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Liberia parliament slashes lawmakers’ earnings by over 30%

Liberia’s house of representatives has voted to slash its monthly earnings by 31 percent and that of the senate by 36 percent.

The lower legislative chamber voted in favour of the cut when it recently passed the country’s draft national budget of $526 million for the 2019/2020 fiscal year.

FrontPageAfrica, a Liberian magazine, reports that the house said it slashed the lawmakers’ salaries and benefits to accommodate the pay of government workers, including about 1,200 health workers.

It said the cut was also to realise its projections, avoid the recurrence of budget shortfall as well as meet the International Monetary Fund (IMF) standards.

The report of the joint committee on ways, means, finance, and public accounts and expenditure also indicate the house removed the $7 million contingent revenue as was initially provided for in the budget.

The report reads: “By this, the Committees with the mandate of Plenary instituted a national action that led to the proposed reduction of all employees’ salaries by six percent in the Executive excluding teachers, medical and security personnel, and those earning US$500 and below, while members of the National Legislature will have a reduction of 31 percent or US$2,586 (for House of Reps.) and 36 percent or US3,600 (for the Senate) net of monthly income tax for salaries and allowances, and other reductions to include 50 percent cut in gasoline distribution, so as to address compensation gap.”

Only recently, Italy’s parliament approved slashing the number of its members by 37 percent.

Amid the cost-saving initiatives, Nigeria’s federal lawmakers, said to be among the highest paid in he world, continue to face criticisms for earning huge sums in a country currently the poverty capital of the world.

A senator earns N13.5 million as running cost monthly while a member of the house of representatives is said to earn N12 million monthly.

Rochas Okorocha, senator representing Imo west, recently said Nigeria does not need 109 senators and 360 members of the house of representatives.

He told his colleagues that the number should be slashed by 70 percent.

 

Lagos to unleash KAI brigade to enforce environmental laws

Lagos State Government over the weekend announced the repositioning of the Lagos State Environmental Sanitation Corps (LAGESC) formerly known as KAI to spearhead the state’s enforcement of the zero tolerance for indiscriminate waste disposal, street trading, erection of temporary structures on drainage setbacks, open defaecation and assist to checkmate the activities of commercial motorcyclists who ply pedestrian walkways.

The state’s position was stated by the Commissioner for The Environment and Water Resources, Tunji Bello during a familiarization visit to the head office of LAGESC at Safety Arena Complex, Oshodi alongside the Special Adviser on Drainage and Water Resources, Engineer Joe Igbokwe, where he added that the officers would now be posted to the major highways with security back up as a first step to enforcing the zero tolerance and state sanitation laws.

He emphasized that the present administration would in addition to providing necessary security back ups for their operation, also equip the operatives with all the necessary kits and equipments to protect themselves from attacks by criminally minded individuals in the course of performing their legitimate duties on the highways as dictated by the law establishing the outfit.

He warned the officers against indulging in acts of bribery and corruption or making use of proxies to receive gratification from environmental sanitation offenders, stating that monitoring gangs have been formed that would be keeping an eye on the activities of the LAGESC officers as they go about their duties and that anyone found wanting would face appropriate disciplinary measures.

He said his visit to the LAGESC office was to reassure the officers of the commitment of the Babajide Sanwo-Olu administration to their welfare and also boost their morale by recognizing hard work and to be ready to rise up for the task ahead, saying in the new dispensation, indolence would not be tolerated and that anyone of the employees who feels he cannot measure up to the new expectation has the option of opting out now.

Bello said as part of the measures to reposition the LAGESC, the present pink Uniform would be changed to the old uniform to reflect the colour of the environment and send the right message about total enforcement of the state sanitation laws just as the necessary amendments would be made to the law to revert to the old name of Kick Against Indiscipline (KAI) which was the original name given to the outfit at inception.

The Commissioner who had an interactive session with all the operatives gave a commitment that the government would stand by them at all times even when issues of persecution or harassment arises in the course of performing legitimate duties, saying they should be fair and firm in their dealings with members of the public at all times as that would be the only basis upon which government can intercede if they are harassed.

He tasked the management of the agency to also look into the possibility of working out off days for officers, some of who complained of working for seven days in the week, saying such working condition is prone to aggravating breakdowns and low productivity, adding that the choice of a retired Commissioner of Police as Corps Marshal, CP Gbemisola Akinpelu (rtd) for the agency by the State was to ensure collaboration with security agencies.

He revealed that part of the main task of LAGESC operatives this year would be the securing of the Lagos Outer Marina corridor which will soon be landscaped and beautified into a park as part of efforts to restore the lost glory of the area which has now been overtaken by weeds and undesirable elements.

Also speaking, the Special Adviser on Drainage and Water Resources, Engineer Joe Igbokwe implored the officers to work with diligence and always apply diplomacy while operating adding that their operations is prone to confrontations and attacks.

The Commissioner had earlier inspected a guard of honour mounted by officers of the Corps after a parade during the visit, which also had the Permanent Secretary, Office of Environment, Mrs Aderonke Odeneye and other directors of the ministry in attendance.

Lagos unfolds strategies to sanitise meat value chain

Sequel to the new reforms that the State Government has adopted to sanitize the red meat value chain in the State, the State Government has unfolded what it termed the immediate, intermediate and long term strategies for immediate implementation in the State.

The State Commissioner for Agriculture, Prince Gbolahan Lawal disclosed this in Lagos over the weekend when he met with Presidents, Secretaries and members of the Board of Trustees of the Butchers Association in the State in order to avail them of the new reforms as well as solicited their cooperation and support for the success of the reforms in the red meat value chain.

He recalled that the main objective of the sanitization exercise in the red meat value chain are the promotion of the red meat value chain by providing wholesome and hygienically processed beef for the populace as well as boosting beef processing to international standards in order to facilitate export opportunities and foreign investment into the value chain.

“A 21st Century Lagos wants to raise the standard of slaughtering, processing and marketing of red meat in the state. The purpose is to ensure the safety and health of the populace by ensuring that only certified animals are slaughtered and wholesome beef is available in our markets. This will also boost international recognition of beef from the state thus opening up an export portal which will be a source of forex, This is what Lagos is pushing for, a conducive and hygienic environment in the red meat value chain,” the Commissioner observed.

