Lagos DNA Centre Ready In First Quarter Of 2017 – Attorney General

Lagos DNA Centre Ready In First Quarter Of 2017 – Attorney General

The Lagos State Government on Tuesday said the first DNA Forensic Centre to be established in Nigeria by any State Government will become operational by the first quarter of 2017, expressing optimism that the centre will go a long way in bringing about seamless administration of justice.

Speaking at the maiden edition of annual Lagos Forensic Symposium held at De Renaissance Hotel in Ikeja, the State’s Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Adeniji Kazeem, said meticulous processes were being put in place in partnership with international renowned experts in forensic science to ensure that the centre, upon completion, is compared to the best in the world.

Attorney General & Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Adeniji Kazeem (right); Solicitor General/Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Ministry of Justice, Mrs. Funlola Adesola Odunlami (left) and Justice Modupe Nicol Clay (middle) during a 3-Day Lagos Forensic Symposium organised by the State Ministry of Justice and ITSI – Biosciences, USA, at De Renaissance Hotel, Ikeja, Lagos, on Tuesday, November 15, 2016.
Attorney General & Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Adeniji Kazeem (right); Solicitor General/Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Ministry of Justice, Mrs. Funlola Adesola Odunlami (left) and Justice Modupe Nicol Clay (middle) during a 3-Day Lagos Forensic Symposium organised by the State Ministry of Justice and ITSI – Biosciences, USA, at De Renaissance Hotel, Ikeja, Lagos, on Tuesday, November 15, 2016.

Kazeem said the symposium, which was put together by the Lagos State Ministry of Justice and ITSI-Biosciences, Johnstown, PA, United States, was part of measures to sensitize key stakeholders in the justice administration system with the view to adequately prepare them for the new technology coming on board.

He recalled that since inception, the present administration under the leadership of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode had made law and order and security as one of the major focal points of his administration, especially with the procurement of multi billion naira equipment for the police and other security agencies.

“In the same vein, in order to ensure that there is proper investigation and prosecution of crimes, the Governor approved that this DNA Forensic centre be established. The centre will be world class and the first by any State Government in Nigeria and it will help in investigation, prosecution and adjudication.

Assistant Director, Directorate of Public Prosecution, Lagos State Ministry of Justice, Mr. Jide Martins; Special Assistant to the Attorney General & Commissioner for Justice (Lagos), Iyabo Oshodi; President & Chief Scientific Officer, ITSI – Biosciences, USA, Dr. Richard Somiari; Attorney General & Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Adeniji Kazeem and Solicitor General/Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Ministry of Justice, Mrs. Funlola Adesola Odunlami during a 3-Day Lagos Forensic Symposium organised by the State Ministry of Justice and ITSI – Biosciences, USA, at De Renaissance Hotel, Ikeja, Lagos, on Tuesday, November 15, 2016.
Assistant Director, Directorate of Public Prosecution, Lagos State Ministry of Justice, Mr. Jide Martins; Special Assistant to the Attorney General & Commissioner for Justice (Lagos), Iyabo Oshodi; President & Chief Scientific Officer, ITSI – Biosciences, USA, Dr. Richard Somiari; Attorney General & Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Adeniji Kazeem and Solicitor General/Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Ministry of Justice, Mrs. Funlola Adesola Odunlami during a 3-Day Lagos Forensic Symposium organised by the State Ministry of Justice and ITSI – Biosciences, USA, at De Renaissance Hotel, Ikeja, Lagos, on Tuesday, November 15, 2016.

“What it means is that our crimes will be resolved faster, there would be more potent and precise investigation by the police and the situation where people are wrongly accused and convicted will be eliminated and the right people who have committed crimes would be prosecuted. This is good for Nigeria, it is good for Lagos and it shows that Lagos is a leader and it will continue to be a leader in innovation and technology.

“The centre is going to be ISO certified which means it is going to be world class; it is going to be used by not only Lagosians or Nigerians and I am sure that international institutions or organizations, embassies that are in Nigeria will utilize it. People from West Africa and even in the entire sub-Saharan Africa will utilize it. We are not going to cut any corners and it will be world class. What people do presently is that some of the samples for testing are flown abroad for sampling in South Africa, United States, United Kingdom and the likes but we are going to stop all that and have our own world class DNA Forensic Centre here in Lagos,” Kazeem said.

