Judiciary, Security Sector Reforms Targeted At Growing Lagos GDP

Judiciary, Security Sector Reforms Targeted At Growing Lagos GDP

…Osinbajo, CJN Urge Judges To Be Above Board, Uphold Ethical Standards

…As Lagos Judiciary Holds First Biannual Public Lecture 

Lagos State Governor, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode on Monday said the major reforms being implemented in both judiciary and security sectors in the State were targeted at creating a sound pedestal for residents to be productive and in turn boost the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the State.

Governor Ambode, who spoke at the first biannual lecture of the Lagos State Judiciary held at City Hall in Lagos Island, said the major reforms in the sectors were already contributing to the growth of the economy, assuring that no effort would be spared in ensuring the success of the various initiatives.

The Governor particularly commended the State’s Chief Judge, Justice Opeyemi Oke and the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Adeniji Kazeem, saying he was in firm support of the reforms being championed by the duo in the judicial sector.

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode (middle); Lagos State Chief Judge, Justice Opeyemi Oke (3rd left); Justices of the Supreme Court of Nigeria, Justice Kudirat Kekere-Ekun (2nd left); Justice Kumai Bayang Akaahs (left); Oba of Lagos, Oba Rilwan Akiolu I (3rd right); Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Dr. (Mrs) Oluranti Adebule (2nd right) and representative of Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Olabode Rhodes-Vivour (right) during the Lagos State Judiciary first Bi-Annual lecture, at the Lagos City Hall, Lagos Island, on Monday, May 14, 2018.
Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode (middle); Lagos State Chief Judge, Justice Opeyemi Oke (3rd left); Justices of the Supreme Court of Nigeria, Justice Kudirat Kekere-Ekun (2nd left); Justice Kumai Bayang Akaahs (left); Oba of Lagos, Oba Rilwan Akiolu I (3rd right); Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Dr. (Mrs) Oluranti Adebule (2nd right) and representative of Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Olabode Rhodes-Vivour (right) during the Lagos State Judiciary first Bi-Annual lecture, at the Lagos City Hall, Lagos Island, on Monday, May 14, 2018.

“I want to say that I am very proud of the judicial sector reforms going on in the State; we are very proud of the work being done by the Chief Judge and the combination of the efforts being carried out by the Attorney General and Chief Judge is something we need to support.

“It is now very obvious that some major reforms are going on in the judicial sector and we are very proud as the executive arm of government to support the judicial sector reforms which we are also complementing with our security sector reforms.

“In totality, the reforms are aimed at improving the economy of Lagos and grow the GDP and what is going on in the judicial sector is significant and we are very proud of it,” the Governor said.

While lauding the initiative of the lecture which was intended to engender thought provoking discussions and provide platform for stakeholders to assess performance of the judiciary and as well broaden the frontiers of justice delivery, Governor Ambode called for the lecture to be held annually.

He said it was important for the intellectual conversation around the lecture to be held regularly in order to bring about practicable solutions to issues in the sector.

In opening remarks, Justice Oke lauded Governor Ambode for supporting the reforms being implemented in the State Judiciary, describing him as a man of vision who is known for pursuit of excellence and international best standards in every area of his administration.

She said the lecture, which is the first of its kind not only in Lagos but in other jurisdictions, was designed to facilitate closer interaction between judiciary and the bar both in terms of practice and continuing legal education.

The CJ, who reeled out some of the reforms being implementing including judicial ethics and administration, old cases above 20 years elimination programme, designation of special offences court, sexual offences court, small claims court, child rights law and regulations, prison decongestion effort, among others, said the lecture was one of the initiatives put together to advance justice delivery in the State.

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode (2nd left); his Deputy, Dr. (Mrs) Oluranti Adebule (left); first female Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN). Chief (Mrs) Folake Solanke (2nd right) and Lagos State Chief Judge, Justice Opeyemi Oke (right) during the Lagos State Judiciary first Bi-Annual lecture, at the Lagos City Hall, Lagos Island, on Monday, May 14, 2018.
Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode (2nd left); his Deputy, Dr. (Mrs) Oluranti Adebule (left); first female Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN). Chief (Mrs) Folake Solanke (2nd right) and Lagos State Chief Judge, Justice Opeyemi Oke (right) during the Lagos State Judiciary first Bi-Annual lecture, at the Lagos City Hall, Lagos Island, on Monday, May 14, 2018.

