** Warns against bringing ethnic, religious, political colourations to Alaba Rago eviction notice
The Lagos State Government, through the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources, yesterday announced that it had developed the Lagos State Off-Grid Electrification Strategy and Action Plan with support from the British-funded Africa Clean Energy Technical Assistance Facility (ACE-TAF).
The government said the programme, which was being implemented by Tetra Tech International Development and funded by the UK's Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), was geared towards improvement of the off-grid energy access in Lagos State.
Speaking during the formal handover ceremony in Ikeja, the Commissioner for Energy and Mineral Resources, Engr. Olalere Odusote, explained that the ministry was working to improve energy access in the state. He recalled that in 2021, the government developed the Lagos State Electricity Policy to articulate its vision for creating a viable sub-national electricity sector that catered fully to the needs of its citizens, while also enabling significant socio-economic growth.
Odusote explained that with the emergence of the off-grid solar sector as an important component in achieving access to energy for all in the State, the ministry had developed the Lagos State Off-Grid Electrification Strategy and Plan with the support of ACE-TAF to ensure the implementation of the electricity policy.
Speaking also at the event, ACE-TAF Nigeria Country Manager, Mr. Chibuikem Agbaegbu, said he was delighted to see the collaboration with Lagos State government to improve energy access to Lagosians. Agbaegbu said in 2021, AC-TAF had committed to supporting the state government in improving the environment for off-grid solar. The organisation had done so through its support in the development of the Lagos State Electricity Policy and the Lagos State Off-Grid Electrification Strategy and Action Plan, he said.
Agbaegbu stated that the Off-Grid Electrification Strategy and Plan further underscored the state government's commitment to clean off-grid electrification, thereby enabling private sector investment in its off-grid electricity market.
Meanwhile, the Lagos State government yesterday said its attention had been drawn to a video circulating online showing officials of the Rapid Response Squad (RRS) and the Environmental and Special Offences Unit (Task Force) at Alaba-Rago Market.
The video, according to a statement by the state's Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Gbenga Omotoso, was accompanied by a voice, which was not that of any official of the two agencies.
The statement added, "The voice is that of a faceless blogger trying to whip up ethnic and political sentiments over the planned relocation of traders for the remodelling of Alaba Rago Market.
"The video is authentic because Commander, RRS, CSP Olayinka Egbeyemi and Chairman, Lagos State Task Force, CSP Shola Jejeloye, were in Alaba Rago last Thursday, to brief the traders on the planned relocation. The traders have 14 days to vacate the area to pave the way for the re-modelling.
"Alaba Rago is occupied by traders from many parts of Nigeria and neighbouring West African countries. Any insinuation towards any ethnic attack is a lie and purveyors of such are mischievous.
"It is a devious attempt to cause trouble among peaceful traders. Such actions should be disregarded. Engagements are ongoing towards a hitch-free temporary relocation of the traders."
It further pointed out that the planned relocation was part of the Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu administration's Urban Renewal Programme.
The statement said, "Lagos State Government and the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing have just demolished market stalls under Apongbon Bridge ahead of the reconstruction of the bridge, which got burnt.
"It is illegal to bring ethnic, religious or political colourations to such an exercise, which is designed to ensure development and better security in our communities.
"The discovery of some locally made shotguns by Ojo Police Division a few weeks ago was part of many other reports that prompted the government to expedite action on the remodelling of this market.
"About 4:00 a.m. on April 3, 2022, officials of RRS intercepted a busload of illicit drugs at Mile 2 en route Mushin. The suspects confessed that the consignments were loaded at night in Alaba Rago.
"The Lagos-Badagry Expressway is an international route. It will be insensitive of the government not to redevelop an unplanned and filthy market, such as Alaba Rago, with many shanties lined up on such an international route.
"Besides, Alaba Rago is directly opposite the Lagos State University, Ojo Campus. Keeping a very busy market like that directly opposite a reputable institution of learning is not right."