According to the Commissioner, among the immediate strategies for implementation is the linking of approved slaughter houses and abattoirs to the markets being supplied through the EKO refrigerated meat vans adding that abattoirs supplying various markets are identified and classified using the meat vans such that butchers in such abattoirs are not only identified but linked to the market they supply with the use of a color tag/code.

He explained that henceforth butchers in the State would be issued veterinary meat hygiene certificate for health and wholesomeness after inspection of carcass by veterinary officers and certificates and colored or coded tags for their respective vendors stressing that any butchers or vendors with certificates and tags would therefore be expected to load the products into coded meat vans en route to their specified markets.

“The proposed flow of activity is to ensure that only certified carcasses leave the approved abattoir. The products are tagged and traceable to butchers/vendors and markets by use of coded EKO meat vans. This strategy will prevent street hawking of beef and sale of beef from illegal abattoirs as coded markets will be made public and the populace would be advised to only purchase from same,” he noted.

The Commissioner stressed that the issuance of the veterinary meat hygiene certificate for health and wholesomeness is compulsory and backed by Schedules 4 and 5 Cap M3 Meat Inspection Laws of Lagos State adding that no butcher or meat vendor can sell without the certificate in the State.

Lawal noted that a monitoring team comprising officials of the Ministries of Health, Environment and Water Resources, Special Duties and Inter Governmental Relations, Local Governments and Local Council Development Areas as well as the monitoring, enforcement and compliance unit of Ministry of Agriculture such as Veterinary Microbiologists and Pathologists has since been constituted in order to ensure the effective implementation of the reforms.

The Commissioner further highlighted the need for the standardization of abattoirs activities in the State such that all the approved abattoirs are not only functional, hygienic and conducive for slaughtering activities but strictly adhere to the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs).

“There must be continuous availability of clean water supply and there must be prompt disposal of waste from the abattoirs. Any person in possession of beef for sale without our certificate will have such products confiscated and the person prosecuted,” Lawal averred.

He added that part of the intermediates strategies are that concessionaires will be mandated to complete all necessary construction and upgrade within a specified timeline; any concessionaires that renege on terms of contract/agreement will have such contract reviewed; the upgrade of markets to comply with international standards and introduction of modern and standard butchering tables with removable tops.

“Our long term strategies will involve livestock identification and traceability system such that an animal can be traced from the cattle market to shops; the use of meat boxes instead of bags to convey beef cuts and the set up recall/return strategies if there is a problem with a particular batch of meat,” the Commissioner added.

Other according to him are the creation of a butcher’s database/log so that details of butchers in the State are captured and numbered accordingly, introduction of batching and coding system using the identity of each butcher that will allow easy tracking and tracing of abattoir activities and the establishment of functional prototype meat shops across all the divisions in the State.

Sanwo-Olu declares emergency on Lagos roads, rallies Julius Berger, Hitech, others to fix damaged roads

Lagos State Government has declared a state of emergency on various dilapidated highways and carriages within the State.

Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu on Sunday at the Lagos House Marina, ordered massive construction work on critical roads and highways across the State, beginning from Monday (tomorrow).

The Governor’s directive followed the conclusion of his series of meetings with eight multi-national engineering firms, which began a few weeks back. After his final meeting with the contractors on Sunday, which lasted for about three hours, Sanwo-Olu declared the commencement of major construction work on the identified highways considered critical to the reduction of traffic congestion in the State.

The Governor said all the eight engineering firms had been given the mandate to immediately mobilise their equipment on the sites and commence major construction works on the identified roads.

He said: “This afternoon, we have just concluded meeting with various reputable construction companies and all of them have been given the brief to immediately commence major construction work in various parts of the State. The exercise will begin tomorrow with palliative work on the selected roads, which are both on the Island and mainland divisions of the State.

“The contractors have been given the mandate to start mobilising their equipment to their respective sites without further delay. Their activities must first give our people an immediate relief on the affected roads so that there can be free flow of traffic even during the rehabilitation work.”

To complement the major construction work on the highway, Sanwo-Olu said Lagos State Public Works Corporation (LSPWC) would be carrying out repairs of 116 inner roads across the State. This, he said, would be in addition to over 200 roads already rehabilitated by the corporation in the last three months.

The Governor said he was not unaware of the pain experienced by road users in the past few days, which was compound by persistent downpour. He appealed to residents to bear with the Government while efforts were being made to assuage their pains and bring permanent relief to them.

He said: “We expect the rains will begin to subside in this month of October and this is why we are mobilising our contractors to immediately start the major construction work on the identified highways and bring permanent relief to residents. I am giving all Lagosians the assurance that the contractors will start the construction in earnest and will deliver on the terms of agreements reached with them.”

Sanwo-Olu said officials of the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) will be working round the clock to control traffic on the areas where the construction would take place.

Special Adviser on Works and Infrastructure, Engr. Aramide Adeyoye, listed some of the critical highways and roads to be constructed to include Ojota stretch of the Ikorodu Road, Motorways-Kudirat Abiola Way, Apogbon Highway, Babs Animashaun Road, Agric/Ishawo Road and Ijede Road in Ikorodu, and Lekki-Epe Expressway from Abraham Adesanya to Eleko Junction.

She added that there would be massive re-construction work on a network of roads in Ikoyi, Ikeja GRA and Victoria Island.

The contractor deployed by the Government included Julius Berger, Hitech, Arab Contractors, Metropolitan Construction, Slavabogu Construction, China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC), Rajaf Foundation Construction, and RCF Nigeria Limited.

Police, aide differ on alleged attack on Oshiomhole’s Benin home

The Edo State Police Commissioner and an aide to the National Chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress, Adams Oshiomhole, have given different versions about an alleged attack on the ex-governor’s country home in Benin.

A group of youths suspected to be political thugs on Saturday evening reportedly attacked Oshiomhole’s residence in the Okoroutun area of GRA in Benin City.

Eyewitness alleged that the suspects had gathered around the residence, chanting ‘Oshiomhole ole,’ apparently waiting for him to come out, but they were said to have been dispersed by security agents and the road closed to traffic for some time before it was re-opened.

