Fashola Commissions 16 Roads In Mushin, Upgrades LASTMA/KAI

Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Fashola, on Tuesday handed over a total of 16 completed inner city roads in Mushin to the residents in a bid to add value to their living standards.

Addressing a large crowd of residents, including traditional rulers, clerics, opinion leaders and community development associations as well as Government officials, Governor Fashola said it was not enough to build and handover roads to the communities, pointing out that the most important thing was to ensure that the roads were put to proper use for the good of the residents.

He, expressed regrets that over time, with habits like dumping refuse on the roads, trading by the side of the streets, washing cars in the middle of the streets and turning the roads into warehouses; life has become a little more difficult than it should be because the roads no longer serve their purpose.

“This pedestrian walk is not a trading place. Let us understand that not everybody has cars, that those who have cars, those who have okada (motorcycle) and those who do not have cars all pay taxes. For those who do not have cars, this is their own road, they should be able to walk without motorists disturbing them”, the Governor said.

The Governor also advised those wishing to lay internet cables to approach the Ministry of Works and Infrastructure to tell them where the ducts meant for such cables are, under the roads. He said: “We need the internet and we also need the road. And we cannot have internet and then lose a road that we have built. So, it must be a win-win situation for us all the time to add onto what we have by putting on more”.

In his earlier welcome address, the Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat, said that by building the roads in Mushin, the State Government has demonstrated its recognition of the need to move the Local Government forward.

“As a Government, we believe that we must transform our city roads and Mushin happens to be one of them”.

The newly handed over roads include Badejo Kalesanmi Street, Kelani Street, Akinyemi Street, Paul Okuntola Street, Apesin Street, Folarin Street, Ajana Street, Akendo Street, Eniola Street, Ishaga Road, Ronke Street, Akinlawon Street, Olanibi Ojekunle Street, Oyewuwo Street, Kekereowo Babalola Street and Sadiku Street.

In a separate ceremony Governor Babatunde Fashola also launched the Lagos State Law Enforcement Training Institute and presided over the graduation of its first 3,311 graduates.

He also announced the creation of a Law Enforcement Cadre in the State Public Service to ensure career progression for all the officers of the two agencies who have been absorbed as permanent staff.

Speaking at the ceremony which took place at the Sir Molade Okoya Thomas Indoor Sports Hall of the Teslim Balogun Stadium, Surulere, the Governor stated that the new public servants will be entitled to all the benefits every public servant had including pension rights under the contributory scheme.

“We have created a new cadre of employment in the Lagos State public service. We have created the law enforcement cadre for you alone. As I said, it has been two years of brutal work but I think we have arrived at a safe destination from which to take off and so people will come in with a right of election into the public service to say they want to be in the law enforcement cadre and as such after the training, the choice of posting will determine whether you go to LASTMA or KAI”.

Continuing, the Governor explained that the cadre had been designed to take cognizance of the various levels of academic qualifications that applicants may present. “There will be threshold entry levels so that school certificate holders do not lead graduates and we would encourage in service training so that you can rise from rank to rank until you reach the pinnacle of your career”, he reiterated.

Governor Fashola however, underscored the need for the officers to rise up to expectations noting that as the State Government offers the incentives it also expects the officers to do the job with passion, pride, dignity and fear of God for the citizens who employed them.

“As you go out remember this day and this people so that you resist whatever temptation you come across. Not to let yourself and them down. Please be reminded that in the public space there is no hiding place. It is not only these cameramen and photographers that engage in this profession.  Everybody now has a camera phone”.

In a speech, the Commencement Speaker and Editor of the Law Section of the ThisDay Newspaper, Mrs Funke Aboyade said that she was very impressed by the training that the officers had undergone since September 24, 2012, when the programme began.

She noted that as the graduates would begin work with and within communities as advocates of enlightenment they would begin to change the attitude of fellow Lagosians and would also begin to see that the public treatment and perception of them would change for the better.

