General news and information updates in Nigeria and around the world.

No cause for alarm, Ambode says over EFCC search

Former governor of Lagos State, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, on Tuesday urged his supporters and the general public to remain calm and law-abiding as there was no cause for alarm.

Ambode, in a statement by his media aide, Mr. Habib Aruna, spoke on the backdrop of a search by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on his Epe Country home and Parkview Ikoyi residence, where the anti-graft agency conducted the exercise without any incident.

He said the Commission, till date, has not opened any direct communication with him on any issue, adding that he was ready and willing to respond if or when they do so.

The statement reads:

“This morning, operatives of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission visited the Epe Country home and Parkview Ikoyi residence of Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, former Governor of Lagos State, with warrants to conduct a search. These searches were carried out extensively and at the end of the exercise the operatives left without any incident.

“The former Governor reiterates that the EFCC has till date not had any direct communication with him on any subject matter whatsoever and if or when it occurs he is ready and willing to respond.

“The former governor wishes to assure his supporters and the generality of Lagosians to continue to remain calm and law-abiding as there is no cause for alarm.”

The former governor reiterated his belief in the rule of law and due process and remains grateful for the opportunity to have served Lagos State diligently and conscientiously.

It would be recalled that Ambode, in an earlier response to allegations by the EFCC that it had frozen certain accounts linked to him, insisted that no account of his contained N9.9bn let alone being frozen by the Commission as those accounts were opened and operated by the Lagos State Government.

We will continue to build on your legacies – Sanwo-Olu to retired HOS

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu has said his administration would build on the culture of excellence instituted in the State’s civil service. This, he said, is best way to build on the legacies of retired civil servants that invested their energies to build the State.

Governor Sanwo-Olu spoke when members of Board of Trustees and Executive Committee of the Association of Lagos State Retired Heads of Service and Permanent Secretaries (ALARHOSPS) paid a courtesy visit on him on Friday in Alausa.

He described the body of retired civil servants as “valuable assets” to the State, noting that their actions while in service contributed to the “enviable height” Lagos attained among states in the nation.

He said:

“All of you have spent good part of your active life to build out state at the civil service level. I am sure you will always feel fulfilled when you look back to see all the thoughts, ideas and energies you contributed to build the most vibrant civil service in Nigeria. It is the culture you have left behind is what we are building on to make Lagos remain the centre of excellence.

“You have set the foundation we are enjoying today. I want to assure you that we will not keep it at where you have stopped. We are going to keep the flame burning and build on all you have passed on to us in making the most dynamic civil service earn its pride of place.”

The Governor said the future generation would be indebted to the retired Heads of Service for their efforts in building a society the black race would be proud of Sanwo-Olu said the state would continue to draw from the experience of the retired civil servants, adding that the establishment of ALARHOSPS as advisory body to the government was an indication of the passion the group had towards the development of the state.

He said:

“The future generation would remain indebted to you for all your actions and contribution to build our state. Today, Lagos is the centerpiece, which every Nigerian and the entire black race are looking at today as a source of pride. Your sleepless nights, labour and contributions led to this success story.”

ALARHOSPS president, Alhaji Mohammed Ajibola-Olagbaye, who spoke on behalf of the retirees, hailed the Governor for appointing a member of the group, Mrs. Folashade Jaji, as Secretary to the State Government.

Ajibola-Olagbaye noted that the association was created in 2013 as a think tank to help government strengthen the capacity of the civil service and other workforce in the employment of the state for sustained prosperity.

He used the occasion to articulate some of the challenges facing members of the association, including disparity in monthly pension scheme, which affected some ALARHOSPS’ members that retired before May 29, 1999 when the fourth republic took off.

Ajibola-Olagbaye also sought the Governor’s support in building a permanent secretariat for the association’s activities, and also for the forthcoming conference to be hosted by the association.

Responding, Gov. Sanwo-Olu promised to assist the association in surmounting some of its challenges, promising that his administration would consult the group for advice on service delivery.

The meeting was attended by the Deputy Governor, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat, Mrs. Jaji, Head of Service, Mr. Hakeem Muri-Okunola, and the Deputy Chief of Staff to the Governor, Mr. Gboyega Soyannwo.