When our Correspondent visited the area on Sunday morning, about four Police patrol vans were there, in addition to the one that was always stationed in front of the building.

Oshiomhole, while addressing some youths who followed him to his house from the hotel where he had stayed, said there was no cause for alarm, as he only came to Benin to attend a ceremony and take some rest.

He said, “In moments like this, it is not madness for madness.

“I used to call you guys our infantry division who protected our votes, even when we were in the opposition when the Federal Government was PDP.

“So, now that the Federal Government is APC, we have to take it easy so that there is no breach of peace anywhere in Nigeria and particularly in our state.”

While the Edo State Police Commissioner denied the incident, describing it as “a lie,” Chief Press Secretary to Oshiomhole, Simon Ebegbulem confirmed it, and also named the person who allegedly sent the suspects.

“The attack was neutralised by APC youths who were mobilised to the national chairman’s residence.

“They (suspected thugs) were in front of his house chanting ‘Oshiomole ole,’ waiting for him because he went out.

“He was in Benin to attend a birthday; they were now waiting for him to come back so that they could attack him.

“When our boys now got wind of it, they sent APC boys there and chased them away.

“I learn that one of the cars they used was destroyed.

“The Commissioner of Police and the Director of DSS were there yesterday night, ” Ebegbulem said.

Abandoned in London as a kid, Nigerian-born Efe Obada now earns $575,000 with Panthers

Efe Obada’s journey from Stockwell to the NFL was not easy. A refugee from Nigeria, he was reportedly trafficked from the Netherlands to the United Kingdom at the age of 10.

He was left homeless and then placed into foster care in Lambeth. In foster care, he bounced from one home to another.

Obada, now 27, didn’t pick up a football until his early 20s, let alone play college ball like most NFL draft prospects. At the age of 22, when he was working in a North London warehouse, a friend recommended that the 6ft 6in Obada try the British American football team, the London Warriors’ training session. He was scouted shortly after, and the rest is history, Brixtonblog has narrated.

According to the NBC, the coaching squad was immediately impressed with his speed, especially considering his 6-foot-6-inch frame. One coach, who had been an intern with the Dallas Cowboys, flagged Obada to his former team and recommended they offer him a tryout.

After just five games of experience with the Warriors, the Cowboys signed Obada to its practice squad in 2015.

He was sent from Dallas to the Kansas City Chiefs to the Atlanta Falcons before finally landing in Carolina in 2017.

After years on the sidelines, Obada played in his first NFL game last season as a Carolina Panther — and he seized the opportunity. Playing defensive end, he posted a sack and an interception in his debut game. His performance earned him the game ball from head coach Ron Rivera and the distinction of being named NFC Defensive Player of the Week.

His story is far from complete: Obada needs to prove his ability on the field in order “to extend his work visa beyond the one year, $570,000 contract he signed with Carolina in January. If he doesn’t get re-signed or find another opportunity, he will have to move back to London,” UK Mirror reports, quoting the ESPN.

The stakes are high — but for Obada, it fuels the fire. “He practices 100 miles per hour,” Rivera said.

As Obada put it: “I go hard every time.”

On Sunday (today), the Carolina Panthers will play the division-rival Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London. Kick off is set for 9:30 a.m. ET.

For the 27-year-old Brit, Sunday’s meeting with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium will mark the first time he has played on UK soil as an NFL player and takes him back to the place where his football journey started.

Although he has visited his hometown several times since making his NFL debut last year, it is easy to see how much this particular trip means to him as he looks around visibly struggling to express his emotions, Mirror has reported.

Despite being new to the game, it didn’t take long for the 6ft 6 defensive lineman to make an impression and for those at the Warriors to see that he possessed many of the qualities needed to play at a higher level, such as the hunger and the eagerness to improve.

“When we got the kit on him and got him into practice, his speed was just silly for a guy that size,” says Simon Buckett, who was the team’s special teams coordinator and defensive backs coach at the time. “I haven’t seen anyone come to the Warriors before or since with that size and that kind of speed.” Buckett said.

One of the biggest sources of support for Obada at the Warriors both on and off the field was then-defensive coordinator Aden Durde, who made an early impression by giving him a pair of cleats.

“Just having Aden invest himself and his time – taking time out of his family and investing in someone he didn’t really know – was amazing,” Obada says.

“I’ve never had any role models, any male figures investing time in me, and that was very impactful, so I stuck it through.

“He sold me a dream. At the time, there was no other opportunities for the NFL. It was just solely ‘Okay – you want to play American Football – let’s train and let’s try and get you better,’ and I bought into it.”

Govs stealing public funds need deliverance, says Nasarawa gov

Abdullahi Sule, governor of Nasarawa state, says any person elected as governor has no justification to steal public funds.

According to NAN, Sule spoke during the closing ceremony of the 23rd national Quranic recitation competition organised by the Jamaatul Izalatul Bid’ah Wa Ikamatus Sunnah (JIBWIS) on Saturday in Lafia, Nasarrawa state capital.

He said governors were well provided for in the scheme of things, and as such, only a diabolic governor would resort to stealing public funds.

“When I assumed office as governor, I realised that only those who have no true knowledge about God would steal or that their major preoccupation would be to steal public funds.

“Any person who is a governor and is stealing public funds, then such a person is in need of God’s deliverance.”

He dismissed insinuations that one must be wealthy before joining politics, saying that as long as religious scholars keep avoiding politics, then they should be prepared to elect leaders who would betray their trust.

The governor, therefore, called on scholars and other educated elite to join politics in order to help bring sanity to the system.

He also urged them not to relent in telling people the truth even at the risk of being rejected.

 

Armed robbers behead police officer in Ilorin

Armed robbers on Saturday attacked Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) mega station in Ilorin, the Kwara state capital.

The men of the underworld were said to have struck when staffers of the station had left for their respective homes.

During the bloody incident, the armed robbers allegedly beheaded a sergeant and some security personnel attached to the fuel station.

It was also gathered that the robbery incident occurred while the security men were already asleep.
Checks on Sunday revealed that the NNPC mega station was under lock and key, throwing residents into panicky situation that another round of fuel scarcity was imminent.

Spokesperson of the state police command Ajayi Okasanmi confirmed the incident.

