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Tag Archives: Lagos

Lagos unfolds plan to boost social media footprint

The Lagos State government has unfolded plans to occupy social media with increased content on governments’ policies and programmes through its well-positioned social media platforms by engaging the online audience in advocacy and public enlightenment.

The State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Kehinde Bamigbetan, who stated this on Monday while kick-starting the annual Ministerial Press Briefing of the State government held at Bagauda Kaltho Press Centre, Alausa, also said that with increased uploading of content on its social media, followership is expected to rise to two million by the end of this year.

The Commissioner announced the general increase in followership on all government social media platforms, attributing the increase to improved uploading of content in terms of short videos, infographics, Facebook and Instagram live videos.

According to him, the LASG Facebook account now has over 296,000 followers, making an increment of 14% from the initial 259,147 followers as at April 2017; the total number of posts on the Instagram platform is now 2,127 with a total of 16,500 followers resulting in over 1,000% increment from the initial 857 Followers as at same period last year while the twitter account now has over 173,264 followers resulting in 47% increment from the initial 117,782 followers as at April 2017.

Bamigbetan further disclosed that several reforms are going on to reposition the State-owned media houses to make them rank among equals.

The Commissioner told journalists that the Ambode administration has intervened strategically by fast-tracking the acquisition of the state-of-the-art equipment for Lagos Television, Radio Lagos and Eko FM to enable the stations to compete favourably in the industry and boost revenue generation.

He said: “Considering the need to propagate the perspective and activities of the State government for public enlightenment and patronage of citizens, LTV, which historically is the first State television station in Nigeria, has received tremendous public expenditure to be more competitive and efficient.”

He reiterated that a new digital studio and new transmitters to improve the signal strength, quality and outreach were among equipment installed at the Lagos State Radio Service while the guest rooms, corridors, reception area and the entire ground floor were renovated as part of on-going efforts to make the work atmosphere more conducive and comfortable.

Bamigbetan further disclosed that Lagos State Printing Corporation (LSPC) is currently in a new phase of development following the installation of the newly purchased digital machine, adding that the Ambode administration is determined to ensure that the Corporation does not return to the unprofitable era.

In his words, “A final decision on the structure management for the Corporation as recommended by a project management audit and reviewed by a three-man Committee comprising the Commissioners of Information & Strategy, Finance and Establishment, Training and Pensions to ensure the emergence of a competitive, profitable and efficiently run printing business will be taken in due course”.

Following the recommendation, the Commissioner said the Corporation has been directed to set up a vibrant marketing unit to compete with the private sector for jobs while the Governor has issued a directive asking all MDAs to patronize the Corporation, particularly for large orders.

The Commissioner pledged that the Ministry will continue to keep the populace informed by generating and deploying persuasive content to explain the inherent values of government policies across the various channels of communication, while also monitoring feedback that could guide re-packaging of governments’ policies and programmes in order to be constantly in tune with the temperament and expectations of the various publics.

Lagos to tackle firearms proliferation, gender-based crimes

The Lagos State Government on Wednesday said plans have been firmed up to convene a security summit where a comprehensive strategy and homegrown solutions will be developed by critical stakeholders to myriads of security challenges confronting the State such as cultism, drug abuse, gender-based crimes, arms proliferation, among others.

Executive Secretary of the State’s Security Trust Fund, Dr Abdurrazaq Balogun, who said this at a press briefing held at the Bagauda Kaltho Press Centre in Alausa, Ikeja on the forthcoming summit scheduled to hold on April 9, 2018 at Eko Hotels and Suites, Victoria Island, said other critical topics including terrorism, transnational crimes, intelligence and community policing would also be examined at the summit.

He said the idea of the summit followed a pledge by the State Governor, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode at the annual Town Hall Meeting on security held last year, to convene a larger platform for a more robust deliberation on current security issues, and to proffer actionable solutions which can be implemented by the State Government. 

“The summit would have four panel sessions on various aspects of security from cultism, drug abuse and gender-based crimes to arms proliferation, terrorism and transnational crimes including intelligence and community policing, among others,” Balogun said.

He added that the summit, with the theme – “Securing Lagos State: Towards a Sustainable Framework for a Modern Mega City,” would specifically provide a platform for leaders, leading minds and subject matter experts to share best practices, knowledge and experiences focused on recommendations for a sustainable security framework for the State from 2018 to 2030.

