Boat operators and fishermen doing busineas in the Ijede area of Ikorodu and Tarzan in Eti-OsaEti-OsaL in Lagos State have lamented their losses following the invasion of the river by water hyacinth.
The boat operators said the seaweed had taken over the lagoon and had damaged their engine propellers, gearbox and impellers, thereby causing great havoc to their business.
The fishermen said apart from the damages caused by the weeds to the boat engines, they are also unable to go out fishing for fear of losing their nets to the plants.
An outboard engineer and boat operator, Mr. Rasheed Fashina, said the seaweed had caused many of the outboard engines to get damaged, noting that when the engines get entangled with the plants, they stop pumping water.
He stated that no matter how skilful an operator is in dodging the seaweed, he would only succeed in incurring more costs as the travelling time would be longer.
In a statement made available to The Tide on Wednesday the operators said the”Seaweed is our major problem on this route. Sometimes, the plants are so thick that one will not be able to manoeuvre one’s way but to sail through them. They cause much damage to the propeller, impeller and gearbox.
“In the case of damage to the impeller, if the operator/helmsman does not notice on time that it has stopped pumping water, it will result in flooding, which usually leads to the outboard engine getting damaged.
“The seaweed invasion started about two months ago. This is what we have been facing since that time. The plants can only be exterminated when salt water from the Atlantic Ocean starts flowing into the lagoon.
“About three years ago, the Lagos State Waterways Authority deployed some boats that used to shred the seaweed. But, now, they are saying that the boats are no longer functioning. The least price for each of these outboard engines is N3.5m.”
A fisherman Andrew Emmanuel, said since the seaweed took over the water, he and his colleagues had stopped going out to fish.
“When the nets are let down, the fishes that are supposed to be caught will not be able to enter the nets as the seaweed and planks get stuck in the nets.
“When the seaweed season is around, we hardly go out fishing. We don’t usually catch any fish when we let down our nets. The seaweed gets entangled in the nets as well as the planks underneath them.
“We normally return home with torn nets as we struggle to free the nets from the elements.
FOI Act Implementation Bothers BPST Boss
The Director-General, Bureau of Public Service Reforms, Dr Dasuki Arabi, has expressed regrets that the implementation of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) has remained very low since the law was enacted.
The BPSR boss made the observation during a workshop held on Wednesday in Abuja on the appraisal of Freedom of Information Act.
Arabi said the Act was meant to entrench transparency and openness in governance through improved compliance to annual reporting obligations of public institutions.
“It is also expected to guide and improve compliance of public institutions in proactive disclosure of mandatory publication requirements, as well as empower citizens, the right to access information held by the state.
“Regrettably, since the introduction of the FOI Act, it is evident that the level of compliance among public institutions still remains low.
“While the level of engagement by citizens still remains insignificant and in some cases fraught with misunderstanding between the State and Non-State actors,” he added.
Arabi, therefore, said that the workshop was to resolve some of the grey areas around FOI, as well as foster a harmonious relationship between the State and Non-State actors towards the implementation of the Act.
He said good governance and transparency would only thrive in the country when citizens access to Information is assured.
The DG emphasised that the FOIA provided platform for inclusiveness that sought to hold leaders to account and feed into the decision making process.
Arabi said that the Bureau had worked assiduously towards the implementation of the Act and was making efforts to ensure that it was institutionalized across the public sector.
He said that the interventions were in the areas of training public service workers and development of feedback mechanism through which a portal for application and responses for FOI request were deployed.
Others, he said, are score-card for ranking the performances of websites of public institutions using specific benchmarks, including FOI portal.
“Creating platforms for citizens engagement with Civil Societies Organizations on topical issues of government through the BPSR flagship programmes such as the monthly Lunchtime Seminar series,” he added.
Arabi said that the Bureau had also deployed information technology to provide innovative means to improve record keeping and management using intranet and Electronic Data Management Systems.
He continued that they were working in conjunction with the Nigeria Economic Summit Group to gauge the perception of citizens on public policies.
In her remarks, the National Coordinator, Open Government Partnership (OGP), Nigeria, Dr Gloria Ahmed, said making information open was a hallmark of democracy and a basic human right.
She said that the FOIA has given citizens the opportunity to access information as regards government policies and reforms.
FCTA Harmonises Mobile Adverts, Haulage System Against Double Taxation
The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA), Department of Outdoor Advertisement and Signage (DOAS), has launched the FCT/State Mobile Advertisement and Haulage permits for 2023 financial year.
Permanent Secretary, FCTA, Mr Olusade Adesola, while launching the system sought the cooperation of the business owners in the FCT, in order to achieve the objective of the initiative.
Adesola said the move was part of efforts to facilitate the ease of doing business drive in the nation’s capital.
He commended DOAS for the initiative. aimed at improving institutional cooperation and partnerships with the critical stakeholders.
Adesola warned: “FCTA would no longer tolerate acts of thuggery in the collection of taxes, as there are better ways of doing such, which will ensure the attainment of ease of doing business.”
He commended the leadership of Area Councils for resolving to synergise with DOAS to streamline the system.
The Permanent Secretary said the proliferation of collection authorities for mobile advertisements had led to serious loss of Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) in the FCT.
Earlier, the Executive Chairman, Kwali Area Council, Danladi Chiya, said although Area Councils have the constitutional right to collect such advertisements, they have no issue with FCTA over the establishment and mandate of DOAS.
LASG Begins Vehicle Parking Lanes Demacation
The Lagos State Parking Authority (LASPA) has revealed it will today commence creating additional Vehicle Parking Lanes in some selected locations across the State.
The Authority stated that all efforts have been geared towards improving the parking system of the State.
Speaking on the planned initiative on Friday in Ikeja, the General Manager of LASPA, Mrs. Adebisi Adelabu, stated that the vehicle parking lane mark exercise, which will begin with designated streets within Surulere, Ikoyi, Lekki, Obalende, Ikeja and Victoria Island axis of the State, is a step towards improving street parking from 2023.
Adelabu noted that the Parking Lane Markings will further guide motorists and pedestrians on appropriate parking regulations and spaces, minimise indiscriminate parking, confusion and uncertainty, while conveying a range of information to residents on parking procedures within each specified environment.
According to her, the lane markings will also include special consideration for people living with disabilities and signposts for parking directives, among other features.
The General Manager, however, solicited the understanding of residents within the locations who might be affected by any inconvenience the process might cause, assuring that the government is working rigorously in regulating and improving the parking culture as part of its Traffic Management and Transportation Agenda to ensure parking is convenient, safe and secure across the state.
Recall that the Authority had recently unveiled plans to begin full implementation of parking policy in the second quarter of 2023 and has continued to sensitise the public on the need to embrace the parking culture.
By; Nkpemenyie Mcdominic, Lagos
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