On his part, Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo represented by Special Assistant to the President on Economic Crimes, Mr. Biodun Aikomo, said in view of the strategic role occupied by judicial officers in the country, it was important for them to always be above board and uphold ethical standards.

“Judges must be beyond reproach; they must be above board; they must abide by ethics and standards of the profession and dispense justice without rightly,” he said.

Speaking on the theme: “Judicial Standards, Integrity, Respect and Public Perception: A Comparative Analysis From Independence In 1960 Into The Present Millennium,” the guest speaker at the lecture and Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen admonished judges to refrain from commenting from commenting on matters of public interest through social media blogging sites such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, among others.

The CJ said judges must also ensure the removal of their personal information online, and as well desist from uploading pictures of their holiday and personal activities on social media.

He said judges “who are desirous of discussing public matters on the social media can only do so without revealing their identity,” adding that the interactive design of the internet blogging sites made it important for judges not to descend into such arena.

Onnoghen, represented by Mr. Olabode Rhodes-Vivour, Justice of the Supreme Court, also called for the study of law in the University to be made a second degree in view of the declining standards of education in Nigeria, while lawyers who wanted to be appointed into the bench, in addition to 10 years post call requirement, should also be mandated to have post graduate diploma in law.

Such reforms, according to the CJN who traced the trajectory of the Nigerian judiciary since 1960, were important factors that can further help to advance justice delivery.

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.

Bishop of Lagos Diocese lauds LASG For Result-Oriented Policies And Massive Infrastructural Renewal Drive

Bishop of Lagos Diocese lauds LASG For Result-Oriented Policies And Massive Infrastructural Renewal Drive

 Bishop of Lagos Diocese, Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), Most Rev. Ephraim Ademowo on Monday lauded Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode for result-oriented policies and massive infrastructural renewal drive across the State, saying his re-election come 2019 is already a done deal.

Speaking at the opening ceremony of the third session of the 33rd Synod of the Diocese held at Our Saviours Church, Tafawa Balewa Square (TBS), Ademowo said the excellent achievements of the Governor in office in the last three years were visible to all, adding that his second term was already a foregone conclusion.

The respected clergyman, who is retiring soon, said: “We have talked about your (Governor’s) endorsement for second term last year and so it is a faith accompli; it is a done deal; it is not negotiable; it is not debatable.

“We are enthused, happy and excited. We want to appreciate you; we want to celebrate you; we want to thank God for the way God is using you in this State and beyond.

“We could see things for ourselves; the whole State has been opened up. Even where we have our retirement house, anytime I am in the vehicle, sometimes I don’t even know when we would get there because the road is now something else. I want to thank you for the great work that you are doing in this State and I want to assure you of our prayers,” Ademowo said.

The Bishop described Governor Ambode as a workaholic, trailblazer and an indefatigable personality whose life of humility, doggedness and commitment to the growth of Lagos was unrivaled.

While urging members of the church to go all out to get their Permanent Voters Card (PVCs), he said it was important for them to do so in order to participate in the forthcoming general elections and elect the leaders of their choice.

“We know who we are voting for and so there is no perambulation; we know where we are going but we need to have our PVCs. Mummy and I will vote so all of us must ensure we get our PVCs to vote,” Ademowo said.

In his remarks, Governor Ambode said the country was at a critical time when all hands must be on deck to ensure the process of choosing leaders in 2019 resulted in sustainable growth and good governance for the people.

He said the season called for every stakeholder in the future of the Nigerian project, religious leaders inclusive, to rise up to be counted and make their voices heard especially on the need for people to get their PVCs and shun any act inimical to peace.

“We need to educate Nigerians on the need to participate in the political process through registration for the Permanent Voters Card (PVC). Your PVC is the instrument and the power every eligible citizen has to express themselves in choosing the leaders in whose hands they wish to entrust the resources and the future of our country.

“The Church and indeed all our religious leaders have a critical role to play especially at this point in time to place special emphasis on the message of hope, peace, brotherliness, unity, integrity and tolerance.

“We must shun all tendencies that could aggravate whatever challenges we might be experiencing at the moment because these are only temporary. We shall surmount them and our nation shall become great again, by the Grace of God and through our own hard work and prayers,” Governor Ambode said.