He added that the “information is true jare. But the command is investigatingthe issue.”

Passenger dies at Lagos airport after receiving news of wife’s death

Jude Oladapo, 44-year-old passenger, has slumped and died while undergoing boarding procedures at Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos.

Joseph Alabi, spokesperson for the MMIA police command, said the incident happened on Saturday when the deceased was waiting to board an Air France flight out of the country.

Alabi said the passenger was said to have slumped suddenly after receiving news that his wife had died.

According to him, Oladapo was confirmed dead by Ajayi Olamide, a medical doctor at the MMIA medical clinic.

Alabi said the corpse had been deposited at the Air Force hospital mortuary.

The police airport command spokesperson also dismissed claims that a Royal Air Maroc aircraft, with registration number CN-ROR, was burgled while landing at MMIA on Friday.

He said the police had carried out investigation and confirmed that all necessary security landing procedures were observed.

“There is a standard procedure, which includes an escort vehicle following an aircraft that is landing, which will make it difficult for any invader to approach the aircraft,” he said.

“The aviation security officials confirmed that they arrived at the aircraft with its baggage cabin door already opened which might have been due to other factors.”

Aisha Buhari returns to Nigeria

 

The wife of the President Her Excellency   Mrs. Aisha Buhari has arrived back in the country. Mrs Buhari arrived at approximately 4.30am  Nigerian time on a British Airways flight

Speaking on why she stayed away for so long, Dr Buhari said before the advent of this administration it had always been the custom for her to take a long vacation with her children, but since the president was elected and due to exigencies of duty it has not been possible, however this year she decided to break the jinx and spend time with them, especially since Mr President has graciously appointed Special Advisers  and Personal assistants to her.

Mrs Buhari further thanked all Nigerians  for their support and encouragement and said she was ready to continue her work with women and children

Present at  the airport to meet her were the First lady of Kogi state, Mrs Rasheedat Bello, Wife of former Governor of  Nassarawa state, Mrs Mairo Al Makura. Chairperson of National centre for Women Development Joy Gene Nunieh, wife of Minister for Niger Delta Affairs  Mrs Ekaetae Unoma Godswill Akpabio, D.G. Womens development centre, Mrs Mary Etta, and  Senior Special Assistant office of the wife of the President, Dr Hajo Sani.

She returned home to the villa to meet Family, friends and associates

PDP inaugurates reconciliation panel, campaign councils for Kogi, Bayelsa

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has inaugurated a national reconciliation committee and campaign councils for Kogi and Bayelsa governorship elections, scheduled for November 16.

The reconciliation committee is headed by a former President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki.

While the party’s campaign council for Kogi is chaired by Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State, that of Bayelsa is headed by Governor Bala Mohammed of Bauchi State.

The PDP National Chairman, Uche Secondus, while inaugurating the committee and the councils, urged the reconciliation committee to work assiduously to reconcile all grievances by members in the two states and bring them back to the party.

He said the party should not go into both Kogi and Bayelsa governorship elections as a divided house.

Mr Secondus, who expressed confidence in the members of the campaign councils, advised them to work for the victory of the party in the two states.

He said the campaign council had the task of ensuring that the electoral desires of the people of the two states were realised.

“I charge you to make sure that you bring the best of our programme for the two states during your campaign.

“Preach one man, one vote; obey all the rules and the laws of the land, because we are a party that believe in the rule of law.

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“Make sure that we win in Bayelsa and Kogi states,” Mr Secondus said, adding that the party had credible and best candidates for the two states.

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He said given the achievements of Governor Seriake Dickson in the last eight years in Bayelsa and the current situation in Kogi, the elections in the two states would be smooth contest for the PDP.

The PDP chairman, however, said that the information available to the party showed that the All Progressives Congress (APC) was planning to rig the elections.

Mr Secondus advised INEC to be neutral in the conduct of the elections to ensure that they were free, fair and credible.

He called on the international community and all lovers of democracy to show more than passing interest in the forthcoming elections in the two states.

Mr Secondus also advised President Muhammadu Buhari and the APC to enforce peace and the rule of law in the country.

In his response, Mr Saraki said his committee would do its best to reconcile all aggrieved members in the two states.

“The work of winning Kogi and Bayelsa starts with reconciliation and end with reconciliation, because the two states belong to PDP,” he said.

Mr Saraki said the driving message was that a government headed by PDP was better than that headed by another party.

Also speaking, Governor Mohammed said the issue of reconciliation in Bayelsa was half done, as former President Goodluck Jonathan had directed him to accept the responsibility.

“I am taking this responsibility with the seriousness and energy that it deserves. Politics is not a joke.

“If the other side is planning evil, we will plan excellence. If they are planning violence, we will plan peace. If they are planning a loss, we will plan victory,” he said.

On his part, Governor Makinde promised that his committee would run issue-based campaigns in Kogi State and do PDP proud.

He said that the elections in the two states were an opportunity for the electorate “to press the reset button” that will end in the ultimate victory for the PDP in 2023.

(NAN)

Flood sweeps 11-year-old boy, rescuer to death in Lagos

Floods swept an 11-year-old boy and his rescuer, simply identified as Wasiu away at Aboru and Iyana-Ipaja in Alimosho area of Lagos on Saturday.

The duo was swept away at a canal linking Aburo and Iyana-Ipaja on Ige Road.

The News Agency of Nigeria correspondent, who visited the scene of the accident observed a huge crowd wearing sad faces due to the incident that occurred following the overflow of water from the canal.

It was gathered that two young boys sent by their parents to buy cooking gas at a gas station fell into a drainage that serves as a channel to the canal.

Three young men attempted rescuing the boys and succeeded in rescuing the older one, but one of the rescuers popularly known as Wasiu Stubborn was swept away while trying to rescue the other victim.

Speaking to NAN at the scene, Mr Solomon Agboghoroma, a Community Development Association leader in Oki Town, regretted the development, saying that the government had failed to construct a bridge to prevent such incidents.

Agboghoroma, who recounted the ordeal of landlords and residents of the area anytime it rained, said that there was the need to expand Aboru road and build a bridge at Cement Bus Stop to forestall recurrence of such tragedy.