While enumerating the objectives of the summit, Balogun said the event would be used to design and agree on an overall security strategy and system, as well as engage and secure input and buy-in of all critical stakeholders to the said security strategy, while it would also be deployed to develop homegrown solutions that can be implemented by the State Government.

He added that a sustainable funding model for security in Lagos State would also be brought to the fore at the summit.

Balogun, who addressed the briefing alongside other members of the Organizing Committee, also revealed plans of the State Government to incorporate private security outfits operating in the State into the security architecture of the State.

He said: “This is going to be a very engaging summit even though it is just for a day but we are going to be having about 15 sub themes and these themes speak to the germane issues that we have in Lagos.

“For example, we have a topic on integrating private security practice in security architecture of Lagos State which is a very important aspect of our security architecture because as we speak, there are so many private security companies operating in this State and there is a need to bring them into the security of this State; they must collaborate with the Nigerian Police so that we can have a very robust security network in the State.”

Also speaking, Special Adviser to the Governor on Oversees Affairs and Investment, Professor Ademola Abass, recalled the Traffic Summit held by the present administration at inception which to a large extend helped in developing solutions to traffic challenges in the State, saying that the Security Summit was also designed to come up with acceptable and sustainable solutions to the challenges in the sector.

 

Already, Abass said a British-Nigerian scholar and founder of African Leadership Centre, Professor Funmi Olonisakin has been prepared to deliver a lead paper on “Leveraging Global Best Practices for a Security Network for Lagos State,” while the Commissioner of Police, CP Imohimi Edgal would present paper on important security data for the State, among other speakers.

 

Police uncovers illegal wine factory in Lagos

The Lagos State Police Command has said that it has uncovered an illegal wine factory operated by a 55-year-old man at Mushin area of the state.

The state’s Commissioner of Police, Edgal Imohimi, told newsmen on Tuesday that the illegal wine factory was discovered based on credible intelligence report.

“Following the information, some policemen stormed Ojuwoye Market on March 30, with a Search Warrant and arrested the suspect.

“We discovered various brands of wines and hot drinks suspected to be adulterated,’’ he said.

He said that empty wine bottles and labelled bottle corks of different types of wine and hot drinks were also recovered.

He added that the command was ready to work with relevant agencies in its investigation.

According to him, the suspect would be charged to court after thorough investigation.

The suspect confessed that he had been in the business for some time.

He, however, said that his arrest was because he started producing other brands of alcohol different from his brand.

“I have my own brand which I produce when I had my factory in Nnewi, Anambra State.

“My factory got burnt, so I moved to Lagos in 2015 and started producing different brands.

“These ones do not fetch me more money as when I had my factory because then I could produce up to 400 bottles per day,’’ he added.

The commissioner further advised residents to assist the police in making the state crime free.

Buhari’s visit: Lagos declares Thursday work free day, diverts traffic

The Lagos state government has declared Thursday, March 29, a work free day because of President Muhammadu Buhari’s two-day visit.

Kehinde Bamigbetan, commissioner for information, said this is to enable residents come out en masse to welcome the president.

Bamigbetan urged residents to adhere to security guidance earlier announced to make the visit peaceful and orderly.

Imohini Edgal, the commissioner of police in the state, said there would be temporary road closure and diversions in some areas.

Edgal made the announcement at a news conference to update the public on security plans for the president’s visit.

He said Buhari would be attending a colloquium to mark the 66th birthday of Bola Tinubu at Victoria Island, and the official flag-off ceremony for the construction of the Lekki Deep Sea Port project in Epe.

Edgal said the president would also tour the Eko Atlantic City and inaugurate the Ikeja Bus Terminal, among other engagements.

“The temporary road closure and diversions would be within Ikeja, Maryland, Agege Motor Road, Victoria Island and Ikoyi axis,” he said.

“Security engagements are in top gear, as we are working with the Federal Road Safety Corps, Nigerian Navy, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) and the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA).

“We have done threat assessment and engaged all stakeholders such as the National Union of Road Transport Workers and commercial bike riders. We are appealing that they abide by our agreement at the meeting.

