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Ambode issues Commissioners, Advisers deadline on handover note submission

By Olawale Abdul-Fatah

Indication that Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State would dissolve his cabinet earlier than his predecessors has emerged, ordering commissioners, Special Advisers and other political appointees to submit their handover notes by May 10th.

Unlike his predecessors who often delay submission, the governor, it was gathered, ordered Permanent Secretary, Cabinet Office, Adesina Odeyemi, to direct all political appointees on or before the date to submit their handover note.

In the circular signed by Odeyemi with Reference number SSG/LS/P/C/2019/Vol.1/01, which was issued on April 23, 2019, the appointees were asked to submit their report to apparently aid smooth transition to the governor-elect, Babajide Sanwo-Olu

According to the circular, Personal Assistants, Special Assistants, Special Advisers and members of the State Executive Council were those mandated by the circular.

Meanwhile, the circular exempted members of Statutory Boards, Chief Executive Officers of Parastatal Organisations and Governing Council, whose tenure had not elapsed were not affected by this directive.

The circular was issued with the heading, “Preparation for smooth Transition and Submission of Handover Notes-Cabinet and Non-Cabinet ranks.”

It added that the affected people were expected to prepare their individual handover notes and submit same to the Office of the Permanent Secretary, Cabinet Office in hard and soft copies.

“For the avoidance of doubt, the Statutory Boards under reference above are: Civil Service Commission, Judicial Service Commission, Independent Electoral Commission, House of Assembly Service Commission, Audit Service Commission, State Universal Basic Education Board, Health Service Commission, Primary Health Care Board and Lagos State Pension Commission,

“Consequently, concerned individuals are enjoined to comply with the content of this circular. Accounting officers are to give this circular the adequate publicity it deserves,” it stated.

Two arrested stealing female pants in Lagos

By Olawale Abdul-Fatah

The operatives of Lagos State Police Command, Satellite Division has arrested two male suspects after allegedly stealing a pant at Mile-2-under-the-bridge.

It was gathered that after removing the pant from where it was hanged, they engaged each other in fisticuffs which was centered on who leave the premises with the pant.

The two suspects were identified as Friday Emmanuel, 21 and Obiora Nwabueze, 29.

Police Public Relation Officer, Bala Elkana, disclosed their arrest in a statement on Wednesday, saying, both suspects were arrested after they engaged each other in fisticuffs following the failure of one of the parties to keep to the terms of agreement regarding the stealing of female pants.

Emmanuel, while narrating the terms of agreement alleged that Nwabueze tasked him to steal used female pants for a fee of thirty thousand Naira.

“However, after he had  successfully accomplished the task, Obiora Nwabueze reneged on his promise and forcefully attempted to take the pants from him which led to exchange of blows.

“During interrogation, the said Friday Emmanuel regretted listening to his friend, Obiora, who was pestering him to get him female underwear he desperately needed to become rich.

“Meanwhile, both suspects have been charged to court at Mbah road, Ajegunle, Lagos for conspiracy and stealing.”

LASG to shut roads ahead Buhari’s visit tomorrow

By Olawale Abdul-Fatah

Ahead of President Muhammed Buhari’s working visit to Lagos tomorrow, the State Government has ordered restriction of vehicular movement on over eight strategic roads, to aid his smooth movement within the state.

According to the State Government, during the president’s one-day visit which starts at 9.00am and ends 3.00pm aimed at unveiling projects, restriction of vehicular movement on roads linking venue of the projects to be commissioned would be enforced.

The roads were: Mobolaji Bank-Anthony Way (coming from the Presidential Wing of Murtala Mohammed Airport to LASUTH Under Bridge), Kodesoh Road, Obafemi Awolowo Way, Kudirat Abiola Way, Ikorodu Road (between Ojota Intersection and Anthony Interchange), Oworonshoki-Apapa Expressway (between Anthony and Oshodi Transport Interchange), International Airport Road through the Local Wing of the airport to Mobolaji Bank-Anthony Way and back to Obafemi Awolowo Way.

In order to ensure a free flow of traffic during the visit, the state government in a statement on Tuesday said that the affected roads linking the projects site would be cordoned off within the six hours visit.