LAWMA to ensure zero tolerance for waste in Lagos – Dr Gbadegesin

The Managing Director/CEO of Lagos Waste Management Authority, LAWMA, Dr. Olumuyiwa Gbadegesin, has declared that the organisation would stop at nothing to rid the state of filth, across its three operational districts.

He made the declaration in Apapa, during his inspection of LAWMA operations in the area, stressing that the agency would pay special attention to black spots including Mile 2, LASU Gate, Okokomaiko and Badagry among others.

“We’re here to monitor the on-going clean-up exercise, which is in furtherance of the executive order on Environmental Sanitation by His Excellency, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu”, he said.

The LAWMA boss noted that the Authority had stepped up its operation despite the accessibility challenge by evacuation trucks, adding that sweepers had been deployed in their numbers for thorough cleanup of the environs. The exercise according to him also extends to LASU gate, Okoko, Badagry up to seme.

“As you are aware, Apapa has accessibility challenge but we are determined to confront the challenge and get the job done and that is why we are here. Our sweepers are here in their numbers sweeping the highway and clearing the silt. This exercise extends to other areas like Okoko, LASU Gate, Badagry up to Seme”, Gbadegesin said.

He implored residents of Lagos to support government in maintaining a cleaner and sanitary environment and to shun all forms of indiscriminate waste disposal, which was capable of exposing the populace to environmental health dangers.

“We are calling out to people statewide that we should stop indiscriminate dumping of waste. During this Sallah celebration we distributed free trash bags and we are pleading with residents to use those trash bags to dispose of their wastes and to also make sure that you have a covered waste bin at home. We don’t want people dumping wastes by the roadside because this puts us at risk of epidemics”, he added.

Speaking on enforcement against indiscriminate dumping of refuse, Gbadegesin said that there would be zero tolerance against such acts and defaulters would be apprehended and prosecuted to serve as deterrent to others.

In the same vein, the LAWMA CEO revealed that the Authority had started bulk waste evacuation from major locations, motorised collection of waste from kerbside; placement and regular collection of waste from appropriate receptacles and waste prevention activities which involves closure of illegal waste locations otherwise known as black spots, through waste policing from Orile all the way down to Badagry expressway, to phase out the environmental challenges being experienced in the areas in recent times.

Dr. Gbadegesin added that PSP operations were being repositioned to meet the household waste management needs of residents, while Community Development Associations (CDAs) and other stakeholders are currently engaged in LAWMA’s massive public enlightenment campaign, to ensure that cleanliness is restored to all parts of the state.

Eedris Abdulkareem reacts to Omoyele Sowore’s arrest

Legendary Nigerian rapper, Eedris Abdulkareem has reacted to the arrest of Omoyele Sowore by the Department of State Services, DSS.

The veteran rapper described the act as “outrightly cowardly and defeatist”.

Sowore was the Presidential candidate for the African Action Congress, AAC, at the 2019 General Elections.

Eedris shared out his thoughts on Sowore’s arrest on his Instagram page.

He said:

“ON SOWORE’S ARREST.: HARASSMENT AND INTIMIDATION OF “REVOLUTION NOW” EGGHEADS… The news of the ignoble arrest of the Revolution Now project convener Mr
Femi Sowore is to say the least very regrettable and equally ludicrous.

“Arresting Mr. Sowore and trying to intimade the citizenry is outrightly cowardly and defeatist. Nigerians are truly tired of the staus quo and desire, or rather demand a true change. And no amount of intimidation or harassment is ever going to change this.
#Revolutionnow is for every Nigerian, irrespective of class, creed or tongue…Indeed and truly, the future of our land is in our hands.

“It is therefore very imperative to mention at this juncture that tbe arrest of Femi Sowore rather than throwing us in disarray as they envisaged, have rather succeeded in energizing and propelling our collective zeal the more…. Forward we March on the 5th of August!!! There’s no going back…Take back Naija!!!
Download (SAY NO) full sing on
Revolution Now…
Aluta Continua”

Spotlight African Network commends LAWMA female sweepers

The Managing Director of Lagos Waste Management Authority, LAWMA, Mr. Ola Oresanya, has described the female street sweepers as the engine room of the organization, working round the clock to keep the state clean and sustain the environment.

