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Ambode postpones Town Hall meeting indefinitely

By Olawale Abdul-Fatah

Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, has postponed its quarterly Town Hall meeting indefinitely, leaving hundreds of residents stranded, especially those craving to attend the event.

The town Hall meeting was structured to allow residents present their complains and needs in their community to the Governor  was earlier scheduled for Tuesday, November 6th, but was postponed; reasons for the action was not stated by the Governor nor any of his aide.

The Town Hall meeting which was the fourth in 2018 was before its cancellation scheduled to hold at the Federal Housing Authority, FHA playing ground, Festac town, Amuwo-Odofin Local Government.

At the town hall meeting, Ambode was earlier expected to seek citizens’ support for the 2019 election. But was dazed after the Governor Advisory Council (GAC) threw their weight behind former Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Babajide Sanwo-Olu ahead of the gubernatorial primaries.

Sources said that the governor still felt disappointed at his party, All Progressives Congress (APC) for not giving him the second term ticket he was earlier assured.

It would be recalled that the governorship primaries conducted in the state was won by Sanwo-Olu, defeating the incumbent, Ambode; the first in Lagos history since its creation in 1967.

Following the outcome of the Primaries, the Town Hall meeting would be Ambode’s last official event with large turnout before handling over in May 29th, next year.

Confirming the postponement, an aide to the Governor, who doesn’t want his name mentioned, added that the manifest, which detailed the Governor’s activities, had also been adjusted basically to reflect the latest development.

Seven Police officers, LASTMA arrested over extortion

By Olawale Abdul-Fatah

The Lagos State Police Command has arrested no fewer than four policemen and three officials of the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA), for extorting members of the public.

The four policemen were identified as Inspector Charles Omokaro, Inspector Idara Akai, Sergeant Chidi Mordi and Sergeant Joseph Bernard; while the LASTMA officials were Sam Adekunle,  Omolaja Ige and Modinat Folashade.

Police Public Relations Officer, PPRO, Chike Oti, in a statement yesterday, said that the attention of the Commissioner of Police, Edgar Imohimi, was earlier drawn to a publication, captioned: “Police as cesspit of corruption.”

He said the publication drew attention to the underhand dealings of some policemen he ran into on his way to Festac town Lagos and alleged that the men took him to First Gate of Festac Town which they had turned to an extortion point.

“Sequel to the information gained from the publication, the CP directed the Area Commander in-charge of Area E, Festac, Yusuf Ajape and the officer in charge of the Command X-Squad Section, Aliu Abubakar, to carry out a covert operation around the aforementioned location which led to arrest of four policemen and three LASTMA officials,” he said.

Oti said they were caught trying to extort one Waheed Lamidi, whom they gave a Diamond bank account number 0020558133, titled Femi Adebanji to transfer the sum of N75,000.00 when he complained that he had no cash.

“The CP Lagos has directed that the suspects be brought to the Command Headquarters, X-Squad section, for thorough investigation and appropriate disciplinary action if found guilty.

“In the same vein, the CP says the Command will always welcome opinions, comments and criticism geared towards helping the Force rid bad eggs in its midst and improve service delivery and not comments designed to debase or ridicule the Force,” he said.

I am excited entrepreneurship policy work-Ambode

By Olawale Abdul-Fatah

As countdown to expiration of Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode’s administration begins, he yesterday evaluated his graduate entrepreneurship and employability programme, Ready.Set.Work, allotting himself a pass mark for initiating policy.

Ambode also awarded N10million seed fund to the best three graduating students of the Ready.Set.Work RSW Initiative, saying that he was fulfilled that his administration was nurturing graduates that would contribute immensely to the development of the State and Nigeria in general.

The Ready.Set.Work initiative, a brain child of the present administration is an employability and entrepreneurship program aimed at preparing final year students in Lagos State for immediate entry into the work force as employees and employers of labour.

Speaking at graduation ceremony, the governor said the enthusiasm of thousands of graduants and testimonies from facilitators and sponsors were confirmation that his administration placed a high premium on future of Lagos.