“This rain started almost four or five days ago but the one of last night was one of the heaviest and it started around 2:15 a.m. and by 3:15 a.m., it came with full force and everywhere was flooded.

“Around 7:30 a.m. or 8:00 a.m., we learnt that an OPC member, who was a security guard in one of the gas stations here had been carried away by flood while trying to rescue two children who came to buy gas but fell into the drain.

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“The gas station had not opened because of the flood as the whole place including the canal had overflowed its banks.

“The children fell inside the gutter. This OPC boy went and rescued one but in the process of rescuing the second child, he and the boy fell into the canal and that was the end,” Agboghoroma said.

He blamed the government for the tragedy, saying that several petitions had been written to successive governments in the state from the time of former Governor Babatunde Fashola to the administration of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode.

“People have been dying in situation like this here and all landlords have tried, including raising almost N4 million for dredging of the canal.

“The government knows what to do when it is ready because this canal contract was award sometime in 2011 or 2012. When we taxed ourselves, Fashola came and commended us and promised palliative measures and government takeover.

“The government should come and do the bridge as against this culvert that is here. This flat culvert cannot contain water. The government should widen this road and ensure the canal is dug for the peace and safety of residents,” he added.

Mr Suleiman Adedokun, an eyewitness and a shop owner beside the canal, told NAN that the rescuer, named “Wasiu Stubborn “, entered the drain to rescue the boy but the flood swept both of them away into the canal.

“Wasiu tried, succeeded in catching the second boy but his effort to come out of the drain proved futile as it was not easy for him due to the force of the water.

“It is the bad road and narrow culvert that caused these deaths because these two children that fell inside the drainage didn’t know it was there as water covered everywhere,” Adedokun said.

An officer of the Lagos State Neighborhood Safety Corps, who spoke to NAN on condition of anonymity, said that the agency got the information around 9:00 am that flood carried away one Mr Wasiu a.k.a. Stubborn while trying to rescue two children.

He said that the LSNC had made efforts and called relevant agencies of government, who he said may arrive the scene anytime.

“We are trying to locate the parents of the children and also to contact the family of Wasiu,” the LNSC officer said.

(NAN)

Fayemi lays foundation for airport as Ekiti attracts over $100m for four projects

Ekiti State Government has said the state’s social economic growth is hinged on a diversified economy driven by skilled and healthy workforce.
This plan, the government says, has begun to yield result as evident in the partnership it has forged with development partners and the private sector.

Commissioner for Information, Tourism and Values Orientation, Aare Olumuyiwa Olumilua, made this known while addressing a press conference to kick start the activities marking first year anniversary of Governor Kayode Fayemi with the theme, “Walking the talk…Restoring values, Enhancing Impact.”
Part of the activities lined up for the one year celebration is the foundation laying of the Ekiti Airport, a new Ministry of Justice building and Traditional rulers chamber among others. This is in addition to the commissioning of not fewer than 50 projects spread across the 16 local government areas.

Olumilua in the press conference said government was already into partnership with some private investors and development partners that would eventually attract to the state over $100 million to finance Ekiti Knowledge Zone, Special Agriculture Processing Zone, Ado-Akure Road, and Ekiti Airport as well as $5 million to revive the moribund Ikun Dairy farm.

These projects, according to him, will ensure that Ekiti becomes the hub of the service and knowledge industry in Nigeria, cement the state’s place as a leading agricultural hub, and also improve access and connectivity for business and recreational travellers.
“Other projects include the World Bank funded NEWMAP and RAAMP projects which will improve the water supply to Ekiti people, and open up rural access roads to enable the easy evacuation of our farm produce.”

“Ekiti State is about to conclude a joint venture partnership with Promasidor Nigeria Limited, to revive the moribund Ikun Dairy Farm. The Shareholder Agreement for the new company to be formed to manage the Dairy farm will be signed this month, with Promisador as the core investor, while the State will retain a minority interest, through its investment company, Fountain Holdings. This will attract a new investment of $5 million into Ikun Dairy Farm, which will be used to buy equipment, provide the appropriate herd of cattle, and develop an outgrower scheme for providing feed for the cattle.”

He affirmed that government would continue to invest heavily in education and healthcare of the people to ensure a skilled and healthy workforce. He explained that human capital forms the basic requirement to attract investments and other rewards to the state adding that the State’s development plan is hinged on the need to lay a solid foundation for sustainable and inclusive economic growth.

The commissioner confirmed that government would leverage on the state’s competitive advantages and history by focusing on agriculture and agri-business, knowledge and economy services, tourism and hospitality, and solid minerals saying it would prioritize development of the Ekiti Knowledge Zone, and the Special Agriculture Processing Zone that will make Ekiti the destination of choice for investors.
“Our people still remain our greatest asset, and we will continue to invest heavily in education and healthcare, to ensure that we have a skilled and healthy workforce. Human capital is one of the most important requirements to attract investments, and our goal is to improve both education and healthcare outcomes, by ensuring that our people get the requisite quality contemporary education, which will qualify them to take up the jobs that will be created by new investments in the State.

“Building a diversified and inclusive economy, leveraging our competitive advantages and history by focusing on agriculture and agri-business, knowledge and economy services, tourism and hospitality, and solid minerals while we will not ignore other sectors, these sectors will be the main drivers of growth. Our infrastructure spending will be focused on building the right enablers for the sectors to grow our economy, and be the engine of job creation”, he stated.
The commissioner however berated the immediate past administration in the state over the bastardisation of every facet of Ekiti life, including economy, education, health, sector and many more.

He said: “The Fayemi-led administration inherited a severely eroded State with our once pristine values as a people, seriously battered. Every facet of life in Ekiti was touched, albeit negatively. Civil servants, Teachers, Local Government workers, indeed all public servants were owed salaries, economic activities had grinded to a halt, and there was hunger in the land, while criminals and criminality held sway in Ekiti. Investors fled, Development Partners vanished, donor agencies disappeared, and the dreaded “Yahoo Yahoo boys” were about the only visible set of people in the society who had a free flow of the much desired cash. Morale was very low. The number of out-of-school children multiplied, as parents who were not paid salaries had problems keeping their children in school.