He said this at Ikeja during an award ceremony organized by Spotlight African Network to celebrate the women workforce of the Authority for their input towards achieving cleaner and healthier environment in the state.

At the program tagged, “LAWMA Women Making A Difference, Community Service Leadership Awards”, he said:

“I use this opportunity to appreciate you all and to commend the Spotlight African Network, for recognizing and celebrating the great roles you have consistently played, in making the environment conducive for all residents and visitors in our state”.

Speaking further, he commended the organizers of the event for recognizing the efforts of the sweepers, and for organizing a safety training course for them.

“Of particular interest to me, is the Safety Training Course, which the group has planned with the Federal Road Safety Corps for the women. This will go a long way in further equipping the women with basic rules of safety, while on their work beats. I must therefore specially commend your organization, for the forward-looking initiative”, he quipped.

The LAWMA boss stressed that the award conferred on the women sweepers would further motivate and inspire them to give their best in the task of building the environment that Lagosians would be proud of, adding that the goal of the Authority was to achieve a cleaner Lagos.

In his remarks, Dr. Muyiwa Gbadegeshin commended the sweepers for their commitment to work, adding that the government would continue to work for the improvement of their welfare.

Also speaking at the event, the President of Spotlight African Network, Mrs. Nonye Pearl Mike-Nnaji, noted that LAWMA street sweepers were the unsung heroines in the Authority’s quest to make every nook and cranny of the state livable, stressing the impact of the sweepers in keeping the environment clean, and enhancing security on the roads.

Mrs. Nnaji reiterated her organization’s commitment to the pursuit of improved well-being of the sweepers as part of their corporate social responsibility program, adding that they would organize a two-day road safety training, in conjunction with the Federal Road Safety Corps, to equip the sweepers with safety skills on the highways.

The Corps Commander, Ikeja Unit, of the Federal Road Safety Corps, FRSC, Mrs. Emma Fekoya, in her speech eulogized organizers of the event and congratulated the street sweepers for the well deserved award, urging the sweepers to be safety conscious, in the course of discharging their duties.

Notable personalities at the event who inspired the women with their real life stories, included renowned actress, Kate Henshaw; Oke Maduewesi, CEO of Zaron Cosmetics; and Ayo Megbope, CEO of No Left-overs.

High point of the event was the presentation of awards to 150 street sweepers who excelled in the task of keeping the environment clean.

In a related development, Jhulelal Sindhi Samaj Charity Trust, a Lagos-based non government organization (NGO) recently presented some gift items to 120 LAWMA sweepers at Muri Okunola Park, Victoria Island, Lagos.

This according to them was a demonstration of their appreciation to the sweepers for commitment and relentless efforts in making sure that the Lagos metropolis is clean, even under harsh and unpleasant weather conditions.

NUPENG issues 7-day strike notice as fuel scarcity looms

Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, NUPENG, yesterday, issued a seven-day strike notice to the Federal Government to compel Chevron Nigeria Limited, CNL, to honour the agreement it reached with the union on June 20, failing which members would down tools and begin an indefinite strike.

In a statement signed by the President and General Secretary of NUPENG, Prince Williams Akporeha and Afolabi Olawale, the union said:

“NUPENG, with deep frustration and worries, would like to alert the general public and all relevant authorities of the blatant violation of agreement reached between Chevron Nigeria Limited Company and unions in the industry.

“It is public knowledge that unions in the oil and gas industry had a protracted negotiation with Chevron Nigeria Limited over 70 per cent labour manpower reduction which it (Chevron) claimed was required in view of reduction in their operations in the oil and gas Industry.

“After up to one year negotiation, brokered by Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC; National Petroleum Investment Management Services, NAPIMS, and Ministry of Labour, it was agreed that considering the intervention of all the institutions mentioned above and the various justifications made, only 30 per centof the Labour Manpower Contract Workers will be relieved.

‘’Of the 1,856 contract workers in the company, NUPENG has 1,120; PENGASSAN, 213; and non-unionised, 523. It was agreed that the 30% reduction shall be spread in equal percentage among the three groups.