“When I was graduating, I was just 21, but I had no direction. So after almost about 30 something years and I see youths so energetic and excited, I am happy to say that yes, I think I have made a difference.

“This is not about bridges, flyovers and hospitals, but I feel so excited that yes, I got this right and the future of this country is blessed.  The energy inside this hall tells me there is a different world here from what is happening out there,” he added.

On the graduates, the governor expressed optimism that the 5,000 graduates of the initiative have been well equipped for the world of work and rearing to make a difference.

“By investing in people, we will secure the future prosperity of Lagos State and Nigeria. With programmes like Ready-Set-Work, Code Lagos and the Employment Trust Fund we are providing platforms that will nurture a society of problem solvers, change-makers, and value adding citizens helping to improve our economy. These innovative programmes must therefore, not be allowed to die,” the Governor added.

He said it was gratifying that the initiative which commenced three years ago with about 500 students, 52 volunteer facilitators, friends and partners has now reached over 37,000 students, over 700 volunteer facilitators and several sponsors who have keyed into the program.

According to the Governor, the initiative has now emerged as a major platform for the government to prepare graduates from tertiary institutions for the life ahead by equipping them with requisite skills and mindset to give value to the labour market.

“I am pleased to inform you that over the past three years, we have stayed true to this vision and scaled up our impact. I invite you to take a look across the auditorium today to see how that small spark in 2016 has become a roaring fire.

“From 500 Ready-Set-Work Scholars in 2016, we are celebrating today the impact of this program on the lives of over 37,000 students who have participated in the Ready-Set-Work program over the last three years, either through the RSW On-Campus Training or through the RSW Online Academy.

“We have taken it a step further by supporting top performing students by providing paid internship opportunities, as well as seed funding and incubation for viable business ideas. To date, over 1,200 RSW Scholars have benefited from internship placements, and another 2,000 Scholars from the 2018 graduating class will also be placed in internships,” Ambode said.

He disclosed that the first place winners of the 2016 Ready-Set-Work Business Pitch Competition, who got seed funding and incubation support were already making impact in the society with the production of up to 10,000 liters of biogas daily within a community in Ikorodu, with zero carbon emission, while other graduates were adding value in top companies and countless small businesses across the State.

The Governor seized the occasion to thank the network of about 1,000 employers, who, over the years, have contributed to preparing RSW Scholars for the world of work, by providing internship opportunities in their organizations, noting that some have taken on the cost of paying their interns, with the State Government supporting small and medium size businesses by paying the stipends for their interns over a period of 3 – 6 months.

“In marking another successful edition of Ready-Set-Work, we cannot overemphasize the important role of our Volunteer Facilitators, the largest volunteer faculty in Nigeria. These selfless individuals gave up their Saturdays, traveled from far distances, committed to multiple hours of preparation, and made other sacrifices for 13 weeks to invest in our students.

“I thank our corporate partners and sponsors again for their commitment, financial contributions, and technical support. We trust that we can count on you to continue investing in the future of Lagos State.”

Earlier, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Education, Obafela Bank-Olemoh said the graduants had gone through 13-weeks of intensive engagement and were mentally prepared to deploy their skills and emotional intelligence to the corporate world, saying that the future of Lagos was in excellent hands.

On his part, Vice Chancellor of LASU, Professor Lanre Fagbohun said the Ready.Set.Work program has bridged the gap between the quality of graduates being churned out from tertiary institutions and the requirement by employers of labour, urging the beneficiaries to utilise the opportunity and make a telling impact in the society.

Human right group faults Lekki toll fares increment, pushes for reversal

By NewsDesk,

An active human right group, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), has faulted increment of Lagos State Lekki toll fares which has continue generating resistance by residents leaving within the axis after management of the facilities announced the changes.

The group, in its effort to push for reversal of the decision,  urged the state Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, to immediately look into the toll charges affecting Lekki-Epe Expressway and Lekki-Ikoyi Link Bridge toll gates been implemented by Lekki Concession Company.

In a statement issued by SERAP on Sunday in Lagos, the rights group stated that there was need for Ambode to reverse the decision since the state government was not to run risk of undermining public interests, democratic values and accountability, and opportunities for participation.

