Lagos to establish airline, prepares commencement of airport construction

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*Photo: Governor Sanwo-Olu*

Lagos State has mulled the idea of establishing an airline for passenger operations just as the State prepares for the groundbreaking to commence the construction of its own airport in Lekki.

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Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu disclosed the plan, on Thursday, at the Lagos West Senatorial District People’s Town Hall Meeting, where he rendered stewardship and presented a catalogue of achievements recorded by his administration in the West of Lagos.

A former Permanent Secretary and retired Auditor General for Local Government in Lagos, Pa Muhammed Hassan, believed the State was ripe to own an airline; he threw the poser to the Governor.

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Responding, Sanwo-Olu noted that the plan had been in the pipeline for months, with the State already finalising the financing model for the project. What is being considered, the Governor said, is the Federal Government’s approval and operational contingency for the airline.

This drew commendations from the citizens, who attended the Town Hall meeting held at Balmoral Convention Centre on Sheraton Link Road, Ikeja.

At the no-holds-barred meeting, Sanwo-Olu and his Deputy, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat, mounted the stage to take feedback from the citizens, who asked difficult questions, gave an applause and shared suggestions going forward.

The Governor said the input from the public was necessary to guide his Government’s decision on planned programmes and interventions before their implementation.

Listing projects and interventions taken in Lagos West, Sanwo-Olu pointed out that his administration had completed and opened 42 new roads projects and two flyovers in the District, with the combined length of the infrastructure spanning over 72 kilometres.

He said the last four and half years had seen Lagos taking a leap forward in its socio-economic and development trajectory, but the Governor said he was resolute in doubling his efforts to keep the State on the sustainable growth path as his second term progresses.

He said: “Over the last five months, Mr. Deputy Governor and I have been working to put a concise plan together for the establishment of an airline, but we did not make the plan open because of the need to get adequate knowledge about the operational procedures of airlines. The business plan is viable and there is no issue about financing. The conversation has gone to an advanced stage but we need to get the proper information on operations before we go ahead to implement the plan.

“In Lagos West Senatorial District, infrastructure development has been our priority since we came in. Over the last four years, we have completed over 70 kilometres of new roads and over two kilometres of bridges. These include Pen-Cinema Bridge, Ikeja Flyover, and over 42 roads we have completed in Alimosho, Ifako, Agege, Ikeja, Mushin, Amuwo Odofin and Badagry. We also have over 30 ongoing road projects which are at various stages of completion within this district.”

Sanwo-Olu assured Lagosians that his administration would be raising the pace of its development strides, as he pledged to double the efforts to deliver twice the number of projects and programmes achieved in his first term.

The Governor said the senatorial district was also the major beneficiary of the intracity railway development projects of his administration, with Lagos West hosting major passenger hubs of Blue Line and Red Line trains.

He said the new General Hospital being constructed by his administration in Ojo axis was at an advanced stage of development, saying its completion would further improve health care access in the district.

To further enhance security and safety in Lagos, Sanwo-Olu disclosed that his administration would be releasing additional patrol vehicles and work gadgets to raise surveillance and capacity of security agencies to respond to emerging threats.

To further enhance security and safety in Lagos, Sanwo-Olu disclosed that his administration would be releasing additional patrol vehicles and work gadgets to raise surveillance and capacity of security agencies to respond to emerging threats.

He urged the citizens to be law-abiding and support measures introduced by the Government to maintain law and order. The Governor said it would not be enough to enforce obedience to laws, adding that the Government would ensure laws are fair and just to all.

He said: “We are in talks with you, the citizens, today because we believe the Government does not know it all. The feedback and inputs we are taking away from here will help us to cater for your needs and wellbeing better. On our part, we will strive to make it easier for you to be law-abiding. It is not enough to say the laws must be obeyed, we must also ensure that the laws are clear, fair and just.

“When people break the law and don’t do the right thing, they make governance a lot more difficult for us. We must discharge our civic responsibility and fulfil our obligations as citizens. When we do this, it reduces the cost of governance and saves resources that will enable us do a lot more. While we appreciate your suggestions, we are also encouraging you to ensure that all citizens do the right thing at all times.”

Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Gbenga Omotoso, likened the event to an Annual General Meeting where stakeholders in an entity would have opportunity to discuss with the leadership, noting that the move was to engender an all-inclusive government in which citizens would have an input.

He said the Town Hall meeting would have taken off during the Governor’s first term, but for the several unanticipated occurrences, including COVID-19 pandemic, which stalled the plan.

“The conversation continues with the citizens on the Lagos project. Today, Lagos West Senatorial District leads the way; other districts will take their turns of the Town Hall meeting where they will have unfettered discussions with the Governor,” Omotoso said.

The meeting was attended by various stakeholders among the Lagos electorate, including members of civil society, political parties’ supporters, people living with disabilities, youth activists, socio-cultural groups, artisans, traders and religious leaders.

Also in attendance were members of the State’s cabinet, All Progressives Congress (APC) leaders and members of Governance Advisory Council (GAC) from the senatorial district.

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