The projects were: 10-lane Oshodi – Muritala Muhammed International Airport Road; the 170-Bed ‘Ayinke House’ (Maternity Hospital)) at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH) Ikeja; the Lagos State Theatre at Oregun, Ikeja; new 820 Mass Transit Buses and the multi-level Oshodi Transport Interchange along the Apapa-Oshodi Expressway.

It pointed out that roads highlighted above shall only be cordoned-off when necessary, Obafemi Awolowo Way and portions of Mobolaji Bank-Anthony shall be closed to traffic on three (3) occasions within the specified period as they are central to the President’s itinerary.

The statement, therefore, advised motorists to avoid the above-listed roads where necessary and make use of alternative routes of their choice, stressing that where motorists find it unavoidable plying the afore-mentioned roads, patience and cooperation with traffic managers should be their watchword.

Two Kaduna girls bag 2 months imprisonment over immoral dressing

By NewsDesk,

Two young woman, Farida Taofiq and Raihama Abbas, failure to adhere to their community’s moral ways of dressing have had them share of a Kaduna State Sharia Court II, sitting at Magajin Gari, which sentenced both of the girls to two months imprison after they were arrested for wearing indecent dresses

Taofiq and Abbas, 20 years, who were residents of Argungu road in Kaduna, were convicted after they pleaded guilty to constituting public nuisance and dressing against the law of their community.

The two convicts however pleaded for leniency and assuring the court that they would desist such crime again.

However, the Judge, Mallam Musa Sa;ad-Goma, gave the convicts an option to pay N3,000 fine each, with directive that the girls must return to their parents.

Earlier, the Prosecution Counsel, Aliyu Ibrahim, said that Taofiq and Abbas were arrested on April 16, at a black spot along Sabon Gari road, dressed in skimpy and roaming the streets.

Ibrahim said the offence contravened the provisions of  Section 346 of the Sharia Penal Code of Kaduna state.

“When they were asked where they were going, they said that they were going to a friend’s house who just put to bed”, the prosecutor said.

Buhari to visit Lagos, commission international airport road, other outgoing governor’s projects

By NewsDesk,

The Lagos State Government has announced that President Muhammadu Buhari would be visiting the state on Wednesday for commissioning of rehabilitated Murtala Muhammed International Airport road, the president’s visitation which was said could also served as appreciation visit to Lagos after election victory.

It was said that Buhari, during the one-day visit, would also commission the state’s outgoing Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, other projects, including 170-bed  Maternity Hospital at Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), considered for public use after completion.

Also, the president would also have Lagos State Theatre at Oregun, new 820 Mass Transit buses and multi-level Oshodi Transport Interchange on the Apapa-Oshodi Expressway, commissioned, before the present administration leaves office.

However, in a state statement issued by the state’s Ministry of Information and Strategy on Tuesday, it disclosed that Buhari would be visiting the state and also carry out commissioning of various completed projects, embark upon by the state government months ago.  .

It listed the project that would be commissioned by the president to include rehabilitated 10-lane Oshodi-Murtala Muhammed International Airport Road, and the 170-Bed ‘Ayinke House’ (Maternity Hospital) at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH) in Ikeja.

“Other projects to be commissioned include the Lagos State Theatre at Oregun in Ikeja, new 820 Mass Transit buses and the multi-level Oshodi Transport Interchange on the Apapa-Oshodi Expressway.

“`The Presidential visit would hold between 9.00 a. m. and 3.00 p.m. on Wednesday, during which traffic on some routes will be diverted in order to ensure a free flow of traffic,’’ it said.

According to the statement, the routes that will be affected by traffic control include the Mobolaji Bank-Anthony Way (coming from the Presidential wing of Murtala Muhammed Airport to LASUTH under bridge); Kodesoh Road; Obafemi Awolowo Way; Kudirat Abiola Way and Ikorodu Road (between the Ojota Intersection and Anthony Interchange).

Other routes are the Oworonshoki-Apapa Expressway (between Anthony and Oshodi Transport Interchange) and the International Airport road through the Local Wing of the airport to Mobolaji Bank-Anthony Way and back to the Obafemi Awolowo Way.