He said as a government, his administration would continue to promote an atmosphere for everyone to practice his or her religion in the State without any fear of discrimination, just as he pledged commitment to the mission of making the economy work for all, creating opportunities for everyone to fully actualise their potentials and ensuring security of lives and property of all Lagosians.

“Every one of us has a stake in this country. Every one of us has a voice. Let us stand up and join hands to make our country and our State great. We owe it to ourselves and generations coming after us,” he said.

Besides, Governor Ambode thanked Ademowo for the positive impact which his tenure in the last 17 years as Bishop of Lagos Diocese had on the church and the State, saying it was on record the Bishop contributed immensely to the peace and tranquility being enjoyed in the State.

“Under Dr. Ademowo’s leadership, the State Government has received immense support and prayers from the Church. This robust relationship has contributed immensely to the peace and tranquility being enjoyed in our State with people of diverse faiths living in harmony and mutual understanding.

“Though you will be retiring soon, I have no doubt that a new chapter is set to be opened for you in the service of God.  My prayer for you is in the book of Hebrews 6:10 which says “For God is not unjust to forget your work and labour of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister.” As you have laboured in His vineyard, He will surely reward you abundantly,” Governor Ambode said.

May Day: Governor Ambode Commends Organised Labour For Industrial Harmony

May Day: Governor Ambode Commends Organised Labour For Industrial Harmony

…Urges Unions To Mobilise Members To Obtain Their PVCs

…NLC, TUC, Odumakin Laud Lagos Gov’s Infrastructural Drive, Workers Well-being

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode on Tuesday joined thousands of workers to commemorate this year’s May Day celebration, just as he commended the organised Labour Unions for the uninterrupted industrial harmony that his administration has enjoyed since he assumed office.

Governor Ambode, who spoke at the May Day Rally, held at the Agege Stadium, Lagos, while attributing the industrial harmony and peace in the State to the maturity and responsibility of the labour unions, applauded them for adopting alternative dispute resolution mechanisms rather than resort to industrial actions.

“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,” he said.

The Governor, who said he was elated to join the workers to commemorate their day, seized the occasion to reaffirm his administration’s commitment to continue to prioritise their welfare and well being for the continuous growth and development of the State.

He said it was not in doubt that the developmental strides his administration had recorded since May 29, 2015 was due to the hard work, understanding and cooperation of workers both in the public and private sectors in the State.

“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,” Governor Ambode said.

Describing the theme of this year’s Worker’s Day Celebration, “Labour Movement in National Development: Dare to Struggle, Dare to Win” as apt and timely especially with the 2019 general elections beckoning, the Governor said it was imperative for the labour movement to see itself as a constructive partner of the government in ensuring peace and harmony in the society before, during, and after the conduct of the elections.

Governor Ambode also urged the various labour unions to show their strength and mobilise their members massively to obtain their Permanent Voters Card (PVCs) and use same during the elections to sustain the unity and progress of the nation.

Besides, the Governor assured that his administration would continue to partner with Leaders of the Trade Union Congress (TUC) and the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), adding that the requests tabled by both unions would be considered for the continuous peace, progress and prosperity, of not just all workers in Lagos State, but for all Lagosians.

He also urged organised labour to continue to be focused on realistic and reasonable goals while rightly insisting on the due and just entitlements of their members, while calling for all hands to be on deck to continue to explore innovative means to address the economic challenges in the country for the good of all Nigerian workers.

In their remarks, Chairmen of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC), Lagos State Chapters, Comrades Idowu Adelakun and Francis Ogunremi commended Governor Ambode for massive infrastructural drive across the State, security of lives and property, as well as prompt and regular payment of salary among other welfare for workers in the State.

“The Governor must be commended for prompt and regular disbursement of salary to workers in Lagos State. The State Government is not indebted to her workers. Today, Lagos is a big construction site, courtesy of our progressive and development-oriented and people’s Governor.

“The NLC commends our proactive and foresighted Governor who has placed the security apparatus on red alert. The spate of operations of kidnappers has gone down considerably and Lagos has therefore become one huge secure smart city for local and international business transaction,” Adelakun said.

Ogunremi, on his part, said it was gratifying that Governor Ambode, has ensured payment of about N10billion to over 2,500 pensioners, while the present administration had equally performed creditably well in areas of road construction, security, traffic congestion, among others.

