Governor Akinwunmi Ambode At A Meeting with the President of General Electric Africa in Washington DC
…Warns Property Owners Against Converting Residential Buildings To Religious Centres
…Registers 13,000 Religious Bodies In One Year, Urges Residents To Report Noise Pollution
The Lagos State Government saved a total of N4.5billion in the last three years as a result of the decision of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode to stop the sponsorship of people for religious pilgrimages to Israel and Saudi Arabia, Commissioner for Home Affairs, Dr Abdulhakeem Abdullateef has said.
Speaking on Monday at the annual Ministerial Press Briefing to mark the third year in office of Governor Ambode’s administration held at the Bagauda Kaltho Press Centre in Alausa, Abdullateef said funds saved from the development had been diverted into the construction of roads and other amenities to make life easier for residents.
“You see, yearly in the past before the present administration came on board, the State Government spent an average of N1.5billion to sponsor people to pilgrimage free of charge. But since Governor Ambode decided to stop the sponsorship of pilgrimage, we have saved N4.5billion in the last three years and the Governor has not changed his mind with regard to sponsorship of pilgrimages.
“What the Governor has said and we have been doing is that the State Government will provide for the welfare of the pilgrims; support them with medical tips; support them with clerics who would guide them to ensure that they are focused on the spiritual objectives of the pilgrimage and not something else.
“So far, the funds saved from this have been deployed for the construction of roads and other amenities to make life easier for residents,” Abdullateef said.
While alluding to the fact that some property owners were now converting their residential buildings into religious centres in order to avoid paying the Land Use Charge, the Commissioner warned those indulging in such to desist, saying that it was important for all to operate within the ambit of the law.
He said: “Do not convert your residential premises to religious premises. Many do that for the sake of being protected from paying their Land Use Charge and that will not be tolerated. Whatever we want to do, let us keep ourselves within the ambit of the law.
“As for those who are combining their residences with mosque or church, we are not going to demolish but what we said is that all residential premises are subject to Land Use Charge and so when officials of government come, don’t claim there is a mosque on the grand floor.
Always know that as soon as your property is declared a residential block, you will pay Land Use Charge.”
The Commissioner said the State Government, through the Ministries of Home Affairs and Physical Planning, had also commenced moves to address the conversion of residential buildings to religious centres via engagement.
“It is a violation of the State regulations for residential buildings to be converted into religious centres. When a building is approved for a purpose, it is an aberration for you to now convert it into something else without the approval of the Ministry of Physical Planning.
“Recently, the Commissioner in the Ministry came to our Ministry and met with Nigeria Inter-Religious Council (NIREC) to devise new means of engaging religious leaders so that they will not unnecessarily violate the State building regulations,” Abdullateef said.
On noise pollution, the Commissioner said the Ministry had been working in concert with the Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency (LASEPA) to address the menace especially through engagement with religious leaders.
“LASEPA is in charge of pollution generally but because we are very close with religious organizations, we work closely with LASEPA and so whenever there is any report of noise pollution by any religious body, just let us know in the Ministry of Home Affairs and we will deploy NIREC to address the situation immediately.
“What the Governor has done with NIREC is that it is not only about enforcement but engagement. When we engage them, we are able to sit down with them and through that we get a lot of result than just charging them to court or sealing their premises. We have worked effectively through NIREC to ensure that those ones who are creating nuisance in their environment are called to order and so whenever we have such cases; residents are enjoined to let us know in the Ministry,” the Commissioner said.
While reeling out achievements of the Ministry in the last one year, Abdullateef said through deliberate policies, the government was able to record high level of unprecedented peace and harmonious relationship amongst diverse groups, while a total of 13, 000 religious institutions were registered in the period under review, just as he urged others to register with government as it was at no cost to them.
…Family Endorse Ambode For Second Term, Says Edifice Befitting Of Gani’s Legacies
…NLC, NCP, Falana, Odumakin, Others Eulogise Late Activist, Laud LASG
…Gani Remains A Hero, Role Model, Says Gov
Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode on Sunday unveiled a new statue of the late legal luminary, Chief Gani Fawehinmi at the ‘Liberty Park’, in Ojota, saying that the 44-feet edifice symbolises the phenomenon that the rights activist represented in his life time.
The unveiling of the statue, in commemoration of the 80th posthumous birthday of the late icon, the Governor said, was an affirmation of his administration’s commitment to celebrate personalities whose action have helped to define the fortune and spirit of Lagos State positively over the years.
