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Kwara State Governor, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed has approved the release of additional N1billion to local government councils in the State to offset part of the outstanding salary arrears owed their staff.

This brings to N2billion the total amount of money the State government has released to the local government councils out of the N5.1billion it recently received as its share of the Paris Club refund from the Federal Government. The Governor had also earlier approved the release of N312m to state-owned-tertiary institutions for the payment of salary arrears.

Governor Ahmed gave the approval on Monday at a meeting with officials of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress (TUC), Nigerian Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE), Nigerian Union of Teachers (NUT) and Nigerian Union of Pensioners (NUP) in the State.

This is as the governor also assured tertiary institutions in the State that the issue of delayed subvention will become a thing of the past.

The governor stated that the earlier N1b released to the councils should go towards payment of LG workers and pensioners, while the additional N1b should be used to pay staff of the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB).

Alhaji Ahmed further noted that the decision to release additional N1billion to the councils was based on an understanding with the State House of Assembly during a meeting held earlier in the day as the Paris Club refund receipts were state funds captured in the 2017 budget.

The governor added that the decision was also based on the understanding with State Legislators that some of the projects budgeted for implementation in this fiscal year, such as the renovation of the indoor Sports Hall of the Kwara State Stadium, payment of counterpart funding for the construction of classrooms at the primary school level and other payments to State’s pensioners and workers will be suspended in favour of the Local government and SUBEB workers.

Governor Ahmed, however, emphasized that any further inflow to the State government under the Paris Club refund would be used to take care of salaries, pensions and projects that have now been stepped down.

Responding on behalf of his colleagues who were at the meeting, the State NLC Chairman, Comrade Yekeen Agunbiade said the labour leaders are grateful to the governor for acceding to their request by approving additional fundS to the local councils as this will bring relief to workers and pensioners.

Similarly, the heads of tertiary institutions in the State, earlier today called to commend Governor Ahmed for approving the release of N312, 191, 101.71 to the institutions to offset salary arrears of their workers. They, however, appealed to the governor to hasten the release of the fourth quarter subvention to the institutions.

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BIG STORY

Babajide Sanwo-Olu(@JideSanwoolu) Unveils “THEME”, His 5 Pillars of Development #ForAGreater Lagos

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APC Lagos Gubernatorial Candidate, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, in a series of television interviews and special events unveiled “THEME”, the 5 Pillars of Development agenda for a greater Lagos, while calling on his opponents to make the campaign season about issues that affect the people.

The 3-time Lagos Commissioner, who is a graduate of University of Lagos and an alumnus of Harvard Kennedy School of Government, was the brain behind many reforms that birthed key transformational initiatives in Lagos such as the private sector-led Lagos State Security Trust Fund, Lagos State Pension Commission, Lagos Bus Management (LAGBUS) among others.

As an Advisor to the Bureau of Public Enterprise (BPE) on privatization, concession and commercialization of a number of public assets under the Federal Government privatization programme, Sanwo-Olu had the privilege of working on some landmark deals that resulted in the optimization of public assets including the Aluminum Smelter Company (ALSCON), National Arts Theatre, Lagos International Trade Fair Complex, Ikoyi Hotels Limited. Sanwo-Olu also worked on the Federal Government Debt Conversion Programme.

Sanwo-Olu was at Television Continental, Channels Television, Lagos Television, Nigeria info FM, Wazobia FM and the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria in a very busy week of agenda setting and stakeholders engagement.  

Sanwo-Olu unveiled the acronym, ‘THEME’’ for his policy initiatives, which he detailed as follows:   

T- Traffic Management & Transportation.

“Our plan is to integrate road, rail and water transportation in Lagos to solve the problem of commuting within the metropolis. We will fix all bad roads and expand our road infrastructure. We will complete existing road projects and fix inner city roads.  We will improve navigation on our waterways to facilitate water transportation and promote private investment. Part of our plan is to complete the ongoing Blue Line rail project from Okokomaiko-Marina and kick-start the Red line from Agbado to Marina.

On traffic management, we have identified over 60 gridlock points as the major causes of traffic around Lagos. We are going to work with the federal government to complete the Lagos-Apapa road, build a 5000-capacity trailer park and also work with the Nigerian Port Authority for a strict on-call system that notifies trailers when to pick-up containers to avoid the indefinite waiting period. This is a very important part of our plan.  We have a comprehensive strategy for achieving set goals”. We are particularly committed to reducing travel time within Lagos.

H- Health & Environment

Our healthcare plan will be anchored on comprehensive health insurance scheme for Lagosians to improve access and affordability. We will improve primary and complete many secondary health facilities. We will work with private investors as well to ensure that Lagos is the health care destination for Nigerians. I am meeting with different health care stakeholders, and was a guest at the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria end of the year event, where we discussed ways to improve health care delivery in Lagos.

To keep our environment clean and healthy, we will rejig the waste management system by getting LAWMA to deliver better on its mandate as the regulator, while the PSP model will be made to respond better in collection of waste in Lagos. On the advocacy, we have plan to turn waste to wealth. This we will do by incentivizing waste sorting by our people. We must begin to separate organic waste from other household waste and put them in separate waste bags for recycling companies that will turning waste to primary and secondary raw materials. Those who properly sort their waste can make money.  

E- Education & Technology.

“Our plan is to increase access to public education in Lagos, especially public primary and secondary schools. We will immediately embark on renovation of our schools and make them conducive for learning. Teachers will be trained for capacity enhancement in modern teaching methodology. We want to make teaching a more lucrative field of interest and attract the best of teachers to Lagos schools. We want to work with our educational institutions to improve curriculum and include entrepreneurial studies in our educational programmes.   

