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Our expectations, fears for 2015 'Residents

Published by Tribune on Mon, 05 Jan 2015

Inside Lagos Anchor, AYOMIDE OWONIBI went inside the mega-city to bring reminiscences of the outgone year and expectations of the New Year.As thousands of Lagos residents gathered to bid 2014 farewell with the Lagos Countdown show which featured notable artistes and also aired on CNN, making Lagos a destination of sorts for fun lovers, many are hopeful that 2015 will equally end with funfair, despite unseen challenges.Looking in retrospect at Lagos State in the just concluded year, the state witnessed its own fair share of triumphs and disasters.Many events happened in Lagos State in 2014 but one which seared the memories of Lagosians and Nigerians is the outbreak of the Ebola Virus Disease, which made many people even wary of their own family.The EVD flew into Lagos through the person of the late Patrick Sawyer, a Liberian whom many described as heartless, going by the trail of deaths that soon followed after.Though the Ebola virus claimed a couple of lives in Lagos, many described the response of the Lagos State Government as outstanding and proactive.Lagos State won praise for its swift response in averting further deaths, with Governor Fashola arresting a looming disaster.Lagosians would always remember the late Dr Stella Adedavoh, a senior doctor with the First Consultant Hospital Obalende letting go of all inhibitions and fears in preventing Patrick Sawyer from further spreading the disease.She alongside other doctors and nurses in the hospital fought the battle, losing their lives but etching their names firmly in history.One other notable event is the collapse of a six storey building belonging to the Synagogue Church of All Nations which killed more than a hundred people, 82 of them foreigners.Though many described the collapse of the building as mysterious, efforts by the Church to brand the disaster as a controlled demolition are currently being investigated by the Lagos State coroner's court.In 2014, the state witnessed its fair share of fire outbreaks especially in major markets within the state.The Director, Lagos State Fire Service, Mr Rasak Fadipe, said the service responded to 363 fire incidents during the first quarter of the year.Fadipe said it was a drop from the 528 fire incidents the service responded to in the same period of 2013.He said that the service responded to 119 incidents in January, 115 in February and 129 in March, attributing most of the fire outbreaks to power surge.Fadipe said that the fire service responded to 25 other emergency calls that included saving people from collapsed buildings and road accidents.Many markets like Daleko market, the Ebute Metta plank market, Alade market and many others witnessed their fair share of fire incidents, with traders incurring millions of losses in its wake.He said that they also received 66 false emergency calls during the period.One other incident that took the front burner is incessant boat mishap which claimed many lives.Though the State Government made many frantic efforts to enlighten boat operators on safety on waterways, this did not help the situation as the death toll from water accidents increased during the year.April 5, 2014A rescue team from the Lagos State Waterways Authority, (LASWA), recovered the body of a man declared missing after the tragic boat mishap on Majidun River in Ikorodu, near Lagos.The Managing Director of LASWA, Olayinka Marinho, confirmed the recovery of the body.He said that the rescue team recovered the lifeless body of the 38-year-old shipping company executive, identified as Isaac Akere, at 7.00 a.m.Mr. Akere was working with CMA CGM Delmas Nigeria Ltd., based in Apapa, Lagos.'Our search team discovered the wreck of the boat mishap that happened evening at Majidun in Ikorodu on Friday.'Another team went in search of the missing body and it was recovered this morning.'The body was identified by family members and a colleague of the deceased and it had been deposited at the hospital morgue,' Marinho said.July 9, 2014A commercial passenger boat capsized at the Coconut Island channel area of Lagos, with one passenger declared missing and many others sustaining various injuries.The incident happened around the Iba and Tincan Island area of the state.While other passengers of the local boat were rescued alive, one passenger was missing.According to eyewitness account, the boat capsized when waves from an oncoming bigger vessel swamped it and sent the passengers into the salty water.September 16, 2014A speed boat belonging to Oke'ra-Nla Boat Association in Ajah area of Lagos, capsized leaving four persons dead while one was still missing.The boat with 22 passengers was heading towards Bayeku from Oke-Ira.There were conflicting accounts of what led to the accident. While some attributed it to the boat colliding with a log of wood, another account said it was caused by boisterous water waves.An eye witness said the boat was hit from behind by another boat which was on top speed.Both were said to have been hit by water waves and could not help the situation as the one behind allegedly lost control and hit the ill-fated boat which then capsized.Seventeen persons were rescued while four bodies were recovered.October 4, 2014The bodies of two passengers of a wooden boat that capsized, in the Igando area of Lagos, were recovered. They were identified as those of one Fatima, a female and Mr. Idowu Lawal.Fourteen others were reportedly rescued by local divers with the assistance of policemen attached to Igando Police Division.Tragedy, as gathered, occurred shortly after the boat, said to be heading for Imoshe in Ogun State, took off from Akesan.The exact number of passengers that boarded the boat was not ascertained. It was gathered that immediately it took off, it tagged along with another wooden boat carrying two passengers, in order to withstand the tide. But it apparently could not.Some of the panic-stricken passengers were said to have jumped out of the boat before it capsized.Those that could swim escaped to the shore, while others were said to have been rescued by local fishermen. It was also gathered that none of the passengers was wearing life jacket.Although the governorship election in Lagos State will hold on February 28, 2015, political parties in the state have not let down their guards.With Jimi Agbaje emerging as the flagbearer of the People's Democratic Party, many believe that the jinx of the hold of the All Progressive Party would be broken.Although the APC has entrenched itself in every sector of the state, the PDP in Lagos would bank on the support of President Goodluck Jonathan and the Federal Government.With the elections just around the corner, many residents are hopeful for change in the polity.Taking an economic overview of Lagos State's performance in 2014, State governor, Babatunde Fashola, said the state accounts for over $90 billion of Nigeria's annual Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on a yearly basis.He said the massive contribution was possible because of the thriving private sector in the state, which has seen Lagos emerge as the fifth largest economy in Africa, bigger than many other economies in the continent.Raising their hopes for the New Year, residents have cautioned political office holders to endeavour to restore hope to the Nigerian masses.Mr Gift Wejem, a furniture dealer, said that government ought to raise the hope of the Nigerians by reducing the level of poverty in the country.'Government should give us hope and create employment opportunities for the teeming youths who roam the streets without jobs,'' Wejem said.He decried the influx of substandard materials into the country, stressing that their proliferation had affected the indigenous products markets and relieved a lot of people of their jobs.Wejem said he looked forward to a brighter 2015.Dr Nkechi Asogwa, a medical practitioner, called on government to prioritise health care at all levels and make it more accessible.'Government at the local, state and federal levels should give attention to health issues,'' she said.Asogwa urged the governments to stem the tide of losses to communicable and non-communicable diseases in the country.She called for improvement in the public health sector, noting that many Nigerians do not have the wherewithal to pay for expensive health facilities at private hospitals.Mr Deji Makinde, an insurance marketer said that government should intensify its fight against terrorism to restore peace and security to the affected areas in the North.Makinde expressed sadness over the innocent Nigerians whose lives had been terminated by the activities of insurgents.Mr Godwin Ayigbo, a Pastor, also said that the attention of the government should be centered on how to restore peace and end some senseless killings in the country.'I think government's focus should be on restoration of peace and unity.'All other development is subsumed in an atmosphere of peace,'' Ayigbo said.
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