“Upon the recommencement of the Fayemi-led administration, the job of rebuilding, and refocusing the State, started in earnest. To make the State rise from its ashes like the mythical Phoenix, the job of rebuilding had to start from scratch. Guided by the administration’s 5-point Agenda of Agriculture and Rural Development; Social Investment; Infrastructure and Industrial Development; Knowledge Economy, and Good Governance, Governor Fayemi has successfully put our State back on the firm path to sustainable peace and development, which would survive administration after administration.”

Olumilua appreciated the media for their support in the task of developing the State and making life more meaningful for the people and their excellent coverage and positive exposure of events in the State. He urged them to sustain and improve the current level of professionalism.

Chatham House: $582bn stolen from Nigeria since independence

An estimated $582 billion has been stolen from Nigeria since independence in 1960.

The estimate, which was attributed to Chatham House, was quoted in an article published by The Economist titled, ‘Catch me if you can, African kleptocrats are finding it tougher to stash cash in the West,’ published in its online edition.

Corruption is known to be one of Nigeria’s major problem and at least N11 trillion is said to have been diverted in the power sector alone since 1999, while N1.3 trillion public funds were reportedly laundered between 2011 and 2015.

In the article which talks about illicit financial flows in Africa, The Economist said so much has been pilfered from the continent that “tracking it all is tricky”.

It quoted Britain’s International Corruption unit as saying it has confiscated £76m ($117m) loot from Nigeria since 2006.

“Another £791m has been frozen worldwide thanks to its work,” it said, adding that “it barely makes a dent in the £100bn of illicit funds which Steve Goodrich at Transparency International, a watchdog, reckons enters Britain every year”.

The Economist said African leaders’ best way of hiding and moving stolen funds is to set up “a raft of anonymous shell companies and bank accounts”.

It spoke of how Sani Abacha, the former military head of state stole Nigeria blind and “deposited billions of dollars in banks across the rich world, no questions asked”.

“Light-fingered tyrants are looking back wistfully. In past decades they could stash their illicit wealth in the West,” it said.

“Friendly lawyers, banks and middlemen were on hand to park the loot. Western governments often seemed equally unfussed.”

LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL

The article, however, said gone are the days when stealing public funds was easy as it is “becoming a bit harder to get away with”.

“Anti-corruption campaigners and muckraking journalists have busied themselves trying to uncover stolen assets,” it said.

“Western governments, tired of seeing aid money stolen, have toughened up money-laundering and bribery laws.”

Similarly, an anti-corruption tool in the form of a mobile application was recently launched by the Akin Fadeyi Foundation to enable Nigerians to report corrupt practices.

FG working to subsidise price of sanitary pads

The Ministry of Women Affairs says it has embarked on an initiative to subsidise the cost of sanitary pads for school girls in the country.

Mary Ekpere-Eta, Director-General of the National Centre for Women Development, a parastatal of the Ministry of Women Affairs, made this during a press briefing to commemorate the 2019 International Day of the Girl in Abuja on Friday.

This is coming in the wake of an investigation carried out by TheCable into how the education and health of schoolgirls are affected by the inability to afford sanitary pads.

In the report, some of the affected persons said they were unable to afford sanitary pads — even for N200 — hence stay away from school during their menstrual period.

She said efforts are ongoing to reach an arrangement with companies who produce sanitary pads to sell at subsidised rates in rural areas.

Ekpere-Eta enjoined the companies to support the initiative by reducing the cost and making it easily available.

She said young girls would be spared the pain of wondering how to get pads that they cannot afford.

“We have a menstrual hygiene corner in our programme whereby many of you could just drop in maybe N10 or N20 and there’s an arrangement with most of these companies who produce sanitary pads who will now sell at subsidised rates, which we will distribute to rural areas, especially in secondary schools, “she said.

“Be that as it may, we are working further to see how the issue of price will be dealt with. But it is a gradual process and we need to find a way to reach the manufacturers and find out how to reduce the price.

“Through advocacy, we encourage as a corporate social organisation from other agencies and private sector, to ensure that every organisation will buy a certain quantity of pads available to schools and send to rural areas as their own CSR.”

Wunmi Onanuga, chairperson of the committee of women development and social development, and four other lawmakers also moved a motion on the matter at the plenary session on Thursday.

Flood: Four killed as buildings collapse in Magodo, Ikorodu

Four persons have been confirmed after a house built on a hill collapsed in Isheri, Magodo area of Lagos state on Saturday.

According to Femi Oke-Osayintolu, general manager of the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA), the incident occurred around 8:00 a.m.

He said some injured victims trapped in the rubble had been rescued and rushed to a hospital while emergency officials were on the ground to ensure safety at the scene.

Building  collapse in Isheri

Another building collapsed before midday in Ita Elewa, Ikorodu on Saturday.

According to LASEMA officials, the immediate cause was attributed to the heavy downpour.

Further investigations revealed that aside from the heavy downpour, the obviously old building constructed with mud bricks had been seriously distressed over time with visible cracks on its other yet-to-collapse sides.

Parts of the old storey building which collapsed this morning at Rademo Street, behind Recreation Centre, Ita Elewa Ikorodu, has so far not recorded any loss of life, nor injuries at the time of filing this report.

In order to avert danger to adjoining buildings and other users of the environment, LASEMA has recommended that building’s remains be pulled down, the debris removed and the property forfeited to the Lagos state government as stipulated by law.

EXTRA: Five nations that imported Europeans to whiten the population

After the trans-Atlantic slave trade was officially abolished toward the end of the 19th century, many whites felt threatened and feared free Blacks would become dominant in the society. The elites spent a great deal of time mulling over how best to solve the so-called Negro problem. A popular solution that emerged during this period was the ideology of racial whitening or “whitening.”

Supporters of the “whitening” ideology believed that if a “superior” white population was encouraged to mix with an “inferior” Black population, Blacks would advance culturally, genetically or even disappear totally, within several generations. Some also believed that an influx of immigrants from Europe would be necessary to successfully carry out the process.

Although both ideologies were driven by racism and White supremacy, whitening was in contrast to some countries that opted for segregation rather than miscegenation, ultimately outlawing the mixing of the races. This, however, was just a different means to the same end as these nations also imported more Europeans while slaughtering and oppressing the Black population.

