Lagos Goes Tough On Drug Abuse, Plans 1000-Man Walk Against Scourge

Lagos Goes Tough On Drug Abuse, Plans 1000-Man Walk Against Scourge

…Women Strategically Positioned To Stop Teenage Rape, Pregnancy

In a bid to step up its campaign against all forms of drug abuse, the Lagos State Government on Tuesday said it has concluded plans to stage a 1000-man walk against the scourge and raise awareness on its inherent danger especially among youths.

Commissioner for Youth and Social Development, Mr. Agboola Dabiri who disclosed this while addressing journalists at the Bagauda Kaltho Press Centre in Alausa, Ikeja, ahead of the launch of a rigorous and renewed campaign under the acronym, Lagos State Kicks against Drug Abuse (LASKADA), said the Government was leaving no stone unturned in its effort to dissuade youths who are prime victims of the practice.

According to the Commissioner, the campaign will adopt a tripod approach including events, engagements with stakeholders and awareness campaign, adding that it would be flagged off by a 1000 man symbolic walk against drug abuse in the State.

He said the walk, which will hold on Thursday, June 21, would commence from Ikeja Bus Stop- under the bridge and would terminate at the Blue Roof, LTV, Agidingbi, where the official launch of LASKADA would take place.

He said participants at the walk will include students, members of voluntary organizations, sports men and women, members of Nongovernmental organisations, local government and youth representatives, local youth council representatives, faith based organisations, government functionaries, among others.

“What we want to do on Thursday is to launch this campaign and show that we are ready for war against all forms of drug abuse. Once we launch out, we are going to have series of activities on various platforms and we will employ every avenue to ensure that the campaign gets to the nook and cranny in the State,” he said.

Dabiri added that the campaign will also involve a stakeholders’ sensitization session to deliberate on the menace and proffer likely intervention to tackle the issue holistically.

“The stakeholders will include parents, youths, professional bodies include Pharmacists, NDLEA, psychiatrists, traditional medicine board, patent medicine sellers, NURTW, Tricycle and okada riders unions and a communiqué will be issued at the end of the session.

He said the campaign train will also move to primary, secondary and higher institutions as well as to the communities adding that it would be implemented in collaboration with the Lagos State Youth Ambassadors, Lagos State Youth Parliament and NGOs in their immediate community.

Besides, the Commissioner said that mosque, churches and faith based organization will be implored to dedicate a day to enlighten worshippers on drug abuse and canvass support for the fight against the menace.

“The youth group is the largest population in Nigeria, particularly in Lagos State and this segment is considered the most vulnerable group as far as drug and alcohol issues are concerned. Thus, their health and optimal development is critical to national development agenda and deserves significant attention. Drug abuse is real and we should not fold our arms and watch the scourge continue, partner with us and lets all say “No to Drug Abuse”, Dabiri said.

In a related development, Wife of Lagos State Governor, Mrs Bolanle Ambode said women must use their strategic position as builders of the home-front to adequately fortify their children and wards with right virtuous to stem the tide of rape and teenage pregnancy in the society.

Speaking at a special Lagos Women Forum put together by her office held at Police College in Ikeja, the wife of the Governor said as coordinators of the family unit, women have the responsibility to bring up their children in most decent ways and be good examples to them.

According to her, “We as women have a great role to play in combating the social evils of rape and teenage pregnancy. Our natural role as mothers and coordinators of the family unit, imposes responsibilities on us, to bring up the boy and the girl child in the most decent way, to stem the tide of rape and teenage pregnancy in our society.”

She said young girls who suffer abuse and become pregnant stand the risk of medical complications, stressing however that conscious effort must be made in their upbringing to achieve the desired results including early enrolment in school, sound moral lessons and exposure to the ways and things of God.

Besides, Mrs Ambode expressed concern over the disturbing trend of domestic violence against women which sometimes result in deaths, saying it was time for women to come together and jointly speak out against the menace.