“This is to ensure that Mr President’s visit to Lagos is smooth, safe and hitch-free.”

The commissioner expressed deep regret for any inconveniences, saying the listed roads to be closed to traffic would be reopened immediately after the president’s motorcade passes.

He advised motorists, commercial bus operators and commercial motorcycle riders to observe road diversions or use alternative routes.

Lagos Assembly sets up committee to review Land Use Charge

The Lagos State House of Assembly on Monday set up a six-man Ad hoc Committee to review the controversial state Land Use Charge Law, 2018.

The Speaker of the House, Mr Mudashiru Obasa, announced the committee at plenary.

“As people’s representatives, there is need to address the issues raised by the people,” he said.

The Speaker named Mr Bayo Oshinowo, Chairman, House Committee on Lands, as the Chairman of the Ad hoc Committee, which he urged to report back to the House in two weeks.

Other members of the committee include Mr Yinka Ogundimu, Chairman, House Committee on Finance and Mrs Funmilayo Tejuosho, Chairman, House Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Petitions.

The rest are Mr Tunde Braimoh, Chairman, House Committee on Information, Strategy and Security, Mr Jude Idimogu (APC-Oshodi-Isolo II) and Mr Olusola Sokunle (APC-Oshodi-Isolo I).

Obasa said: “I am of the opinion that there is a need for us to pick up the law and look at those sections that our people perceived to be obnoxious.

“This will make us address the concerns raised by our people in Lagos State.

“We are representatives of the people and are responsible and responsive. We need to address the concerns”.

He said it was with this view that the ad hoc committee was set up to look at the law and ensure its amendment based on opinions and contributions to be received from the people at the second reading stage.

The speaker, who noted that law making is a process, frowned at the attitude of people to public hearings on bills.

“We appeal to our people to participate and contribute in the process of law making during public hearing to make their own contributions.

“This was actually done when this land use charge was in the process before passage and sending to the governor for assent.

“We invited the public but we didn’t hear much from them concerning all these concerns.

“If only they had responded at that time, probably we would have done what would be acceptable to all.

“This (the review) is another opportunity for people to be part of the process.

“The committee has been constituted to listen to them and also consider the position of government as well.

“This is because it will be very difficult to separate government from taxation. Governance has to be run based on taxes collected by the government.

“So, we have to look for ways to agree with one another on this,” he said.

Obasa said that the first and second readings of the amendment would be on Tuesday and Thursday respectively.

He said that the public hearing might be Friday or Monday.

Public outcry had followed a hike in the Land Use Charge last week, after an earlier review by the state government based on an amendment by the lawmakers.

The state government responded by lowering the rates and promised to return the law to the lawmakers for another review.

A bill for a law to establish the Lagos State Award Scheme was also read for the second time and committed to its Ad hoc Committee on Special Duties and Intergovernmental Relations.

Ambode bows to Lagosians, reduces land use charge

Grants 50% Reduction On Commercial Charges, 25% For Owner-Occupier, Manufacturing Concerns
… Gives Tax Credit For Payment Already Made, Introduces Instalment Payment Plan

Following extensive deliberations with stakeholders on the new rates payable by property owners under the Lagos State Land Use Charge (LUC) Law, the State Government on Thursday announced a major reduction in the rates and as well waived the penalty for late payments across board.

The State’s Commissioner for Finance, Mr Akinyemi Ashade, who disclosed this while addressing a press briefing at the Bagauda Kaltho Press Centre in Alausa on the outcome of dialogue with stakeholders, said the rates payable on commercial properties have been reduced by 50 per cent in response to the demands of the people.

He said the government has also reduced the charges for Owner-occupier with third party including industries and manufacturing concerns by 25 per cent, while tax credits has been given for LUC charges already paid in addition to introduction of instalment payment system.

Ashade, who addressed the briefing alongside dozens of Executive Council members and top government functionaries, said the decision to reduce the rates was taken at the weekly Council Meeting held on Wednesday and Chaired by the State Governor, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode.

He said: “The Lagos State Government, in its desire to build world class infrastructure and improve the well-being of its citizens reviewed the Land Use Charges payable by all property owners. This exercise was received with mixed feelings by various interest groups who expressed serious concerns.

