Governor Akinwunmi Ambode Earmarks N1bn for Schools’ Renovation

Governor Akinwunmi Ambode Earmarks N1bn for Schools’ Renovation

…Vows To Resolve LASU Crisis

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode on Friday said his administration has earmarked over N1billion for renovation and supply of furnitures and education materials across all secondary schools in the state.

The Governor, who reiterated the determination of his administration to invest massively in educational sector, said 1, 300 teachers from thousands of persons who applied last month will soon be employed to teach in the primary schools in the state.

Governor Ambode, who spoke in Ilara-Epe while inaugurating Augustine University, a private university owned by the Catholic Church, also assured of plans of his administration to resolve the lingering crisis in the Lagos State University (LASU).

He said the need to resolve the crisis in the institution prompted the inauguration of new Governing Councils for the institution and other tertiary institutions in the state.

Appreciating the Catholic Church for the project, Governor Ambode said the best way to prepare for change whether positive or negative is to anticipate and manage it.

“From my exposures, I have come to the conclusion that there is no greater form of preparation to manage change than through education”.

“There is no greater investment that the individual parent can make than investment in education of highest possible quality”, he said.

The Governor said that considering the population of Lagos State which is about 20 million, 60 percent of which are people below 35, the State is seriously in need of institutions of learning, adding that the establishment of Augustine University, which brings the number of privately owned universities in the state to four and six universities in all, was a welcome development.

Earlier, in his pre-inaugural briefing, Archbishop of Lagos Catholic Archdiocese, His Eminence Adewale Martins, said the idea to establish the university was muted seven years ago with the laudable goal of taking Catholic education to the next level in Nigeria.

He thanked the Lagos State Government for providing the institution with necessary documents needed for the approval of license by the National Universities Commission (NUC).

The Augustine University sits on a massive 135 hectares of land in Ilara-Epe. The foundation of the institution was laid on October 27, 2009 and the operational license was granted by the NUC on May 27, 2015.

The University is starting with 13 programmes to be run by two faculties.

Address Delivered at the Inaugural Ceremony of Augustine University, Ilara Epe, On Friday, 23rd October, 2015

Address Delivered at the Inaugural Ceremony of Augustine University, Ilara Epe, On Friday, 23rd October, 2015

Protocol

I am very happy to be here to witness the formal inauguration of Augustine University, Ilara-Epe. This is indeed a very heartwarming and welcome development for the entire Epe people, and especially for me as an indigene of Epe.

The inauguration of this Citadel of learning brings to Four (4) the number of Privately-owned Universities in Lagos State and a total number of Six (6) Universities in Lagos State. Considering that we have over a population of over Twenty Million (20m) people, Seventy-Five per cent (75%) of which are below the age of Thirty-Five, you realise that Lagos still needs more Universities and the government alone cannot provide that.

This is why we are grateful to the Catholic Archdiocese of Lagos for establishing the Augustine University. The Catholic Church has always been in the forefront of Educational development in the State with the establishment of first class schools like Saint Gregory’s College and the Maryland school complex. The Mission has continued in its efforts with the establishment of first, a College of Education and now a University.

The foundation laying ceremony of this institution took place about Six (6) years ago in October 2009. The progress made over these past six (6) years has culminated into today’s landmark occasion. This is a clear attestation of the deep commitment of the Catholic Church of Nigeria to education and the visionary leadership of His Eminence, Anthony Cardinal Olubunmi Okogie. Thank you so much.

The significance of this event goes well beyond just the inauguration of this institution, but to the realization of the vision of the Catholic Archdiocese of Lagos to create an educational institution that will serve as an inspirational model to students, faculty, staff, community and above all our country in the years ahead.

There is no doubt that the establishment of this University will bring numerous benefits to the immediate and surrounding communities. Economic and other activities are expected to be accelerated and we expect to begin to witness the setting up of new businesses with potentials of creating employment and other opportunities for the people here.

Everyone here today will agree with me that we live in a time of Change. The best way therefore to manage change, whether positive or negative, is to anticipate it and prepare for it. From my experience, I have come to the conclusion that there is no greater form of preparation to manage change than through education. I also believe that there is no better investment that the individual, parents, and the nation can make than an investment in education of the highest possible quality.

My administration believes strongly in investing in Education. We have recently committed over One Billion Naira (1bn) for the renovation of schools and supply of furniture and educational materials to our Primary and Secondary schools. We have approved the employment of over 1,300 teachers into our Primary schools. This process is ongoing and will be completed next month.

At the tertiary level, we are committed to resolving the ongoing challenges in our State-owned University, Polytechnics and Colleges of Education. We are actively engaging all the major stakeholders and just recently new governing councils were inaugurated. We are confident that very soon the issues around LASU and other tertiary institutions will be resolved.

