Lagos Govt. Promises Better Welfare For Teachers

Lagos Comm Olayinka OladunjoyeLagos State Government, mindful of the pivotal role of Education and the critical role of teachers in the development and economic growth of any nation, says it would continue to be responsive to their welfare and that of other members of its workforce.

The State Commissioner for Education, Mrs. Olayinka Oladunjoye, said this while briefing newsmen at the Bagauda Kaltho Press Centre, Alausa, on Thursday.

She disclosed that this conviction of Government has been the driving force behind its huge investment in Education as well as training and welfare of teachers in its quest to become a model of excellence in Education in the African Continent.

She said that in order to provide qualitative education to the citizenry as well as overcome some of the challenges facing the Education sector; the State Government recently employed no fewer than 1,775 new teachers into the system as secondary school teachers.

She reiterated that Government has been doing this in the face of the limited resources available to it against the background of the competing demands for the resources, adding that Lagos remains perhaps the only state that has consistently and doggedly paid its workforce including teachers up to date and when due.

The Commissioner debunked the insinuations in some quarters to the effect that Lagos State teachers were not happy with the Government, restating that one of the hallmarks of the present administration has been its responsiveness and priority attention to the welfare of its workforce.

The Commissioner said teachers in the state are happy “because before now they did not have the kind of empowerment that they have been provided with” adding that with the EKO Education Project, teachers in the State have been empowered and given some level of accountability which is unprecedented in the nation’s Education history.

Assuring of the State Government’s willingness to complete payment of the 27.5 percent Special Teacher’s Allowance, Mrs. Oladunjoye said that Government was working assiduously with a view to paying the balance of the Special Allowance to the teachers.

“Government therefore craves the understanding of its teachers on this, bearing in mind that government will not hesitate to pay the balance of the allowance as soon as possible. Suffice it to say that the State Government is also determined to make the teaching environment and learning process very conducive to enhance efficiency and effectiveness”, the Commissioner said.

Also speaking, the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Lateef Ibirogba, who was also at the briefing, said that the State Government enjoys a robust relationship with the teachers, adding that the Government could not afford to toy with the welfare of such an important player in its Education sector.

The Special Adviser on Media, Mr. Hakeem Bello, who was also at the briefing, said that while the State Government was not joining issues with any publication, with the advent of new theories in political circles and the possibilities of bandwagon effect, there was a need to put issues in proper perspective.

Later in an interview after the briefing, the State Chairman of the Nigerian Union of Teachers, Mr. Segun Raheem, said that the NUT was not just a labour union but also a professional group which knows how to go about its agitations, stressing that such agitations does not always lead to anger.

He added that from the way the discussion was going along with the Government, there was hope that the State Government would pay the balance of the allowance.

He said that there have been commitments from the State Government on the allowance which has seen the payment of an initial 9.2percent and later another 9 percent with the remaining 11.5 percent being expected.

Raheem said that two months ago, the NUT wrote to the State Government on the balance and that the matter was presented before the Joint Negotiation Council and a pay policy committee was set up with the teachers also invited to present their case, which it did and a subcommittee was set up to look into the financial implication.

The briefing was also attended by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Establishment, Training and Pensions, Mrs. Sade Jaji.

Ban On Hijab: Court Fixes September 26 For Judgment

court-hammer-gavel1A Lagos High Court in Ikeja has fixed September 26 to deliver judgment in a suit filed by the Muslim Student Association of Nigeria against the Lagos State Government over the use of Hijab by female Muslim students in the state’s primary and secondary schools.

Justice Modupe Onyeabo fixed the date after counsel to the students, Mr Gani Adetola-Kaseem (SAN) and the Lagos State Solicitor-General, Lawal Pedro (SAN) argued and adopted their written submissions.

Mr Adetola-Kaseem in his arguments in court on Friday maintained that the essence of wearing Hijab by Muslim females is to prevent them from tempting people of the opposite sex or being tempted by them and also to protect their chastity.

The lawyer also insisted that it is mandatory for all Muslims who have attained puberty to participate fully in the practice of Islam, including Islamic dressing mode, worship and fasting.

He submitted that from the Islamic point of view, womanhood is determined not by biological age or marriage but by the time a person has attained the age of puberty. This age he says varies between individual. Some females attain puberty as early as the age of nine years while others attain puberty at age 13 or more.

The lawyer therefore urged the court to grant the application because the position of the Lagos State Government violates the religious rights of the applicants and it is the duty of the court to protect them.

In his response, the counsel to the State Government, Mr Pedro, argued that the wearing of uniforms in public primary and secondary schools is for identification of students from different schools in Lagos and also to encourage a sense of unity, discipline, organisation and orderliness amongst the schools.

He also submitted that the clamour and demand for the compulsory use of Hijab on top of the school uniform by Muslim girl students in Lagos is a recent development.

Two Muslim students, of Atunrashe Junior High School, Surulere, Lagos State, Miss Asiyat Abdulkareem and Miss Maryam Oyeniyi, had filed the suit through their fathers – Alhaji Owolabi Abdulkareem and Mr. Suleiman Oyeniyi.