Here are 5 of the several counties that adopted a whitening policy and what happened as a result.

1.Brazil

Brazil’s whitening ideology gained support from two scientific racist beliefs that were prominent during this time. One being Social Darwinism, which applied Darwin’s theory of natural selection to a society or race, and the other being Aryanism, the belief that the “white” Aryan race was superior to all other cultures. By combining these two ideas, a certain portion of the Brazilian power elite believed, from roughly 1880 on, that the nation could be “whitened” and thus “improved” if whites were encouraged to mate with Black.

To further ensure that Brazil became whiter, a series of laws were passed prohibiting the immigration of Black people to the country. In 1945, the Brazilian government issued a decree favoring the entrance of European immigrants in the country: “In the admission of immigrants, the need to preserve and develop, in the ethnic composition of the population, the more convenient features of their European ancestry shall be considered.”

Because Brazil’s racist miscegenation agenda, lighter skin became valued more among Brazilians of African heritage, and darker-skinned individuals sought lighter-skinned partners, since the surest way to gain upward mobility is to possess whiter skin than your parents.

2.Cuba

At the dawn of the 20th century, Afro-Cubans enthusiastically joined the struggle for independence against Spain in hopes of building a nation based on racial democracy.  However,  the U.S. military presence in Cuba from 1898 to 1902 and again from 1906 to 1908 propped up and defended a racist ruling class, who pursued policies that actively sought the “whitening”  or Blanqueamiento of the nation.

The power elites promoted interracial marriage and the Cuban government created immigration laws that invested more than $1 million into recruiting Europeans, mostly from Spain, into Cuba in order to whiten the state and excluding Blacks from every aspect of national life.  A ban on “non-white” immigration was also implemented.

Despite the massive investment in European DNA, many of the immigrants did not stay in Cuba and came solely for the sugar harvest, returning to their homes during the off seasons. Although some 780,000 Spaniards migrated between 1902-1931, only 250,000 stayed.

By the end of the 1920s, Blanqueamiento as a national policy had effectively failed. It did, however cause lasting damage by shifting the demographics of Cuba and solidifying the social and economic marginalization of Afro-Cubans.

3.Jamaica

After the abolition of slavery in Jamaica (Aug. 1, 1834), many plantation owners feared an impending shortage of labor. Apparently the newly freed  and well experienced Africans on the island were not good candidates for a paid labor force.

Consequently, the former slave owners sought new measures in an effort to solve this problem. One solution was the establishment of a European settlement by Lord Seaford, then-owner of Montpelier Estate and Shettlewood Pen which were located in Westmoreland, in the parish of St. James. More than 1,000 Germans were brought to Jamaica with the promise of being granted housing, land and employment.

The white migration never amounted to much, because mixing with the Black population and migration to the U.S.  depleted much of its population. Moreover a century of in-breeding had a degenerative effect on what’s left of the population. However, many Jamaicans in Seaford Town and German Town in Trelawny carry heavy European features such as blue eyes, blond hair, freckles and white skin, as a result of the German genetic influences.

4.South Africa

The apartheid system was designed to maintain white domination in South Africa, and the assisted immigration laws implemented during White rule, reflected that ideology.  However the ground work was laid well before the apartheid system was officially put in place.

In 1820 the British authorities persuaded about 5,000 middle-class British immigrants  to leave Great Britain and settle on tracts of land that were being violently disputed by the Zulus and the Boers. The idea was they were supposed to provide a buffer zone, but the plan was unsuccessful because within three years, almost half of the settlers had retreated to the towns to pursue the kind of jobs they had in Britain.

From 1870 onward, there was large-scale immigration to South Africa following the discovery of gold and diamonds.  In the Transvaal, the site of the gold discoveries, the white population expanded eightfold.

In 1948, while European South Africa was facing food and housing shortages, rampant inflation an unemployment the government ramped up state-assisted immigration from Europe in what Prime Minister Smut said was an effort to ensure South Africa’s economic and industrial expansion, and to ensure the maintenance of Western civilization.

Following the implementation of the apartheid regimes immigration program, Europeans, primarily from Britain, arrived at three times the rate as they previous did. Meanwhile native Africans were being murdered, forcibly removed from their land, and immigration laws were being used to arrest those who were found in  “white designated” areas for more than 72 hours.

Although the Europeans declared South Africa a white man’s country during apartheid, immigrants from Taiwan, South Korea and Japan were considered honorary whites in the country. They were granted the same privileges as white people for the sake of maintaining diplomatic relations with the respective nations.

5.Australia

Australia’s natives have been victims of oppression in many ways and for various reasons for nearly 200 years. Their land had been taken over by European settlers, and later on they were forced to assimilate into white society.

AO Neville, the Chief Protector of Aborigines from 1915 to 1940, inspired by the same eugenics propaganda that informed the Blanqueamiento in Latin America, attempted to use miscegenation to breed the blackness out of the Indigenous population. Following the Second World War authorities began a slow shift away from biological assimilation to one of cultural assimilation.

From 1869 until well into the 1970s, thousands of indigenous children under 12 years of age were removed from their families to be absorbed into the white community.

To reinforce attempts to whiten Australia, the Australian government’s first act was to pass the Immigration Restriction Act. Often referred to as the ‘White Australia policy’ this effectively banned non-white migration for 50 years and offered money and jobs to immigrants with European ethnicity.

When the European invasion began in 1788, Australia’s aboriginal population was about 750,000.  In 1933, the population fell to its lowest levels. Today, more than 20 million people live on the continent, but the indigenous people make up less than 2.4%, or 563,000.

Boko Haram war: Buhari to sign military pact with Russia

 

President Muhammadu Buhari will sign a military technical cooperation deal with President Vladimir Putin of Russia this month for help in crushing Boko Haram militants.

According to Reuters, Nigeria’s Ambassador to Russia, Steve Ugbah, said this on Friday in Moscow.

He said President Buhari is due to meet Putin on the sidelines of a Russia-Africa summit in the Black Sea city of Sochi amid a push by Moscow to expand its influence in Africa.

Ugbah said, “We’re sure that with Russian help we’ll manage to crush Boko Haram, given Russia’s experience combating Islamic State in Syria.”