“It’s time for Ambode to ensure and maintain a balance between the needs of the citizens and residents of Lagos State and the Lekki Concession Company.

“The authorities should respect and protect the right of protesters to demonstrate against the hike in toll charges and to voice their opinion. International human rights treaties ratified by Nigeria and the country’s own constitution obligate the government to safeguard the rights of freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly,” SERAP’s executive director, Adetokunbo Mumuni said.

The new rates for the toll charges at the Lekki-Epe Expressway and Lekki-Ikoyi Link Bridge toll gates were implemented February 1 by the Lekki Concession Company (LCC), managers of the road.

At the Admiralty Circle Plaza (Lekki-Epe expressway), cars now pay N200 from N120; sports utility vehicles (SUV) now pay N250 from N150; while commercial buses now pay N150 from N80. Motorcycles now pay N100.

At the Lekki-Ikoyi Link Bridge, saloon cars now pay N300 from N250; sports utility vehicles (SUV), mini vans, and light trucks now pay N400 from N300. Motorcycles will now pay N200. But SERAP described the charges as unacceptable.

This latest increase in toll charges at the Lekki-Epe Expressway and Lekki-Ikoyi Link Bridge toll gates is unacceptable, as it conflicts with the goals and commitment of the Lagos State government to provide basic public services to citizens and residents. It seems the agreement between the Lagos State government and the Lekki Concession Company is no longer serving the needs of citizens and residents.”

It further said, “in the face of rising poverty and economic inequalities across the country, the Lagos State government should be considering eliminating toll charges rather than allowing the Lekki Concession Company to get away with overcharging citizens and residents and prioritising profits over the public interests. Unless the situation is satisfactorily resolved in the public interests, the government runs the risk of being viewed as beholden to special interests and out of touch with the public good.”

“The hike shows how profit motive can conflict with public motive.  Accountability principles require the government to ensure that the activities of the Lekki Concession Company align with the policies and activities of governance, and that the Company is not allowed to exploit its monopoly position to charge excessive rates.”

“It is the duty of the Lagos State government as custodian of the public trust, to take the public interests into account in assessing the activities of the Lekki Concession Company. The government is further obligated to prevent unnecessary and unjustified harm to the public trust and interests.”

“Both ‘pre-decision accountability’ in the form of consultation with citizens, residents and other stakeholders, and ‘post-decision accountability’ in the form of taking corrective measures to redress the apparent injustice to those that might be affected by the hike are key democratic and governance values.”

“Citizens cannot be mere recipients or purchasers of government services; they must also participate in the act of governance itself. The shift from a participatory role to a consumer role changes the role of individuals vis-a-vis their government from one of citizens to one of consumers. This itself erodes the ideals of a democratic society.”

“States contravene their human rights obligations when they fail to take appropriate measures or to exercise due diligence to prevent, punish, investigate or redress the harm caused by acts by private persons or entities.”

Lagos mourns Deji Tinubu, pays tribute

By Zulaykha Abodunrin,

Lagos State Government has confirmed the death of Deji Tinubu, the Special Adviser on Commerce, Industry and Cooperatives who died Thursday night.

The late soccer fan who slumped while playing five aside match with fellow participants at the ongoing retreat of members of the state executive council and permanent secretaries at the Jubilee Chalets, Epe, was described as a good and committed patriot who brought his passion to his job.

Image result for deji tinubu
The deceased, Deji Tinubu

According to a statement signed by Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Kehinde Bamigbetan who expressed “shock and disbelief’ over the death of Tinubu, said that they have reached out to his immediate family to commiserate on this huge loss to the family and the citizens of Lagos State.

‘Although doctors and nurses rushed to give him first aid, but he was immediately taken to the General Hospital, Epe where he was confirmed dead. An autopsy is expected to b​​e carried out while burial arrangements will be announced by the family.

It read in part, “We are still in shock. All of us at the State Executive Council are in disbelief. He was a good and committed patriot who brought his passion to his job. He was a gentleman who maintained excellent team spirit. We shall miss him,” he said.