While expressing excitement at the introduction of science and technology to the investigative and judicial process in the State, Kazeem said the development will energize the criminal justice system to fight all forms of criminality including sexual and gender based crimes, organized home burglaries, adding: “With DNA Forensics, each suspect can be put in a database and even if there is not enough evidence in the first or second case, a pattern would have been established and the person’s records are on file such that if they come up at another crime scene, it becomes much easier to get a conviction.”

L-R: Attorney General & Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Adeniji Kazeem, with Attorney & Forensic Consultant, ITSI – Biosciences, USA, Mr. Rockne Harmon and President & Chief Scientific Officer, ITSI – Biosciences, USA, Dr. Richard Somiari during a 3-Day Lagos Forensic Symposium organised by the State Ministry of Justice and ITSI – Biosciences, USA, at De Renaissance Hotel, Ikeja, Lagos, on Tuesday, November 15, 2016.
L-R: Attorney General & Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Adeniji Kazeem, with Attorney & Forensic Consultant, ITSI – Biosciences, USA, Mr. Rockne Harmon and President & Chief Scientific Officer, ITSI – Biosciences, USA, Dr. Richard Somiari during a 3-Day Lagos Forensic Symposium organised by the State Ministry of Justice and ITSI – Biosciences, USA, at De Renaissance Hotel, Ikeja, Lagos, on Tuesday, November 15, 2016.

Lead discussant at the symposium and President of ITSI-Biosciences, Dr Richard Somiari said the State would benefit a lot from the DNA centre, adding that with forensic capabilities, crimes would be resolved faster, and some many cases which hitherto could not be resolved would be addressed faster.

On his part, Chairman of Ikeja Branch of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Mr. Dele Oloke, said the establishment of DNA centre was an eloquent confirmation that Lagos is being governed by deep thinkers and vibrant people, adding that the centre would also help in reducing incidences of innocent people being unduly punished, thereby reducing cases of awaiting inmates in the prison.

Only A Viable Workforce Can Drive Government Policies and Programmes

Only A Viable Workforce Can Drive Government Policies and Programmes

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode on Friday restated his administration’s commitment to reforms in the state civil service, saying that only a viable workforce can drive the policies and programmes of any government.

The Governor who spoke when he received the Head of Service of the Federation, Mrs Winifred Oyo-Ita, on a courtesy visit at the Lagos House, Ikeja, said he remains a strong supporter of public service reforms, adding that any government desirable of making positive change in the lives of the citizenry must have a motivated and trained workforce.

061A3392

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode (right), being presented with a frame by Head of Service of the Federation, Mrs. Winifred Ekanem Oyo-Ita (left), during a courtesy visit to the Governor, at the Lagos House, Ikeja, on Friday, March 11, 2016.

“We do not have any choice, because the engine room of whatever it is that is our policy or programme is actually in the public service and in the civil service, so it is important that we must tag along on the same wavelength with all the civil servants for us to be able to achieve all the programmes our party, the APC has decided to put across to all Nigerians,” he said.

He assured Mrs. Oyo-Ita of his administration’s continuous support to enhance the partnership between the state and federal government in the areas of training and retraining of public servants, saying that it was germane to ensuring continuity in governance.

PIX 3686L-R: Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, with Permanent Secretary, Office of the Head of Service of the Federation, Chief Yemi Adelakun and Head of Service of the Federation, Mrs. Winifred Ekanem Oyo-Ita, during a courtesy visit to the Governor, at the Lagos House, Ikeja, on Friday, March 11, 2016.

“So it is in our better interest that we enhance this relationship. I give you my commitment further to say that there is value in it, it is important that we build a virile civil service that can stand the test of time that even when programmes do change or parties do change, the bull work of the machinery of deliverables to our people which is the civil service, remains very strong. That is what I am committed to”.

He also pledged his commitment to collaborate with the Federal Government on enhancing the commercial nature of the public service, expressing optimism that if put in the right perspective, it could engender economic growth and increase the GDP of the nation.