“The listed roads shall only be cordoned-off when necessary, Obafemi Awolowo Way and portions of Mobolaji Bank-Anthony shall be closed to traffic on three occasions within the specified period, as they are central to the President’s itinerary,’’ it said.

The state government advised motorists to avoid listed roads where necessary and make use of alternative routes of their choice.

It implored ,motorists and commuters to bear with state government for inconveniences as a result of the diversions, traffic managers, enforcement and security agents will be positioned at all strategic intersections to allow orderly vehicular movements.

Trump accepts Queen Elizabeth’s state invitation

By NewsDesk,

Buckingham Palace has disclosed that United States President, Donald Trump, had accepted Queen Elizabeth’s invitation to make a state visit to Britain in June, with expectation that the US president would meet with British Prime Minister, Theresa May.

As learnt, Trump and his wife, Melania, would embark on the trip on 3rd of June 3 and return by 5th of same month, though the palace would also release further detail in due time.

According to the palace, Trump would hold a meeting with  May in Downing Street and the trip also coincides with events to mark the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings during World War Two.

Through a statement on Tuesday,  May reaffirmed on UK and U.S.  deep and enduring partnership said to be rooted in common history and shared interests.

She explained that the Trump’s state visit was an opportunity to strengthen the two countries’ already close relationship in areas such as trade, investment, security and defense, and to discuss how we can build on these ties in the years ahead.”

It would be recalled that Trump met with the queen in Britain in July, 2018, which was not deemed a state visit.

As gathered, from White House statement on Tuesday, Trump and his wife would also travel to France on June 6, where Trump would also meet with French President, Emmanuel Macron.

Buhari’s request on Ag. CJN, Muhammed, approved

By News desk

President Muhammadu Buhari has extended the appointment of the acting Chief Justice of Nigeria, Tanko Muhammad, by another three months.

It was gathered that Buhari sent the recommendation to the National Judicial Council (NJC) and the supervisory body approved the appointment before close of work on Thursday.

Confirming the approval, NJC spokesperson, Soji Oye, in a statement on Saturday, denied an planned meeting the Council next week to deliberate on extension of Muhammad’s term as the acting chief justice of Nigeria.

“Contrary to the above, the Council actually met on Thursday 18th April, 2019 and at the 88th Meeting considered and approved the request of President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, for the extension of the Appointment of Hon. Dr. Justice I. T. Muhammad, CFR, as the Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria for another three (3) months and Council has since forwarded its approval to the President.”

Muhammad was first appointed in January after the president controversially suspended Chief Justice Walter Onnoghen who was accused of false declaration of asset.

Onnoghen was convicted on Thursday by the Code of Conduct Tribunal, and was barred from holding public office for 10 years. He has denied all allegations against him, and has appealed the ruling.

The president’s suspension of Onnoghen sparked uproar as the move was deemed unconstitutional.

Also, coming just weeks before the February presidential election, it raised suspicions, with the opposition accusing Buhari of moving to appoint a stooge who would ensure judicial support after the polls would have been rigged.

Onnoghen notified two weeks ago he was stepping down, but the Presidency has yet to announce whether his exit had been approved by the president.

Panel on Ita-Faaji collapsed building makes fresh revelation

By Olawale Abdul-fatah

The Lagos State government has received report of the five-man panel set up to investigate i9mmediate and remote causes of the collapsed three-storey building on 63 Massey street, Ita-Faaji axis of Lagos Island.

It would be recalled that the building, which was also use for school, caved in, claiming 20 lives including pupils of Ohen Nursery and Primary school.

Receiving the report on Thursday, the state’ Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, Prince Rotimi Ogunleye, said that more distressed buildings had been detected across the state divisions by the Lagos State Building Control Agency, LASBCA, urging residents to alert the government on suspected weak buildings.

The commissioner, however, added that the not all the buildings might have to be demolished after they undergo non-destructive structural integrity test, adding that some might only require structural re-engineering works.

The commissioner assured that the Ambode-led administration would ensure the report was carefully studied and recommendation implemented.

.Fresh revelation

Earlier while presenting the report, the panel Chairman, Wasiu Olokuonla,  an engineer, said that contrary to the reports in the media, the collapsed building on Ita-Faji was not three or two-storey  but a five storey.