“Your Excellency, your listening hears to the concerns of workers and the Labour Centres as representatives of the workers is quite commendable. During this time last year, the two Labour Centres requested the Governor to replace the Secretariat buses for smooth running of the Unions in the State. Today, I make bold to inform that both TUC and LUC including all affiliate unions in public service have been presented operational buses,” Ogunremi said.

In her goodwill message, President of Women Arise, Dr Joe Okei-Odumakin lauded Governor Ambode for concerted efforts at sustaining workers welfare and infrastructural renewal across the State.

“Comrade Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, the bulldozer of Lagos, is one of the Governors that pay salaries as at when due and he is a Governor that has carried a great revolution in terms of infrastructure.

“In the area of security, the ambience of security that we enjoy in Lagos can be seen as we even gather in a very peaceful manner. The Governor also has made it a point of duty in injecting live within the health sector,” she said.

Lagos Attracts $43billion Investment Proposals In Three Years

Lagos Attracts $43billion Investment Proposals In Three Years

…Set To Unveil Global Campaign On Investment Opportunities

The Lagos State Government on Thursday said it attracted investment proposals approximately worth $43billion in the last three years owing to deliberate policies put in place to promote investment and enhance ease of doing business.

Speaking at the annual Ministerial Press Briefing to mark the third year in office of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode’s administration held at the Bagauda Kaltho Press Centre in Alausa, Special Adviser to the Governor on Overseas Affairs and Investment, Professor Ademola Abass, said it was gratifying to report that some of the proposals have been transformed into actual investment in the State.

The Office of Overseas Affairs and Investment otherwise known as Lagos Global is a one-stop shop established by the present administration in the State to manage overseas affairs and implement policies to attract and promote investment in the State.

Giving account of stewardship, Abass said: “I am pleased to inform the public that within the last three years of Mr Akinwunmi Ambode-led administration, Lagos State has received investment proposals approximately worth $43billion.

“Following the vigorous pursuit of measures geared towards enhancing the ease of doing business, investors have shown considerable interest in tapping into the investment opportunities that are abundant in Lagos,” he said.

He added that since its creation, the office had inspired investor’s confidence in Lagos as a place to conduct business and live in, which had translated into considerable success, adding that it also pointed to the fact that the State, as an emerging market, was becoming the financial hub and a preferred investment destination in Africa.

While listing some of the major investments recently approved by the State Government which were facilitated by his office, Abass said it was pleasing to note that a foreign firm, LaTerre Batiment Limited has firmed up arrangement to build a new Island in the State, while another firm, Rockwealth Integrated Services would also commence redevelopment of Amuwo Odofin area into a mixed use real estate development.

Other major projects, according to Abass, are Detergent Manufacturing Plant to be sited within the Lekki Free Trade Zone by Gilmore Limited; LED manufacturing factory to be located in Epe by Low Energy Designs Limited; and development of energy savings streetlights across the State, also by Low Energy Designs Limited, while redevelopment of Makoko area by Bufad Engineering Services and reclamation of Land for mixed use development in VGC area by Ja Paul Lekki Heights Limited, were awaiting approval.

He said in the bid to grow the economy of Lagos, the present administration also identified key areas critical to growing the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the State including power, agriculture, transportation, health, tourism, housing, information technology and manufacturing.

He said the focused sectors have already been scanned for investment opportunities with a view to providing foreign investors with an insight into the opportunities that abound in  the sectors at a glance, while the turnaround time for transforming proposals into actual investments have also been massively reduced.

Besides, Abass said as part of measures to project the investment opportunities in the State to the world, government would soon unveil an advocacy tagged “Lagos To The World (L2TW), which is a multifaceted initiative aimed at using various cutting-edge strategic tools in projecting and effectively communicating the investment opportunities that abound in the State.

“To be clear, the campaign has nothing to do with branding or anything of sort. It is a well-pointed strategy aimed at better communicating what the State has got to offer investors worldwide, as well as laying out the benefits that await investors who choose Lagos State as their destination,” he said.

Reeling out other responsibilities of the office, Abass said Lagos Global further helped existing investors by providing aftercare services and as well ensure the provision of necessary business support services.

“The office assisted some businesses to establish partnerships with Lagos State Government and to resolve issues relating to taxes, environmental issues, local government and land ownership rights, tax reduction, multiple taxation, land issues, infrastructure and partnerships,” Abass said.