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Protest: Lagos State Commercial Drivers Commence Seven Days Strike

Lagos State, the most populated city in Africa is at risk of an economic slowdown as Lagos State commercial drivers announced the commencement of a seven days strike.

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Lagos State, the most populated city in Africa is at risk of an economic slowdown as Lagos State commercial drivers announced the commencement of a seven days strike.

This was disclosed by the national leader of the Joint drivers’ Welfare Association of Nigeria (JDWAN), Akintade S. Abiodun.

The notice indicated that Lagos State commercial bus driver under the umbrella of JDWAN expressed intent to go on a seven days strike over the excessive extortions and unjust harassment they have been facing at the hands of the garages and parks management in Lagos State.

The statement partly read, “As commercial drivers in Lagos State under the umbrella of JDWAN, we are left with no choice than to embark on seven days of protest and boycott of services over multiple and excessive extortions by the management of parks and garages in the state.

“We have notified members of the public and the Lagos State Government over multiple and excessive extortions by the motor parks and garages management.

The statement disclosed that excessive extortion and illegal ticketing affect not only the cost of transportation but also the cost of goods and services and eventually the cost of living. The members of JDWAN said they lost most of their income to Motor Park ticketing and when they refuse to comply, they get arrested.

“The cost of transportation affects the cost of goods and services and consequently the cost of living, which has spiraled astronomically in Lagos State as a result of the effect of motor parks’ excessive and illegal ticketing and tolling at almost every bus stop.

“We have been sentenced to extortion and violent harassment by the state transport agencies – Lagos State motor parks and garages management and Lagos State caretaker committee.

“On a daily basis, we lose half of our income to the motor park boys. We pay exorbitant charges in the garages and at every bus stop where we drop off passengers, whether we pick up passengers or not, we pay morning, afternoon, and night. Some routes have 25 bus stops which also serve as illegal tax collection avenues.”

The association in its statement said they are refusing all unfair treatment, kicking against illegal payment of tickets to park thugs at every bus stop, while demanding the Lagos State Government to put an end to the harassment from law enforcement agencies immediately.

“All illegal money paid after we leave the garages and parks should be abolished immediately. Harassment of law enforcement agencies & intimidation with guns, cutlass, and broken bottles by LASTMA, task force, and RRS must end immediately. They collaborate and hire thugs to attack and extort us every day without violating any law.

“We demand that the Lagos State government provide official bus stops in each community to avoid incessant arrests and stress for commuters who complain of having to trek several kilometers back to their bus stops.”

The association warned that failure to adhere to their demands by the Lagos State Government would result in a full-blown protest and total boycott as this seven days strike is just a warning.

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IBEDC Disconnects UCH Over N500m Debt, Critical Services Affected

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The University College Hospital (UCH) in Ibadan, Oyo State, experienced a disruption in its power supply after the Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company (IBEDC) disconnected the hospital over a debt amounting to N500 million.

Dr. Jesse Otegbayo, the Chief Medical Director of UCH, confirmed the disconnection but refrained from elaborating on the exact cause.

IBEDC’s spokesperson, Busolami Tunwase, acknowledged the outstanding debt owed by UCH but denied that the disconnection was intentional.

Tunwase stated that while UCH owed the substantial amount, the power outage was due to a technical fault in the area, coinciding with the debt situation.

Despite repeated attempts to engage UCH in discussions to settle the debt, IBEDC had resorted to disconnection as a last resort.

The disconnection poses significant challenges to UCH’s critical services, affecting patient care and hospital operations.

While IBEDC emphasized its understanding of the hospital’s importance and commitment to resolving the issue amicably, the situation underscores the financial strains faced by healthcare institutions and the essential need for reliable power supply.

Efforts to negotiate and find a resolution between UCH and IBEDC are ongoing to restore normal operations and ensure uninterrupted healthcare services.

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Oil and Gas Dealers Threaten Withdrawal as 70% of Downstream Businesses Collapse

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The downstream oil sector in Nigeria faces a looming crisis as oil and gas dealers, represented by the Natural Oil and Gas Suppliers Association of Nigeria (NOGASA), issue a stern warning of potential service withdrawal.

In a recent resolution following their executive committee meeting in Abuja, NOGASA expressed grave concerns over the collapse of approximately 70% of businesses in the industry due to the harsh operating environment.

President of NOGASA, Benneth Korie, highlighted the dire situation, emphasizing the challenges faced by oil marketers in funding operations amidst soaring bank interest rates.

Korie underscored the overwhelming burden faced by operators who are compelled to acquire funds at exorbitant interest rates upwards of 30%, exacerbating financial strain and hindering business viability.

The primary demand voiced by NOGASA is the pegging of the foreign exchange rate at N750/$ to facilitate refinery operations and stimulate the production of refined products domestically.

Failure to address these pressing issues, Korie warned, could result in the withdrawal of services by NOGASA’s over 200 members starting from the next month.

The downstream oil crisis coincides with heightened anticipation for the release of refined petroleum products from the Dangote and Port Harcourt refineries, seen as critical for alleviating supply shortages nationwide.

However, amidst forex crises and inflationary pressures, operators in the oil and gas sector confront mounting economic challenges, necessitating urgent government intervention.

As Nigeria navigates through turbulent economic waters, stakeholders eagerly await decisive action from authorities to salvage the downstream oil sector from imminent collapse and avert potential disruptions in fuel supply chains.

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Developers Reject Federal Government’s Cement Price Reduction Agreement

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Real estate developers across Nigeria have voiced their strong disapproval of the recent agreement between the Federal Government and cement manufacturers to reduce the price of cement to a range between N7,000 and N8,000 per 50kg bag.

This decision has been met with skepticism and criticism from key players in the built industry.

Dr. Aliyu Wamakko, the President of the Real Estate Developers Association of Nigeria, expressed his concerns, stating that the proposed reduction would not bode well for the economy.

He pointed out that cement is a fundamental component of construction and lowering its price to such levels would not be conducive to addressing the country’s housing deficit, currently estimated at 28 million units.

Wamakko referenced an earlier commitment by the Chief Executive Officer of BUA Cement, who pledged to reduce the price of cement to N3,500 per bag by January 1, 2024.

He questioned why the current negotiation was proposing prices significantly higher than what was promised earlier.

Other stakeholders echoed similar sentiments, emphasizing the need for more affordable building materials to enable the construction of housing units accessible to low-income earners.

They criticized the reliance on imported materials and advocated for the exploration of locally sourced alternatives.

The discontent among developers underscores the challenges posed by rising construction costs and the implications for housing affordability and development in Nigeria.

As discussions continue, stakeholders are urging a reevaluation of the proposed cement prices to better align with the goal of addressing the country’s housing needs.

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