We also want to create a smart economy on the back of technology. We will create incubation hubs in Lagos for technology startups to flourish, while also ensuring that we introduce coding into our public school curriculum.

I understand the transformative power of Technology. Technology will improve the rule of law, education, ease of doing business and government processes. Technology will reduce approval process circle in public-private sector dealings. It will improve government efficiency. Giving Entrepreneurs and SMEs the opportunity to thrive will lead to more jobs and more public-private sector partnerships”.

M- Making Lagos a 21st century economy

“We will support the private sector by creating an enabling environment for businesses to thrive. We will simplify access to government services to make the private sector blossom. We are going to work with the Power Distribution and Power Generating companies to solve the problem of power in Lagos. By this, we will have enough power in Lagos to drive the economy and improve the lives of the citizens. We provide more infrastructure and improve the existing ones to support private businesses and increase productivity of Lagosians. Lagos should be a 24-hour economy.  Security will be very key item on our policy agenda. We will strengthen security agencies in Lagos and equip them to do better.

E- Entertainment & Tourism

“Lagos is the centre of culture and entertainment capital of Africa. We will boost our creative economy with tourism, culture and entertainment. We will develop all our tourism assets in Lagos and create tourism calendar around our important events, like the Eyo festival –  such that it will attract local and international tourists. We will work with the music, film and fashion industries to make Lagos an international tourist destination.

Again, security and infrastructure are key to tourism and entertainment economy because people must feel safe to go out anytime of the day and visit tourist centres.

According to Sanwo-Olu, specific details of the THEME initiatives will be unveiled to the public  

Supporting the 5 main pillars, he has also listed the following as areas of focus;

  • Infrastructure
  • Housing
  • Ease of doing business
  • Land reform
  • Power

Every Sunday on a twitter chat, Babajide Sanwo-Olu(@JideSanwoolu) engages with the electorate, directly answering questions about his plans for a greater Lagos.

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BIG STORY

Ritual Killings: Police Arrest Six Native Doctors Native Doctors As Delta Girls Fortify Selves Against ‘Yahoo Boys

Gbemileke Ajayi

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Following the increasing spate of kidnapping and ritual killings in Delta State, detectives attached to the criminal investigation department ( CID) at the state police command on Thursday arrested six native doctors In Ughelli town and Abraka community through intelligence gathering.

The commissioner of police in the state, Anthony Agbidi, who confirmed the arrest of the suspects to newsmen in Asaba, disclosed that the detectives acted on intelligence gathering, adding that three of the suspects were arrested in Ughelli town, while the three other suspects were nabbed in Abraka community with strange substances including prepared charms in different containers.

CP Agbidi said: “The suspects were arrested on intelligence gathering by officers and men of the state CID and they recovered different prepared charms in containers. The suspects made useful statements to the police and they shall be charged to court upon completion of investigation”.

He however called on members of the public to always provide useful information to the police with a view to arresting criminals in their hideout.

He gave the names of the suspects to include: Bernard Thomas 52, Babalola Akin 48, who claimed to have hailed from Ijebu community, Lucky Omorofu, 47, Maculey Obaro, 52, Aghalokpe Kennedy 49, and Chief Chiedu Agbarho 56 years old, adding that the suspects will remain in the police custody until investigations are completed and they are charged to court.

Meanwhile, the police have confirmed moves by young girls across the state to fortify themselves against being kidnapped for rituals purposes.

CP Agbidi, while exchanging views with newsmen on Thursday in Asaba, disclosed that young girls between the ages of 18 and 20 years have allegedly resorted to patronizing native doctors to fortified them against ritual killings among others.

He said; “the report reaching us has indicated that young girls have allegedly resorted to patronizing native doctors to help fortify them against ritual activities. The police have gone after these fraudsters and Yahoo, Yahoo boys. We will bring all of them to book soon.”

Reports say the ritualists allegedly use female pants, breasts, tongues, hearts, womb including other vital organs to enhance their diabolic activities.

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BIG STORY

LASU Will Get Faculty Of Pharmacy When I Become Governor —— Sanwo-Olu

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To strengthen capacity in pharmaceutical profession in Lagos State, the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress in the 2019 election, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has assured members of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria that he will ensure that Lagos State University gets a faculty of Pharmacy, if he elected as the Governor.

Sanwo-Olu made the promise on Thursday during his interactive session with the Lagos State chapter of the PSN.

He said the state university after more than three decades of existence should be a centre of academic excellence for the production of manpower in the field of pharmacy.

He said: “To strengthen the profession and boost manpower in the field of Pharmacy, I am convinced that our state university should have a Faculty of Pharmacy.

“If elected, we will make sure LASU within our four years have Faculty of Pharmacy.

“It is not just right that we have Medical College without Faculty of Pharmacy.

“I am promising you that our government will ensure that everything is done to make Faculty of Pharmacy a reality for the State-owned University.

“As professional body of pharmacists, I will implore you to give us a position paper on what we need to do that will enable us achieve our objective and I can assure that as government, we will do all within our powers to make it a reality.”

The APC candidate told the pharmacists the importance he attaches to their profession and the entire health sector in general.

Sanwo-Olu said: “Your profession is one of the most important fields for human existence.

“No one can joke with the health sector.

“So when I received your invitation, I pledged to attend this event regardless of my schedule because it is about health and we must listen to you.”

The Chairman of Lagos State chapter of the PSN, B. T. O. Adeniran, urged Sanwo-Olu to help pharmacists practicing in the State when he gets to government.

Adeniran described the issue of turnaround time in getting drugs at government hospitals across the State as very cumbersome.

She said: “We need the government to look into the welfare and working condition of pharmacist working in Lagos State.

“We want upward review of salary and allowances.

“On capacity development, we need more training for our members so we can serve the state and the public better as integral part of the health system.”

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