061A3407

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode (middle), ina group photograph with Head of Service of the Federation, Mrs. Winifred Ekanem Oyo-Ita (4th left); Permanent Secretary, Office of the Head of Service of the Federation, Chief Yemi Adelakun; Lagos State Head of Service, Mrs. Olabowale Ademola (4th right); Commissioner for Establishments & Training, Dr. Benson Akintola (3rd right) and others during a courtesy visit to the Governor by Head of Service of the Federation, at the Lagos House, Ikeja, on Friday, March 11, 2016.

Earlier, Mrs. Oyo-Ita said she was in Lagos to visit some of the federal institutions in the state, just as she sought the Governor’s support towards revving the comatose nature of some of the federal training institutes so as to make them efficient.

“I am very passionate about training and retraining civil servants. No doubt, you will agree with me that no matter how eloquent and excellent the policy thrust of government may be, the civil service is the engine room and if the workforce are not well trained they cannot in anyway bring to realization, the lofty goals of that administration and that is why we are looking back into what we have already developed over the years but somehow, it has been left to decay.

061A3403

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode (middle), flanked by Head of Service of the Federation, Mrs. Winifred Ekanem Oyo-Ita (left) and Lagos State Head of Service, Mrs. Olabowale Ademola (right), during a courtesy visit by the Head of Service of the Federation, at the Lagos House, Ikeja, on Friday, March 11, 2016.

“When you see what is going on in our training institutes, for example, the Federal Training Centre in Lagos that I visited yesterday it needs a lot of work to bring it back to the level that it is expected of it. That is why I am putting a lot of effort into restructuring our training institutes, the facilities, they have the infrastructure and the resource persons, its curriculum and so on, so that we can bring it up to an international level whereby we have people coming from other African and West African countries as it happened in times past. This is one place we need your support,” she said.

Oyo-Ita also highlighted the intentions of her office to improve on the commercial orientation of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of the Federal Government, saying the economic downturn has made it imperative for MDAs to become more commercial oriented.

PIX 3419

R- L: Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode (middle), with Chairman, Civil Service Commission, Mrs. Adeyinka Taiwo Oyemade; Director General, Public Service Staff Development Centre, Mrs. Olubunmi Fabanwo; Head of Service of the Federation, Mrs. Winifred Ekanem Oyo-Ita; Lagos State Head of Service, Mrs. Olabowale Ademola; Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Establishments & Training, Mrs. Folasade Ogunnaike and Director, Lagos Liaison Office, Mrs. Ibironlke Okikiola during a courtesy visit by the Head of Service of the Federation, at the Lagos House, Ikeja, on Friday, March 11, 2016.

She lauded Governor Ambode’s strides in the last nine months, saying that the impact of his policies and programmes are already being felt across the state.

“Indeed it is an honour to be given this opportunity to visit and pay a courtesy call on my own brother and classmate. When we left UNILAG in 1984, we never thought that when we meet, we would be meeting in this capacity because we were wearing jeans and tee-shirt and snickers and just going our happy way. We thank God for what he has used us to do in our various environments.

061A3392

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode (right), being presented with a frame by Head of Service of the Federation, Mrs. Winifred Ekanem Oyo-Ita (left), during a courtesy visit to the Governor, at the Lagos House, Ikeja, on Friday, March 11, 2016.

“That is why I am here to congratulate you on your well deserved election and appointment as Executive Governor of Lagos State, we are already seeing what you are doing in this state, you are continuing with the zeal and passion of your predecessors,” she said.

Lagos Monarchs Visit: Commendation Will Spur Us to Do More

Lagos Monarchs Visit: Commendation Will Spur Us to Do More

The Lagos State Council of Traditional Rulers and Chiefs on Thursday commended the State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode and all the security agencies in the state for the prompt and successful rescue of the students of Babington Macaulay Junior Seminary School in Ikorodu who were kidnapped by gunmen at their school on February 29.

The traditional rulers, who stated this when they paid a courtesy visit to the Governor at the Lagos House in Ikeja, said the swift response and collaboration between the state government and security agencies which culminated in the rescue of the three affected girls and arrest of the hoodlums, was highly commended and that same was an eloquent confirmation that security and welfare of the people is paramount to the current administration in the state.

PIX 3402

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode (right), making his remarks when the Oba of Lagos & Chairman, Council of Obas & Chiefs, Oba Rilwan Akiolu I, paid him a courtesy visit, at the Lagos House, Ikeja on Thursday, March 10, 2016.