“By publicly speaking out against domestic violence, together we can challenge attitudes that breed violence in the homes and everywhere. We must insist that domestic violence is a social crimes and not acceptable in our society. That is why we have brought seasoned speakers, to talk to us on issues of social menace, and our expected roles as mothers and home builders.

In her keynote address, Lagos State Deputy Governor, Mrs Idiat Adebule commended the wife of the Governor for the initiative to gather women together for the purpose of enhancing their welfare and health, saying the strategic importance of women in the society could not be overemphasized.

She said women should no longer be stereotyped into silence but rather become vocal advocates for improved health delivery system and social justice, adding that the womenfolk also have the responsibility of investing and increasing access of more girls and women to good health, quality education, and as well ensuring that laws respect and ensure the rights of women are enforced.

The Deputy Governor, who is also overseeing the Ministry of Education, said as part of efforts to protect the future of girls who are abused, the State Government recently established a special school for people in such category to have another opportunity to be educated.

“We have equally established the alternative school for the girls who, in the course of their lifetime, get pregnant and could not continue their education. Our government has provided that particular school for them to have a second chance in life,” Adebule said.

ETF: Lagos Disburses N5.22billion To 6,462 Beneficiaries

ETF: Lagos Disburses N5.22billion To 6,462 Beneficiaries

…To Train 10,000 Skilled Persons Through Employability Support Scheme

The Lagos State Government on Thursday said a total of 6,462 residents with proven business ideas have so far benefitted about N5.22billion from the Employment Trust Fund (ETF) designed to grow the economy and create jobs through provision of credit facilities with minimal interest.

Speaking at the annual Ministerial Press Briefing to mark the third anniversary of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode’s administration held at the Bagauda Kaltho Press Centre in Alausa, Commissioner for Wealth Creation and Employment, Mrs Uzamat Akinbile-Yussuf said the amount so far disbursed constituted a huge part of the total N5.98billion approved for 8,229 beneficiaries since it began disbursement in 2017.

The ETF is an initiative of the present administration in the State through which N25billion is earmarked to be disbursed over a period of four years to provide entrepreneurs, artisans, traders and others with capital to boost their businesses thereby reducing unemployment and increasing wealth among the people.

While reeling out loan disbursement activities of the fund, Akinbile-Yussuf said: “In fulfillment of the Lagos State Government’s mandate, the Fund has now disbursed N5.22billion to 6,462 beneficiaries, out of the approved loans totaling N5.98billion for 8,229 beneficiaries received.

She said in the period under review, the board of ETF approved loans totaling N627,053,826.15 for 643 beneficiaries under the batch four of the scheme, while in batches five, six, seven and eight, N924,696,671.00, N979,704,570.31, N443,859,457.60 and N1,013,485,058.69 were respectively disbursed to 5, 813 beneficiaries.

“For batch one of 2018, the Board approved loans totaling N492,798,560.90 for 1,753 beneficiaries (44 Small and Medium Enterprise (SME), 1,306 Medium Enterprise (ME) and 403 MES). The successful applicants have been contacted to meet the conditions that precede the disbursement of their loans,” she said.

Akinbile-Yussuf said as part of efforts designed to encourage startups in innovation and technology, the State Government launched innovation-driven enterprise program tagged “Lagos Innovates” where access to high quality infrastructure, learning and networks were provided, adding that the projection was to cement the place of Lagos as the leading destination for startups in Africa.

She said the government, through the Lagos State Employability Support Project, has also firmed up plans to produce 10,000 skilled persons within three years to cater for demand in key sectors such as manufacturing, healthcare, construction, entertainment, garment making and tourism and hospitality.

“In addition, the project will place at least 6,000 trained persons in jobs and upgrade the equipment and improve the curriculum at two of Lagos State Technical and Vocational Education Board (LASTVEB’s) Colleges,” she said.

