…Hosts Thanksgiving Service For Armed Forces Remembrance Day Celebration
Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode on Sunday said the State Government will continue to give top priority to the welfare of ex-service men as well as their families, particularly the orphans of fallen gallant men and women.
Governor Ambode, who spoke at the Thanksgiving Service to commemorate this year’s Armed Forces Remembrance Day, held at the Chapel of Christ the Light, Alausa, said his administration will continue to set the standard and be a model for the promotion of the welfare of ex-service men so as to add immense value to their lives.
“The government and people of Lagos State will continue to appreciate the sacrifice of our compatriots who laid down their lives to preserve the unity and territorial integrity of our country. We will also not forget those who suffered physical injuries which have become a constant reminder of the pains suffered in the battle field. We also identify with the families left behind by the fallen heroes.
“Their needs will continue to be prioritized as we continue to add immense value to their lives. Our Legionnaires will continue to be treasured partners in our drive for a greater Lagos, where peace, prosperity and sustainable development remain the benchmark and minimum standard for good governance,” Governor Ambode said.
The Governor, who was represented by the Commissioner for Special Duties and Inter-Governmental Relations, Mr Oluseye Oladejo, also charged Nigerians to see the celebration not just as a time to pray for the repose of the souls of the dead and for an enduring peace and unity, but also seize the occasion as a time to renew faith and draw strength and inspiration from our diversity to build a nation that can truly be a pride for the black race.
He, however, expressed displeasure with the fact that despite efforts by fallen heroes, Nigeria was still grappling with challenges of insecurity which has continued to claim the lives of valiant soldiers, members of other security agencies as well as those of innocent civilians.
“While some have suffered partial and permanent disability, several others, especially civilians, have been displaced from their homes and deprived of the means of their livelihood. In the face of this challenge, we must not relent, but continue to show resilience. We must continue to pray for divine intervention as we work hard to promote peace amongst all people in our communities,” the Governor said.
Also speaking, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Home Affairs, Mrs. Toyin Awoseyi, thanked Governor Ambode for his continuous support for the welfare and wellbeing of members of the Armed Forces.
She urged widows of fallen heroes not to despair, but take solace in the fact that the freedom the nation enjoys today was through the deprivation of some homes of their loved ones.
“May God continue to be your strength, your shield and comforter. You are not alone as the administration of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode will continue to make efforts to support you and your families. The sacrifice of our heroes who paid the supreme price while protecting our cherished sovereignty will continue to be remembered and deeply appreciated,” Awoseyi said.
Hope for Women in Nigeria Initiative, HOFOWEM, pet project of the wife of Lagos State governor, Bolanle Ambode, has distributed various gift items to more than 500 children at Massey Children’s Hospital, Lagos and Sought After Children’s Orphanage Home, Langbasa Ajah, in a project tagged: ‘Love at Christmas’.
The children aged between one month and 15 years, got various gift items, that left them feeling happy and included in the yuletide celebration.
Commenting on the gesture, the founder of HOFOWEM, Bolanle Ambode, noted that it was intended to put smiles on the faces of those children and integrate them into the celebration of christmas.
She said Christmas was a period to spread love and generate happiness for persons, especially children and less-privileged people, who need assistance to meet some of their needs.
According to her, ‘What Christmas requires of all of us, is to show love and spread happiness among everyone including children. They are young persons, they need our care and special expression of love to partake in the celebrations’.
‘Christmas celebrations are not complete when we have not touched these children tenderly. As it were, this is just a token of love for the children from the foundation’.
Speaking further, the governor’s wife noted that the cardinal philosophy of her foundation was to affect the lives of less-privileged persons, through interventions that bring radical improvement for them.
She said, ‘What is uppermost on our minds in HOFOWEM, is to uplift the lives of children, women, widows, aged women and challenged youths among others, to ensure happiness and quality life for them’.
She recalled that HOFOWEM had organized various programmes in the past, with the sole objective of putting smiles on the faces of that category of persons, promising that the foundation would unfold more children and women-friendly programmes in the coming year.
Also speaking, the commissioner for health, Dr. Jide Idris, represented by Dr. Funmilayo Shokunbi, expressed appreciation to the governor’s wife and the foundation, stressing that, the gesture would go a long way in putting smiles on the faces of the children.
According to him, “This noble gesture goes a long way in putting not just smiles on the faces of the children, but also demonstrates your genuine love and care for them”.
He added further, “That you have left the comfort of your home at this period to spend time with these children, goes a long way in showing your heart of meekness, kindness and love and there is no better way to express love and integrate the children into the celebration of the yuletide, than this visit”.
The chief executive officer of the foundation, Ms. Oyefunke Adeleke, thanked the founder for graciously approving the project, aimed at providing succor for the children, stressing that HOFOWEM’s agenda was about happiness for the weak and vulnerable.
She hinted that many programmes had been lined up for children and women in the new year and would be unveiled one after the other.
On behalf of the parents of the children, Mr. Emmanuel Stephen, expressed deep gratitude to the governor’s wife and the foundation, for what they described as the great act of kindness, praying that God would reward her most generously.
He said: “We are full of appreciation to Her Excellency, Mrs. Bolanle Ambode and her foundation, HOFOWEM. She was wonderful on this occasion as she has always been. HOFOWEM is another name for kindness and generosity, Mrs. Ambode has been doing it through this foundation and she has not stopped. We pray that God will continue to bless her and direct her husband, the governor of the state”.