Olokunola, who refused to disclose the committee’s findings and recommendations publicly, added forensic evidences were also carried out in the course of the investigations into the cause of building collapse tragedy.

SERAP writes CCB, demands Buhari, Obasanjo, Jonathan, Govs asset declarations details

By News desk

Following Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) judgement on former Chief Justice of the Nigeria, Walter Onnoghen, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has sent a Freedom of Information request to Chairman, Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB), Dr. Muhammed Isah, demanding information on specific details of asset declarations submitted to bureau by Presidents and state governors since 1999.”

SERAP is seeking information on: “details of asset declarations by successive presidents and state governors between 1999 and 2019, including details of declarations made immediately after taking offices and thereafter, and for those who have left public offices, at the end of their term of office. Information is also sought on the number of asset declarations so far verified by the CCB and the number of those declarations found to be false and deemed to be in breach of the Code of Conduct for Public Officers, by the Bureau.”

In the FOI request dated released on Thursday and signed by SERAP deputy director, Kolawole Oluwadare, the organization said: “While we welcome the judgment by the Code of Conduct Tribunal on Justice Walter Onnoghen, we now urge the CCB to extent its mandates to enforce constitutional provisions on asset declarations by public officers to cover elected officers and to vigorously pursue the prosecution of any such officers who use their powers either as presidents or state governors over public funds to enrich themselves.”

“While judicial corruption is bad, the level of corruption involving many politicians since 1999 and the entrenched culture of impunity of perpetrators is equally appalling. Publishing the asset declarations of elected public officers since the return of democracy in 1999 to date would improve public trust in the ability of the Bureau to effectively discharge its mandates. This would in turn put pressure on public officers like presidents and state governors to make voluntary public declaration of their assets.”

The FOI request read in part: “SERAP is concerned that many politicians hide behind the fact that members of the public do not have access to their asset declarations to make false declarations, and to cover up assets illegally acquired in corruption or abuse of office. The CCB can use the opportunity presented by the Onnoghen judgment to increase the accountability of politicians through the asset declaration provisions if it is not to be accused of witch-hunting the judiciary.”

“The grim condition of many of our citizens since 1999 has been worsened by the deterioration of public services whereby access to clean water and affordable health-care has become a pipe dream and the supply of electricity became epileptic and irregular due to years of grand corruption by many politicians at the highest level of government.”

“We would be grateful if the requested information is provided to us within 14 days of the receipt and/or publication of this letter. If we have not heard from you by then, the Registered Trustees of SERAP shall take all appropriate legal action under the Freedom of Information Act to compel you to comply with our request.”

“The persistent refusal by successive presidents and state governors to make public their asset declarations is entirely inconsistent with the letter and spirit of the 1999 Constitution, and has been particularly harmful to the country and its people, especially given the widespread evidence of grand corruption among politicians holding public offices in Nigeria.”

“The Nigerian Constitution of 1999 (as amended) seeks to prevent corruption and abuse of office through its provisions on the declaration of assets not just by judicial officers but by all public officers including elected officers like presidents and governors.”

“Nigerians can longer accept the excuse by high-ranking government officers that declaring their assets before the CCB is enough, as such pretext is not supported by the oaths of office by elected public officers. The failure by successive presidents and state governors to voluntarily make public their asset declarations would seem to suggest that they have something to hide.”

“Given that many public officers being tried for or convicted of corruption are found to have made a false declaration of their assets, the CCB should no longer allow politicians to undermine the sanctity and integrity of the asset declaration provisions of the Constitution by allowing them to continue to exploit legal gaps for illicit enrichment.”

“SERAP believes that while elected public officers may not be constitutionally obliged to publicly declare their assets, the Freedom of Information Act 2011 has now provided the mechanism for the CCB to improve transparency and accountability of asset declarations by elected public officers.”

“Asset declaration forms are public documents within the meaning of section 109 of the Evidence Act, and therefore, Nigerians are entitled to have access to such information. SERAP urges the CCB to vigorously push for change in law to provide penal sanctions for politicians that fail to make public their asset declarations.”

