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Lagos Land Use Charge: LCCI says default penalties are too harsh

Sanctions to defaulters under the reviewed land use charge (LUC) of Lagos are too severe and not in tandem with democratic ideals.

Babatunde Ruwase, president of Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), made the observation during a stakeholders’ forum on Friday.

He said while the chamber would not encourage or support any form of infractions of the law, the sanctions must be proportional and fair.

Land use charge law stipulates a 25 percent increase in charge if payment was not made between 45 and 75 days.

It also prescribed a 50 percent increase after 105 days and a 100 percent increase if payment cannot be made between 75 to 105 days.

The law prescribed that a property shall be liable to enforcement if payment is not made after 135 days of notice.

“There would be instances where the citizens are willing to pay, but just do not have the capacity to pay, given the state of the economy,” Ruwase said.

“The Nigerian economy is only just gradually recovering from recession. Many companies are yet to return to profitability. Industrial capacity utilisation has declined, purchasing power is still very weak, occupancy rate in many commercial and residential properties are still very low.

“All of these have adversely impacted the returns on investment in property market and points to the fact that current market value of property may not necessarily reflect the rental income for the property.”

He said only 300, 000 property were paying the charge, while 700,000 property were identified for tax payment.

According to him, emphasis should be on getting more property into the tax net, rather than imposing additional burden on those currently on the database.

He urged the government to explore the platform presented by VAIDS to capture more property owners into the net.

Ruwase suggested that implementation of the law be suspended, while the grey areas should be sorted out in the interest of fairness, equity and natural justice.

According to him, there is no evidence to show that adequate dissemination of information to critical stakeholders was followed and conditions stipulated for law review occurred before implementation of the law.

He said stakeholders were concerned that assessed value used for computation of the law was high and difficult to justify.

According to him, the business community appreciates government’s efforts in investing in infrastructure and security and businesses are willing and ready to pay their tax.

He appealed to the government to create a tax environment that would be fair, equitable, inclusive, transparent and investment friendly.

Akinyemi Ashade, Lagos state commissioner for finance, said the law aimed at entrenching a regime of self-assessment, would allow property owners to make their own calculation and know their rate with the help of professional valuers.

According to him, property of N10 million and below constitute 75 percent of property owners in the state and are expected to pay N5000 per annum as land use charge.

Ashade said that the new law also established an assessment appeal tribunal which authorised the adoption of alternative dispute resolution in resolving disputes concerning LUC demand notice provided the appeal was lodged within 30 days after the receipt of the notice.

UK to build £700,000 prison in Lagos — to send Nigerian prisoners back home

The United Kingdom has proposed to build a prison in Nigeria to enable the transfer of Nigerian prisoners in Britain.

The proposed 112-bed wing is to be built to United Nations specifications in the Kirikiri prison, Lagos.

The prison, according to a statement submitted to Parliament by Boris Johnson, UK secretary of state for foreign affairs, is estimated to cost £700,000.

According to Sky News, the project is part of a compulsory prisoner transfer agreement which both countries signed in 2014.

Johnson said poor conditions in some prisons overseas have created a legal barrier to returning foreigners convicted in the UK.

“As part of this agreement, eligible prisoners serving criminal sentences in Nigeria and the UK can be returned to complete their sentences in their respective countries,”Johnson said.

Deals to transfer prisoners in UK jails to their countries of origin have also been made with Albania, Rwanda, Jamaica and Libya.

“The government believes that wherever possible foreign nationals should serve their sentences in their own country,” a foreign office spokesperson told Sky News.

“Helping Nigeria to improve its prison conditions and increase prison capacity will enable us to transfer more prisoners to Nigeria, which will, in turn, free up prison places in the UK.”

 

Lagos APC rejects extension of Oyegun’s tenure

The Lagos state chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has kicked against the elongation of the tenure of the party’s national and state executives, saying it is against the constitution.

Rising from a consultative forum held at state house Marina, Lagos and attended by party elders from across the state, the leaders said the extension of the tenure of John Oyegun, chairman of the party, and his executives by one year is also against Nigeria’s constitution.

