnt that there have been accidents here and there.

“I am not sure it is from the Federal Ministry of Transportation. I will have to find out. I have asked the club to do us a letter so that we can investigate.

“We are not in charge of bridges; we are in charge of water. Our responsibility is to ensure that all those who use water, use them safely.

“The National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) argues that this place belongs to them and it truly belongs to them.

“When it comes to who collects the money for this place, the law says inland waterways, and this is inland water, this is not the sea,” Mr Amaechi said.

The minister also congratulated the yacht club for its long history in Nigeria.

“This place is a part of Nigeria’s history that I never knew about. I learnt that this place started in 1932,” he said.

Commodore of the Lagos Yacht Club, John Shidiak, thanked the minister for his concern and presented him with an honorary membership card of the club.

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ECA proposes $7.1trillion ‘New Deal’ for Africa

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A ‘New Deal’ worth $7.1 trillion is the only pathway to reviving Africa’s economy that has taken a downward spiral since the outbreak of COVID-19, says the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA).

ECA Executive Secretary Antonio Pedro made this disclosure at the ongoing African Economic Conference (AEC) to chart a new path for Africa’s post-COVID-19 economic recovery.

He likened the proposed deal to a similar deal by the U.S. between 1933 and 1939 during the presidency of Franklin Roosevelt.

He pointed out that the American deal then was worth $41.7 billion, an amount which he said now equalled $653 billion.

Mr Pedro said that the new deal for Africa would form part of the external funds required by Africa to, among other things, address the rising risk of African debt defaults amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

“On the external front, Africa needs a new deal to recover from the ravages of the pandemic. Roosevelt’s New Deal cost $41.7 billion at the time it was instituted.

“Given Africa’s current population of 1.37 billion, a New Deal would have to deliver $7.1 trillion in financing to equate the U.S. New Deal on a per capita basis.

“The resources required to finance a New Deal are enormous and cannot be funded exclusively through public resources. Private funding will be critical.

“Yet we are all aware the cost of private financing is high. At the same time, private direct capital investments are motivated more by economic rates of return than by social welfare considerations.

“Blending public financing with private resources can redirect more private investments and financing to social and other orphaned sectors through risk-sharing and risk mitigation,” he said.

He said that the ECA had partnered to launch the Liquidity and Sustainability Facility (LSF) at the margins of COP26 to lower the cost of portfolio investments in emerging markets and crowd in a new class of investors into the continent.

He said that the LSF seeks to use on-lent SDRs to leverage private financing by making it possible for holders of African sovereign bonds to access short term financing using such instruments as collateral. 

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Business as usual despite ongoing Oye-Ekiti council polls

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VOTERS AT POLLING BOOTH

Despite the ongoing local government election in Oye-Ekiti Local Government Area of Ekiti State on Saturday, vehicles can be seen moving around without restrictions.

Fuel stations, retail shops and food vendors were open to business.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that a handful of Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) and the police operatives are deployed at strategic locations in the area.

Similarly, men and women of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) are at hand to ensure safety on the roads.

Operators of commuter vehicles were also seen seeking passengers to transport to other parts of the state.

Security officers were not in any of the polling units visited in Oye-Ekiti and nearby Ikole-Ekiti Local Government Areas at the time of this report.

Elections are being held for the 16 local government councils of Ekiti State.

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COVID-19: Nigeria records two deaths as Omicron variant hits 38 countries

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Two additional fatalities from the coronavirus pandemic were announced on Friday by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).

In addition, 197 fresh cases were reported across five states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

The NCDC disclosed in its daily Covid-19 report on Saturday morning.

The 197 additional cases reported on Friday indicate an increase from the 47 cases reported in the country on Friday, December 3.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) had said that the omicron variant, now detected in 38 countries, appears to be more contagious than the Covid-19 delta variant.

“Omicron has some 30 mutations on the spike protein, which is the mechanism used to bind to human cells.

“Some of these mutations are associated with higher transmission and the ability to escape immune protection,” WHO had said.

Meanwhile, the Nigerian Public Health Institute said the country’s fatality toll from the disease now stood at 2,980.

The NCDC added that to date, 214, 513 cases had been confirmed with 207,403 cases discharged and 2,980 deaths recorded in 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory.

Lagos is reported to have 138 cases; Rivers -23; FCT – 18; Imo – 15; Bauchi – 1 and Gombe -1.

The agency added that a total of 3,580,510 blood samples have been tested since the pandemic began across the country.

Meanwhile, South African scientists have found that omicron is associated with a “substantial ability” to re-infect people who already had COVID-19, compared with past variants of the virus.

The study, published by the South African Centre for Epidemiological Modelling and Analysis and the National Institute of Communicable Diseases, has not yet been peer-reviewed.

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