Eulogizing the relevance of the personal sacrifices made by Chief Gani Fawehinmi in leading the struggle for attainment of human rights and dignity especially during the military regimes which dehumanized many Nigerians, Governor Ambode said the late human rights activist would continue to remain a hero and role model for many till date.
“We celebrate the invaluable contribution and personal sacrifices of Chief Gani Fawehinmi in the campaign for human rights and dignity, especially in Lagos State where he spent the greater part of his life.
“Chief Gani Fawehinmi loomed large in the minds of the people, especially the underprivileged and vulnerable masses for whom he was ready to lay down his life. In the hallowed corridors of the Law Courts where he fought many battles, he was revered as a titan. Also his acts of philanthropy were borderless. He remains a hero and role model to many till date,” Governor Ambode said.
The Governor, who was represented by the Deputy Governor, Dr. Oluranti Adebule, also seized the occasion to reiterate the commitment of his administration towards advancing human rights and upholding of social justice at all time, adding that his administration would continue to draw inspiration from Chief Gani Fawehinmi’s struggles and ideals in its quest to make life meaningful for Lagosians.
“Although Chief Gani Fawehinmi is no longer in our midst; like all great men, he lives on in our hearts and memories. We will continue to keep his ideals alive and pass it on to the next generation. He will continue to inspire us as we forge ahead with the missing of building a better society. This monument stands as a testimony of his strength and courage.
Responding on behalf of the family, the son of the late activist, Mohammed Fawehinmi thanked the State Government and Governor Ambode, saying that apart from being a befitting representation to the legacies of their patriarch, the Statue would place their father’s name on the global map.
“I am totally overwhelmed. I want to say a big thank you to Lagos State Government and another very big massive thank you to Governor Ambode. In all honesty, he is the man I least expected this to come from.
“We understood when former Governor Fashola started this with a smaller statue and we were all glad that at least he remembered our mentor, our father, our leader in the human rights struggle and senior advocate of the masses. But now seeing this, I now started to say to myself that Governor Ambode has placed the name Gani Fawehinmi on a global map,” Mohammed said.
While describing Governor Ambode as a very reputable accountant and one of the most outstanding Governors in Nigeria, Mohammed said the Governor was the first in the history of Nigeria to do something such gigantic, saying that the statue would enter the Guinness Book of Records.
Mohammed, who alluded to the massive infrastructural renewal and efforts to make Lagos rank among top global cities, also announced the decision of the Fawehinmi family to endorse Governor Ambode for a second term in office to continue the good works across the State.
“We hereby endorse Governor Ambode for second term in office to continue the good works in the State,” Mohammed said.
In his goodwill message, rights activist and Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Femi Falana described the statue as one of the best in the country, and thanked the State Government for honouring Fawehinmi with such imposing edifice.
“The monument we are unveiling today is one of the best in the country and it has to be so. We want to thank the Lagos State Government for the investment in this edifice. We can assure you that many Nigerians or anybody who enters Lagos through this road will want to find out who is here and every day we are going to teach lessons about Gani Fawehinmi.
“We thank the Lagos State Government for rebuilding this statue. We were wondering when the former one was collapsing but we are sure this one can never collapse. It is very solid and very strong,” Falana said.
On his part, National Secretary of National Conscience Party (NCP), Comrade Ayodele Akele, said the edifice was a wonderful 80th posthumous birthday gift to the family and associates of the late activist.
Akele, who spoke on behalf of the NCP, a party founded by late Fawehinmi, specially thanked the State Government and Governor Ambode, saying that the government deserved to be commended.
“I am totally flabbergasted by this wonderful edifice in honour of my icon, in honour of my mentor, late Chief Gani Fawehinmi. For me, this is a wonderful memory of late Chief Fawehinmi.
“This would be auspicious gift to the posthumous 80th birthday of our mentor and this is wonderful. For doing this to the memory of Chief Gani Fawehinmi, my humble self, National Conscience Party (NCP) and all its associates across the world say a big thank you to the Lagos State Government and particularly Governor Ambode,” Akele said.
The Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) represented by the Deputy National President, Comrade Issa Aremu also appreciated the State Government for the statue, saying it was well deserved.
“We appreciate the Lagos State Government ably led by Governor Ambode for the honour done to our mentor, our leader, late Chief Gani Fawehinmi. For us to identify with this occasion is a total commitment because when the late chief was alive, he was with us totally. He was there on the streets joining our protests and several times when we were being harassed with black market injunctions, Chief Fawehinmi was always there to defend us,” Aremu said.