In the suit, they claimed that the restriction of the use of the Hijab, violates their fundamental human rights.

They also argued that banning female students from using Hijab on or outside the premises of any educational institution in Lagos State “is wrongful and unconstitutional”.

The defendants in the suit are the Lagos State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Ade Ipaye; the Commissioner for Education, Mrs. Olayinka Oladunjoye; and the Commissioner for Home Affairs and Culture, Mr. Oyinlomo Danmole.

First Set Of Lagos HOMS Allottees Collect Keys

Governor, Babatunde Fashola presenting a key to the winner of the Shitta Scheme, Lagos HOMS, Mrs. Yetunde Oluwaseun and her son, Master Joseph Camille.
Governor, Babatunde Fashola presenting a key to the winner of the Shitta Scheme, Lagos HOMS, Mrs. Yetunde Oluwaseun and her son, Master Joseph Camille.

The first set of successful allottees of the Lagos Home Ownership Mortgage Scheme (Lagos HOMS) was on Monday presented with keys to their various homes by Governor Babatunde Fashola.

The Governor, who spoke at the Conference Room of the Lagos House, Ikeja, expressed the hope that the number of applicants would continue to increase month after month and described the first exercise as the beginning of a journey of promise.

“I am happy to see very young people who have become homeowners in their country and in our state and in a place where young people are struggling. Go and apply, pay your taxes, register as a Lagos resident and the rest is easy”, he added.

He described the first draw as a modest start with 31 successful applicants from 200 homes at the first draw while the remaining 169 would be added to the 200 homes at the second draw which is billed for Friday.

Speaking earlier, the Chairman of the Lagos Mortgage Board and Commissioner for Finance, Mr Ayo Gbeleyi described the event as another promise made and kept by the administration of Mr Bababtunde Fashola.

He added that out of the 31 winners that emerged at the first draw, 11 who have fully completed the requirements and have also achieved closure on their mortgage facilities are being handed their keys.

In a vote of assurance, one of the successful allottees, Mr Amos Omodunni said that after he came across the scheme on one of the social media sites where the photographs of one of the schemes was uploaded when the Governor visited there, he did not expect it to be as seamless and as easy as it turned out to be.

“Everything worked just like clock. I did not have to visit any office or talk to anyone. Everything that I needed to do to complete that application was done just in my office and I did not have to move anywhere”, he said.

Fashola, who also reacting to the vote of assurance given by Mr Omodunni, stated that if Mr Omodunni was the only successful allotee, the efforts of the State Government and the Mortgage Board would still have been worth it.

Another excited allottee, Mrs Yetunde Awopeju who works with Atlas Technical Services Limited, commended Governor Fashola whose foresight, she said had come to the fore with the HOMS scheme.

She added that from what used to be a condemned location and a night club in Surulere, a beautiful estate had risen, adding that she was happy to be a beneficiary of the Shitta Housing Estate.

Mr Daniel Ikpe who works with Zenith Bank Plc recounted how he became aware of the process through the social media network, stressing that all he could volunteer was that the programme is about transparency.

The successful allottes who got keys, were Mrs Abdulmalik Rukiat, Mr Ademola Odujoko, Mr  Ejiroghene Torishedu Madedor, Mr Amos kimeh Omodunni, Mrs Yetunde Oluwaseun Awopeju, Mr Ajayi Omotayo Jubril, Mrs Ganiyat Dolapo Akanni, Mr Gbenga Owolabi, Mr Chukwuneta John Paul Ogbatwi, Mrs Bibian Aloba Kanayo and Mr Ikpeh Daniel Darligton.

The event was witnessed by the Deputy Governor, Mrs Adejoke Orelope –Adefulire, members of the State Executive Council, including the Commissioner for Housing, Mr Bosun Jeje and members of the Mortgage Board, the successful allotees and some members of their family.

 

Fashola Emphasizes Teachers’ Competency, Considers Professionalising Teaching

Fashola on Teachers’ CompetencyThe Lagos State Governor, Mr Babatunde Fashola, on Wednesday attended the One Day Training and Sensitization programme on Teachers Competency Framework, declaring that the State was considering the professionalization of teaching to adequately compensate enterprise.

The Governor who spoke at the Adeyemi Bero Auditorium, Alausa, venue of the programme, added that no teacher should entertain any fear about the intentions of the government as the basic salaries of the teachers would still be applicable to all of them.

“The basic income of teachers would remain but instead of everyone clamouring for the same salary increment, that would be a function of what the person can offer as a professional. Those who improve themselves will always have something to gain”, he added.

He added that what would change is that just as it is obtainable in professional football where members of the same football club earn different match allowances based on their rating and qualifications, additional emoluments for teachers would be based on what each teacher can offer.

