Monday , 22 April 2019
Latest
Home » Tag Archives: Lagos State

Tag Archives: Lagos State

Ambode inaugurates transition committee

Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State, on Tuesday, inaugurated a 20-man transition committee to ensure a smooth transition of power from the outgoing administration to the incoming.

Ambode was represented at the event, which was held in Ikeja, by the Secretary to the State Government, Mr Tunji Bello, who is also Co-Chairman of the committee.

He said that the inauguration was imperative to ensure that the machinery of government continued to roll smoothly.

Ambode said the committee was organised to maintain stability, build on solid status of the state and ensure seamless transition to incoming administration of All Progressives Congress (APC) Governor-elect, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu and his deputy, Dr Obafemi Hamzat.

In his response, APC Deputy Governor-elect and Co-Chairman of the Committee, Hamzat assured that the handover would be a seamless one.

Earlier in his welcome address, Lagos State Head of Service, Mr Hakeem Muri-Okunola, described the transition as a result of the success of the APC in the last elections.

Muri-Okunola said that on May 29, the baton of leadership of the state would be handed over to a new administration, hence the need for a transition committee.

Members of the Committee include the Head of Service, Muri-Okunola; Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Adeniji Kazeem; Commissioner for Finance, Mr Akinyemi Ashade; Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure, Mr Ade Akinsanya; Special Adviser to the Governor on Education, Mr Obafela Bank-Olemoh; and Special Adviser on Urban Development, Mrs Yetunde Onabule.

Other members are Permanent Secretary, Works and Infrastructure, Mr Jimi Hotonu; Accountant General and Permanent Secretary Treasury Office, Mr Abimbola Umar; Permanent Secretary, Economic Planning and Budget, Mr Abayomi Kadiri.

Mr Ayo Gbeleyi; Sam Ngube; Dr Muyiwa Gbadegesin; Mr Tayo Bamgbose-Martins; Mr Bayo Sotade; Solape Hammond; Mrs Bunmi Fabanwo; Mrs. Bukola Odoe and Mrs Toke Benson Awoyinka are also members.

Kayode Egbetokun, Tinubu’s ex-CSO replaces Imohimi as Lagos police commissioner

Kayode Egbetokun, former chief security officer to Bola Tinubu, a national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), has been named the new commissioner of police in Lagos state.

TheCable understands that Edgal Imohimi, the outgoing commissioner, was redeployed on Sunday to the force headquarters in Abuja.

Sources said that Imohimi, who is claimed to be an ally of Akinwunmi Ambode, the incumbent governor of the state, was “fired from Lagos” because he did not provide adequate security for the APC rally, which was held in Ikeja last week.

At the rally, Musiliu Akinsanya, a strong member of the party and treasurer of the National Union Road Transport Workers (NURTW), popularly known as “MC Oluomo”, was stabbed by rival factions of the party, while some journalists were also shot.

Egbetokun was Tinubu’s CSO for a few years before he became the commandant of Police Training School, Ikeja, Lagos.

The new commissioner was also the commander of the Rapid Response Squad (RRS), Lagos, from 2005 to 2007.

Imohimi was deployed to Lagos state on August 31, 2017, after serving as the deputy commissioner of police in charge of Operations in the state.

He will now head the explosive ordinance unit of the police force in Abuja, the country’s capital.

 

Lawyer challenges Lagos Chief Judge over hike in filing fees

The Lagos State Judiciary may enter  year 2019 on a controversial note as a former Chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Ikeja branch, Mr Adesina Ogunlana on Wednesday filed a suit before the Ikeja High Court challenging the powers of the Chief Judge of the state, Justice Opeyemi Oke to increase filing fees with about 1000 percent.

The lawyers’ claim the Chief Judge with such rules as proposed in the High Court Civil Procedure Rule 2018, is a declaration of war against lawyers and will surely deny poor litigants’ access to justice.

The claimant of the suit is the former chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Ikeja Branch, Mr Adesina Ogunlana who has lined up a team of lawyers to challenge the Chief Judge. They are Dare Akande, Tajudeen Ibrahim, Yinka Farounbi, Adejare Kembi, and Lateef Abdulsalam.

Joined with the Chief Judge as defendants is the Chief Registrar of the High Court.

The group filed a motion on notice, and originating summons at the registry of the Ikeja High Court on Thursday afternoon. The suit bears number Temp/41648/201. The motion on notice seeks an order of interlocutory injunction restraining the defendants from replacing or substituting the High Court of Lagos State (Civil Procedure) Rules 2012 with the proposed High Court of Lagos State (Civil Procedure) Rules2018 or any other Rules of the High Court of Lagos State, pending the determination of the suit.

In the originating summons, the lawyers seek the court to determine the following issues:

Whether in the exercise of powers of the first defendant to make Rules of Procedure for the High Court of Lagos State, the first defendant who is also sworn to uphold the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 may not exercise same in line with the provisions and intendment of the same 1999 constitution (as amended);

Whether in the exercise of the powers of the first defendant to make Rules of Procedures for the High Court of Lagos State in civil matters, the first defendant can make rules which by reason of its financial stipulates that have the effect of denying the ordinary citizens of Nigeria public, easy and ready access to the High Court of Lagos State for redress or otherwise reduce their greater accessibility to the High Court of Lagos State;

Whether the first defendant being the Chief Judicial Officer of Lagos State has any responsibility under the constitution of the Federal Republic, which constitution she sworn to uphold, put in place measures that guarantee easy and ready access to the High Court of the State to citizens and residents of Nigeria in Lagos State irrespective of their status, gender, class, financial standing, education, religion etc for judicial resolution of disputes;

Whether in the exercise of the powers of the first defendant to make Rules of Procedure for the High Court of Lagos State, the first defendant is at liberty to exclude consideration of the socio-economic realities of Nigeria in general and of Lagos State in particular considering the position of the judicial institution as a pillar of society for peace, security, and orderliness;

Whether in the exercise of her powers, the first defendant can contravene section 41 of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to make rules discriminatory of the legal community and by the effect of such rules, declare a war on the trade or act in disdain of the trade of members of the legal community, to wit, legal practitioners;

Whether where in the exercise of the powers of the first defendant to make Rules of Procedure for the High Court, the first defendant rules imposing:

  1. Minimum sum of N250,000:00 against counsel for unpreparedness to open trial for whatever reason
  2. The increment of late filing fees from N200.00 to N1,000:00 per day
  3. The upward review of general filing fees by 500-1000 per cent; such rules or provisions can be said to be in consonance with the constitution of the Federal Republic and guarantees easy and ready access to the High Court of the state,

The lawyers therefore seek the following reliefs from the court:

A declaration that the first defendant is duty bound in her official capacity to act in accordance with the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (1999 as amended).