“Section 223 of the 1999 constitution as amended provides for periodical election on a democratic basis for principal officers and members of the executive committee of political parties,” the party said in a statement.

“According to the constitution, election of the officers or members of the executive committee of a political party will be deemed to be periodical if done at regular intervals not exceeding four years.

“Article 17 of the party’s constitution also provides for a four-year tenure for its national and state executives, which is renewable for another four years.”

Tajudeen Olusi, leader of the party in Lagos central senatorial district, later addressed reporters.

We have taken reports of the state APC chairman in respect of the NEC meeting held in Abuja. We have also had the privilege of receiving great reports from our leader from the reconciliation committee,” he said.

“We have considered the issue of extension of tenure and we are of the firm belief that the decision is a breach of the constitution of our party and of the country. We are against the elongation of tenure. We shall continue to make our decision known to the party and to the president.

“In extending the tenure, the APC National Executive Committee had relied on Article 13.3 (ii) of its constitution which states that The NEC can discharge the functions of the convention in a period of emergency.
Article 13.3 (ii) of APC Constitution specifically states that the NEC of the party is empowered to;

“Discharge all functions of the National Conventions as constituted in between Conventions”.

“But the provision in Article 13.3 (ii) is not limitless and open-ended. It is a responsibility restricted by the same constitution, which provides exclusively under Article 30 (i) that: “This Constitution and Schedules hereto can be amended only by the National Convention of the Party.”

Lagos, Kano sign MoU for economic partnership

The Lagos and Kano State Governments on Thursday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for economic partnership and to jointly explore investment opportunities aimed at creating jobs and facilitating growth and development.

The MoU, which was signed by Governors Akinwunmi Ambode and Abdullahi Umar Ganduje of Lagos and Kano States respectively, at the closing ceremony of the inaugural Lagos-Kano Economic and Investment Summit held at the Jubilee Chalets, Epe, seeks to create a common platform for exploring, expanding and developing areas of economic development and Investment.

According to the MoU, the two states agreed to expand the current level of economic and investment cooperation between them especially in key areas of Governance, Security, Internally Generated Revenue (IGR), Agricultural Value Chain, Tourism, Education, Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and Skills Development.

Other areas include commerce with specific focus on ease of doing business and Infrastructure in Power, Transportation and Urban Waste Management.

The objectives of the MoU, among others, are to establish a formal and flexible framework between the two ctates to expand trade and investment cooperation, foster scientific and technological collaboration for business development in emerging key sectors, strengthen communication, enhance trust, boost economic development and create jobs.

Under the agreement, the two ctates have also set up a Technical Working Group to oversee the implementation of the objectives of the MoU.

In her closing remarks, Lagos State Deputy Governor, Idiat Adebule, said the signing of the MoU by Governor Ambode and Governor Ganduje was a clear testament of the commitment of both States to collaborate in the overall best interest of the people.

She said the two governors, by the development, “are telling the entire world that collaboration, cooperation, partnership can always work to bring about economic sufficiency in our States and off course the entire nation.”

While describing the summit as historic and successful, Mrs. Adebule said the programme witnessed presentations from experts, erudite minds, scholars from both public and organised private sector with numerous positions expressed and outlined .

She said: “In this process, our minds have been availed with torrents of ideas, information, statistics, interpretation and above all vision and collaboration leading to economic sufficiency.

“I am convinced that the most valuable outcome of this engagement is the fact that we have Governors who have vision and have the opportunity of sharing this vision. Today, we are not just sharing the vision but providing an enabling environment for this vision to be actualised.

“Today, we have the political will; today, the political will has been demonstrated and it signifies the fact that we are ready for business. Lagos and Kano mean business and we are ready for business,” the deputy governor said.

Five injured as Delta Air Lines flight makes emergency landing in Lagos

Delta Air Lines flight 55 from Lagos to Atlanta, United States returned to the Murtala Muhammed  International Airport onTuesday night after an issue with one of the A330-200’s two engines.