He added that Nigeria was interested in purchasing Russian helicopters, planes, tanks and other military equipment.

Ugbah said a military technical cooperation deal between Russia and Nigeria had already been drafted and that it only needed to be finalised.

“We hope President Buhari can take the talks to their logical end. The agreement will open new possibilities in such areas as the supply of military equipment and training for specialists,” he said.

Kidnapping: Zamfara bandits have collected ‘N3bn ransom’ from victims’ relatives

The committee set up by Bello Matawalle, governor of Zamfara, to find solutions to banditry in the state, says suspected bandits have collected over N3 billion as ransom from relatives of abducted victims.

Mohammed Abubakar, a former inspector-general of police (IGP) and chairman of the committee, disclosed this while presenting the committee’s report to the governor on Friday.

Abubakar said the report covered the period from June 2011 to May 29, 2019, adding that the ransom was collected from 3,672 victims.

Abubakar said a total of 4,983 women were widowed, 25,050 children orphaned and 190,340 persons displaced in the state over the period.

He added that “innocent Fulani herdsmen” lost 2,015 cattle, 141 sheep and goats, 2,600 donkeys and camels to rustlers while 147,800 vehicles, motorcycles, and others were burnt at different times and locations within the period.

The former IGP said to achieve sustained peace, the state government should take over all farmlands situated on grazing routes and adopt modern livestock farming to encourage herders to remain in one place.

The committee also recommended unconditional disarmament and setting up of a judicial commission of inquiry backed by law to address all forms of banditry in the future.

The committee also advised the government to partner neighboring state governments to rehabilitate all interstate roads to ease the movement of security personnel and the general public.

Receiving the report, Matawalle promised to implement the recommendations.

“I would like to make it clear that personal relationship, sectional, geographical, religious and ethnic interests will have no role to play in the decision l will take with regard to recommendations of the committee, especially those that relate to the recommended sanctions and disciplinary measures,” he said.

Makinde, APC trade words over N7.6bn loan

The All Progressives Congress (APC) in Oyo State has berated Governor Seyi Makinde and Speaker Adebo Ogundoyin over expressed approval of a fresh N7.6 billion loan aimed at reviving two farm settlements in Ido/Ibarapa East Federal Constituency of the state.

The House of Assembly on Thursday approved the governor’s request to borrow the sum three months after a similar request to obtain a N10b “infrastructural loan” was granted, bringing the total to N17.6b.

The approval was granted amid opposing voices by legislators who wanted the loan to be applied to farm settlements across the state.

The APC, in a statement by its Assistant Publicity Secretary, Prince Ayobami Adejumo, condemned what it described as the “conspiracy of bad governance” between Makinde and Speaker Ogundoyin over an alleged disrespect for the opinion of majority of his colleagues who had questioned the rationale behind the fresh loan request at the plenary on Thursday.

It reads in part: “The current governor has succeeded in bringing the whole machinery of local government administration to a halt completely and to further demonstrate his resolve to drag Oyo State backward by many years within the shortest period of time, we have again been made to see the need for the concerned citizens to beam their searchlight on the PDP administration of Engr. Seyi Makinde as financial indiscipline is now the order of the day in the business of government.

“As much as we would not even like to dwell much on the futile attempt by Gov. Makinde’s media handlers to change the narratives on the controversial fresh loan, the whole world has realised that the present administration is here to mismanage resources and enmesh the state in an inimical debt crisis. Without a clear cut action plan, the Makinde administration has made itself a good customer to many financial institutions as it gets all forms of loans.

“Unfortunately again, most of these loan transactions are done covertly and to the disadvantage of the good people of the state.

“The latest N7.6 billion loan, as announced, by the state legislature was different from the N10 billion obtained three months ago even as tongues are already wagging on what has become of the whopping over N17b billion which came into the state government treasury in the month of June alone.

“Apart from the statutory payment of salaries to government workers, nothing concrete has been done by the PDP government since May 29, 2019.

“The orchestrated Light-Up Ibadan City project and purchase of 100 security cars have not come to any fruition even when bogus amount of state funds had been expended on them without any due process.

“Oyo has a governor who would always singlehandedly design capital projects and approve funds for their execution without any recourse to State Executive Council.

“As if this was not enough, he has found an ally in the Speaker who overrules his colleagues at will only to dance to the tune of Mr. Governor.”

Reacting, however, Makinde described the loan approval as victory for the people of the state.

He pointed out that the loan was in pursuit of agricultural sustainability and economic emancipation of the Makinde administration.

In a statement through his spokesman Mr Taiwo Adisa, the Governor said the loan was borrowed from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for “agricultural equipment” by the immediate past administration of Governor Abiola Ajimobi.

Makinde maintained that contrary to insinuations that he was obtaining an additional N7.6 billion loan after an initial approval for N10 billion loan facility for infrastructure development, the N7.6 billion loan had already been approved by the CBN before he got to office.

He added that the apex bank had begun to deduct money from Oyo State’s Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) allocations from source to repay the loan.

The Governor stated that his administration had only approached the House of Assembly to seek approval to change the purpose of the loan facility so that it could be put to better use in developing farm estates in Eruwa and Akufo farm settlements in a pilot scheme that will be used as a model for the state-wide farm estate initiative of the administration.

Makinde further explained that limiting the scope of the project to Akufo and Eruwa Farm settlements, which were in the same federal constituency, was to allow for effective planning, monitoring, evaluation and coordination for the pilot scheme, adding that the project would extend to other settlements across the state, as his administration will remain fair to all zones in the state.

The statement added: “The farm estates will serve as pilot schemes for our Private Public Development Partnership (PPDP) farm estates and will eventually generate funds to develop the other seven farm settlements in Oyo State. This is a deliberate plan aimed at creating sustainable development in the state.

“The N10 billion is still intact as it has not yet been accessed. The loan is meant for specific infrastructural development projects. Once the Due Process Office is through with the approval process of hiring contractors for the earmarked projects, we will start accessing the loan to fund these projects.

“Our administration will continue to be transparent and accountable to our people about how public funds are utilized in the state. We will ensure our people get value for any project that we execute, and also ensure that infrastructural development projects are tied to our economy.”