The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has summoned the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola (SAN) to the alleged abandonment of a road in Benue State.
The Minister is to appear before it on the June 29 to explain why the federal government allegedly abandoned the Makurdi-Gboko Federal Highway in violation of the rights of the people of Mbayion District of Gboko Local Government Area of Benue State.
The Chairman of the Commission, Prof. Bem Angwe, issued the summons in Abuja following a petition submitted by traditional rulers from Gboko Local Government Area of Benue State.
Leader of the traditional rulers from the area, Mr Pius Anga says the deplorable nature of the Makurdi-Gboko Federal Highway has become a death trap to motorists plying the route resulting in many road accidents that has caused the death of some important Nigerians.
The Lagos State Government on Wednesday advised eligible and registered voters who are yet to pick up their Permanent Voters Card (PVC) in the 11 Local Governments where the distribution took place over the weekend, to do so in the offices of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) located at the Local Government offices.
The 11 Local Governments where distribution of Permanent Voters Card took place were Agege, Ajeromi-Ifelodun, Ifako-Ijaiye, Ikeja, Mushin, Lagos Island, Lagos Mainland, Ibeju-Lekki, Ikorodu, Kosofe and Ojo.
Free toll lines were also activated on the same day regarding problems experienced in the recent Permanent Voters Card (PVC) distribution.
Members of the public who have any complaint or seek information concerning the Permanent Voters’ Card were asked to communicate such complaints by text only.
In a Press Statement signed by the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Lateef Ibirogba, said the lines have become expedient following numerous anomalies arising from the distribution of the Card in 11 out of 20 Local Government Areas of the state, adding that they would serve as avenues for public enlightenment.
He said the numbers, which according to him, would be publicized on the Government’s website and Social Media, would open a channel of interaction between Government and members of the public over the Permanent Voters’ Card.
He also noted that the interaction would enable the government to explain and give useful information to the electorates and enable them obtain their PVC successfully.
Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Fashola (SAN) on Sunday lambasted the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) over the hiccups recorded during the Permanent Voter Cards (PVC) distribution exercise .
“This is an exercise INEC told us they are going to be ready in August, then they moved it to September; then November and they still didn’t get it right”, he said on Politics Today.
The Governor, who said residents of Lagos have been sending him text messages on INEC’s poor outing on the exercise, added that “if people are feeling that this is the rigging plan, then we need to be careful” wondering “if INEC is nurturing or threatening this democracy”.
He noted that the electoral umpire is sending the wrong signal to the electorates, adding that with such complaints coming from various quarters, INEC is giving Nigerians the impression that “it is a referee with an interest.
“From the foundation of the election, the participants are saying this is already wrong”, he said, adding that “we may be heading for trouble”.
Though he agreed that election planning has to do with a huge logistic operation, Governor Fashola insisted that INEC should have started planning for the 2015 election immediately after the 2011 general elections.
He wondered why “India with over a billion people can organise elections and we dont hear these kind of things every four years, America with 300 million people can organise election; Brazil just finished elections, I think they have about 300 million people too, what is then wrong with 170 million that we can’t organise election? Is the head of the organisation unable or unwilling?.
“Let us go back to 2010-2011 when the current INEC chairman was new, he told us then that he has found something he called the Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS); it was technology we paid for and he assured all of us that this is the real deal.
“And these cards (Permanent Voter Card) are the result of that AFIS and if you look on the register you will see duplications. So what did INEC buy?, did they buy a second hand AFIS?, he asked.
Governor Fashola stated that the Lagos State Government purchased AFIS machines for the Lagos State Residents Registration from Japan, adding that the machine has identified multiple registrations by residents of Lagos, insisting that “this is what should have been done over four years and not now”.
He said Nigerians expected INEC to get better with the exercise with time, maintaining that “it is time we begin to focus on INEC as an institution that is threatening the democratic process of the country”.
Governor Fashola further listed problems that have contributed to the alleged failure of the PVC distribution exercise.
He noted that “there is a logistical failure; the facts are that the exercise has not progressed as planned and citizens are not able to get their cards.
“My own local government, has been suspended from the exercise. They have postponed mine, they have postponed that of the deputy governor and they have suspended that of the speaker” wondering “what kind of message they are sending to the body politics”.
Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN), Sunday assured Lagos state residents of the resolve of his administration to contain the spread and overcome the deadly Ebola Virus which was imported into the State early this month by late Patrick Sawyer.