The late Deji Tinubu was the son of late Kafaru Tinubu, one of Nigeria’s foremost police officers. He is survived by an aged mother, Bintu Tinubu and wife, Yemisi.

He was sworn in as Special Adviser on Sports and Chairman of the State’s Sports Commission on October 19, 2015. He was recently moved to take up his new portfolio.

Lagos nabs cart-pushers, street-traders, for dumping waste on roads, canals

By Balogun Alabi,

The Lagos State Government said it has arrested a total of 24 persons including cart pushers, street traders and some residents after they were seen dumping waste on road medians and canals, which was contrary to the Environmental Sanitation Laws of the State.

It was learnt that the suspects were arrested following investigation by the state government which revealed that cart pushers and some residents were indiscriminately dumping domestic refuse at sites not designated for waste disposal and canals, and was sabotaging the state’s efforts to make the State clean and hygienic.

The state government said that have charged the defaulters before the Special Offences Court sitting in Ogba, Ikeja area of the state, and that they were arrested in an early morning operation carried out by men of the Lagos State Environmental Sanitation Corps (LAGESC) recently inaugurated by the State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode.

Giving details on the operation, LAGESC Corps Marshal, Daniel Isiofia, explained that the reason for the inauguration was to ensure that the state was kept clean by ensuring that would make the dirty were curbed.

In a statement made available to newsmen on Wednesday in the state, the corps marshal stressed that in efforts to clear the backlog of refuse on road, LAGESC personnel went on surveillance, and thereafter discovered that the cart pushers were operating at Ogunlana Street by Ogbomosho in Itire area.

Isofia said that the agency’s personnel raided the area and discovered that the cart pusher’s job was to collect refuse on payment from some residents who feel that they cannot dispose their refuse according to government directive.

“Often times, if you go to the canal at Itire-Ijesha area, you will see the cart pushers dumping refuse into the canal thereby blocking the waterways which leads to flooding.

“So, with the determination to stop this menace, we raided them at about 4am this morning and we succeeded in impounding 150 waste carts used for this purpose and arrested 11 suspects while others fled,” he added.

The corp marshal, a retired Assistant Commissioner of Police, who advised residents to desist from indiscriminate dumping of refuse in public places, as well as patronizing cart pushers, added that such acts were against the law.

“We are partners in progress; Lagosians should assist us. Governor Ambode too has pleaded with the people to support the bid to make Lagos clean and we are joining the Governor to appeal to people to desist from indiscriminate dumping of waste and make Lagos a very clean city,” Isiofia said.

Meanwhile, four hoodlums have also been arrested for attacking LAGESC officials while performing their lawful duties.

The hoodlums carried were said to have carried out the attack on men of the agency on Tuesday at Brown Street area of Oshodi in the state, while on their way to enforce the ban on illegal dumping of refuse and street trading.

Following the incidence, two LAGESC officers – Olasilola Muyiwa John and Haastrup Ifealuwa were seriously injured while a Black Maria used as operational vehicle was badly damaged, although all the suspects have been charged to court.

Ambode commissions new squadron base, to tackle Ikorodu ritual killings, others

By Balogun Alabi,

The Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, has commissioned a new Police Mobile Force (PMF) Squadron Base 63 in Igbogbo-Baiyeku area of Ikorodu in the state, noting that the squadron was established to combat criminals in the axis, specifically ritual killings by dreaded badoo cult group.

Ambode explained that the establishment came following the dreaded cult group operating in that area, and the development would go a long way in effectively addressing security challenges experienced in Ikorodu and environs in recent times.

The governor stressed that the development was also part of his administration’s to ensure safety and security of lives and properties of residents, as the government had partnered with individuals and organisations in order to provide equipment and other security infrastructure for efficient and effective operations of security agencies in the State.

The new squadron base

He disclosed that the state had supplied operational vehicles, communication equipment, among others, to the squadron, so that all criminal elements within Ikorodu and its environs would have no place to hide.

Speaking at the event which was attended by traditional rulers, community chiefs, political and religious leaders as well as top security chiefs, Governor Ambode represented by the Secretary to the State Government, Tunji Bello, commended the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris for approving the request for the establishment of the unit.