Wife of the governor of Lagos State, Mrs. Bolanle Ambode, has urged Nigerian youths to keep distance from drug use, for the sake of their personal health and the health of society.
She gave the advice in an address to members of the National Youth Service Corps, Batch B Stream 1, at the end of their orientation camp, at Iyana Ipaja, Lagos State.
Mrs. Ambode who noted that many Nigerian youths had found a new past time in the consumption of illicit drugs, warned of the profound negative health and social consequences of drug addiction.
In her words, ‘It is disheartening to note, that some Nigerian youths are into illicit drug use, which is capable of ruining lives, homes, families and the country. It is time you and I rose to the occasion by saying no to the drug epidemic, which is gradually destroying the youth generation in our country’.
The governor’s wife listed the causes of drug addiction to include, peer pressure, low self-esteem, lack of job, to ease tension or relax among others, insisting however, that youths could stay off drugs despite those excuses.
She challenged the youths to take full charge of their lives, reminding them of their responsibility for own lives, since parents could not go everywhere with them.
‘Your parents cannot be with you everywhere you go, it therefore behoves you to exhibit an upbringing that speaks of good morals, respect for elders, respect for customs and tradition, constituted authorities and above all, the fear of God almighty’, she stressed.
Mrs. Ambode implored the churches, mosques and all well-meaning Nigerians, to play meaningful roles in separating the youths from drugs.
Speaking earlier, the State Coordinator of the NYSC, Prince Mohammed Momoh, noted that about 2, 549 members, mostly females, were deployed in the state for the current batch, adding that it was the business of all Nigerians, to save the youths from plunging into a generational tragedy with drug addiction.
Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode on Sunday said plans are underway to establish an Early Intervention Centre in 2018 to provide therapy and educational support services for infants and young children with special needs.
The centre, according to the Governor, will enable the State Government equip such children with necessary skills and help develop their potential, thereby overcoming identified developmental delays as far as possible.
Speaking at a programme put together by the Lagos State Office of Disability Affairs (LASODA) to commemorate the United Nations International Day of Persons Living With Disabilities (PLWDs) held at Adeyemi Bero Auditorium in Alausa, the Governor also assured that more people with disability would be employed into the State civil service in 2018.
“Our administration is making plans to establish an Early Intervention Centre for the provision of therapy and educational support services for infants and young children with special needs. This will enable us equip these children with necessary skills and help develop their potential, thereby overcoming identified developmental delays as far as possible,” he said.
While urging Nigerians to always embrace people in such situation and look out for their welfare, Governor Ambode said it was important for the general public to refrain from looking down on them but rather look out for their good qualities.
According to him, “I urge the general public to always embrace People Living With Disabilities and always look out for the good qualities God has deposited in them.”
The Governor, who recalled his promise to deliver an all-inclusive government in which no one would be left behind, said the event was another opportunity to reaffirm the policy stance of his administration, just as he assured that the welfare and well-being of PLWDs would always be a priority.
He said the theme of this year’s celebration – “Transformation Towards Sustainable And Resilient Society For All” was apt and in tandem with his vision which is to enable people with disability become active contributors in the society.
He said: “As a government, it is very critical to us to ensure the effective integration of people living with disabilities, especially in today’s changing world.
“For us in Lagos State, we see ability in disability always. We believe strongly that the socio-economic integration of persons with disabilities is not only a human right but also a prerequisite for sustainable development. Our experience has shown that when people with disabilities are adequately empowered to participate in and lead the process of development, their entire families, communities and even the larger society will benefit.
“As a result, we are leaving no stone unturned in our efforts to ensure a more comfortable socio-economic status for these members of our community by providing them with various opportunities.”
While reeling out some of the interventions of his administration, the Governor said a total of 250 PLWDs were recently employed into the State’s Civil Service, Local Governments and Local Council Development Areas, while more of such people would be employed next year.
Similarly, 500 persons have also benefitted from the State Government’s special empowerment programme drawn from the N500million Special People’s Fund established by the Ambode administration, while various assistive technologies, mobility aids and financial grants were given to 2,000 persons living with disabilities and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) involved in taking care of such categories of people.
“As a government, we will continue to embark on initiatives to improve the quality of lives of our people. We will always work to develop the productive capacity of persons with disabilities and give them opportunities to play a role in socio-economic growth of our State,” he said.
Restating the fact that there is ability in every disability, the Governor charged PLWDs not to allow any circumstance limit their progress and life aspirations, adding that they must strive to achieve the best in everything and command respect from people in the society.
In his lecture at the event, President of Benola Cerebral Palsy Foundation, AVM Femi Gbadebo commended Governor Ambode for his numerous initiatives geared toward upholding the rights and welfare of PLWDs such as N500million Disability Fund and various empowerment programmes.
Also, Chairperson of Lagos State Chapter of Joint National Association of Persons With Disability, Deaconess Beyioku Adedoyin and Dr Adebayo Adebukola of Human and Organizational Resources Development Centre commended the State Government for prioritizing the welfare of PLWDs, saying that the State had become a reference point for positively handling disability affairs and development.
At the event, awards were given to various caregivers and NGOs involved in disability affairs, while there were also performances by groups of disabled people including Divine Melody Makers Band, Down Syndrome Society and Wesley School for the Deaf and Hearing Impairment.