In a Statewide broadcast, Governor Fashola said the resolve was based on the courage so far shown by the first set of health workers at the State and Federal levels as well as the leadership of the State and Federal Ministries of Health with the support of the Government’s international partners.
He said the resolve is also reinforced by the encouraging reports that emanate daily from the isolation wards about those who are receiving treatment and those under surveillance pointing out that while 61 persons, who have been under observation in the last 21 days have been discharged, there is a report that a confirmed victim of the disease has fully recovered.
Fashola told Lagos residents that contrary to the rumour that it lacks the resources to tackle the challenge posed by the virus, the State has enough resources to fund everything that is needed adding that the House of Assembly has also approved a request for any needed help.
The Governor noted that the recovery of a victim has reinforcement the advice from experts that the Ebola virus infection is not an automatic death sentence, “this is encouraging news from which our containment strategy can profit greatly”, he said, adding that the State has no case of unknown origin which could raise the risk of an epidemic.
He applauded the first set of health workers at the State and Federal levels who, according to him, “stood up to be counted” as well as the leadership demonstrated by the State and Federal Ministries of Health with the support of international partners.
“In spite of fear, they stood up to be counted at a time of grave danger. We salute their courage, professionalism, patriotism and humanitarian disposition. They are the heroes and heroines that we have looked for for a long time. I cannot thank them enough”, the Governor said, adding that what they need now is encouragement and support to gain even stronger control of the situation.
Fashola expressed joy that in the last one week, the response of the State to the sudden challenge has become a lot better than when the news first broke while the capacity to cope with it is increasing daily, adding that although some lives have unfortunately been lost, the State is not yet at an epidemic stage of the disease and Government is determined to do everything not to get to that stage.
According to the Governor, this has been made possible with the advice of the technical partners such as the World Health Organization, the Centre for Disease Control and the Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) who, according to him, “have tracked the Ebola virus and studied it for decades”.
While assuring that Government is doing everything to ensure the safety of the workers and give them confidence to continue their work, Fashola appealed to Lagos residents not to do anything to distract them or de-motivate the workers, adding that what the workers do not need are rumours and the distractions that such rumours can bring with them”.
The Governor, who acknowledged the concerns and anxiety of friends and relatives of sick victims, assured them of the concerted efforts of Government and added that that the fact that they expect special care for their loved ones is both understandable and expected of them as friends and relatives.
“I assure you that they are receiving the best care that the experts have recommended to us, given the circumstances; because they say that this is the best way to proceed especially because experienced personnel in Ebola containment and management have always been a challenge”, the Governor said.
He called for additional medical personnel “who are willing to volunteer to join hands with those on the frontline”, adding, however, that the experts have cautioned that those who signed up cannot immediately start to participate in the isolation ward where sick people are being treated no matter how qualified and experienced they are.
“They must undergo a few days of training by our international body of advisers and understand the protocol for operation in the isolation ward for their own safety and sustenance of the containment plan to stop the virus from spreading”, he said.
Lagos State Governor, Mr Babatunde Fashola (SAN), Wednesday reiterated his call for regional integration as a development model across the globe.
Hosting the Head of European Union delegation in Nigeria, Mr. Michel Arrion at the State House, Marina, Fashola stressed the need for cooperation among nations of the world saying such would produce amazing results if well managed.
The Governor told his guest, “It is interesting that you hold the view that regional integration will soon catch up with the rest of the world. Well size is important, collaboration is also important and team work can produce amazing result”.
He, however, noted that the success of such collaboration would depend largely on the integrating nations playing their individual roles well and acting in the interest of the team adding that such arrangements sometimes run into murky waters when some of the collaborating nations feel that others are not playing their own roles well.
“I know that in some of these arrangements some people are feeling that they are doing more than they should and some are feeling that they are doing less than they should”, the Governor said adding that such notions create domestic problems for some of them.
Using the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) as an example of regional integration, the Governor noted that “I should know because Nigeria is not just a member of the ECOWAS but she is a driver of ECOWAS itself. The integration of West African States is not without its own problems and of course its own benefits” insisting that it is a model in the making; there is nothing in the world which is perfect”.
Welcoming the envoy to the State, he promised that his administration would do whatever they could to assist him during his tenure to make his assignment “much more successful, much more enjoyable and much more eventful” adding that “we look forward to doing business with you”.
Earlier in his opening remarks, the diplomat had told the Governor that he was in Lagos to explore means of fostering greater relationships between the State and the EU noting that he has some experience in West African affairs having served over the years in countries such as Mali, Cote d’Ivoire and Liberia.