Education is very critical in today’s world and we must all be ready to contribute our quota to ensure no stone is left unturned in making it the bed rock of our development.

I am delighted that our religious bodies have become actively involved in education again. In the past, missionary schools combined a good mix of academic and moral upbringing, nurturing Nigerians with a conscience and desire to do what is right. I know because I am a product of one of such schools – St. Jude’s Anglican Primary School, Ebutte Metta.

I congratulate the Proprietor of this institution and head of the Catholic Archdiocese of Lagos, Archbishop Alfred Adewale Martins, the Vice Chancellor Professor Steve Olaoluwa Afolami, the Governing Council, Trustees, Management staff, students, the entire Catholic community and the people of Epe on this auspicious and historic occasion.

I have no doubt in my mind that this University will not only raise the standards in University education in Nigeria but will also mould character. Our nation is in need of men of knowledge, but knowledge without character, will not take us to the promise land.

Thank you and God bless you all.

Itesiwaju Ilu Eko, lo je wa l’ogun!!!

Akinwunmi Ambode

Governor of Lagos State,

Alausa.

Lagos Seals Six Companies for Tax Evasion

Lagos Seals Six Companies for Tax Evasion

…Vows To Prosecute Defaulters

The Lagos State Internal Revenue Service (LIRS) on Thursday sealed up six companies for non remittance of taxes due to the state government totaling over N50million.

The defaulting companies (Nicon Town Management Company with a tax liability of N36,053,652.89, Marketing Mix and Company Limited with a liability of N10,712,914.15, Hope Valley International Clinic with a liability of 2,389,885.28, BEC Consultants Nigeria Limited with a tax liability of N792,563.47, Goldmine Global Services Limited owing N505,812.73 and Brown Brommel Limited with a liability of N368,159.63) owed the Lagos State Government money for periods ranging from one to five years (2007 to 2012).

A statement signed by the Executive Chairman of LIRS, Mr Olufolarin Ogunsanwo, said the companies were sealed in pursuant to the provisions of Section 104 of the Personal Income Tax Act 2004 LFN (as amended in 2011) and will not be re-opened for business until all unremitted taxes are paid to the State Government.

He also warned defaulting companies, especially employers of labour that the State Governor, Mr Akinwunmi  Ambode has zero tolerance for tax evasion, adding that LIRS is set to begin criminal prosecution of all tax defaulters in Lagos State to ensure that culprits are made to face the full wrath of the law.

The LIRS boss said that under the Personal Income Tax Act, a taxable person is statutorily required to file a return of income for the preceding year at the expiration of 90days from the commencement of every year of assessment, whilst any employer of labour is required to file all emoluments paid to its employees for the preceding year, not later than 31st of January each year.

“In addition to that, employers will also be required to furnish the LIRS with the salary projection of all staff for the current year. The implication of which is that a taxable person or corporate organisations who have not filed their tax returns with LIRS by the stipulated date is in breach of the provisions of the law, which is a criminal offence that is punishable under the tax laws”, he said.

He listed such infractions to include, non deduction of taxes (PAYE, Withholding tax etc), non remittance of PAYE taxes deducted from employees, non deduction/remittance of taxes by casual workers, non-filing of tax returns at the stipulated statutory period, under declaration of income, concealment of relevant information (Income, fringe benefits etc) with a view to evading tax, failure to process Electronic Tax Clearance Certificate (e-TCC) cards for employees as a result of non remittance of tax deducted from their emoluments.

Ogunsanwo explained that the LIRS has spent the last ten years on advocacy, publicity and enlightenment programmes on the statutory obligations of the citizenry to voluntarily comply by paying their taxes promptly as prescribed in the constitution of the country and the applicable tax legislations, but in spite of the efforts, many corporate organisations and individuals still engage in several infractions.

He however thanked those who have continued to express their unalloyed support to the Lagos State Government by performing their civic duties; stressing that these voluntarily compliant taxpayers are seen as partners in progress, who through the prompt payment of their taxes  empower the State Governor, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode to actualize his developmental agenda of infrastructural renewal, sustainable, habitable and safe environment, multimodal transportation network, qualitative healthcare, education, agricultural development and an investment friendly environment amongst others.

He said the law is clear on issues bordering on tax evasion just as he reiterated that the LIRS will continue to take full advantage of the provisions of the law to prosecute recalcitrant corporate organisations and individuals without further notice.

This Government Will Not Tolerate Breakdown of Law and Order

This Government Will Not Tolerate Breakdown of Law and Order

 …Inaugurates Tribunal of Enquiry Into Killing Of LFTZ Boss

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, on Thursday inaugurated a five-man Tribunal of Enquiry to investigate the civil unrest in Ibeju-Lekki area of the state on October 12, which led to the gruesome murder of the Managing Director of Lekki Worldwide Investment Limited, Alhaji Tajudeen Disu.