Thisday Building Bomber Jailed For Life

Mustapha Umar, Boko Haram Member.A member of the Boko Haram terrorist group, Mustapha Umar, has been sentenced to life imprisonment with hard labour for throwing explosives into a plaza occupied by Thisday newspaper and two other newspaper publishers in Kaduna, Kaduna State

Delivering the sentence in an Abuja court, Justice Adeniyi Ademola said that the evidence presented by the prosecution showing the convict’s confession and his reasons for committing the crime indicated that he had no dignity for human life and should be removed from the public to forestall future occurrence of the incident.

The Federal High Court Judge also ordered 150 million Naira (about 943, 000 dollars) compensation to the families of the three persons who lost their lives in the incident.

He said the compensation could be handled by the Nigerian government committee on compensation.

Umar, arrested on April 26 2013, was brought before the court for the first time in February 2013 on a one-count charge of terrorism filed by the Nigerian Police Force.

Pleaded Not Guilty

He was said to have driven a white Honda Accord car with registration number AL 306 MKA with improvised explosives devices into the premises of SOJ Plaza with the intention to detonate the explosive devices within the premises.

The incident claimed the lives of three persons and caused several degrees of injuries on others.

Umar had pleaded not guilty to the charge, claiming he was a passer-by and a trader dealing in local perfumes, when he was arrested by the police and subsequently forced to admit that he committed the crime.

The court dismissed his claims, saying his alibi has tissues of lies.

Justice Ademola said he believed the video evidence where he confessed that he was a member of the deadly Islamic fundamentalist group, Boko Haram and the testimonies of ten witnesses comprising of police officers who participated in the investigation.

“The prosecution had proven its case beyond reasonable doubt and agreed that the accused committed the offence for which he was charged,” Justice Ademola said.

Force’s Efforts In Tackling Terrorism

The defence lawyer Nureini Suleiman pleaded with the court to temper justice with mercy saying the accused is a young man whose family and aged parents depend on for their livelihood.

He told the court that the accused was a first time offender.

Despite his pleas, the accused was sentenced to life imprisonment with hard labour.

The spokesman for the Nigerian Police Force, Mr Frank Mba, described the ruling as a testimony of the force’s commitment to tackling terrorism in Nigeria.

Beside the conviction of the accused, the court ordered that the Honda Accord car used by the accused for the dastardly act be forfeited to the Nigerian government.

Mustaphar Umar has been escorted to the Nigerian Prison for the final time to serve his jail term.



Substitution Of Defence Lawyer Stalls Trial Of Suspected Bomber Of Thisday Office

The trial of the suspected bomber of Thisday Newspaper’s office in Kaduna, Mustapha Umar could not commence at the Federal High Court in Abuja as his lawyer, Nureni Sulaiman said that he had just been briefed by the suspect.

The trial judge, Justice Adeniyi Ademola citing the interest of fair hearing, consequently adjourned the case till 29 April.

Mr Umar was accused of bombing SOJ Plaza in Kaduna state occupied by Thisday, The Moment and The Sun Newspapers.

At the last hearing, the suspect was represented by Felix Umai and Mohammed Umar, both of Manga chambers in Abuja; he however had changed counsel as he was represented at the resumed hearing by Mr Sulaiman who told the court that he was just briefed on the case in court.

Before the adjournment, the prosecutor, Simon Labaran had asked the court to hear his application to exclude members of the public except the press and the parties to the case, from hearing the proceedings.

The defence counsel however objected saying that the constitution mandated the trial to be in the open.

The judge therefore directed the defence counsel to file his response to the application. He also directed him to file the defence of his client to the charges and front load it to enable the court handle the case with dispatch.

He also ordered that the suspect be remanded in Kuje prison even as he directed the prison officials to allow the suspect access to his lawyer and family to enable him prepare his defence adequately.

Justice Ademola also directed the prison officials to make sure that the accused was brought to court at the appropriate time.

The suspect is been charged on a one count of terrorism related act.