The flight which was said to have initially pushed back at 22:40hrs had air return and emergency landing at 23:16hrs, when the pilot announced the evacuation of all the passengers on board within 90 seconds, after contacting the control tower as the left engine of the aircraft was said to have caught fire mid air in-flight.

According to the airline, the flight landed safely and customers exited the aircraft on the runway via emergency slides, adding that airport fire authorities met the aircraft upon arrival.

The airline said in a statement, “Delta is aware of five customers reporting non-critical injuries as a result of the evacuation.

“Delta teams have provided overnight hotel accommodations to customers and will rebook customers on an alternate Delta aircraft on Wednesday. The safety of Delta’s customers and crew members is always our top priority.”

 

NNPC restores Escravos-Lagos pipeline, resumes gas supply

The Escravos-Lagos Pipeline (ELP) which came down last week as a result of a fire incident has been restored and gas supply to customers on the line including power generating companies resumed.

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) which disclosed this Monday said the repair work on the pipeline followed the directive by the Group Managing Director, Dr. Maikanti Baru, to carry out an assessment of the damage with a view to getting a prompt solution.

It would be recalled that a section of the ELP at Abakila in Ondo State blew up in flames on January 2, 2018 as a result of bush fire.

The incident affected gas supply to customers in Ondo, Ogun and Lagos States with subsequent shutdown of a number of power plants.

With the restoration of the ELP and resumption of gas supply, the affected power plants with a combined generating capacity of 1,143MW would resume power generation.

The power plants include: Egbin Power Plant in Lagos State; Olorunshogo Power Plant, PEL Olorunshogo and Paras Power Plant in Ogun State; and Omotosho Power Plant in Ondo State.

The 36-inch Escravos to Lagos Pipeline System (ELPS) is a natural gas pipeline built in 1989 to supply gas from Escravos in the Niger Delta to various consumption utilization areas.

It supplies gas to power plants in the South-west and also feeds the West African Gas Pipeline System.

Lagos to restrict vehicular traffic at Pen Cinema from January 4

The Lagos State Government on Monday announced plans to enforce partial restriction of movement for motorists in Agege axis to accelerate the ongoing construction of Pen Cinema Flyover starting from January 4, 2018.

In a statement by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Works and Infrastructure, Engr Olujimi Hotonu, the State Government said there would be a complete closure of the roads in the axis at some point during the construction but that it would start with partial restriction of movement.

While assuring that adequate arrangements have been firmed up to mitigate the impact of the closure of the roads on motorists and residents, Hotonu said traffic diversion routes have been created to ensure ease of movement along the corridor.

He said the construction of the flyover across the Pen Cinema intersection at Agege embarked upon by the administration of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode was part of the continuous drive to ease traffic within the metropolis and improve on the State economy.

According to him, “To ease the construction of the Pen Cinema flyover, the State Government will be diverting traffic at the Pen Cinema intersection starting from Thursday, January 4, 2018.

Hotonu further said that the restriction of movement is expected to last for an estimated period of three and six months to enable the contractor take full advantage of the weather and space to deliver seamlessly the critical aspect of the flyover construction that falls within the Pen Cinema roundabout and railway crossing at Old Abeokuta Road junction.

“The routes for the diversion for the flyover are as follow; Vehicles coming from Ogba/Oba Ogunji except Articulated vehicles are expected to come in through Ijaiye Low Cost Housing Estate to link Iju Road, while Articulated Vehicles and other vehicles plying this axis have the option of either turning right towards Iju Road at the Pen Cinema intersection or left towards Moshalashi Alhaja.

“Similarly, vehicles coming from Iju Road should go towards Moshalashi Alhaja or turn towards Oba Ogunji/ Ogba as the turning towards the right to the Railway crossing will remain closed.

Continuing, Hotonu said there would be a complete closure of the road for vehicles coming from Moshalashi Alhaja towards the Railway crossing, while vehicles coming from Moshalashi Alhaja axis would be expected to either move towards Iju Road or turn right towards Oba Ogunji/Ogba Road.

