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Safety Data: How Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode’s Claim Of Lagos Becoming One Of The Safest Cities In Africa Was Rubbished

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On Tuesday, July 24, the Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, claimed that Lagos State had become one of the safest cities in Africa, a claim that was rubbished by a report by Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).

In the wake of the report rating Lagos state as the third worst city to live in, there have been reactions.

One of such has came from financial expert, Mr. Bismarck Rewane, who is the Chief Executive Officer, Financial Derivatives Company. Rewane  faulted the report, as being subjective and inconsistent.

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Caption:  Mr. Bismarck Rewane, Chief Executive Officer, Financial Derivatives Company

The report issued on Tuesday, August 14, by the EIU had cited security, education and healthcare delivery as benchmarks for its ratings.

Speaking on a Television programme,  ‘Network Africa’ on Channels TV,  Rewane,  described the report as subjective adding that the criteria used in reaching such conclusion was inconsistent.

He said: “First and foremost, I think the report is subjective and it is based on warped criteria. Certainly, in a survey that says that number 86 is Johannesburg when you talk about crime, terrorism, insurgency and Lagos is number 138 out of 140, it’s unfortunate.

“I feel safer in Lagos than in Johannesburg in terms of crime. I cannot stop at a traffic light in Johannesburg without looking over my shoulder, in Lagos I could probably do that.”

EIU had ranked cities like Vienna, Melbourne, Osaka, Tokyo as the ten most-liveable cities, and ranked cities such as Damascus, Dakar, Karachi and Lagos as the 10 least liveable cities in 2018.

However, Rewane’s position has been questioned, as there are those who hold the opinion that the rating is indeed a reflection of the real Lagos state.

Kidnapping, murder and other atrocities including  abuse of innocent citizens by law enforcement officers have taken place in Lagos with little punishment meted out to the officers.

There are those who hold the opinion that education is in a very poor state in Lagos, while the security in the state is indeed very suspect evident in reports of daily attacks. Healthcare delivery in the state is also not at its peak in Lagos state. With this position, many are forced to agree with the report of the EIU.

This was perhaps what Rewane meant when he said that Lagos still had a lot to do on terms of improving access in two critical sectors- healthcare and education.

“Lagos falls short definitely in access to healthcare because you can’t have a medical emergency in Nigeria and in Lagos in particular. Lagos falls short in terms of education, but having said that, we have a population in Lagos of anything between 12 to 20 million people. Things are improving but the message that paints to us is that Nigeria has to wake up and has to work hard. Whether you like it or not Nigeria is the 5th most populous country in the world. And Lagos is rising among the ranks of cities in terms of population

“So, urban transit, urban renewal and things like that which Governor (Akinwunmi) Ambode is working on assiduously, it’s good enough to work hard on it but you must achieve the results that people want. Because other people are looking at us and ranking us.”

Interestingly, Gov. Ambode’s claim has been described as a grandiose one aimed at scoring cheap points, as the 2019 elections draws nigh. According to Sahara Reporters, the Governor’s claim was made without recourse to available data.

Data released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) in May 2018 revealed that Lagos is not one of the safest places to live even in Nigeria. According to the data, collected during the first quarter of 2018, Lagos ranked 12th on list of states with the highest number of people involved in road accidents — despite having the highest number of certified drivers in the country. The state also ranked 17th highest in the number of people killed in road accident.

Similarly, Lagos state has the highest percentage of reported crime rate in Nigeria. “Lagos State has the highest percentage share of total cases reported with 50,975 (37.9%) cases recorded,” according to NBS 2018 report on crime rate.

IF data collected by foreign organisations such as EIU  and the NBS disputes Gov. Ambode’s claims, what then substantiate his claims.

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