Briefing journalists at the end of the visit, Oba of Lagos, HRM Rilwan Akiolu said the kidnap of the girls had again brought to the fore the need to remind Lagosians to be security conscious and be alert at any given point in time.

He said: “We are here to appreciate what God has done in the recovery of the abducted school girls and to thank the Governor, the security forces, particularly the Commissioner of Police, the State Director of DSS, the Commander of 9th Mechanised Division of the Nigerian Army and all other security forces who worked tirelessly in the recovery of the three children.

“They really moved in on time and they achieved success with God’s guidance and help. So, we are here to appreciate them and to alert the people on the need to be security conscious. We are also here to pray for the success of the Lagos State Government and to brief the Governor on the outcome of my visit to Saudi Arabia with Mr. President.

PIX 3493

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode (left), exchanging pleasantries with Oba Oniru of Iruland, Oba Abiodun Idowu Oniru (2nd right) while Oba of Ketu, Oba Isiaka Adio Balogun (2nd left) and Ojoni of Lagos, Chief Nurudeen Olubiyi Agoro (right) watch with admiration, during a courtesy visit by the Council of Obas and Chiefs in the State, at the Lagos House, Ikeja on Thursday, March 10, 2016.

“We were very happy when we heard the news of the rescue of the girls and you see the efficacy of prayer is not in doubt. All hands were on deck and God heard our prayers and we were very happy. The Governor played the role of a father, an administration and of a man who cared for the welfare of his people, and our prayer is that God almighty will continually be with him and all of us,” Oba Akiolu said.

Responding, Governor Ambode said the primary purpose of government is to ensure the security and welfare of the people, assuring that his administration would not renege in keeping faith with that role.

He thanked the monarchs for finding time to come and appreciate what his administration has been doing especially in terms of security, saying that the visit would further spur him to do more for the people.

PIX 3525

 Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode (2nd right), discussing with White Cap Chiefs –  Egbe of Lagos, Chief Abayomi Olusi; Obanikoro of Lagos, Chief Ajayi Bembe and Ologun Agun of Lagos, Chief Raufu Salam during a courtesy visit by the Council of Obas and Chiefs in the State , at the Lagos House, Ikeja on Thursday, March 10, 2016.

“I just want to say a very big thank you to my royal fathers, my chiefs and this is coming from the bottom of my heart because for you to have thought it necessary to come and show appreciation about what has happened about our security situation in the last one week means that the concern that you have brought here is about the progress and unity of Lagos State in general.

“What you have done will more or less inspire us to do more. Your visit to the Lagos House today in respect of the three children that were kidnapped and later recovered is to send a message that you are in support of all our security agencies and you are also in support of the government with the way we have given security the required attention.

PIX 3459

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode (right), in a warm handshake with Onikosi of Ikosi, Oba Alamu Oloyede (left) while Olubeshe of Ibeshe, Oba Richard Ogunsanya (middle) watches with admiration, during a courtesy visit by the Council of Obas and Chiefs in the State , at the Lagos House, Ikeja on Thursday, March 10, 2016.

“You will recall also that the paramount reason why we are in government is for the safety and welfare of all Lagosians and we would not renege in ensuring that we keep Lagos safe and ensure that the lives and property of all Lagosians are of paramount importance to us,” the Governor said.

Lagos Sets Up Revenue Court To Tackle Tax Evaders, Defaulters

Lagos Sets Up Revenue Court To Tackle Tax Evaders, Defaulters

The Lagos State Government on Tuesday said it would apply the relevant laws to ensure that more Lagosians voluntarily pay their taxes, just as it warned that tax evaders and defaulters would be prosecuted.

State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Adeniji Kazeem, who stated this during a press conference held at the Bagauda Kaltho Press Centre in Alausa Secretariat, said in view of the extreme financial downturn, there was the strong need for government to ramp up its Internally Generated Revenue (IGR), stressing that the state would spare nothing in enforcing the laws regulating tax payment.

He said the administration of Governor Ambode had put in place necessary measures to end the era of tax evasion and indeed avoidance in the state, adding that tax avoiders and evaders would be aggressively pursued in line with the provisions of the law.