On her part, rights activist and President of Women Arise, Dr Joe Okei-Odumakin commended the State Government, saying that the legacies of the late Fawehinmi would continue to be remembered.
“We are gathered here today at the statue of a great life wire of the human rights and pro-democracy movement. I want to specially thank the Lagos State Government. I know that Gani Fawehinmi continue to live in the unconsciousness of the people,” she said.
The event was well attended by members of the human rights movement and Fawehinmi’s family including his widow, Alhaja Ganiyat Fawehinmi; Chief Femi Okurounmu, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, Jiti Ogunye, Debo Adeniran, Senator Tokunbo Afikuyomi, Declan Ihekaire, Nelson Ekujumi, Dr Yunusa Tanko, among others.
The duo of Miss Oladunni Akisanmi and Master Agwu Victory James, have bagged the second edition of the annual university scholarship award of the education endowment fund, of the Hope for Women in Nigeria Initiative (HOFOWEM), pet project of Mrs. Bolanle Ambode, wife of the governor of Lagos State.
Presenting the scholarship at the HOFOWEM office, Oregun, Mrs. Ambode commended the students for excelling in the selection process and for their brilliant performances in their school certificate examination and the Joint Admission Matriculation Examination (JAMB).
According to her, “I congratulate you for your brilliant performance at all levels of your examination. I do not want you to lose focus, but to intensify your effort. This is just the beginning, you need to concentrate on your studies, shun bad peer group influence, be good ambassadors of your families and schools and make us proud too”.
She noted that the scholarship aside of funding the education of the bright students, would serve to encourage others that are financially deprived, to pursue their dreams with diligence.
She said, “The scholarship scheme was established to encourage indigent but brilliant underprivileged students in public secondary schools in Lagos State, to pursue degree programmes of their choice in any Nigerian higher institution of learning. It is to encourage serious students that being financially deprived is not the end of a dream”.
While urging them to continue to pursue their dream and aim at being the best they can be, she hinted that courses supported by the scholarship were those that addressed critical societal issues like engineering, environment, food and security, education and public health among others.
Mrs. Ambode disclosed that the HOFOWEM Education Scholarship Scheme, would continue to fund the tertiary education of indigent brilliant students in Lagos state, in the spirit of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which specifically called for more scholarships for human capital development.
While appreciating the founder and HOFOWEM education team, the duo expressed joy that finally their efforts were not in vain.
They pledged to be great ambassadors, adding that the hope rekindled by the foundation would not diminish neither would they give up on any challenge.
Speaking on behalf of the parents, Mr. Agwu Sunday reflected that they had given up on how to fund the education of the children despite their brilliance, noting that the intervention of the foundation changed the story.
The HOFOWEM Education Scholarship Endowment Fund, gives annual scholarship to fund tertiary education of brilliant but indigent students in public secondary schools in Lagos State, in any Nigerian higher institution of learning.
…Intensifies Work On Ongoing Projects, To Award 10 Major Ones In 2018
The Lagos State Government on Wednesday said that it has completed the construction and rehabilitation of 450 major roads and 50 other impactful projects in the last three years to make life comfortable and build a sustainable environment for residents and visitors.
Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure, Engr. Adebowale Akinsanya who said this at the ongoing Ministerial Press Briefing held at the Bagauda Kaltho Press Centre in Alausa as part of activities to mark the third year anniversary of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode’s administration, said aside the completed projects, several others were at various stages of completion and would contribute to the vision to make Lagos emerge as Africa’s model smart city and global economic and financial hub.
He said provision of world class infrastructural facilities to support the growing population of the State has been one of the cardinal programmes of the Ambode administration, and that it was gratifying that the effort was serving the intended purpose.
“In the course of the three years, we have vigorously pursued the maintenance of existing roads, the rehabilitation and expansion of highways, as well as the construction of new bridges. We have continually worked to deliver projects that will directly impact on the lives of all Lagosians.
“This commitment to infrastructural renewal, expansion, upgrading and regeneration is borne out of the fact that an efficient and integrated transportation system can only be birthed through the provision of appropriate infrastructure.
“Roughly for the last three years, if you look at the major road projects and others we have embarked on and completed, I can conveniently reveal that we have done between 450 and 500 and we still have a lot in stock for the people. In terms of the ongoing, we have about 60 or 70 projects,” Akinsanya said.