“In line with this administration’s tradition of inclusive governance and civic engagement, and as a Government that is committed to the welfare of its citizens and understands the importance of continuously engaging the populace, we undertook extensive dialogue with various stakeholders on the Land Use Charge (“LUC”) revised Law and its implementation.

“Consequently, we received a wide range of responses from our dialogue with various stakeholders on the amended LUC Law 2018. The stakeholders included the Organised Private Sector, Nigeria Bar Association, Real estate investors & developers, Landlord & Resident Associations, Community Development Associations, Civil Society Organisations, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industries (LCCI), Nigeria Institute of Estate Surveyors &Valuers and several other professional groups.”

Giving a breakdown of the reduction, Ashade said for commercial property owners who were mostly affected by the amended law, a property valued at N20million for instance which was earlier billed N91,200 will now pay N45,600 per annum as a result of the 50 per cent discount, while property occupied by owner, third party and property used for industrial and manufacturing purposes will now pay N23,040 per annum on a property valued at N20million as against the earlier N30,720 based on the 25 per cent discount.

On owner-occupied property, the Commissioner explained that for a property valued at N20million, only N7,752 will now be paid per annum as against N9,120 earlier demanded based on 15 per cent discount.

He added: “Other rates and reliefs, apart from the ones stated above, will remain unchanged and will be implemented as stipulated by the Law. These include 40% general relief, 10% for 70 years and above, 10% for properties owned by persons living with disability and 10% for properties that are 25 years old and so on and so forth. Owners of Property across all categories will now be allowed to make payments by instalments. This will help to reduce the burden of taxation on our citizens.

“We appreciate and commend property owners of all categories who have performed their civic duties faithfully by paying the LUC. Consequently, as a result of these new measures, those who have paid the original amount will be awarded tax credits to the extent of the excess amount paid and carried forward to next year,” Ashade said.

He added that in a bid to create a framework to empower property owners with self-assessment, the executive would forward a regulation to the House of Assembly for review of applicable rates and regime of reliefs on categories of properties pursuant to LUC Law.

While appreciating stakeholders for trusting the current administration with the responsibility of investing the revenue from LUC in infrastructure renewal and overall development of the State, Ashade urged them to endeavor to participate effectively in the legislative proceedings going forward.

Besides, the Commissioner said the reduction would be implemented immediately as there were provisions within the LUC law which empowered the government to carry out necessary adjustment to cushion the effect of implementation.

Also, Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Adeniji Kazeem said under the amended law, there is provision for establishment of five tribunals out of which one has been created in Ikeja and now operational, while the remaining four would be established in other administrative divisions of the State in Epe, Badagry, Ikorodu and Lagos Island.

He said the law also makes provision for aggrieved tax payers to ventilate their grievances within forty-five days through a mediation process, adding that so far over 80 cases have been resolved through mediation.

Lagos denies increasing cost of motor vehicle registration

The Lagos State Government on Tuesday debunked rumours of increase in the cost of processing motor vehicle particulars and application for number plates, saying the rates remain the same across the State.

A statement by the State’s Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr Kehinde Bamigbetan said the clarification became necessary in response to enquiries by members of the public who are genuinely concerned about the rumours of increases in charges relating to the motor vehicle administration.

Bamigbetan said anyone with evidence of any increase in motor registration rates from any of the official Centres managed by the Lagos State Motor Vehicle Administration Authority (MVAA) should report to the agency or the Ministry of Transportation.

According to him, “Although, the cost of maintaining the roads and expanding infrastructures which ease the operations of vehicles is enormous, the Lagos State Government shall continue to bear the burden of keeping the roads motorable and safe for all users.”

He said some mischief makers were desperately exploiting the challenges posed to the government by the new Land Use Charge Law which seeks to raise more money for the provision of public infrastructures for the benefit of all, to misinform the public.

It would be recalled that Governor Akinwunmi Ambode had also debunked insinuations that many tax items were reviewed upward, saying that the claim was not true.

Speaking to journalists after leading a symbolic walk against sexual and domestic violence on Monday in Alausa, Governor Ambode said his administration was very sensitive to the people, and would not go all out to deliberately overburden them. 

“I want Lagosians to understand one particular issue. We have over 300 tax items for which nothing has been touched apart from this Land Use Charge and maybe one other. But again, we are a very responsive government; we are very sensitive because at the end of the day, governance is about the people; it is about what they want.