Mr. Michel Arrion, who said he was ready to share with Lagos the experiences of the European Union, which he described as “the most achieved integration union in the world”, said regional integration represents the future for many regions across the globe.
The Governor of Lagos State, Babatunde Fashola, has said that the essence of the Lagos Economic Summit, tagged Ehingbeti 2014 was for the private sector to draw the attention of the Government to places where its activities would enable the private sector achieve its potential in terms of delivering of service, provision of opportunities and growth of the economy.
Speaking on Channels Television breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, Governor Fashola said that the summit which holds bi-annually was to check the progress of the resolutions carried out in the previous summit and how they had been implemented.
In an effort to further emphasize its mission to encourage more private sector involvement in the development of Lagos State, Governor Fashola spoke about different areas of the state’s economy, providing insight into his administration’s efforts at creating a conducive environment for investment.
Power generation came to the fore, being the focus of Ehingbeti 2014. He stated that the distribution and generation of power were now in the hands of the private sector, which makes it easier for people that have investments in the sector.
Governor Fashola disclosed that for about 4 years, Government had invested in a transformer manufacturing company in Badagry, and this was because they anticipated that when power generation ultimately became sufficient, there would be need to get power into homes, which called for buying of cable, transformers, and meters to measure the power.
He stated that a large number of these assets had been imported into the country but Nigerians could not wait to have power supply in their homes, unaware that “after these assets come into the country there might not be transformers”, but the good news was that “ transformers are now produced in the country.”
The Governor also revealed that the Akute Power Plant now enables the powering of Iju Water Works and increases the utilization capacity of the water works, “Power that should have gone to Iju is now available on the grid for the supplier to deal with and distribute to the ordinary consumer”.
Governor Fashola further mentioned the Alausa Power Plant which he said had freed off 10megawatts of power demand by government from public power.
He noted, “Power is available on the grid and should go ordinarily to private citizens” and according to him, the same goes to the State House, High Court, Magistrate Court, 14 schools, adding that his government had supported some other public amenities that were not state owned, like churches, police formations amongst others.
He also mentioned that in about 6 years, his government had been able to develop three independent power plants, with two more to be completed in Lekki and Ikeja, and for the sustainability of its efforts, he urged that Nigerians should conserve power, “People must shut down appliances that they are not using , it saves money in your pocket.” He also emphasized the need to save water, urging the media to help preach the message.
Speaking on the Resident Registration Exercise, Governor Fashola stated that the exercise was essential and useful for the power sector and telecommunications, to enable them know where their customers and consumers are, noting that it would also require auditing.
“This exercise will require auditing of information for future purposes”, he said.
On the recent controversies surrounding the payment of toll at the Lekki area of Lagos, Gov. Fashola said that the Lagos State Government had appealed the court judgement stopping it from collecting toll at the Lekki-Ikoyi bridge, and had asked for an order to stay execution of the judgement. He explained that when a party is applying that the enforcement of a judgement should be stayed, it is technically a suspension of the enforcement of that judgement until the court determines if the application would succeed.
Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN), Tuesday flagged off the first draw of the Lagos Home Ownership Mortgage Scheme (Lagos H.O.M.S.) with an appeal to emerging the home owners under the Scheme to endeavour to meet all obligations that come with the ownership.
In his remarks just before the draws began, Governor Fashola emphasized the need for prospective home owners under the scheme to pay their monthly mortgage regularly pointing out that it would ensure that money would always be available to build more houses and give other tax paying Lagosians the opportunity to also benefit from the scheme.
“By so doing, you will bring back a pool of money into the system that allows us and enables us to build for other people who have also paid taxes and who are waiting on the queue”, the Governor said adding that if all mortgage owners who benefit from the scheme pay up their mortgages promptly, in seven years time the scheme would become self-sustaining.
According to the Governor, “In that case the Lagos State Government will no longer need to put any more money into this scheme because of the money that will be coming out. So that is the biggest responsibility that home owners have”.
On the second phase of the Lagos HOMS initiative, Fashola said the Committee was already working out the modalities that would allow Private Sector builders to participate in the scheme explaining that Government would be the guarantee purchaser of the homes built by them for sale to the public under the scheme.
“By so doing, we will be in the position to either double or triple the number of homes from 200 to 600 or 800 per month if we allow private sector to build. We will buy from them and put into the mortgage pool and distribute out”, the Governor said.