On other achievements of the Ministry in the last one year, the Commissioner said government developed virtual market which is an online portal created to connect artisans and tradesmen with customers in need of goods and services in a secure environment, revealing that the Ministry had commenced partnership with different stakeholders to actualize the initiative.

She said under the tradesmen and artisans capacity building scheme, a total of 1,000 were retrained in 2017 to enhance their efficiency, competitiveness and productivity, while 40 members of Lagos State House Painter Association were trained and engaged by Kansai Plascon Nigeria, as well as 50 others were trained in partnership with Ruff n Tumble under the sustainable development programme.

Besides, she said in recognition of the opportunities in emergence of new technologies especially in addressing the needs of the society to attain sustainable growth and development, the government came up with the concept of developing an ICT hub in Yaba, saying the project would be delivered in partnership with other critical stakeholders.

Also, the Commissioner said the government would soon launch health SMEs to facilitate quality improvement in both public and private sector health facilities through provision of financial support with the support of private sector organizations with the aim of creating wealth and employment.

The State Government, the Commissioner said, also introduced graduate internship programme through the Ministry where a total of 1800 candidates were screened in 2017 out of which 910 were deployed to various private organizations with the view to creating a network contact between the off-takers and the interns.

LASG Saves N4.5billion In Three Years From Non Sponsorship Of Religious Pilgrimage

LASG Saves N4.5billion In Three Years From Non Sponsorship Of Religious Pilgrimage

…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.”

 Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Ministry of Home Affairs, Mrs. Toyin Awoseyi; Commissioner for Home Affairs, Dr. Abdul Hakeem Abdul Lateef; Special Adviser to the Governor on Information & Strategy, Mr. Idowu Ajanaku and Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Information & Strategy, Mrs. Kofoworola Awobamise shortly after a media briefing by the Commissioner at the on-going Y2018 ministerial briefing as part of activities to mark the third Year in Office of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, at the Bagauda Kaltho Press Centre, the Secretariat, Alausa, Ikeja, on Monday, April 23, 2018
Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Ministry of Home Affairs, Mrs. Toyin Awoseyi; Commissioner for Home Affairs, Dr. Abdul Hakeem Abdul Lateef; Special Adviser to the Governor on Information & Strategy, Mr. Idowu Ajanaku and Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Information & Strategy, Mrs. Kofoworola Awobamise shortly after a media briefing by the Commissioner at the on-going Y2018 ministerial briefing as part of activities to mark the third Year in Office of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, at the Bagauda Kaltho Press Centre, the Secretariat, Alausa, Ikeja, on Monday, April 23, 2018

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.

Easter: Governor Ambode Greets Christians, Preaches Tolerance, Sacrifice For One Another

Easter: Governor Ambode Greets Christians, Preaches Tolerance, Sacrifice For One Another

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode has called on Nigerians to imbibe the spirit of tolerance, peaceful co-existence and sacrifice for one another, stating that development and growth can only occur in the nation when all tribes and tongue unite and speak with one voice.

Governor Ambode, in his Easter message signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Habib Aruna, said such fundamental values would go a long way in promoting and strengthening the foundation of love, peace and harmony in the country, adding that the season should serve as a reminder to the selflessness, love, sacrifice and tolerance of Jesus Christ throughout His earthly sojourn, his death and his resurrection.

Stressing the essence of the season, the Governor said Jesus exemplified the virtues of selflessness, love and tolerance during his period on earth, and thereby urged Christians to use the season as a period to reflect on their individual and collective roles towards promoting and sustaining that foundation of love, peace and harmony in the nation.

“We must therefore see this period as a time that presents us the viable opportunity to think about how we can help to steer our nation back on the road to peace, stability and prosperity, by working in the spirit of togetherness,” the Governor said.

He said there was no better time for the country to unite together and eschew bitterness along ethnic and religious lines, adding that no challenge is insurmountable where unity of purpose thrives.