A declaration that the first defendant in making rules for the regulation and practice and procedures, and for such rules to be lawful, valid, and binding, such rules must be in conformity with the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

A declaration that the proposed High Court that the proposed High of Lagos State (Civil Procedure) Rule 2018 as presently contemplated by the defendants to include 500-1000 percent increase in filing fees, upward review of late filing fees from N200.00 to N1000.00 per day, and imposition of fees of N100,000.00 or N250,000.00 cost personally against counsel, the legal representatives of litigants is oppressive and will serve to deny the claimant, his clients, and members of the litigating public easy access to the High Court of Lagos State and is as such improper, unlawful, unconstitutional, null and void.

The suit is yet to be assigned to a judge.

Lagos street sweepers protest unpaid salary

Scores of street sweepers under the “Cleaner Lagos Initiative (CLI)” of the Lagos State Government, on Monday, protested their delayed salaries among other grievances, barely two week after staging an earlier protest.

The protesters, on December 5, staged a similar protest at the Alausa Secretariat, barricading the road and urging Governor Akinwunmi Ambode to intervene to help stop their suffering.
The workers said that they would prefer to go back to the status quo prior to three months ago, before they were transferred to the Lagos State Waste Management Authority (LAWMA).

The street sweepers, who again blocked the Alausa Secretariat, said that they had to repeat the protest because the promises made to them on Dec. 5, especially over payment of salaries had not been adhered to by the government.
According to them, the workers are suffering due to failure of government to pay them their wages.

“Last week, when we held a protest to Alausa, we had a meeting with the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of the Environment, Mr Biodun Bamgboye, with the head of LAWMA and other government officials in attendance .where we tabled our grievances.

“The government team promised to get in touch with us on Friday but failed to do so, and every attempt to get in touch with the Permanent Secretary through calls and messages were not answered.

“Even when we visited his office on Thursday last week to see him, we couldn’t see him after waiting for hours in his office because he was not around.
“Yesterday (Sunday) we sent him a message telling him we were coming today if they don’t see us and that is why we are here,” one of the protesters, Mr Oluwatobi Adeyeye said.

Speaking with newsmen after addressing the protesters, Bamgboye said that the ministry had already commenced the payment of the protesters’ November salary.

The permanent secretary said that the approval for the December salary had been received and the ministry was working on it.

Bamgboye told the aggrieved workers to compile the names of those who by Thursday evening did not receive alert, saying such list should be brought to him on Friday.

Bamgboye also said the other grievances of the protesters were being addressed, adding that it was a problem of transiting from one scheme to another.
“The scheme under which they have been operating is not the same with the Civil Service scheme.

“So the process of transiting from one scheme to the other is responsible for what other problems they have highlighted and it is being addressed; it is a transition problem”, he added.

Some of protesters confirmed that they had started receiving alert for November salary but expressed sadness over the delay in the payment of their salaries.
They urged the Permanent Secretary to ensure that their December salary was paid in time.

Part of the grievances of the sweepers include lack of tools to work with, health insurance, pensions, regularisation of appointment and provision of ID cards.

The sweepers also frowned at working on Sundays, non-observance of all public holidays, planned retrenchment, proposed reduction of salary among others.

2019: 41 candidates jostling to become Lagos governor, 589 eye Assembly seats 

2019: 41 candidates jostle to become Lagos governor, 589 eye Lagos Assembly seats

The Independent National Electoral Commission  (INEC) in Lagos State on Friday published details of 41 candidates of various political parties in the state for the 2019 elections jostling to become Governor. INEC office in Lagos revealed that 589 candidates of different parties are also eying 40 seats in the Lagos State House of Assembly.

INEC timetable and schedule of activities for the 2019 general elections indicated that publication of personal particulars of candidates (CF001) for the governorship and state Houses of Assembly elections would be made on Nov. 9. Section 31(3) of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended), provides that the publication must be made within seven days of the receipt of the form from political parties at the constituency where the candidate intends to contest the election.

The publication on Friday indicated that 41 political parties out of 62 in the state would contest the governorship election while 47 would participate in that of the state house of assembly.

NAN reports that only APC, PDP, SDP, ADC, AD and MPN fielded candidates for all the 40 seats in the state parliament. Political parties that fielded candidates in at least 20 of the 40 state constituencies for the house of assembly election are: ADP (34) , ACCORD (28), NCP (23), PPC (21), ANP(20), PPN (20), LP (32) and PT (20).

Speaking to NAN on the development, Mr Femi Akinbiyi, the Lagos INEC Public Relations Officer, said the commission had fulfilled the requirements of Section 31(1 and 3) of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended) with the publication. Akinbiyi said that the list of political parties and the particulars of candidates participating in house of assembly election had been published in the Local Government Offices of INEC in the various constituencies.

“With this publication now, the commission is set for 2019 elections.

“We enjoin eligible voters who are yet to pick up their Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) to do so before it will be too late. Now, following the ongoing display of voters register across the 8462 polling units in the state, those PVCs have been moved to all the wards in each local government to bring it closer to the people for collection.

“Not minding the fact that the period for claims and objections during this period of display of voters register ends on Nov. 12, the commission has extended by one week the opportunity to distribute PVCs at the ward level,” he said.

(NAN)

Alleged N100bn tax evasion: 150 groups ask EFCC to probe Alpha Beta

About 150 anti-corruption groups under the aegis of the Civil Society Network Against Corruption have asked the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to urgently investigate an alleged N100bn fraud, tax evasion and money laundering against Alpha Beta Consulting Ltd., Alpha Beta LLP and Ocean Trust Ltd.

Alpha Beta Consulting, a firm given exclusive rights to monitor and collect Internally Generated Revenue on behalf of the Lagos State Government, had in September been accused of tax fraud to the tune of N100bn by Mr Dapo Apara, its former Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer.

However, in a petition forwarded to the EFCC and signed by CSNAC’s Chairman, Mr Olanrewaju Suraju, the network urged the EFCC to act immediately, adding that the case was a test of the government’s will in its call for citizens’ participation in governance and fight against corruption

The petition read in part, “Following the breaking news on Sahara Reporters dated September 7, 2018, and captioned ‘Tinubu’s Alpha Beta accused of N100bn money laundering, tax evasion fraud’, we write to urge you to use your good offices, in collaboration with the Federal Inland Revenue Services, to dauntlessly and without fear or favour launch an urgent and immediate investigation into the allegations contained in the said report with a view to proving to the Nigerian populace that the current administration’s fight against corruption is transparent and executed without concerns about whose ox is gored.