Disu was reportedly killed while resolving a land dispute between members of Okunraye Community and some private companies embarking on various massive projects within the Lekki Free Trade Zone (LFTZ).

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The Governor, while inaugurating the Tribunal, said as a responsive and responsible government, it had become necessary for his administration to set up a Tribunal to investigate the remote cause of the unrest with the view to forestalling future re-occurrence.

He said the unrest, if not properly managed and addressed, could lead to total breakdown of law and order, adding that the government was desirous of protecting the lives and property of the citizens.

The Governor added that as a responsible government determined to enforce the rule of law, it is his duty to take firm and purposeful steps to inquire into the origin, factors and circumstances leading to the disturbances at the LFTZ in order to forestall a re-occurrence.

According to him, “At a time when this government is attracting a lot of foreign direct investments and opening up the economy of our State, we cannot afford to have such disturbances. We will not tolerate any violent acts which disturb the security of lives and property in the State”.

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“Having sought advice from the Attorney-General of the State, a Tribunal of Inquiry has been constituted to investigate the remote and immediate causes of this incident and other recommendations therein,” Governor Ambode stressed.

Earlier, the State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Adeniji Kazeem, said in exercise of the powers conferred on the Governor by Section 1 of the Tribunal of Inquiry Law, Laws of Lagos State, 2003, and considering the recent civil disturbances at the Lekki Free Trade Zone, it has become necessary to constitute a panel of enquiry to investigate the unrest.

The terms of reference of the Tribunal, according to Kazeem, include the following; “to find the remote causes of the disturbance; to inquire into all incidental matters that might have led to the event; to collect memoranda from individuals stakeholders from various communities and all interested members of the public on the issue; to invite members of the public, stakeholders and all interested members of the public to give evidence leading to the disturbance; to proffer solutions to forestall the re-occurrence of such event in future; and finally, to make necessary recommendations to the government based on the findings of the Tribunal.”

Kazeem also disclosed that the Tribunal has 45 days to submit its report, and that further days might be added subject to the approval of the Governor.

The Tribunal, which is made up of distinguished Nigerians, has retired Lagos State High Court Judge, Hon. Justice Adesuyi Olateru-Olagbegi as Chairman, while members are Otunba Tunde Seriki, senior legal practitioner; Otunba Yemi Lawal, property developer; Surv. Fuad Kassim, former Surveyor General of the Federation; and Hon. (Mrs) Rafeequat Onabamiro, former member of House of Representatives representing Badagry.

A Chief State Counsel in the Lagos State Ministry of Justice, Mr. Adebayo Haroun is to serve as the Secretary of the Tribunal.

Responding on behalf of members of the Tribunal, Justice Olateru-Olagbegi thanked Governor Ambode for the opportunity given to members of the Tribunal to serve the state.

He assured that the members would work diligently and conscientiously to justify the confidence reposed in them.

While congratulating the Governor for his victory at the Supreme Court which affirmed his election, Justice Olateru-Olagbegi said based on the antecedents of the Governor, he was sure that the state was in best hands.

Lagos State Government Donates N50m Each to Adamawa, Borno, Yobe States

Lagos State Government Donates N50m Each to Adamawa, Borno, Yobe States

…As Gov Ambode Condemns Insurgency In North East

 

The Lagos State Government on Wednesday made donation of N50million each to Adamawa, Borno and Yobe States, worst hit by the nefarious activities of the Boko Haram sect, just as Governor Akinwunmi Ambode condemned the insurgency in the North East.

 

The Governor, who made the donation at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, at a press conference he addressed in company of his colleagues from Adamawa, Senator Bindo Jibrilla; Borno, Alhaji Kashim Shettima; Sokoto, Alhaji Aminu Tambuwal; Abia, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu; and Yobe, Alhaji Ibrahim Geidam, commiserated with the State Governments as well as the families of those who either lost their loved ones or have been displaced from their homes.

 

He said they were not alone in their current plight as the prayer of every Nigerian is for the insurgency to end so as to enable them return to their normal lives.

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“We share in the pain and discomfort of our brothers and sisters. The situation is unacceptable, pathetic and desirous of our assistance. As a flagship state, Lagos must show leadership and compassion notwithstanding the harsh times in the country”, he said.

 

Governor Ambode also commended the Federal Government for its ongoing efforts geared towards bringing the insurgency to an end, expressing optimism that the promise of the security chiefs to rout the sect from the North East before the end of the year is achievable.

 

Responding on behalf of the states, Governor of Borno State, Alhaji Kashim Shettima thanked Governor Ambode for the gesture and promised to channel the money to people of the state who are in dire need of it.

 

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He also expressed appreciation for the brotherly role Lagos State has continued to play all over the country especially to the North East and states affected by the insurgency.