On whether or not the Lagos HOMS initiative will continue after he has left governance of the State, Fashola explained, “The institution is emerging, people have taken control. I have walked here this morning to come and see what is happening and I am pleased with what I see and I am proud of what our team is doing”.
“Of course, most importantly, transparency has been demonstrated so far and would be demonstrated throughout these proceedings; because, as I said when I inaugurated this scheme, a lot of people said we have sold the houses to ourselves, but the real home owners will emerge in a transparent process before you today”, he said.
The draw, which was supervised by the officials of the Lagos Mortgage Board, including the Executive Secretary, Mr. Akinola Kodjo Sagoe, produced a total of 31 winners in the three categories of One, Two and Three bedroom homes spread across the five estates that were up for sale including Sir, Michael Otedola Estate, Odogunyan in Ikorodu, CHOIS Estate, Abijo, Lekki, Shitta Scheme 1 and 2, Surulere, Alhaja Adetoun Mustapha and Hon. Olaitan Mustapha Estates, Ojokoro and Oba Lateef Adams Estate Iloro, Agege.
In his remarks earlier, the Executive Secretary of the Lagos Mortgage Board, Mr. Akinola Kodjo Sagoe, explained that a total of 200 houses were available for the draw pointing out, however, that out of the 322 applicants in the different categories, only 98 met the requirements and cut-off date for submission of forms for the first draw.
According to him the remaining 169 houses from the first draw would be rolled over to the next draw for next month where both those who could not win this month and those who did not meet the requirement for the first draw will have another opportunity without having to apply again.
The Lagos State Tribunal of Enquiry into the fire and explosion that occurred on the 26th December, 2012 in Lagos Island will hold its inaugural sitting on the 4th of April.
The tribunal will also start to entertain the contributions and testimonies of the members of the public on the 8th of April.
The chairman of the tribunal, Justice Sunday Oladokun-Ishola (rtd) has, however, appealed to concerned parties and members of the public who have outstanding memoranda to ensure that they turned them in before the close of work on Tuesday, the 26th of March.
Three months ago, on the 26th of December 2012, fireworks allegedly stored in a building exploded, causing a blaze which destroyed lives and properties of residents and traders in Lagos Island.
The State Governor, Babatunde Fashola (SAN) inaugurated a tribunal to, among other things, inquire into the immediate and remote causes of the incident and establish a legal framework for the importation, distribution and sale of fireworks in the state with a view to finding solutions to forestall a recurrence.
Meanwhile, the members of the tribunal have paid a courtesy call on the chairman of the Lagos Island local government, Wasiu Sanni, in whose domain the incident occurred, assuring members of the public willing to testify when hearing commences on the 8th of April that their evidence will not be used against them.
The tribunal is expected to sit for three months after which it is required to submit its recommendations to the state governor.
The Lagos State Governor, Mr Babatunde Fashola (SAN) while unveiling Mallam Nasir El’Rufai’s book titled “The Accidental Public Servant” on Thursday stated that there is a need for public officials to document their activities after public office.
Governor Fashola who spoke as the Chief Presenter of the book during the public presentation held at the Yar’Adua Centre, Abuja added that books such as the one written by Mallam El Rufai are in short supply because with the experience he had when he was seeking office as Governor, he had to look for references abroad apart from the book written by late Chief Obafemi Awolowo which he found very useful.
He described the book as a welcome intellectual contribution and one that talks about the most important sector of peoples’ lives which is the public sector and how it is managed, stressing that it is a book about how projects fail and about how they succeed and about how errors are made and successes recorded.
Noting that the book will shed much needed insights into the process of projects completion through quality leadership, the Governor declared: “I think it is a book that I think will connect us to the compelling necessity to ensure that it is the first eleven amongst us in our nation that we entrust with the largest purse and responsibilities”
“When people talk about dearth of leadership, I openly disagree because we have demonstrated leadership in many small sectors but those sectors are not as impactful and they don’t have the responsibility to build roads, they don’t have the responsibility to generate power”.
“So, our compelling necessity is to find ways to bring those champions in the private sector back to the public sector because that is where the largest impact is felt. Perhaps their absence explains why we haven’t had such intellectual contribution from people after leaving office”, he said.
Governor Fashola admonished Malam Nasir EL-Rufai to further avail the nation of his experience by going back to school not to learn but to teach.
“This is the torch passing and development process that enables those nations to continue to renew their human capital and to prepare the next generation for the challenges ahead by taking direct lessons from those who have walked those hallowed paths before”.