 PIX 0973

Chairman, Lagos Internal Revenue Service (LIRS), Mr. Olufolarin Ogunsanwo (middle), addressing journalists on Tax Reforms in the State, Commissioner for Finance, Dr. Mustapha Akinkunmi (right) and Commissioner for Information & Strategy, Mr. Steve Ayorinde (left) during a Press Conference by LIRS at the Bagauda Kaltho Press Centre, the Secretariat, Alausa, Ikeja, on Tuesday, March 08, 2016.

The Commissioner, who disclosed that the Ministry of Justice had established a Rapid Tax Prosecution Unit to aid the Lagos Internal Revenue Service (LIRS) in its drive to collect taxes, added that the unit would work closely with the Revenue Court which the Chief Judge of Lagos State recently agreed to set up.

He said: “Prosecution and jail term for defaulting tax payers will be a tool that we will be actively using to ensure full compliance. Tax officers, I understand, will be very aggressive in their collection of taxes and the public is hereby advised to cooperate with them because obstruction of these tax officers in their lawful duty can and will lead to prosecution.

“Tax dodgers watch out because the long arm of the law will eventually reach you. All tax payers are also reminded that giving false information is also an offence and can be used in the prosecution of your tax default. If you pay your taxes regularly, you will have no problem,” Kazeem said.

 PIX 0900

Attorney General & Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Adeniji Kazeem; Commissioner for Finance, Dr. Mustapha Akinkunmi and Chairman, Lagos Internal Revenue Service (LIRS), Mr. Olufolarin Ogunsanwo during a Press Conference on Tax Reforms in the State by LIRS at the Bagauda Kaltho Press Centre, the Secretariat, Alausa, Ikeja, on Tuesday, March 08, 2016.

On his part, the State Commissioner for Finance, Dr. Mustapha Akinkunmi, said the state generated at least N24.5billion from IGR in the month of January 2016, in line with the efforts of the Governor Akinwunmi Ambode-led administration to reform its tax system and develop a tax paying culture.

Akinkunmi said in the light of the reduction of federal transfers to states including Lagos, the state government was looking inwards to secure sustainable ways of increasing its revenue profile and plugging leakages in the system.

He said majority of the state’s IGR is generated through tax collection, administered by the LIRS.

According to Akinkunmi, the LIRS contributed 79 per cent to the State’s IGR in 2015, which equates to 56 per cent of the State’s total revenue including Federal transfers, adding that the revenue is expected to continue on an upward swing, driven by strong tax collection.

 PIX 0144

Commissioner for Finance, Dr. Mustapha Akinkunmi; Chairman, Lagos Internal Revenue Service (LIRS), Mr. Olufolarin Ogunsanwo; Commissioner for Information & Strategy, Mr. Steve Ayorinde and Chairman, Lagos House Committee on Finance, Hon. Yinka Ogundimu during a Press Conference on Tax Reforms in the State by LIRS at the Bagauda Kaltho Press Centre, the Secretariat, Alausa, Ikeja, on Tuesday, March 08, 2016.

He said, “This trend of strong performance is continuing. In January this year, LIRS has contributed N24.5billion in revenue, attaining 98 per cent budget performance for the month and recording 12 per cent growth from the same period in 2014.”

The Finance Commissioner attributed the improvement in the revenue generation of the state to voluntary tax compliance by tax paying members of the public despite the harsh economic terrain.

On his part, the LIRS Chairman, Mr. Olufolarin Ogunsanwo, said the agency had consistently been at the vanguard of ensuring reforms in the state to improve the ease of doing business in Lagos, adding that such reforms would aid voluntary tax compliance.

Ogunsanwo said that government was already working to bring more members of the informal sector into the tax net, saying that the Tax Returns Form had been reduced to two pages as against the six pages document hitherto in operation.

He also said that the agency, in an effort to bring efficient service delivery closer to the people, recently commissioned two new tax offices in Tejuosho and Sangotedo, adding that efforts was also being made to open additional two Tax Stations within Amuwo Odofin/Festac and Alimosho axis.

He thanked willful taxpayers and implored Lagosians to continue to pay their taxes as at when due, saying that in doing this, they empowered the state government to embark on infrastructural renewal and provision of dividends of democracy to the citizenry.

He said so far, the provision of the N4.8billion security equipment, provision of new ambulances, the N25billion Employment Trust Fund, the Light Up Lagos project, massive road construction, among others, had been provided through revenue generated from tax.