“Speculations are that the company belongs to Mr Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the ex-governor of Lagos State and ‘National Leader’ of the ruling party or that he is a major shareholder in the company, as Alpha Beta first became known when it was appointed as a consultant to the Lagos State Government, under the tenure of Babatunde Fowler as the Chief Executive Officer/Executive Chairman of the Lagos State Board of Internal Revenue from 2005 to 2014.”

CSNAC said since Apara’s allegations went viral in September, the Lagos State Government had failed to make any reaction.

It added that the state never denied claims that the company takes about 10 per cent of the internally generated revenue of Lagos, estimated in 2016 to be about N40bn every month.

The petition added, “Recall that we also wrote a petition to your office sometime in March, 2018,  with respect to the use of fishy companies to aid corruption by the ‘feudal lords’ in Lagos State by diverting public resources into private holdings.

Mr Apara, according to the aforementioned publication, stated that over the years, the company is being protected and shielded by some powerful politicians and people in the society which made them to always boast of being untouchable.”

Speaking with our correspondent on Sunday, however, the EFCC Spokesman, Mr Wilson Uwujaren, asked the groups to be patient, adding that petitions took time to investigate.

He said, “The commission receives hundreds of petitions on a daily basis. Expectedly, screening and evaluation of these petitions take time. Petitioners who have faith in the EFCC must be patient to allow the commission to do its work.”

Ambode swears-in five new perm secs

Lagos State Governor, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode on Monday at the Lagos House, Alausa, Ikeja swore-in five new Permanent Secretaries into the State Civil Service.

The appointees are Dr. Olabisi Taiwo (Ministry of Health), Mr. Olusegun Ajibade (Public Service Office), Mrs. Abiayo Akinsiku (Primary Healthcare Board), Dr. Yusuf Jimoh (Ministry of Special Duties and Intergovernmental Relations), and Mr. Ganiyu Rufai (Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Cooperatives).

Ambode charged them to place high premium on efficient service delivery and work to make the machinery of governance to roll faster in the overall interest of the people.

The governor told them to bring their wealth of experience and knowledge to bear in their respective Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), and to go all-out to meet the high expectations of not only government but the teeming population of the State.

“With this appointment, you have all effectively become the Accounting Officer of your MDAs. You have been entrusted with a bigger and more sensitive responsibility which will put to test your leadership and managerial skills.

“Let me remind you of the very high expectations that will be placed on you, not only from the government but more importantly, from the over 22 million Lagosians who desire efficient and service delivery.

“Your ability to meet these expectations will depend on the amount of creativity and innovation you can bring to bear in the discharge of your responsibilities.

“Nobody expects you to reinvent the wheel. What is expected of you is to bring to bear your knowledge and experience so that the machinery of governance can roll faster and deliver more quality results to the teeming population of our State,” the Governor counseled the appointees.

While congratulating the new Permanent Secretaries, the Governor pointed out that the elevation was strictly based on merit as evidenced by their outstanding performance, commitment and dedication to duty over the years, saying they must work to justify their appointments.

Responding on behalf of the new Permanent Secretaries, Taiwo expressed gratitude to God and the governor for the opportunity to serve the State at the highest level in the civil service, just as she assured that they would not betray the confidence reposed in them but rather uphold the principles of public service.

PROFILE: Babajide Sanwo-Olu, the man gunning for Ambode’s seat

When he submitted his governorship nomination form at the headquarters of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in Abuja on Wednesday, Babajide Sanwo-Olu said people don’t know certain things about him.

Truthfully, many didn’t hear of him until reports emerged that he is running against Akinwunmi Ambode, incumbent governor of Lagos state. He is believed to have the backing of Mandate Movement, a group fiercely loyal to Bola Tinubu, a national leader of the APC.

Here are some things you probably don’t know about Sanwo-Olu.

Like Ambode, Sanwo-Olu is a graduate of the University of Lagos. He holds a B.Sc and an MBA in surveying from the university. He is  also an alumnus of the Kennedy School of Government, USA; the London Business School as well as the Lagos Business School (LBS).

Born into a Christian family from Lagos Island, he is currently the managing director of Lagos state property Development Company (LSPDC). Ambode appointed him into the position in May 2016.

NOT A GREEN HORN IN POLITICS

Regarded as a public sector expert in policy formation, Sanwo-Olu was appointed special adviser on corporate matters to Femi Pedro, former deputy governor of Lagos, in 2003.

According to his profile, he was responsible for creating an environment that fosters private sector participation. He also formulated policies and programmes to improve the relationship between government and organised private sector (OPS).

James Odunmbaku (left), a prominent member of Mandate Movement, accompanied Sanwo-Olu to the APC headquarters in Abuja for submission of nomination form

“In conjunction with other agencies of government, Sanwo-Olu was able to initiate, identify, promote and structure new projects and programmes in areas like the environment, transportation, commerce, finance and infrastructure,” read his profile.

He was later appointed acting commissioner, economic planning and budget. In 2007, he became the commissioner for commerce and industry until the end of that administration.

Under Fashola’s administration between 2007 and 2015, Sanwo-Olu was appointed commissioner for establishments, training and pensions.

A PRIVATE SECTOR EXPERT

Before he joined politics, the APC governorship aspirant had a banking career. Between 1994 and 1997, he served as a treasurer at former Lead Merchant Bank Plc. He later moved to the United Bank for Africa as head, foreign money market and deputy general manager, divisional head, at First Inland Bank, Plc (now First City Monument Bank).

He also served as chairman for a number of organisations, including Baywatch Group Limited– a multifaceted company with interests in construction, property development and human capital development; First Class Group Limited, a cooling, power and maintenance solutions provider, among others.

While addressing reporters at APC headquarters on Wednesday, Sanwo-Olu had said he has the experience in the public and private sectors working in his interest in the bid to govern Lagos.

The APC aspirant addressing journalists on Wednesday

“The pedigree from the private sector and from the public sector, I think it is appropriate for me now when people of Not-too-young are with us to put this aspiration in place,” he said.

“I am in the wide range of experience as I have a dream to obviously contribute a lot more as a Lagosian and son of the soil, I will just be able to let our people get to where they know that governance is all about people, it is about what we expect, it is about what will go back to them, improve the cause of life, course of security and there are lot of other things we are going to be rolling out.”

PROFESSIONAL ACTIVITIES/AWARDS

Sanwo-Olu is an associate member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel Management (CIPM) and fellow of the Nigeria Institute of Training and Development (NITAD).

He has won several awards, which include the symbol of excellence award from the Civic Enlightenment Association of Nigeria, a gold mentor award from the National Association of Nigeria Nurses & Midwives (NANNM), a platinum award from the Lagos State Public Service Club and the 2009 best in human capital development award from the Industrial Training Fund (ITF).

