In Soweto; In Africa!
In Africa; In Soweto!
Aluta Continua! Victoria Aserta!
Today’s event marks the third anniversary of our government’s celebration of Workers day in the State. I can say with all confidence that our chief development and growth partners, since May 29, 2015 have been the hardworking, understanding and cooperative workers in both the Public and Private sectors of the State.
It is on record that we have never, since the inception of this administration, had any dispute with the organized labour and I will be the first to admit that the Labour Unions in Lagos State have been most responsible and while, at the same time, being dogged in their advocacy for the promotion of the interests of workers in Lagos State, both in the public and private sector groups.
In proof of the maturity and responsibility of the labour unions in our State, the organised labour has consistently met with members of our administration under different fora designed to identify and address possible areas of tension and disagreement before they fester into open conflicts. This approach has resulted in an unprecedented three-year period of uninterrupted industrial harmony and peace in Lagos State. For this, I most sincerely commend the labour unions in Lagos State.
It therefore gives me exceptional joy to join in the celebration of this year’s Workers’ Day. You will note that I have referred to workers in Lagos State as my development and growth partners. I make this statement deliberately as our administration has recently embarked on a drive to promote the ‘Growth Mind-set’ campaign and initiative throughout the Lagos State Public Service.
I therefore call on all of you to support this campaign as it will result in the exponential growth and productivity of our public service.
Our administration remains passionate and committed to handling and resolving all issues affecting the welfare, service entitlements, and infrastructural development for all workers in the State. It is on record that we have never defaulted in meeting our commitment to workers under the Contributory Pension Scheme and have always prioritised the payment of workers’ salaries and emoluments in addition to improving the welfare package of workers across the board.
Ladies and Gentlemen and Distinguished Comrades, the theme of this year Workers’ Day celebration, “Labour Movement in National Development: Dare to Struggle, Dare to Win” is not only apt but also timely. As our nation now moves towards another election year, it is imperative for the labour movement to see itself as a constructive partner of the government in ensuring peace and harmony in our society before, during, and after the conduct of the forthcoming general elections.
Furthermore, the labour movement should not only enquire after what workers can get from the government but also what workers can further contribute to support the government in making a difference in the lives of the people.
There will always be is a place for agitations and struggle and it is a fact that only those who dare struggle may win. Yet, these agitations and struggles must be focused on realistic and reasonable goals that are pursued in the appreciation of the competing interests that government has to continually balance.
We have continued to partner with the Leaders of the Trade Union Congress (TUC) and the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and we will continue to consider all the requests of Labour as we work together for the peace, progress and prosperity of all workers in Lagos State, all Lagosians and our State.
In the light of the foregoing, I urge the organised labour to continue to show understanding while rightly insisting on the due and just entitlements of their members. I also call on all the stakeholders in the management of our economy to redouble their efforts and continue to explore innovative means of addressing the economic challenges in our nation in order to make life easier and more comfortable for the Nigerian workers who are the development and growth partners of the government.
Once again, I wholeheartedly congratulate all our workers on this glorious May Day celebrations.
Itesiwaju ipinle Eko l’o je wal’ogun.
… Our Quest To Become Tourism Hub Of Africa On Course
The Federal Government on Thursday said that it has concluded plans to use its hosting right of the 61st edition of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO)/ Commission for Africa (CAF) Meeting to showcase the culture and tourism potentials of Lagos and Nigeria in general.
Minister for Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed who disclosed this during a courtesy visit to Governor Akinwunmi Ambode at the Lagos House, Alausa in Ikeja, said Lagos would play a significant role in the success of the meeting considering its economic position in Nigeria and also as a foremost tourism city.
He said though the UNWTO/CAF Meeting would hold in Abuja from June 4th to 6th, 2018, a major part of the event, tagged Technical Visit, would be held at the Eko Atlantic City, adding that the decision to hold the visit in Lagos was strategic and pivotal to the overall success of the programme.
“The choice is not an accident. It is designed to showcase to the world a city that promises to be a tourism haven, with the largest shopping mall in sub-Saharan Africa and a city which also boasts of vast amenities for entertainment, such as food courts, cinemas and playgrounds, an ample parking space and a canal that can be used for water transportation and water sports,” Mohammed said.