The state said that the police boss and officers of the State Police Command deserve to be commended for partnering with the State Government to ensure that criminals do not have safe haven in any part of the State.

“With the renewed vigour and commitment of police and other security agencies, incidences of violent crime in Ikorodu and other parts of the State would be tackled headlong,” he said.

Ambode, who emphasized the importance of community involvement in fighting crime, urged traditional rulers, community leaders and residents of the axis to support security personnel that would be deployed to serve at the base.

The governor therefore implored people in the area not to hesitate in supplying useful information to the police that would help in tracking down criminal minded persons.

In his remarks, the IGP commended Governor Ambode for the constant and continuous support to the police and other security agencies, saying that the commissioning of the new Police Mobile unit was another manifestation of the Governor’s commitment to security and crime control.

Idris, represented by the Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) in charge of Southwest, Folusho Adebanjo noted that Ikorodu, being one of the fastest growing suburbs of Lagos State, had developed from a once serene town to a city with thriving commercial and social activities with attendant crime features such as ritual murders, kidnappings, armed robbery, among others.

“The security challenges in the axis necessitated the need for the establishment of the new unit, assuring that the police would deploy officers of the base to fight crimes associated with the area and enhance law and order,” he stressed.

Ambode promises more support for ex-servicemen, relatives

By Adewunmi Abodunrin,

In furtherance of continued support for the injured and families of dead servicemen, especially the orphans, Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, has vowed to give top priority to their welfare.  

While expressing dissatisfaction with the fact that despite sacrifices by fallen heroes, the country was still struggling with insecurity which has continued to claim the lives of valiant soldiers, members of other security agencies as well as those of innocent civilians.

Ambode made the declaration at the Thanksgiving Service to commemorate this 2018 Armed Forces Remembrance Day, held at the Chapel of Christ the Light, Alausa, Ikeja.

In a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Habib Aruna, which reads in part, “this administration will continue to set the standard and be a model for the promotion of the welfare of ex-service men so as to add immense value to their lives. The government and people of Lagos State will continue to appreciate the sacrifice of our compatriots who laid down their lives to preserve the unity and territorial integrity of our country. We will also not forget those who suffered physical injuries which have become a constant reminder of the pains suffered in the battle field. We also identify with the families left behind by the fallen heroes.

“Their needs will continue to be prioritized as we continue to add immense value to their lives. Our Legionnaires will continue to be treasured partners in our drive for a greater Lagos, where peace, prosperity and sustainable development remain the benchmark and minimum standard for good governance,” Ambode said.

The Governor, who was represented by the Commissioner for Special Duties and Inter-Governmental Relations, Oluseye Oladejo, also enjoined Nigerians to seize the occasion as a time to renew faith and draw strength and inspiration from our diversity to build a nation that can truly be a pride for the black race.

“This is not just a time to celebrate but also a time to pray for the repose of the souls of the departed and for an enduring peace and unity in Nigeria. While some have suffered partial and permanent disability, several others, especially civilians, have been displaced from their homes and deprived of the means of their livelihood. In the face of this challenge, we must not relent, but continue to show resilience. We must continue to pray for divine intervention as we work hard to promote peace amongst all people in our communities,” he said.

On her part, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs, Toyin Awoseyi, thanked Governor Ambode for his continuous support for the welfare and wellbeing of members of the Armed Forces, while urging widows of fallen heroes not to despair, but take solace in the fact that the freedom the nation enjoys today was through the deprivation of some homes of their loved ones.

“May God continue to be your strength, your shield and comforter. You are not alone as the administration of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode will continue to make efforts to support you and your families. The sacrifice of our heroes who paid the supreme price while protecting our cherished sovereignty will continue to be remembered and deeply appreciated,” Awoseyi prayed.

Lagos generates N503.7bn in 2017

By Balogun Alabi,

The Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, has disclosed that during his administration, the state had been able to generate N503.7 billion as revenue in 2017, which represented 78 percent performance amid harsh economy, as well as, ordered Public Works Corporation fix bad roads in strategic ares within the state.

Ambode explained that the total recurrent expenditure was N281.33bn, which represented a performance of 92 percent, while total capital expenditure was N387.60bn of 76 percent performance.