He is married and the marriage is blessed with children.

Tanker explosion: Lagos gives 30 days deadline to trailer owners to get road worthiness certification

Following the tragic tanker explosion on Otedola Bridge inward Ojodu Berger along Lagos-Ibadan Expressway which claimed lives and property, the Lagos State Government on Sunday restricted movement of Fuel Tankers to designated trailer route going forward.

 

The government also said it was now mandatory for all articulated trucks coming into Lagos to obtain the Ministry of Transportation’s Road Worthiness Certificate at any of the designated centres within the next 30 days.

 

Addressing a joint press briefing at the Bagauda Kaltho Press Centre in Alausa after meeting with all the relevant stakeholders including Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG), Association of Maritime Truck Owners (AMATO), Petroleum Tanker Drivers (PTD), National Association of Transport Operators (NATO), Container Truck Owners Association of Nigeria, among others, the State’s Commissioner for Transportation, Mr Ladi Lawanson, said the decision became necessary following preliminary investigations into the incident which revealed a combination of vehicular defect and human errors.

 

Lawanson said: “As an immediate response to the latest incident, the Lagos State Government hereby announces the following measures: Fuel tankers are hereby directed to ply the designated trailer route, that is, Apapa-Oworonshoki Expressway via Ogudu to Lagos-Ibadan Expressway.

 

“All Tankers and containers coming into Lagos State from henceforth are directed to obtain the Ministry of Transportation Certificate of Road Worthiness at any of or centres within the next 30 days, while new centres along the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway will be established to quickly to cope with the expected demand for this service.”

 

He listed the 10 centres currently available to process the applications to include Berger, Ojodu; Odogunyan, Ikorodu; Agric/Ishawo Road, Ikorodu; Worksyard, PWD, Shogunle; NCI, Gbagada; VIS Yard, Oko-Afo, Badagry; VIS Yard, Ayobo-Ipaja; Test Centre, Badagry; VIS Yard, Epe; and VIS Yard, Oko-Oba Abattoir.

 

Lawanson, who addressed the briefing alongside heads of government agencies and the stakeholders, said preliminary investigation revealed that the affected tanker which exploded was registered in Nasarawa Local Government, Kano State with registration number NSR 888 YC, and had changed ownership 13 times since purchase.

 

“It (the tanker) was manufactured in 1999 by Mack Trucks Inc at its assembly plant in Winnsboro, United States. This truck was designed as a 14,959kg (approximately 15 ton) drilling rig with low bed, but it was converted in Nigeria from a drilling rig to fuel tank carrier to carry 30 tonnes.

 

“From this preliminary investigation, the truck should not have been loaded to the weight of 30 tonnes, which is twice its pulling capacity,” the Commissioner said, adding that further investigation into the current ownership of the tanker and other related details were progressing.

 

On suggestion of restriction of operation of tankers to certain hours, the Commissioner said having critically examined the issue especially considering the fact that imported petroleum products are pumped from import jetties at Atlas Cove through pipelines to Ejigbo Depots in Lagos, Mosimi (Ogun), Ibadan (Oyo), Ilorin (Kwara) and Ore (Ondo), and due to pipeline vandalism, any restriction of such would undermine supplies and threaten the wellbeing of the Nigerian economy since there is high demand for petroleum products across the country.

 

“This position has also been canvassed by the authorities in charge of the distribution of petroleum products in the consultations which followed the incident and at a time of great expectations for our economy to fully bounce back from recession, we believe that ensuring unhindered supply of petroleum products is indeed a patriotic contribution by Lagos State to the nation’s economic survival,” Lawanson said.

 

He, however, disclosed that the State Government was already exploring alternative modes of transportation of petroleum products to separate passenger traffic from cargo movements within the metropolis in the interest of the public safety and order.

 

He also said that government, in partnership with all the stakeholders, would set up joint-enforcement of the operating laws, while barriers would be installed on bridges in Lagos to prevent articulated trucks including Ojuelegba, Mobolaji Bank Anthony, Ekodeso, Abule-Egba, Lekki-Ajah, among others.

 

Giving update on the accident, Commissioner for Special Duties and Intergovernmental Relations, Mr Seye Oladejo said out of the four injured persons that were taken away from the scene, one unfortunately died while government is taking full responsibility for the treatment of others.     

 

He particularly denied allegations that some victims were rejected by the General Hospital in Surulere, saying that the victims were only taken to LASUTH, Ikeja and Burns and Trauma Centre in Gbagada.

 

“When you have such incident of that magnitude, as part of our training as emergency responders, we need to be very careful the way we handle our communication so that we don’t raise unnecessary alarm. It is important for members of the public to remain calm while we get all our acts together, otherwise we would also be asking for another emergency.

 

“Altogether, nine people passed on at the incident and they were all burnt beyond recognition. We have set up a helpline at LASEMA to try and open a communication channel with members of the public and with family members of the victims. It is important that DNA is conducted otherwise we would end up giving the wrong bodies to some families to go and inter and that would become another issue entirely.

 

“This kind of situation really calls for patience and understanding on the part of members of the public and most especially families of victim. As much as we sympathize and commiserate, things still have to be done professionally. As a government, we are alive to our responsibility and the major business we have is to ensure safety of lives and property and we are committed to that. We have signed up on that, you are also aware of the massive investment of the State Government on issues bothering on emergency and response,” Oladejo said.

 

Besides, the Commissioner dismissed insinuation alleging that the integrity of Otedola Bridge had been compromised following the incident, saying there was no iota of truth in such, while government would soon fix the damaged section of the road.  

 

Lagos declares June 12 public holiday

 

The Lagos State Government on Saturday declared June 12, 2018 as public holiday to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the annulled 1993 Presidential elections adjudged to be have won by the late Moshood Kashimawo Olawale (MKO)Abiola.

The State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode in a statement signed by the Secretary to the State Government, Mr. Tunji Bello said the significance of June 12, 1993 elections, adjudged as the freest and fairest in the history of Nigeria, would always be a reference point in the State’s quest to entrench true democracy in service to the people.

Commending President Buhari’s recent declaration of June as the new Democracy Day, the Governor said the singular act would forever ensure that Chief MKO Abiola and other martyrs of democracy who laid down their lives in the struggle to entrench good governance did not do so vain.

“On behalf of all Lagosians, we want to commend and applaud Mr President, Muhammadu Buhari for deeming it fit finally against all odds from all other past presidents that 25 years after, we are able to now celebrate our own Democracy Day and also declare that the real winner of 1993 June 12 Presidential election was actually our own MKO Abiola.