“All vehicles coming from Old Abeokuta Motor Road are enjoined to go straight towards Agege Motor Road or turn right towards Afa Nla/Oke Koto roads, while vehicles coming from Agege Motor Road are enjoined to go straight towards Old Abeokuta Motor Road or turn into Afa Nla/Oke Koto roads. No vehicle from these axes will be allowed to pass through the Pen Cinema intersection,” Hotonu said.

While regretting the inconveniences the partial restriction would cause motorists and residents, the State Government appealed for caution and cooperation with traffic and security personnel deployed to ease their movement, noting that the ultimate goal of the plan is to make life easy and improve traffic along the corridor.

$1bn: APC funded 2015 Presidential campaigns with stolen money from Lagos, Rivers

 

The opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has challenged the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, party and the Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed to deny that the APC’s 2015 presidential campaigns were not funded with stolen money from Lagos and Rivers states.

The opposition party also described as a diversionary tactic employed by APC and Mohammed to deceive Nigerians, a statement saying PDP is rebranding with stolen funds.

A statement signed by the PDP National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, on Sunday, however said that APC should rather address issues it (PDP) raised on why the planned withdrawal of $1bn from the Excess Crude Account, ECA, to fight Boko Haram insurgency is a ruse. PDP also described as inexcusable, the move to withdraw the said $1bn from ECA, maintaining it is an attempt to pilfer the country’s funds by APC to finance partisan activities.

The statement also said that haven failed Nigerians, especially by subjecting them to untold hardship, the APC has resorted to a renewed “wild allegations and cheap blackmail against the PDP” in another wave of attempts to divert the minds of Nigerians away from its failed governance.

The PDP, which insisted that the Federal Government must address the issues it raised, noted that “the attempt by the APC Federal Government to divert attention from the fraud, by resorting to unsubstantiated allegations against the PDP only reinforces its manipulative tendencies and arrogant spurn to the sensibilities of Nigerians.”

It said only the APC-led government has access to public funds in the country and hence, there is no way PDP could be rebranding with stolen funds. Challenging Mohammed to explain the sources of APC’s 2015 campaign funding, the PDP also demanded the APC-led federal government to come clean on the issue of the $1bn Excess Crude money.

The statement partly reads thus: “such wild allegation was only intended to divert public attention from the heavy sleazes under the current administration, the latest being the moves to use the fight against terrorism as a conduit to siphon public funds for partisan purposes.

“The Federal Government has failed to address issues raised by the PDP and majority of Nigerians, including APC members, who cannot fathom how this administration would want to expend N365bn on fighting insurgents it claimed had been technically defeated. “It is indeed appalling that rather than being remorseful, the APC Federal Government has renewed its wild allegations and cheap blackmail against the PDP.

“It is a clear to all that the PDP do not have access to public funds and cannot be rebranding with stolen money. Instead, we are rebranding on the grace of the general goodwill of Nigerians who have suffered untold hardships in close to three years of APC government.

“While we understand the nervousness of the APC Federal Government over our rebranding and the renewed popularity of the PDP, which has signalled their inevitable death knell, resorting to outlandish allegations will not help them as Nigerians have since seen through such old-fashioned propaganda and gimmicks.

“We are however not surprised by this diversionary and deceptive approach from the APC government; a government whose officials have since become notorious for dishing out falsehood to Nigerians to cover their incompetence and corrupt tendencies.

“This is the same minister of information, who in a press conference in Abuja, in 2016, promoted allegations that 55 people stole a total of N1.34 trillion; that 5 former governors stole N146.8 billion; that 4 former ministers stole N7 billion. All these have remained unsubstantiated.

“While we challenge this Government to come clean on the issue of the $1bn Excess Crude money, we also challenge the minister of information to comment on allegations that the APC funded its 2015 presidential campaign with stolen public funds, particularly from Lagos and Rivers states.