He appreciated residents in the state for cooperating and supporting his administration, which had led to several achievements, adding that the government had also commenced transformation of landscape in the state.

Giving a report of activities of his administration in 2017, the Governor oulined some of the key projects delivered I the previous year, which included construction of bridges and terminal buses in strategic areas of the state.

In a stamen issued to journalists on Thursday, the governor’s chief press secretary, Habib Haruna, said that the State Employment Trust Fund (ETF) had also disbursed a total of N4.5 billion to 5,500 beneficiaries, who also received training on financial literacy and business management.

Haruna stressed that the governor also commissioned the first state-owned DNA Forensic Centre in Nigeria and West Africa, adding that the state would soon sign a contract to upgrade facilities that would offer toxicology services, which would make it be the first in Sub-Saharan Africa.

“Our government acquired healthcare equipment worth N2.5 billion. The equipment will strengthen the capacity of our health facilities to render improved health services and also facilitate smooth take off of the Lagos State Health Scheme which is designed to enable residents enjoy unfettered access to qualitative healthcare,” he added.

Ambode,that the state government would pay compensating visit to those whose properties were demolished during construction of pen cinema, Agege bridge, as well as other afres, including, Igbogbo, Ikorodu, Owutu.

However, the Governor urged taxpayers in the state to fulfill their responsibilities, advising that regular payment of taxes was very effective in funding infrastructures.

Ambode adjusts cabinet, appoints new commissioner for information, others

By Adewunmi Abodunrin,

As an indication that governments at all levels are prepared to fast-track development of citizens across Nigeria, the Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, has reshuffled his cabinet with appointment of new executive members including Commissioner for Information and Strategy.

Aside appointment of the governor’s former Special Adviser, Communities and Communication, Kehinde Bamigbetan, as commissioner for Information and Strategy, that of other member of the state’s executive, Ambode also laid off three commissioners who were believed to have under performed in their areas of specialties. 

Through a statement issued on Thursday by Secretary to the State Government, Tunji Bello, the governor listed three affected cabinet members who were Commissioner for Ministry of Physical Planning Urban Development, Anifowoshe Abiola; Commissioner for Ministry of Science and Technology, Femi Odubiyi and Commissioner for Ministry of Tourism, Art and Culture, Adebimpe Akinsola.

From the governor’s list, after appointment of Bamigbetan, Segun Banjo was appointed as Special Adviser for Ministry of Economic Planning and Budget,  Olayinka Oladunjoye to be in charge of Ministry of Commerce and Industry; while Hakeem Fahm would serve at Ministry of Science Technology; and Ladi Lawanson, for Ministry of Transportation;.

On same development, the state governor also deployed Rotimi Ogunleye from Commerce and Industry to Physical Planning and Urban Development;  Uzamat Akinbile-Yusuf from Ministry of Youth and Social Development to Ministry of Wealth Creation; Agboola Dabiri from Central Business District to Ministry of Youth and Social Development; Steve Ayorinde from Ministry of Information and Strategy to Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture; Babatunde Durosinmi Etti from Ministry of Wealth Creation to Ministry of the Environment.

Others included: “Dr. Samuel Adejare from Ministry of Environment to Ministry of Waterfront Infrastructure Development; Engr. Ade Akinsanya from Ministry of Waterfront Infrastructure Development to Ministry of Works and Infrastructure.

“Benjamin Olabinjo has been moved from Special Adviser, Commerce and Industry to become Special Adviser Civic Engagement, while Kehinde Joseph moved from Special Adviser Civic Engagement to become Special Adviser Housing.

According to the statement, Special Adviser Sports, Deji Tinubu, has been redeployed as Special Adviser to the Governor on Commerce and Industry and Anofiu Elegushi moved from Special Adviser Transport to become Special Adviser, Central Business District.

“The new commissioners are expected to be cleared by the State House of Assembly while the other redeployment and postings take immediate effect.

“The new appointments and redeployment are geared towards creating a new vigour and vitality for service delivery which has been the hallmark of the Governor Ambode administration”, it stated.