“No matter how long you try to hide history, history will always reveal itself with a true platform. So, we know that is one very important singular step as we go forward to build an enduring democracy. And for all democrats in this country, we are excited that we are moving in the right direction.

“It also affirms that Nigeria can get it right if we begin to put things in the right perspective and work for the general good of the greater number of people. That is the true essence of democracy.

“For us in Lagos, June 12 is not just a day to remember, it is a rallying point for those of us in service that we must continuously strive to entrench true democracy and good governance which is what Chief MKO Abiola totally exemplified,” Governor Ambode said.

 

African tourism ministers tour Lagos

The Lagos State Government is set to play host to African Tourism Ministers and other delegates attending the ongoing 61st meeting of United Nations World Tourism Organisation’s Commission for Africa currently holding in Abuja.

According to a statement released by the Lagos State Commissioner for Tourism, Arts and Culture, Mr. Steve Ayorinde, the “technical visit” to Lagos State is scheduled to take place on Wednesday, 6th June 2017.

It stated that the visiting delegates will comprise Ministers of Tourism from African countries, top executives of United Nations World Tourism Organisation, heads of Tourism promotions agencies as well as tourism and travel stakeholders across the African continent.

The release said that the team, led by Nigeria’s Minister for Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed and Mr. Zurab Pololikashvili, UNWTO Secretary-General, will pay a courtesy visit to Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode and embark on a tour of Eko Atlantic City to witness the ongoing transformation of the waterfront area into an entirely new smart city with abundant business and tourism prospects.

The statement added that the entourage will also visit FreedomPark on Broad Street and a few other tourist attractions in the State.

“This visit by the African Tourism Ministers and other delegates to Lagos State is yet another golden opportunity to market our great State to the world and to express our commitment to the initiative that Africa must first and foremost appreciate and promote its incomparable beauty through domestic tourism before the rest of the world can celebrate us,” Ayorinde said.

Nigeria won the bid to host the elite gathering of African tourism policy formulators and regulators in the Federal Capital Territory while Lagos State, being a leading tourism haven in West Africa as well as a key partner of the Federal Government is playing host to the visitors.

 

Lagos IGR now N34bn monthly, says commissioner

The Lagos State Government on Monday said that it has so far achieved an average monthly Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) of N34billion in 2018 compared to monthly averages of the last three years.

Commissioner for Finance, Mr. Akinyemi Ashade who disclosed this at the ongoing annual Ministerial Press Briefing to mark the third anniversary of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode’s administration held at Bagauda Kaltho Press Centre in Alausa, attributed the gradual improvement to the impact of the ongoing reforms and growth in the State’s economy.

He said, “Notably, we are recording gradual improvement in our average monthly IGR in 2018 compared to the levels achieved in previous years due to the impact of ongoing reforms and growth in the State’s economy. Based on our first quarter results, Lagos State has so far achieved an average monthly IGR of N34billion in 2018 compared to monthly averages of N22bn, N24bn and N30bn in 2015, 2016 and 2017 respectively.”

The Commissioner expressed optimism that the IGR would continue to rise even further as the State continues to implement the various reforms, driven by wider technology adoption and innovation, adding that the target to grow the State’s IGR to N50bn by next year was well on course.

“The target we set for ourselves is N50billion but we all know the kind of push backs we have experienced including people going to court and all that. Our commitment is not for now, its for the future of Lagos. We know it’s a marathon, we would win some and we would lose some, but we are very committed towards ensuring that we meet the target, but if we don’t meet it this year, definitely there would be another year, but we believe we would succeed in that target we set for ourselves,” Ashade said.

On Federal Transfers, he said since Lagos joined the league of oil producing State, the Government had received a total of N327million revenue, comprising N197million and N130million received in 2017 and first quarter of 2018 respectively.

“Furthermore, we are in ongoing discussions with the Federal Government towards obtaining a refund for expenditure totalling N51billion that was incurred by the State Government on behalf of the Federal Government for infrastructure projects developments in the State. We are optimistic of successful discussions that will result in the approval and payment of the amount owed to the State Government by the Federal Government,” he said.

Giving an update on the State’s Debt Profile, Ashade said the Government’s debt stock, comprising 48 per cent local debt and 52 per cent foreign debt currently stood at N874.38billion at the end of 2017 while the debt service charge to total revenue ratio which stood at 17.61 per cent was still within the World Bank threshold of 30 per cent.

The Commissioner said the State Government has continued to maintain a positive credit rating, however, adding that a downgrade of Nigeria’s sovereign rating would lead to a corresponding action on Lagos’ international drawing rights.

“As Nigeria continues to improve on its credit rating, we would be able to achieve better rating as we currently have because no amount of revenue generation, no amount of employment growth of Lagos State can make us surpass to surpass the sovereign rating,” he said.

He, however, said that the State Government has taken some strategic steps to help Nigeria improve on its ratings including adhering to fiscal discipline, improved revenue generation, reforms in infrastructure development, transport and embedded power.

Giving an update on the revised Land Use Charge (LUC), Ashade said the State Government has continued to engage critical stakeholders in line with its tradition of inclusive governance, adding that a wide range of response have been received.

He said the extensive discussions led to several concessions on Land Use charge for property owners across board, adding that a revised bill to further amend the LUC Law to incorporate the additional concessions was presently before the House of Assembly and would be passed soon.

Besides, the Commissioner said the Government through the LUC Assessment Appeal Tribunal, received a total of 1,503 complaints, out of which 1,113 were successfully resolved administratively and through mediation, adding that an additional 263 property owners/agents had their grievances resolved in the last two weeks and more still ongoing.

Ashade also urged residents to continue to support the government by fulfilling their civic duty of paying their taxes and remitting all taxes collected on behalf of the Government as and when due, assuring that the present administration was committed to maintaining financial accountability and transparency for the overall development and prosperity of the State.

Air passengers, commuters stranded as Lagos blocks major roads over Buhari’s visit

Many residents of Lagos are groaning as a result of the vehicular restriction on major roads in the state, compounding the traffic gridlock in the metropolitan city.

The roads were blocked because of President Muhammadu Buhari’s two-day visit to the state.

As part of measures to control the traffic situation, the Lagos state government declared Thursday a work-free day.

It also announced that roads leading to some of the projects the president would inaugurate would be shut.

The projects are the Lekki Deep Sea, Eko Atlantic City, Ikeja Bus Terminus, among others.

But residents who woke up as early as 4am where still trapped as commercial buses and other unauthorised vehicles were restricted from plying the Agege Motor Road, Airport Road, Mobolaji Bank-Anthony Way, Eko Hotel Round about and different spots in the city.

Security operatives also mounted strategic places around the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, and various locations across the state.