“It was also agreed that union executives (NUPENG and PENGASSAN) will not be affected by the reduction, that Chevron Nigeria Limited will not in any guise change the Labour manpower to service contracts.

‘’It was also agreed that anyone that voluntarily offers to go will be counted as part of the agreed 30%.

Unfortunately, immediately after the agreement was reached, Chevron started executing the exercise in blatant violation of the agreed terms, ostensibly to either put NUPENG in bad light as troublesome or for extinction because only NUPENG members have been exited from work, leaving behind the Non- Unionised workers and PENGASSAN members.

‘’It is further embarrassing to see that NUPENG executives are also part of those already locked out. From our record, over 500 of NUPENG members are being sacked. We further learned that the intention of Chevron is to change the contract to short term service contract and we see this as unfair and a breach of agreement reached with us in bad faith.

“All NUPENG executives should be called back to work, the percentage of reduction agreed should be spread to the three groups as agreed to avoid creating the impression that NUPENG was the target of the exercise.”

‘’The good disposition of the new leadership of NUPENG should not be taken for granted. Chevron should not be allowed to use this exercise to change the Labour Manpower contract to service contract in a disguised manner.

“Consequent on the above demands and having been pushed to the wall, NUPENG, hereby, puts all our members on red alert should Chevron Nigeria Limited and its contractors fail to honour or comply with our demands within the next seven days, we would also not hesitate to take all necessary legal options available to us, including industrial actions, to press home our legitimate demands.”

Women protest against oil firm in Okpe

Sapele Okpe Community women and Sapele Okpe Community Land Trust Association, Delta State women, have grounded activities at Forte Oil Nigeria Limited, Sapele branch over what they called “non- payment of entitlements owed the community’s Land Trust Association.”

The women leader, Mrs. Comfort Ayomanor said:

“Series of letters had been written to the company without response, which goes to show the kind of management the company has.

“Since Forte Oil acquired the former African Petroleum, AP, they have refused to communicate or meet with their host community, which is not helping matters at all.

“We want to let the whole world know how the company has been treating us hence this protest.

“Our recent letters dated April 21, 2018, and May 15, 2019, to the company were not equally replied. That is why we had decided to shut down their activities, to press home our demand through peaceful protest.”

Branch Manager of the Sapele branch, Mr Boyode Haruna, responded on behalf of the company, saying he has already contacted the head office in Lagos.

While appealing for calm, he added that plans had been made to respond to the protesters’ demands soon.

Improve the emergency response standard, Sanwo-Olu charges LASEMA officers

Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu on Tuesday said there’s need to rejig the operation of the State’s emergency response team for better performance and service delivery in disaster management.

The Governor who spoke during his visit to the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency, LASEMA, operational headquarters at Cappa, Oshodi, praised the emergency response personnel for the quality of service the agency rendered, while saying that there was need to raise the standards of its operation in line with best practice. He pledged that his administration would support the agency to deliver on its mandate.

He said:

“On behalf of the people of Lagos, I commend LASEMA and its emergency workers’ performance in disaster management. But, we know there is still a lot that we can do to raise the standard and there is still a lot that is expected of us but I can assure you that we will support LASEMA for quality service.

“This is why we are here to assess the level of response mechanism and take stock of the challenges the agency might be facing. We do not want to give excuses to the taxpayers. We pledge our continued support to encourage the agency to live up to expectations, because its efficiency in service delivery would be the parameter citizens would use to assess and write the agency scorecards.”

… Sanwo-Olu preaches to maintain professionalism and empathy with duty

The Governor emphasised the need for maintaining professionalism and empathy in the discharge of the agency’s duty, noting that disaster management required promptness and competency to minimise losses.

Sanwo-Olu tasked the emergency workers to work towards reducing their response time by half. He said the government would address the resource gap hindering the agency from taking its service to optimal level.

He added:

“LASEMA needs to raise its escalation level in managing emergencies. If it gets to the level where we need additional support from other agencies, such police, fire fighters, or any arm of government, we must be able to quickly be able to analyse the situation and be able to escalate it to another level, so that we can reduce losses to lives and property. Lagos is a centre of excellence and we must live up to billing by putting forward the best rescue operation.”