The Governor explained further that if for example the state decides that for a particular period of time, its emphasis was going to be on science or Information Communication Technology, (ICT), it would provide incentives to teachers with competencies in such fields so that the teachers may continue to always improve themselves.

Governor Fashola stated that classrooms and beautiful schools don’t teach the children but only committed teachers do, stressing that the State Government has a responsibility to ensure that even private schools are regulated by the government in order to guarantee the quality of competence that goes on in the schools.

“The chances that you would find an unqualified teacher in a public school is almost zero but the chances exist of meeting somebody who has no knowledge at all of classroom management running a private school”, he maintained.

Fashola said that the issue of competence of teachers have become acrimonious but that teachers must be confident to admit that they have shortcomings if indeed they do have, in order to be able to learn, adding that there is no margin for errors in the competence of teachers.

Governor Fashola said that improving the competence of teachers is the next investment which the State government intends to make, just as it is committed to improving water supply to the public schools through its 60 schools water connection project.

He also gave a ray of hope to teachers who have obtained additional qualifications which they have not been able to tender, largely because they never got requisite study approvals before proceeding. He said that the government will also test its competencies in terms of its educational policies to enable teachers to take more knowledge, and for those who have acquired more knowledge not to conceal them.

Earlier, the Tutor- General and Permanent Secretary District 5, Mrs Mary Iji, had given a detailed insight into what the Teachers Framework Exercise was all about, including recommendation on how to make the recruitment process more embracing and all inclusive.

Prominent among those who witnessed the event were the State Commissioner for Education, Mrs Olayinka Oladunjoye, the Special Adviser on Education, Fatai Olukoga, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education, Mrs Omolara Erogbogbo and Tutors General and Permanent Secretaries as well as teachers from all the education districts.

Fashola Sets January 2014 For Allocation Of Lagos Homes

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, on Monday confirmed that the long awaited allocation of houses under the State’s Home Ownership Scheme (Lagos HOMS) would finally kick off in January 2014.

He made this statement at the 24thseries of the traditional 100 days in office commemoration of his administration which was held in the three Senatorial Districts of the State.

At the Teslim Balogun Stadium venue of the Lagos Central Senatorial District session of the event, a spokesman for the state, Mr Bosun Jeje, said that over 5,000 houses were ready for allocation under the scheme.

“There are also many other housing estates still under construction across the State,” Mr Jeje, who is the State’s Commissioner for Housing, said.

Responding to a question on the Scheme during the question and answer session, Mr Jeje said that the Governor had approved another housing estate in Ilubirin that would contain 1,259 housing units and another one at Ibeshe in Ikorodu Local Government Area of the State.

“With the frequency at which the estates come up, it would not be easy to put a permanent figure on the number of houses that would be ready before the take-off of the scheme. The houses are not limited but we have them coming up every day,” he said.

The Commissioner said: “One of the campaign promises that the Governor made at that time was that he would address the problem of housing in Lagos State. He knows it is a challenge and he promised that he would address it and he has started addressing it.”

Giving reasons for the delay in the kick-off of the allocation, the commissioner explained further: “In actual fact, the allocation was meant to start this December but we are trying to have a sustainable programme that is why it has not started. We want to make sure that everything that needs to be done must be done before we start the allocation”.

Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat while speaking on the Residents Registration Agency (LASRRA), explained that the exercise is neither a census nor for the purpose of taxation.

The Commissioner, who is also the leader of the team of State Executive Council members at the Lagos Central Senatorial District said: “The exercise is meant to know the number of people that live in Lagos. It does not matter where you come from; whether you are Igbo or Hausa or Yoruba, once you live in Lagos. This will help us to plan infrastructure, plan hospitals, plan schools and so on and so forth. So we encourage everyone to go and register”.

On Health, Dr. Hamzat said that the State Government had increased the Maternal and Child Care Centres in the State to 10 reiterating that the idea was to bring healthcare to the doorsteps of citizens.

He said that within the period under review, the Government hosted the 56th National Council on Health with the theme; “The Health Sector Now and Beyond 2015.” Mr Jeje said that a total of 92 patients were screened for limb deformation correction surgery while milk sachets were distributed to 58,600 primary one pupils in 983 primary schools in the State under the Schools Milk Programme.

A question and answer session was held at the event, which had other members of the team joining Hamzat in answering questions from those present. They include the Commissioners for Commerce and Industry, Mrs. Sola Oworu, who delivered the welcome address, Transportation, Mr. Kayode Opeifa, Housing, Mr. Bosun Jeje, Education, Mrs. Olayinka Oladunjoye, Physical Planning and Urban Development, TPL Olutoyin Ayinde and Special Adviser on Public Health, Dr. Yewande Adesina, among others.

Also present were Secretary to the State Government, Oluranti Adebule, Commissioner for Special Duties, Dr. Wale Ahmed, Body of Permanent Secretaries, Special Adviser on Information and Strategy, Mr. Lateef Raji, the first Military Administrator of the State, Brig. Gen. Mobolaji Johnson and Chief Molade Okoya Thomas, among other dignitaries.