Banners and billboards with the president’s photographs were also put up along the roads, while many of his supporters lined across the roads.

Most of the passengers trekked long distance before getting to the airport.

Some airlines had to delay their flights to enable passengers meet up. In a statement, Air Peace said the traffic diversion was affecting its operation. The airline also empathized with its passengers.

“We empathise with our esteemed guests who are having a challenge accessing the airport to catch their flights due to the diversion of traffic at various points In Lagos,” the statement read.

“This is currently affecting flights out of our base in Lagos despite the availability and readiness of our crew to operate their flights.

“We urge our valued guests to remain calm, while we monitor the development and take steps to minimise the impact of the resulting flight disruptions.”

Kehinde Adebowale, a Lagos resident said that she trekked a distance of two kilometers on her way to work on Thursday.

“I trekked from Ile-Zik after Cement Bus Stop to Alausa (a journey of three kilometres). I have not done such since I started working five years ago,” she said.

“No matter the excuse given, it’s not fair for us to be treated like this because of one man. Just one man.”

Ayebo Olubunmi, another resident, lamented the effect of the closure of major roads on people during Easter period.

“I am supposed to go to church in Yaba but I am trapped in Egbeda just because Mr President is inaugurating some projects. Is he greater than God?” she asked.

“How on earth could they have disrupted our plans because of a man who is supposed to be serving us? I do not have words to describe how I feel over this callous act.”

In his reaction, Adewale Martins, Catholic archbishop of Lagos, described the president’s visit as ill-timed.

In a statement signed by Gabriel Osu, director of social communications, the archbishop lamented that the president’s visit coincided with the “most important days of the year for Christians when they celebrate the events of the salvation of the world”.

He said Christians would be subjected to “untold hardships” due to the closure of roads and the ban of commercial motorcycles on many routes.

“It is really unfortunate that the timing of the visit would create such hardships for people and deprive some of their right to worship and take part in the most important feast of their faith,” he said.

Buhari is currently attending the 10th colloquium of Bola Tinubu, a leader of the APC, in Lagos.

This is the president’s first official visit to the state since his emergence in 2015.

Land Use Charge: Alpha Beta denies contract with Lagos State government

Alpha Beta Consulting said on Thursday that it has no contract with the Lagos State Government in execution of the state’s newly-introduced land use law.

But the firm was silent on allegations that its name was specifically mentioned in the new law that hikes tariffs for homeowners across the state.

“We would like to state that our company, Alpha Beta Consulting, is not involved in the collection and administration of the Land Use Charge of Lagos State,” the company’s deputy managing director, Bode Oluyemi, said in a statement on Thursday morning.

“Although we do business with the state as we do with other individuals and organisations that require our services, Land Use Charge collection and/or administration is not part of our brief,” he added.

The disclaimer comes as tempers flare amongst Lagosians over the new rates for land use and the claim that Alpha Beta, a private firm, had been specifically favoured by the law as a potential consultant to be engaged in verification of land use payments to state coffers.

The Lagos House of Assembly responded to the criticism yesterday, saying that Alpha Beta was erroneously written into the state law.

“It was a very costly mistake that should not have happened,” Tunde Braimoh, a spokesperson for the Lagos State House said on Wednesday afternoon. “It was erroneously put in the draft copy of the law and we’re already working to remove it completely.”

“Alpha Beta or any other designated person(s) or corporate body who has the responsibility of monitoring the incoming revenue of the state through the collecting banks, shall provide a report to the Accountant-General of the State,” according to a section of the proposed Lagos State Land Use Charge Act 2018 said.

Mr. Braimoh said that Alpha Beta would be removed from the law within three weeks.

He also said the new land use law, which is a revision of a 2001 law, has not been signed into law. But it was later learnt that Governor Akinwunmi Ambode had given his assent to it since February.

Residents across the state are also reporting on social media that they have started receiving notification about the new tariffs.

State officials promised to make a copy of the signed law available before the end of the week.

Alpha Beta did not say whether it was inserted in the law or now, but insisted that “the stories making the rounds that link us to it is not true and do not represent our correct relationship with the government.”

The company has been favoured over the Lagos State Internal Revenue Service in the state’s tax administration since the days of Bola Tinubu, who was governor between 1999 and 2007.

The role of Alpha Beta in Lagos State has been a subject of widespread speculation amongst residents, especially since successive administrations after Mr. Tinubu have failed to disclose the terms of their contracts to the state’s residents.

The opaque nature of the transactions between the parties has made it difficult for taxpayers to know how much Alpha Beta is taking from its engagement.

Some opposition politicians in the state have repeatedly taken on the state government over its affairs with Alpha Beta.

Land Use Charge: We are ready for dialogue, says Ambode

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode on Tuesday said his administration is not oblivious of the hue and cry generated by the revised Land Use Charge Law, saying that the government is ready to dialogue to resolve the issues going forward.

Governor Ambode, who spoke during a well attended forum with the Organised Private Sector tagged “Lagos Means Business”, said the review of the law was not a deliberate attempt by the government to overburden property owners but a decision taken in the overriding interest of the future of Lagos.

The forum had in attendance major players in the business circle including former governor of Cross River State, Mr. Donald Duke; founder, First City Monument Bank Group, Otunba Subomi Balogun; Chairman, Premier Lotto Limited, Chief Kessington Adebutu; Chairman, Eleganza Group of Companies, Alhaji Rasak Okoya; Chairman of Zenith Bank, Mr. Jim Ovia; founder United Bank for Africa (UBA), Mr. Tony Elumelu; Chairman Honeywell Group, Dr. Oba Otudeko; former Minister of Industry, Chief Nike Akande, Chairman, Channels Television, Mr. John Momoh, members of the diplomatic corps, top business owners, among others.

He said the Law, enacted in 2001 provides for an upward review every five years, but that the State Government had not carried out any review of the Law up until 2017, adding that the recent review was in line with the present economic realities.

He said, “The law was made in 2001. It provides that every five years, we should review it and also find a way to increase. 15 years after in 2017, the law has never been reviewed. Now, the question is this; those who are having commercial properties, the rental income they were getting in 2002 as against the rental income they are getting in 2017, is it the same? The level of infrastructure that existed in 2002 as against what has happened in the last 15 years, are they the same? Did it not come at a cost? So, why is the market value of the property that you built with one million naira, 15 years after, you are selling at N20million. Why do you think somebody who is a buyer will pay N20million for it? Is it not because of the facilities around the property? So, we have to sacrifice; that is how it works everywhere.

“So, somebody comes and say we have increased by 400 per cent. The question is the 400 per cent of what? You were paying N10, 000 before, now we say you should pay N50, 000 and you are calculating and turning statistics upside down by saying it is 400 per cent.