He was alleged to have driven a white Honda academy car with registration number AL306MKA with improvised explosives devices into the premises of SOJ Plaza and detonated same.

Presidency Denies Existence Of 2015 Presidential Advisory C’tte

The Presidency has denied allegations about the existence of a 21 man committee, allegedly set up to advise President Goodluck Jonathan on a purported 2015 presidential ambition.

In a press statement emailed to Channels Television on Tuesday, the Special Adviser to the President (Media & Publicity), Dr Reuben Abati stated that “the Presidency has noted with concern that some individuals, groups, organisations and sections of the media have continued to foster the myth of a President and Administration solely concerned with jostling and self-positioning for the 2015 elections.”

Referring to a ThisDay Newspaper front page story published On Monday, April 15, 2013 titled “21-member c’ttee Empanelled for Jonathan’s Second Term Bid” Dr Abati stated the story is “totally untrue.”

According to Dr Abati’s statement, the story claimed that “the President’s aides and associates have set up a 21-member committee to advise (President) Jonathan on the viability of his entry into the presidential contest in 2015.”

Dr Abati further explained that these claims are “without any basis in reality. President Jonathan has not yet taken a decision on whether or not he will seek re-election in 2015 and has therefore not mandated any individual, committee or organisation to start working on his behalf for the 2015 elections.”

No Endorsement

He also denied the authenticity of an advertorial which appeared at page 14 of the Saturday Vanguard of April 13, 2013 signed by one OBITEX Industrial and Investment Company Limited.

The advert shows President Jonathan purportedly raising the hand of Nze Akachukwu Nwankpo, under the umbrella of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) with the suggestion that the President has endorsed Nze Nwankpo as the PDP Gubernatorial candidate for Anambra state.

The advertiser claims as follows: “As Mr. President, His Excellency Dr. Ebele Goodluck Jonathan has symbolically raise (sic) up your hands, so you have been chosen by the God Almighty to be the Governor of Anambra State come 2014.”

In Abati’s response, “ the Presidency emphatically states that President Jonathan has not endorsed any candidate for any position whatsoever ahead of the 2015 general elections neither has he commissioned persons to start campaigns for his own candidature.”

He credited the false insinuations to political office seekers, their sponsors and friends or collaborators and warned such people to desist from exploiting the President’s name.

Nigeria Among 10 Most Important Countries In The World – Clinton

A former U.S President, Bill Clinton has said that Nigeria is among the 10 most important countries in the world.

Clinton, who was speaking on Tuesday in Abeokuta as part of an awards ceremony put on by ThisDay newspaper and its flamboyant publisher Nduka Obaigbena, who has invited the former president several times to Nigeria, said it would be difficult to imagine how the world be if Nigeria fails.

“I made a list of the 10 important countries in the world for the 21st century and Nigeria is on the list,” the former president said.

He listed three big challenges that Nigeria must overcome for it to actualize its potentials.

Watch video below for more:

Clinton Recounts Lessons From His Teachers

A former U.S President Bill Clinton has recounted some of the lessons he learnt from his teachers while he was in elementary school.

Clinton, who was speaking on Tuesday in Abeokuta as part of an awards ceremony put on by ThisDay newspaper and its flamboyant publisher Nduka Obaigbena, who has invited the former president several times to Nigeria, along with other celebrities, said he had many favourite teachers while in school.

Watch the video below for the lessons Clinton said he learnt from his teachers.

Clinton Says Poverty Fuels Crisis In Northern Nigeria

A former U.S. President, Bill Clinton, on Tuesday said that Nigeria must do more to alleviate the extreme poverty across the nation’s predominantly Muslim north in order to halt the wave of bombings, shootings and kidnappings by Islamic extremists there.

Former U.S. President Bill Clinton

Mr. Clinton, who disclosed this in Abeokuta at the 18th annual Thisday awards which was aimed at honouring the teaching profession, said poverty remains the main driver for the attacks and needs to be addressed by strong local and federal government programmes.