“By Section 1 (1) of the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act 2011, SERAP is entitled as of right to request for or gain access to information, including information on the asset declarations by elected public officers since the return of democracy in 1999.”

“SERAP notes that provisions on the declaration of assets by all public officers in Nigeria are entrenched in the Code of Conduct for Public Officers, contained in Part I of the Fifth Schedule to the 1999 Nigerian Constitution. The primary objective is to prevent corruption and abuse of office and to ensure transparency in public officers.”

“SERAP also notes that public officers for the purposes of the Code include the President and the Vice-President of the Federation, state governors and their deputies; the President and Deputy-President of the Senate, the Speaker and Deputy-Speaker of the House of Representatives and Speakers, the Chief justice of Nigeria, justices of the Supreme Court, the President and justices of the Court of Appeal, and other judicial officers and all staff of courts of law.”

Disclose including by publishing on a dedicated website, details of asset declarations submitted by presidents and state governors since the return of democracy in 1999

Disclose details on the number of asset declarations so far verified by the CCB and the number of those declarations found to be false and deemed to be a breach of the Code of Conduct for Public Officers by the Bureau

Immediately take cases of false asset declarations to the Code of Conduct Tribunal for effective prosecution of suspects, and include banning the politicians involved from holding public offices for at least a period of 10 years and seeking refund of stolen public funds as part of the reliefs to be sought before the Tribunal.

Lagos police over stretched to tackle insecurity -Ambode 

By News desk

Following the spate of insecurity in Lagos, the state Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, has lamented that the number of policemen providing security were insufficient to address security challenges in the state.
Ambode added that policing Nigeria has remained a big challenge that cannot be address easily considering the population of the country and the available policemen.
The governor disclosed this on Thursday when he received the Acting Inspector General of Police, Abubakar Adamu, at the State House, Alausa secretariat, Ikeja, stressing that the state government will not backtrack in its resolve to often support the police in boosting security.
“We know that the Nigerian Police are under pressure because to ask just 33,000 officers to police a population of about 24 million in Lagos, it is obvious that the are already overstretched.”
Ambode argued that as the police hierarchy move swiftly to address issues within the formation, it should also address the case of dearth of policemen in the state.
Aside the dearth of policemen, he charged the IGP to continuously inculcate in its personnel reasons to embrace human face while enforcing the law.
“I want to commend the IGP for this visit. Beyond the fact that this is a courtesy visit and like he has said, he is coming promptly to address the issue of extra-judicial killings that have actually taken place in the last few weeks.
“So, for the IG to come promptly himself to address issues that relate to public feelings about SARS and actually talking to the officers and men, that means he is taking the responsiveness within the Nigerian Police seriously before we start to address extra issues that border on the citizens. So, I like to commend him on that act of responsiveness and also say that it is what we should emulate in dealing with management issues that relate with our officers.
“I empathize with the IG because last week, he was in Zamfara; today he is in Lagos and tomorrow he would be in other places. Policing Nigeria is a big challenge but again he is up to the task and we wish him well in his assignment,”  Ambode added.
The governor however the assured the IGP that the State Government would continue to support the Police and other security agencies “to ensure that they carry out their duties lawfully and also to have the human face needed to continue to uphold peace and unity in the country.”
While commending the IGP, the governor disclosed that security has improved in across the state compared to what residents experienced were.
“When we came in May 29, 2015, we had a tripod that we actually believed this government would work on – security, job creation and then infrastructural development. It is on record and I want to make it clear also that the Nigerian Police and other security agencies have actually contributed successfully to one of those tripod and you would have seen that there has been a lot of improvement in the security of lives and property in Lagos State in the last four years,” he said.
Responding, Adamu commended Ambode for the massive support to police and other security agencies in the State, saying the successes recorded in keeping the State safe would not have been possible if not for the support of the Governor.
“I want to thank Governor Ambode for all his support to the members of the Nigerian Police in Lagos State. Without the support of the Governor, I think the successes we recorded in the State, would not have been possible. The Governor is the Chief Security Officer in the State and all his policies towards fighting crime have been implemented by the Nigerian Police Force and we felt this is the time to come and thank him,” Adamu said.