Explaining further, the Governor said that while the revised Land Use Charge law requires owner-occupiers to pay just 0.076 per cent, pensioners, churches, mosques, non-governmental organisations and government institutions are exempted from payment.

“So, who is the one that will take care of the ones that are free? If you are owner-occupier you don’t need to pay. So, it’s the commercial part that people are complaining about.

“Why have we increased the rate? We should have been doing this every five years but I am looking at it if I must sustain the level of my vision, I have to give something back to people. I don’t have to come and meet you if I continue to borrow money, but we are borrowing to punish you ultimately which is not what we want because it is even the taxes you pay that would pay the interest and the principal. Somebody needs to tell us the bitter truth for us to sacrifice together and that is what we have done,” Governor Ambode said.

Reeling out statistics to explain the challenges that would confront the State in the nearest future, the Governor said Lagos is projected to become the third largest consumer market in the world with a population of 35.8million, closely behind Tokyo and Delhi, while the population growth and rapid urbanization would put infrastructure and public services under pressure.

He said the State requires a minimum of $50billion over the next five years to bridge the gap of infrastructural deficit, adding however, that a special infrastructure fund that would be driven by the private sector to address social challenges is the way to go.

“Assuming the entire budget for 2018 is spent only on infrastructure development, Lagos will be left with a deficit of about N14.47trillion and also require an additional 19 years of similar expenditure to bridge the infrastructure deficit,” Governor Ambode said.

The Governor, also expressed concerns that out of the eight million taxable adults in the State, only about two million submitted their tax returns while only 700,000 actually paid their taxes last year.

“We are 24million; taxable adults in Lagos is 8million. The number of people that actually submitted tax returns in 2017 is 2million and then only 700, 000 people paid their taxes,” he said.

He said the current tax returns were not enough to cater for the capital projects ongoing across the State, adding that major cities across the world with thriving economies are sustained by the taxes paid by residents.

Thanking the business community for their support over the years, Governor Ambode said his administration was committed to creating an enabling environment for businesses to thrive, adding that concerted efforts have been made to encourage investors to set up their businesses in the State, which according to him would have multiplying effects on the State’s economy.

“I invite you to come and own the economy. Whatever you say here would be taken seriously because this gathering is not just about knowledge sharing; it’s more about the future of Nigeria and not just Lagos,” the Governor said.

In his brief remarks, President of Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote commended the Governor for deeming it fit to organise a forum to meet the business community in Lagos, adding that his (Governor) passion to make Lagos thrive was not in doubt.

He also said the economic drive by the State Government was one that required all and sundry to rally round the government and perform their civic responsibility of paying their taxes as and at when due.

“I am more convinced now and I think people should really be voluntarily paying taxes in Lagos. I think for people who are doing business here, Lagos is the most-friendliest States in Nigeria. If you really want to know, try other states and you will see hell.

“I am not advertising for Lagos but there is not a single time you go with a problem and the Governor will ask you to go and come back tomorrow because in most cases, he will call everybody and say let us sit down and sort out the issues. So, your Excellency, we congratulate you and assure that we will continue to support you,” Dangote said.

Also speaking, Ovia and Elumelu lauded the Governor for the massive infrastructural renewal projects across the State especially in the area of security.

Ovia, said that business owners now feel safe to invest in the State owing to the investment in security, just as he commended the Governor for sustaining the Lagos State Security Trust Fund (LSSTF), a public private partnership designed to enhance security in the State.

“Your Excellency, you have spoken today like a Chairman/CEO of a company to his shareholders. We are definitely one of your shareholders and we would renew your mandate in 2019 there’s no doubt,” Ovia said.

The duo promised to increase their donation to the fund, while also calling on others to contribute their quota to the enhancement of the State’s security architecture.

LCCI worried over ‘grey areas’ in the new Lagos land use charge law

The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) plans to hold a round-table to renegotiate grey areas in the new land use charge law of Lagos State.

In a statement signed by its director-general, Muda Yusuf, the LCCI said the March 9 dialogue would examine the provisions of the recently-passed law viz-a-viz its implications for residents and businesses operating in Lagos State and its environs.

“In continuance of its public policy advocacy initiative, it behoves the LCCI to provide a platform, such as this, to aggregate the views of stakeholders (both public and private) on the new and use charge law in Lagos, which has generated heated debates in the public space,” he said.

“This platform will enable stakeholders in real estate, construction and other related sectors to engage the Lagos state government on the recently-passed law and re-negotiate its grey areas.”

Lagos state government recently repealed its 2001 land use charge law, and replaced it with a new land use charge law, 2018.

The state house of assembly had passed the bill on Jan. 29, while the governor signed the bill into law on February 8.

Based on this law, new rates were sent to residents and those that have received their bills claim that the land use charge was an increase of between 150 and 300 per cent over the 2017 rates.

NECA vows to resist new Lagos land use charges

The Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association has kicked against the recent amendment to the Land Use Charge Law in Lagos State, saying it will resist its implementation.

NECA described the amendment as “a classic case of insensitivity, alienation and gross disregard of the current state of wellbeing of both corporate organisations and residents.”

It stated at a press conference on the state of the economy in Lagos on Thursday, “The new law would expect property owners in the state to pay at the very minimum a monstrous, appalling and callous increase of over 200 per cent, and in some instances, over 500 per cent in Land Use Charge.”

The President, NECA, Mr. Larry Ettah, said, “We find this law intolerable and brutish. We will do everything legal and legitimate, including social resistance, to challenge this unfair and unjustifiable law.

“We put the governor on notice that this law, in its current form, is not acceptable and we will fight this law by social resistance and any other legitimate means at our disposal to get the government to ameliorate the harsh impact of the abhorrent law on residents.

“We believe in the context of a democracy that it is important that truth be spoken to power. We hope the government will not be obdurate and see reason as to why this law is unfair as it is insufferable.”

In its bid to increase its internally generated revenue and expand the tax base, the Lagos State Government recently repealed the 2001 Land Use Charge Law and replaced it with the new Land Use Charge Law 2018.

The government also extended the period for the payment of all Demand Notices for the annual Land Use Charge to Saturday, April 14, 2018.

This is to enable property owners and affected occupiers take the option of enjoying the discounts available for the prompt and early payment of the LUC invoices.

However, Ettah said it was not as if the income of a property owner had gone up significantly to justify the outrageous law.

He added, “More so, the real estate sector continues to wallow in deep recession with high vacancy rates. How on earth would any decent authority increase taxes overnight by over 200 to 500 per cent when the government should be doing more to stimulate the sector to come out of recession?