“Yes, people might like that infrastructural development is on the progressive chart in Lagos but also it comes with a price. But notwithstanding in the middle of all that, a responsive government will listen to the yearnings of her people.

“At the end of the day, it’s all for the development of Lagos. What this government is interested in is to create a trajectory and framework of permanent prosperity for Lagos. It is not about today, it is about the future and if there is going to be permanent prosperity in Lagos, some things have to be done but I can tell you based on the dialogue and the things we have been receiving on the Land Use Charge, obviously we would respond positively to those yearnings,” Governor Ambode said.  

 

Lagos lawyers reject land use charge

The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Ikeja branch, has rejected the upward review of the land use charge by the administration of Akinwunmi Ambode, governor of Lagos.

The law wants a property solely occupied by the owner for a residential purpose to be charged at a rate of 0.076 percent per annum.

Also, a property occupied by the owner and tenant(s) or third parties will be charged 0.256 percent per annum, while an investment property fully occupied by tenants or third party(ies) for revenue generation will be charged at 0.76 percent per annum.

The lawyers had earlier given Ambode an ultimatum of five days to reverse the law.

Following the refusal of the governor to accede to their request, the lawyers, who were joined by other civil society groups, assembled at the Bar Centre inside the Lagos high court, Ikeja, on Tuesday morning, from where they marched through Ikeja to the state house of assembly and governor’s office.

“The purpose of this march is to make the government have a rethink on this land use charge and all other obnoxious and excessive taxes on Lagos residents,” Adesina Ogunlana, chairman of the association said while addressing his co-protesters.

He added that they have prepared two letters for the governor and the speaker of the house of assembly. “If they receive us, fine, if they don’t, we will drop the letters on their doorsteps.”

Speaking on the protest, Inibehe Effiong, human rights lawyer and a member of the association, described the land use charge as abominable and “totally unacceptable”.

“The point of contention is not whether the Lagos government has the statutory power to impose land use charge, what we are questioning is the percentage of increment which is totally abominable,” he said.

“What the new charge says is totally unacceptable to the people of Lagos,” Effiong said.

“This is a state that is notorious for over taxation. This is a government that taxes us even for having our private boreholes. You tax us for everything, and you are coming again to increase land use charge without commensurate increment in the standard of living of the people of Lagos state.”

Under rules governing the distribution of the Lagos land use charge, Alpha Beta, a private firm, was listed as a corporate body responsible for monitoring the incoming revenue through the collecting banks.

Reacting, Effiong said it is very shameful on the part the governor.

Weighing in on the matter, Malachi Ugwumadu, a lawyer and president, Committee for the Defence of Human Rights, told TheCable that there are so many aspects of the law that are murderous.

“One is the height of insensitivity,” he explained. “A government that resolves that the only way to mobilse funds to deal with its exigencies is to further impoverish and dehumanise the people already overtaxed, lacks human face in its policies. The aspect of it that also speaks to the percentage of increase is unfortunate.

“We as lawyers have resolved to move our motions on the streets now, and thereafter there will be a great swell of legal litigation to put this within the context of the law, and challenge the propriety of such exorbitant charges.”

Ugwumadu challenged the government on the need to look inward and find a solution to the issue.

“We will abide by the laws, but we don’t want to be over squeezed with these taxations,” he said.

The protesting lawyers said government keeps increasing taxation, and when they say the money generated would be used for development, they are not been truthful.

“Look at the poor state of everything in the state. If you say you want to use the money for local government development, then show us evidence that the existing tax policy is working, that the existing taxation has been utilized for the benefit of every average person in Lagos,” one of the lawyers told TheCable while they marched on.

Although Ambode had called for dialogue on the matter, the lawyers accused him of refusing to listen to their demand.

“As a commencement of negotiation, let the house of assembly, without delay repeal the law. When the law is repealed, you can now call us to a stakeholders’ dialogue,” another lawyer said.

“But you have enacted the law and you are in the process of enforcement, and now calling for dialogue? You are insulting the intelligence e of the people of Lagos. You cannot negotiate an existing law.  Let them suspend the implementation of the law, until that is done, there will be no evidence of good faith on the part of the government that they are willing to dialogue or listen to us.”

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.”