“No doubt, Nigeria will surely make faster progress towards the achievement of the peaceful, united, strong, progressive and prosperous country that we all desire if, as a nation, we eschew all divisive, parochial, ethnic and religious sentiments and rivalries, and begin to live more harmoniously with one another, as Jesus Christ enjoined us to,” he said.

Governor Ambode commended Lagosians for their continued demonstration and promotion of mutual understanding and peaceful co-existence in spite of existing ethnic, cultural and religious diversities, saying that the cooperation of residents for government programmes and policies was responsible for the massive development across the State in the last 34 months.

While wishing all Lagosians a happy Easter celebration, Governor Ambode enjoined them to continue to support his administration to deliver more developmental projects that would make life more comfortable for them.

Remarks Delivered At The Domestic And Sexual Violence Advocacy Walk

Remarks Delivered At The Domestic And Sexual Violence Advocacy Walk

A lot of progress has been made in the steps taken to protect the rights of women and the girl child and in the war against the oppression of the female gender. However, there is still so much to be done. We need to ask ourselves the hard question: for this cause we honour today, how can we truly ensure we are walking the talk?

In our State, there has been a significant increase in formal and informal reporting of Domestic and Sexual Violence cases, but contrary to what it appears to be, this menace is not a recent development. These occurrences have been around for years but they were seen as “norms” because nobody spoke out against them, and such acts were overlooked based on misguided definitions of gender roles.

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What we are tackling today is an almost innate culture which relegates women to the background and forces them to suffer in silence. In Lagos, we are waging a war against this culture and we will do everything within our power to transform ours to a culture of equality, respect and dignity for all. It is a journey of radical transformation, and our government is wholly committed to seeing it through.

We have walked the talk as regards fighting Sexual & Gender Based Violence. The Domestic and Sexual Violence Response Team has executed interventions and initiatives which include: Easy access to reporting incidents, Speedy Rescue and Access to Justice, Medical & Psycho-Social Support for Survivors, Sensitization & Policy Advocacy and the establishment of the Lagos State Domestic and Sexual Violence Trust Fund to ensure survivors are financially independent.

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We are not just reactive in helping survivors but also taking aggressive steps to prevent future occurrences. Our aim is to build a system of trust and accountability, where survivors are encouraged to speak out and potential perpetrators are discouraged to commit future acts

At this juncture, we must commend the Lagos State Judiciary, particularly, the Hon. Chief Judge of Lagos State, Hon. Justice Olufunmilayo Oke for heeding the call to establish a Sexual Offences court. Thank you very much.

We are already seeing the dividends, and it is our earnest hope that justice would continue to be swift.

We must also commend the Lagos State House of Assembly, under the able leadership of the Speaker, Rt. Hon. Mudashiru Obasa, for the enactment of the Protection against Domestic Violence Law, 2007, the Child’s Right Law of Lagos State, 2015 and the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2015.

All these interventions have provided a solid platform for waging the war against Sexual & gender based Violence, now we need to improve on this foundation and become pioneering.

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Rape should not be met with light sentencing; the minimum sentence of 25 years is highly recommended. We need new laws, which will respond adequately to the nature and occurrences of this era. Domestic Violence is a crime, and should be treated as such. The Protection Against Domestic Violence Law, 2007, should therefore be amended accordingly.

Similarly, the Nigeria Police Force which is usually the first point of call must strive to be more professional and ensure proper investigation of reported cases by grooming specialist officers in this area.

As the saying goes, the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago, the next best time is now. We firmly believe that the actions we take today will be the seeds sown for a brighter future for our women and indeed, our children. We believe our State can continue to pioneer in this agenda and become a benchmark not just in Nigeria, but globally.

Our dream Lagos is one where the rights of every citizen are safeguarded and the most vulnerable are fully protected. Let us all join hands and continue to drive this worthy cause.

Itesiwaju Ipinle Eko, Lo Je wa Logun

Thank you.