“To compound matters, there is a repugnant and odious penalty payment ranging between 125 and 200 per cent if payment is not made between April and August.”

According to him, penalties for default in paying the LUC within the period specified in the demand notice attracts a 25 per cent penalty on the rate not paid between 45 to 75 calendar days.

It also includes a 50 per cent penalty on the rates not paid between 75 to 105 calendar days; and 100 per cent penalty on the rates not paid between 105 to 135 calendar days.

Ettah stated, “Where the LUC demand notice is not settled after 135 days of the taxpayer’s receipt, the Lagos State Government is authorised by the LUCL to appoint a temporary receiver/manager to administer the property until all the outstanding taxes, penalties and administrative charges are paid.

“Basing the annual Land Use Charge rate on the market value of a property is an inequitable form of taxation as the owner of the property is not, as a matter of fact, receiving the market value of the property on an annual basis.

“Using the market value of a property to assess its LUC on an annual basis is also deemed to amount to a subtle form of double taxation as Capital Gains Tax is paid every time the property is sold or bought.”

Lagos releases calendar of Arts and Culture programmes

 

The Lagos State Government has released a calendar of over 70 state-sponsored and endorsed arts and culture programmes slated for the rest of this year in its bid to garner visibility for tourism-oriented art programmes..

The novel exercise, according to a release signed by the State’s Commissioner for Tourism, Arts and Culture, Mr. Steve Ayorinde, is designed to frontload public and privately driven arts, culture and entertainment events that will have positive impact on tourism and the image of Lagos as an arts-friendly state. “This initiative is in fulfilment of the State Government’s promise to announce a yearly calendar of events to guide programming, tourists and visitors’ decisions” he stated.

According to Ayorinde, the Governor of Lagos State, His Excellency, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, kick-started the year with his attendance at Ali Baba’s January 1st Comedy concert at Eko Hotel. Other arts and culture events held in January and February so far and included in the calendar are Angel and Muse, an art exhibition by a Lagos-trained world renowned artist; Eebi; a month-long Indigenous Cultural Festival in Epe; Wazobia FM Carnival as well as the Lagos City Marathon amongst others.

The idea of creating a calendar of events for state-sponsored and state-endorsed programmes, is to make event planning, tour bookings and business decisions easier for tour operators and the general public.

The calendar is part of the state’s innovative intervention to project arts, entertainment and leisure benefits inherent in Lagos, which makes the state attractive to domestic tourists; business travellers and stop-over passers-by.

The commissioner said, “the state is forging ahead in expanding the consumption of its tourism products by improving access to tourism information and creating an events guide for the media and tour bloggers”.

Although not exhaustive, the calendar contains most of the well-known indigenous cultural festivals across the state, entertainment events; concerts; visual and performing arts as well as fashion and culinary events.

The state is expected to leverage on its continous infrastructural development, regeneration and creation of iconic minuments snd attractions for entertainment, arts and culture enthusiasts to boost economic activities and expand opportunities for job creation during the various events slated on the calendar.

“The administration of Governor Ambode believes that the quantum of cash transactions across the tourism and entertainment value-chain, as tracked in December 2017 when about 50billion was spent on entertainment and leisure alone, is a testimony to the huge economic gain that exists in promoting tourism in Lagos State.This and other economic factors make Lagos one of the most vibrant and culturally significant cities in Africa with potentials to make enormous impact in driving in-bound tourists from across the globe.

Major events listed in the calendar include Gidi Fest, Lagos Water Regatta and Fanti Carnival around the Easter Period; the International Jazz Day celebration on April 30 which will be dedicated to the South-African Jazz legend, Huge Masekela; the Lagos Comedy Festival (incorporating Lagos Laughs on World Laughter Day) on May 6 and the Eko Art Expo in the last weekend in May.

June will be rich with the first ever Lagos Golf Funfair and the Lagos Cinefest, which is designed to take cinema-going experience to all the five divisions of the state.

The Lagos Festival of Plays is a major highlight in the third quarter of the year; so is the Lagos Fishing Festival (Oshoroko) in Ibeju-Lekki; Akwaaba Travel Market and Faaji Agba – a special concert for the elderly to mark World Elders Day.

October to December will be the most intense period on the calendar with Olokun Festival; MUSON Festival; AFRIMA, AFRIFF; Kayo-Kayo Festival in Epe; the Lagos Luxury Summit/Fair; Felabration which will be used to celebrate Deal’s 80th birthday posthumously; the Lagos Books & Arts Festival (LABAF) which will be used to welcome Lagos into Africa’s Creative Cities club as well as the phenomenally popular One Lagos Fiesta which will hold between December 24 and 31st across the five divisions of the state in its forth unbroken year.

“The State is grateful to corporate sponsors that will make many of these events happen” Ayorinde says; adding that “our aim is to use the calendar and other strategic initiatives to enrich the entertainment and creative economy as an integral component of tourism promotion.”

Police give two-week ultimatum to pump action rifle owners to verify, re-validate licences

The Lagos State Police Command has given two weeks ultimatum to individuals with ‘pump action firearm’  and other guns to submit their arms, licences for verification and re-validation.

The orders was contained in a statement by the command spokesman, SP Chike Oti, stressing that the exercise became necessary in view of security challenges in the country.

“Those issued with licence to bear pump action firearm or other repeating firearm operated by a slide action mechanism, by the Lagos State Police Command Firearms Registry(D7), are to submit their weapons and Licences to the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) of the closest Police Station for verification, confirmation and revalidation.

“The move is to enable the command update its data base with information about the owners, licences, and state of the firearms.

“ The owners of these firearms types are given two weeks grace period from the date of this publication(Feb. 24) to ready themselves for the exercise which will last till March 29.

“The Commissioner of Police, Lagos State, enjoins all licenced gun owners to take advantage of this revalidation programme as firearms found in the possession of anybody or group who did not participate in the exercise would be deemed as illegitimate.

“Such an individual or group would be arrested and charged for unlawful possession of firearm(s) in accordance with the provisions of Prohibited Firearms Act 2004, Laws of the Federation,” the police said.

Lagos Govt expresses shock at death of Ambode’s aide, Deji Tinubu

The Lagos State Government has confirmed the death of Mr. Deji Tinubu, the Special Adviser on Commerce, Industry and Cooperatives.

The Government in a statement signed by the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Kehinde Bamigbetan, expressed “shock and disbelief’ over the sudden death of Mr. Tinubu and has reached out to his immediate family to commiserate on this huge loss to the family and the citizens of Lagos State.

“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.

Bamigbetan said the late soccer fan 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. Doctors and nurses rushed to give him first aid and 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.

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.

Tinubu 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.