Giving a list of some of the road projects completed in the last one year, Akinsanya said the State Government delivered pedestrian bridges, laybys and slip road at Ojodu Berger; delivered the Jubilee Bridge and adjourning roads at Abule Egba; constructed Jubilee flyover at Ajah and replaced the Ajah roundabout with signalized intersection and also rehabilitated Freedom Road and Admiralty Road in Lekki; completed 21 Lagos-Ogun boundary roads with two bridges; constructed Aradagun-Iworo-Ajido Bridge in Badagry; rehabilitated and upgraded arterial roads in Epe and Omotayo Banwo/Kola Iyaomolere Road, as well as Alapere Road and Junction Improvement Works in Ketu, five new pedestrian bridges, among others.
The Commissioner also listed some of the ongoing projects to include Odo-Ottin-Mojoda (Epe-Ijebu-Ode Road); Poka-Araga Road, Busola Durosi-Etti Road in Eti-Osa; Ladipo Street, Alhaji Akinwunmi Street and Obagun Avenue in Mushin; Irede Road in Amuwo-Odofin; Aradagun-Imeke-Iworo-Ajido-Epe Road with bridge; Airport Road in Ikeja; network of roads in Soluyi Community in Kosofe; Igbogbo-Bola Ahmed Tinubu-Igbe Road in Ikorodu; Ilaje Road and Odunsi Street in Somolu; Agric-Isawo-Konu-Arepo to link Lagos-Ibadan Expressway; flyover and signalized intersections at Pen Cinema in Agege; facility management/maintenance and beatification of Lekki Expressway; J.K Randle Centre for Yoruba History and Culture and nine additional footbridges, among others.
Besides, the Commissioner listed the newly awarded projects to include Remi Oyefiade Street, Eti Osa; Happy Home-Alahun Ozumba Link Road, Kirikiri; Ifebajo Street, Amuwo-Odofin; Maiyegun Road, Ojo; Orisigun/Dada Aga Street, Ajelogo, Mile 12 Road in Kosofe; Omolara Badaru/Taiwo, Odekunle/Maridon Street and Bolaji Taylor/Kayode Alabi Streets in Ifako-Ijaiye; Social Science Road, Unilag Estate, Magodo Phase I in Kosofe; Adeyemi Thomas Street in Agbowa-Ikosi; replacement of the worn-out steel pedestrian bridge at Fadeyi; construction of Eko Parks in Onikan which consists of the Lagos Museum, Lagos Heritage Centre for Leadership, Lagos Historical Centre, 55ft Eyo Statue; and the upgrading of Onikan Stadium.
Speaking on others, Akinsanya said the phase one of Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) lane from Oshodi to Abule Egba was now at 55 per cent completion stage, and that government was working towards delivering it between September and October this year, while the Multi-Agency Office Complex in Alausa was also progressing well.
He said towards improving on the achievements recorded so far, the State Government was putting plans together to implement 10 major projects in 2018 including construction of 4th Mainland Bridge, Opebi-Ikorodu Road/3rd Mainland axis link bridge, dualisation of Lekki-Epe Expressway from Eleko Junction to T-Junction in Epe, upgrading of Adeniji Adele Road, Agboyi Ketu Road, Ishefun-Camp Davis Road, Oke-Ira-Nla-Saliu Obodo/Mojeed Road, Glover Memorial Hall and expansion of Lagos-Badagry Expressway (Okokomaiko-Seme Boarder segment).
Also speaking on activities of Lagos State Public Works Corporation (LSPWC) in the last one year, Special Adviser to the Governor on Public Works and Drainages, Engr Temidayo Erinle said the corporation carried out major rehabilitation works on 31 roads out of which 23 were completed, seven ongoing and one just approved for execution.
He said palliative work including patching and sectional over-lay were carried out on 115 roads, while in order to curtail flooding, the government introduced an initiative for clearing and maintenance of all primary outfall, secondary and tertiary drainage channels across the State out of which ten major ones are being been attended to.
On her part, General Manager, Lagos State Infrastructure Maintenance and Regulatory Agency (LASIMRA), Mrs. Olayemi Oni, said in the last one year, the State Government through the agency alleviated the problem of towers and masts structure collapse through consistent monitoring and compliance to ethical value and standard.
She said a total of 16 illegal and abandoned masts have so far been decommissioned, while also urging telecommunication operators having such masts to report to the agency or risk similar fate.