“You have to somehow bring economic opportunity to the people who don’t have it,” Mr. Clinton said.

“You have all these political problems – and now violence problems – that appear to be rooted in religious differences and the all the rhetoric of the Boko Harams and others, but the truth is the poverty rate in the North is three times of what it is in Lagos,” the former president said.

He pointed out that Nigeria, which earns billions of dollars from its oil industry and is a major supplier to the U.S., must not take a “divide the pie” approach toward attacking poverty. That appeared to be a subtle reference to the endemic corruption that envelopes government and private industry in the country.

“It’s a losing strategy,” Mr. Clinton said. “You have to figure out a way to have a strategy that will share prosperity.”

Poverty is endemic in Nigeria, and corrupt public officials have siphoned away billions in oil earnings since the country began exporting crude more than 50 years ago. Government statistics show that in Nigeria’s northwest and northeast, regions besieged by Islamic insurgents, about 75 percent of the people live in poverty.

The awards ceremony is an annual event organised by ThisDay newspaper and its publisher Nduka Obaigbena, who has invited Mr. Clinton several times to Nigeria, along with other celebrities. This year’s event was also attended by former President Olusegun Obasanjo.

FG Seeks Secret Trial For ThisDay Bomb Suspect

The Federal Government has asked for the leave of court to file an application for the trial of Mr. Mustapha Umar, the alleged suicide bomber in the botched attack of the building housing the Thisday, Moment and Sun newspapers, in camera.

Counsel to the Federal Government at the resumed hearing at the High Court, Abuja, said his request is in order to safeguard and protect the identities of its numerous witnesses already lined up to testify against the suspect.

The government argued that unless the trial was conducted in secret, most of the witnesses would not turn up in court during prosecution for fear of safety of their lives and property.

Presiding Judge; Justice Adeniyi  Ademola who was taken aback by the request brought pursuant to Section 31(3) of the Terrorism Act told the lawyer that he may not be favourably disposed to granting such a request because we are in the democratic era.

The Judge also said that Nigeria was neither a banana republic or under a military dictatorship where the Nigerian public would be denied of their right to know.

In a bid to satisfy the position of the Federal Government lawyer, Justice Ademola asked the counsel to bring  a formal application and back it up with cogent reasons.

The had earlier pleaded not guilty to one count charge of terrorism at an Abuja High Court.

Umar was arrested on 26th April 2012 in a white Honda marked Al 306 MKA allegedly laden with improvised explosive devices.

He was found at  Sog Complex, housing  ThisDay Newspaper, The Moment and The Sun in Kaduna state.

The judge set the 18th through to the 22nd of March for the defense counsel to make its case.

Alleged ThisDay Bomber Pleads Not Guilty

A suspect arrested for planning to bomb ThisDay office in Kaduna, Mustapher Mohammed, on Monday, pleaded not guilty to one count charge of terrorism at an Abuja High Court.

Mustapher Umar was arrested on 26th April 2012 in a white Honda marked Al 306 MKA allegedly laden with improvised explosive devices.

He was found at  Sog Complex, housing  ThisDay Newspaper, The Moment and The Sun in Kaduna.

On the the same day, the ThisDay office complex was bombed in Jabi Area of Abuja.

When the charge was read to him, Umar pleaded not guilty.

Prosecutor, Simeon Labaran urged the court to set a date for the commencement of trial but Justice Adeniyi Ademola ordered for a house cleaning job on the part of the prosecution.

The court also directed the prosecutor to file Proof of Evidence, summary of its case, list of witnesses and other relevant documents within the next two weeks. The defense lawyer is to respond to the charges against his client, within two weeks.

Before the court adjourned to 12th of March for trial, the Defence lawyer, Mr. Felix Umahi sought an order of the court to allow him and a member of the accused person’s family access to his client.

Justice Ademola who agreed with the defense counsel, however made an order for access to be granted to only the legal team of the accused person.

He also set the 18th through to the 22nd of March for the defense counsel to make its case.