“He should also waste no time in commenting on allegations of corruption against their former SGF, Babachir Lawal, the Mainagate and other heavy sleazes going on unabated under the current APC-led administration.”

2019: No automatic ticket in Lagos APC, says Ajomale

Lagos State All Progressives Congress (APC) Chairman Otunba Oladele Ajomale yesterday said the party will not give automatic ticket to its elected functionaries in the executive and legislature for 2029 elections.

He said the party would continue to nurture and defend the institutions which give content, form and predictability to democracy.

Reflecting on his tenure, the chairman said he was fortunate to lead the political family to victory on three occasions, stressing that his successor will also cope and survive through hard work and prayers.

Ajomale spoke at the party office along Acme Road, Ogba, Ikeja on the performance of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, the party’s interface with the administration, the agitation for special status by Lagos and preparations for future elections.

He paid tribute to Ambode for his giant strides, saying he had done the party proud by building on the foundation built by his predecessors, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN) and Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.

He said Ambode had converted Lagos in a huge construction site, adding that his achievements are visible in many critical sectors, including education, health, transportation and other forms of social welfare.

Ajomale also praised the state and federal lawmakers on the platform of the Lagos APC for their sense of mission and accountability, singling out Senator Oluremi Tinubu (Lagos Central) as an embodiment of accountability and fidelity to the chapter.

However, Ajomale said there will be no automatic ticket for any elected functionary, maintaining that the democratic system of selection would be adopted to pick flag bearers.

The chairman said the party is monitoring those who got to public offices on its platform by insisting that they should toe the party line and implement its campaign promises to the electorate.

He said hardworking, disciplined and loyal elected officials will secure ticket at the primary where they will receive the votes of delegates, adding that they have nothing to fear.

He said the party will insist on the constitutional and legitimate method of picking candidates, even where many of the candidates are unopposed.

Ajomale said: “There will be no automatic ticket for anybody. Those who have worked hard have nothing to fear. We are building institutions of democracy. We will employ the constitutional method to select and observe internal democracy. Even, if the person is standing unopposed, we will still pass through the process.”

The chairman chided people for perceiving politics as a veritable occupation, instead of using their certificates, brains and hands on other productive ventures. He said the struggle for few elective slots by many aspirants have led to participation crisis, do-or-die politics and politics of bitterness.

The chairman revisited the agitation for a special status for Lagos, urging the Federal Government to accord priority to the agenda.

He hailed Senator Oluremi Tinubu for spearheading the clamour in the National Assembly and called for the understanding of other legislators to achieve the goal.

Two major Lagos bridges to be demolished

Two major overhead bridges in Lagos metropolis at Jibowu – Yaba and Costain – Surulere, are to be demolished to give way to the new rail line being constructed by the Federal Government in the state.

The Federal government has also said that it will complete the construction of the Itakpe-Warri Standard Gauge Railway line by June next year.

These disclosures were made by the Minister of Transport, Rotimi Amaechi at Papalanto in Ogun State after the inspection of the on-going construction of the Lagos-Ibadan Standard Gauge Railway line.

The Minister noted that provision had been made in the 2018 budget for the completion of the project  meant to facilitate the movement of goods across the country.

He further said that the completion of the project would boost the manufacturing of steel at the Ajaokuta Steel Rolling Mill.

Regarding the Lagos-Ibadan Standard Gauge Railway line he noted that the acquisition of the Right of Way would be completed by January next year while the laying of tracks would commence by April 2018.

According to him, there have been various challenges faced in the clearing of the Right of Way such as gas pipelines, water logged terrains, high tension electricity wires and overhead bridges adding that  discussions were on-going with the relevant agencies and organizations with a view to relocate the pipelines and reconstruct the bridges as the case may be.

He disclosed that already, the Lagos state government has approved the demolition of the Jibowu and Costain flyovers to pave way for the construction of the standard gauge railway line.

Amaechi posited that prior to the demolition of the flyover at Jibowu a new bridge will be constructed by the contractors of the Rail project while traffic will be diverted at Costain.