It was the sixth edition of the Summit. But it commanded more attention than previous ones. We are talking of last week’s Lagos Economic Summit (Ehingbeti 2012), which had the sub-title “FROM BRICS TO BRINCS: Lagos Holds The Key.” All the participants agreed that for Nigeria to develop and grow its economy, Lagos which has for many decades been the economic nerve-centre must continue to play that vital role. And the chief host of the event, Governor Babatunde Fashola, laid bare the statistics. Today, Lagos is home to some 18 million people. That is expected to rise to 20 million in another three years. There are 22 industrial estates, 2,000 industrial complexes, 10,000 commercial ventures. That is not all. Sixty per cent of the nation’s commercial and industrial transactions, 70 per cent of maritime cargo freight, 80 per cent of international aviation traffic take place in Lagos. Half of the nation’s power generation is consumed in Lagos. It is no wonder, therefore, that President Goodluck Jonathan promised two emergency power stations in Lagos. The federal government is equally granting concession to the state to build railway lines. These have become necessary because the state government has identified four key areas that can boost not only its economy but trigger the much anticipated national economic development. The areas identified by the state are power, agriculture, transport and housing. All the participants agreed that with sufficient investments in these key non-oil sectors, Lagos may more than double its present 25 per cent contribution to the nation’s gross domestic product. These and other issues are examined in this week’s cover story: Why Lagos Will Shape Nigeria’s Future, written by Helen Eni, deputy editor BROAD STREET Journal.
Apart from the cover story, however, there is a special report on the oil subsidy probe just concluded by the ad-hoc committee of the House of Representatives. The report was submitted to the House last week. All the 64 recommendations made by the committee have been accepted by the legislators. There are a few grey areas though. Some 71 oil companies indicted in the report have protested. They claim the panel never invited them to present their case. They have been given two weeks within which to come forward to have their say. The Petroleum Pump Price and Regulatory Agency, PPPRA, has in paid advertorials debunked the allegations of pocketing over N300 billion. And the demand by some lawmakers that Diezani Alison-Madueke, minister of petroleum resources, should resign threw the House into an uproar. These developments, against the backdrop of Nigerians’ anger, show that the fuel subsidy saga is not about to end any time soon. Tajudeen Suleiman, associate editor, wrote the update.
And just as the magazine was about going to bed last week, the press was given a bloody nose. The Boko Haram bombed the offices of THISDAY newspapers in both Abuja and Kaduna. For months, the militant sect had been warning journalists that they would be taught a lesson. They have made good their threat. Several people are believed to have died and many have been wounded. In spite of this grim development, the media cannot abandon its role as the fourth estate of the realm. The report of that dastardly attack is in this edition.