LASEMA Director General, Dr. Femi Oke-Osanyintolu, led Governor Sanwo-Olu on an inspection of the equipment used by the agency in its emergency operations. The Governor also inspected the state of facilities in LASEMA Response Unit, LRU, in Alausa.

In the Governor’s entourage were the Deputy Governor, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat; Secretary to the State Government, Mrs. Folashade Jaji; Head of Service, Mr. Hakeem Muri-Okunola; Chief of Staff, Mr. Tayo Ayinde and Deputy Chief of Staff, Mr. Gboyega Soyannwo.

Gov Sanwo-Olu charges security operatives; make Lagos safe for law-abiding residents

Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu on Tuesday charged policemen and security operatives under the State-controlled security outfits not to allow criminals have breathing space in Lagos State.

Sanwo-Olu said the security of lives and property remained the topmost priority of his administration, tasking the security operatives in all formations not to spare any effort in keeping the peace in Lagos.

The Governor spoke during inspections of operation bases of Rapid Response Squad, RRS, in Ikeja and the Lagos State Taskforce on Environmental and Special Offences Enforcement Unit in Oshodi.

Sanwo-Olu said Lagos must not be a safe haven for crimes, directing the officers to maintain constant security surveillance across the state and flush out criminals from their hideouts.

The Governor, however, cautioned the officers against impunity in the discharge of their duties, urging them to carry out their responsibility with humility and interact with residents in manners that would uphold respect for human rights.

Sanwo-Olu inspected the security facilities in company of the Deputy Governor, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat, Secretary to the State Government, Mrs. Folashade Jaji, Head of Service, Mr. Hakeem Muri-Okunola, Chief of Staff, Mr. Tayo Ayinde, Deputy Chief of Statt, Mr. Gboyega Soyannwo, and the Executive Secretary of Lagos Security Trust Fund, LSTF, Hon. Abdul-Rasaq Balogun.

Also, heads of the security outfits, including the RRS Commander, Olatunji Disu, a Deputy Commissioner of Police, and the Taskforce chairman, Olayinka Egbeyemi, a Chief Superintendent of Police, CSP, joined the Governor in the inspection.

Sanwo-Olu said the residents deserved a premium quality of security to justify the resources being committed by the state to fund security agencies’ operations.

He said:

“To whom much is given, much is expected. I want all the people of Lagos to feel the operation of the new improved RRS, which must ensure that criminals and people that have criminal intention do not have a space in communities across the state. We are aware of the efficient operations of our security outfits, but we must raise the bar of policing in our communities to re-assure residents and investors of their security.

“The residents are your partners in securing the state. I want to see humility and respect for people’s rights in the discharge of your duties. Spare no effort in dealing with criminals, but the offenders that deserve correction should be corrected without impunity. Lagosians expect so much from us in terms of improved security; you must make the state safe for law-abiding residents.”

Other security outfits inspected by the Governor included Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Nigerian Legion Corps, Lagos State Neighborhood Safety Corps (LSNSC), Lagos State Environmental Sanitation Corps (LAGESC), and Lagos Fire Fighters.

Senate to visit Borno over recent Boko Haram attack

Senate President, Dr Ahmad Lawan, says the Senate will visit Badu village in Borno State where Boko Haram insurgents killed more than 60 residents.

Lawan disclosed today, Tuesday, July 30, at the plenary that the Senate will pay a visit to the village.

This statement was followed after the motion by Sen. Abubakar Kyari over the recent attacks.

The attack occurred on Saturday, July 27, at Badu village in Nganzai LG area of the state.

Victims were reportedly coming from a funeral when the deadly sect attack them.

Kyari urged the Senate to pay the surviving victims a visit and condemn the attack.

He also seek a minute silence for the deceased and urged security agencies to brace up to protect the residents in the North East region.

“While many people have been killed since insurgency started in the North East, several others have been displaced.

“I urge you all to have a minute silence for the souls of those killed in this unfortunate incident and urged the security agencies to brace up in protecting the resident,’’ he said.

After ruling in favour of the motion, Lawan said:

“When we undertake visit to Borno, we will see all parts of the state devastated by this development.’’

Actual visitation date for the senate is not mentioned yet.