He said during the day-long Technical Visit, Governor Ambode would also play host to top executives of the UNWTO, African Tourism Ministers and a select group of local and international media, saying that it would be the major highlight of the meeting and that Lagos was better positioned to host it.
“The meeting will give Nigeria the opportunity to showcase itself to the world especially in the area of its culture and tourism and of course, we have a lot to showcase; our tourism attractions, our rich culture, as well as our music and films which have take the world by storm”.
The Minister said the UNWTO, a leading international organisation for tourism with a global membership of 158 members and over 500 Affiliate members unanimously gave Nigeria the hosting right for the Meeting during its 59th Meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in April 2017, noting that it was a reflection of the growing positive perception of Nigeria by the international community.
He said the Meeting, which has the theme “Tourism Statistics: A Catalyst For Development”, would be attended by mostly delegates drawn from the 51 member states of the Commission for Africa, the Executives of UNWTO, International Organisations, local and international media as well as experts and stakeholders from the public and private sector.
Thanking the Governor for the strong support so far towards the success of the meeting, the Minister commended the move by the State Government to hold a Tourism Summit on Monday, saying that the development was in line with the Federal Government’s quest to make Nigeria a top tourism destination in Africa.
“We will not only be participating at the summit, we will also be making a presentation that showcases Nigeria as the preferred destination for tourists”, he said.
Responding Governor Ambode said the State Government was pleased to support moves by the Federal Government to preserve the rich culture and heritage of the nation, adding that his administration was also working hard to make the State the tourism hub of Africa.
“So, we are in tandem with your vision and aspirations to make sure that we tell Nigerians the way our story was and the way our story is and also be able to tell outsiders who we are and who we want to be. So, for me it’s a no brainer that I need to support you because this is also in line with what we believe strongly that Nigerians ought to do.
“In the last three years, we have tried as much as possible to promote our heritage and also promote our languages. We do not want a situation where the Nigerian culture which is so rich and diverse will become extinct and that is why we must do everything in our own capacity to ensure that everything that the Federal Government is doing through the Ministry of Information and Culture, in bringing the unity of Nigerian together, is supported by this government,” Governor Ambode said.
Pledging the support of the State Government for the success of the UNWTO/CAF Meeting, Governor Ambode assured that his administration would continue to provide the necessary infrastructure that would attract tourists to the State.
We want to showcase Lagos as a tourist State; our drive is to make Lagos the tourist hub of Africa; we are getting near it; we are providing tourism infrastructure and you could see because tourism is not so much about what you see; it’s about the infrastructure that makes it to happen – the roads, the airport, the ease of doing business, the warmth and then the strength of the people because there is so much energy in the spirit of Lagos,” the Governor said.
Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode on Thursday held a meeting with the Japan-African Union Parliamentary Friendship committee in Tokyo, an influential group in the Japanese parliament.
Governor Ambode said the meeting, which was attended by members of Japan House of Representatives – Hon. Ichiro Aisawa and Hon. Asahiko Mihara, was in furtherance of his quest to woo Japanese investors especially with regards to finding a comprehensive solution to the challenge of transportation in the State.
He said his presence in Japan was pursuant to his determination to achieve infrastructural renewal for Lagos State.
“As a government, the renewal of infrastructure of Lagos State is of paramount interest to us. We cannot afford to miss the train of regeneration going around the world. We must continue to seek comprehensive and holistic solution to the various challenges confronting us.
“Lagos and Tokyo share many similarities including huge populations which require a comprehensive transportation and urban management strategy to deal with. Japan is also a city Lagos should aspire to be in terms of vertical development, land space optimisation, and efficiency,” the Governor said.
The meeting was also attended by the Japanese Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Sadanobu Kusaoke and the Nigerian Ambassador to Japan, Mallam Mohammed Gana Yisa.
During the week, the Governor also visited the headquarters of Yurikamome Incorporated, a light rail transportation facility which connects the down town Tokyo with Tokyo Waterfront City.
The light rail has and is patronized by all those who live, work and visit the facility since it opened in November 1995. It operates in just 14.5km and has 16 stations.
The light rail carries more than 45 million people yearly. It was further gathered that the Tokyo Metropolitan Government built the infrastructure, while Yurikamome Incorporated provided other necessary equipment.
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.
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.
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.
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