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The Oyo State Government on Monday denied demolishing the music house of gospel musician, Yinka Ayefele, in Ibadan.

The government also expressed shock about the demolition, saying it was preparing to institute a panel of inquiry to unravel the identity of those who razed the N800m edifice.

The state government, through its counsel, Mr. Yomi Alliyu, made the denial when he appeared before Justice Iyabo Yerima of the State High Court, Ring Road, Ibadan, on Monday.

Alliyu appeared for the first and second defendants, Governor Abiola Ajimobi and Mr. Bola Abimbola (State Attorney-General), in a case instituted by Ayefele against the defendants.

The counsel said his clients were shocked to read about the reported demolition on Sunday morning.

According to him, the state government is planning to set up a panel of enquiry to find out those responsible for the demolition.

”My clients are men of honour that respect rule of law and constituted authority and will have no reason to demolish the said property,” he told the court.

Alliyu, who had earlier denied that his clients were served with court processes, quickly reversed himself when the judge showed him evidence of actual service on the first and second respondents.

The defence counsel, however, urged the court to adjourn the case pending the time the claimant would be able to file and serve his clients with notice of the ex-parte motion since the court was on vacation.

He said that filing of motion on notice and letter of urgency alone by the claimant was not enough.

But the claimant’s counsel, Mr. Olayinka Bolanle, had informed the court that the respondents had gone ahead to demolish the structure in spite of a court’s restraining order

“Even after the defendants had become aware of this proceedings, it is sad and unbelievable my Lord that the defendants in the wee hours of Sunday, Aug 19, went to the property in dispute and demolished it,” he told the court.

The claimant’s counsel urged the court to reiterate its earlier order restraining the defendants from further demolition of the rest of the structure pending the determination of the suit.

Justice Yerima adjourned the case until September 12 for the hearing of applications and urged parties to file necessary processes before the adjourned date.

(NAN)

BIG STORY

Ogun Govt Signs MoU On Urban Renewal, Public Transportation With Britain

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The Ogun State Government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Britain as parts of efforts to bring urban renewal and public transportation up to speed The MoU will cover modern strategies to be put in place to accommodate the expected population explosion in the state and to address its effect on public infrastructure, especially, transportation.

The Secretary to the State Government, Mr. Tokunbo Talabi, who signed on behalf of the State Government and a Counsellor and head of Future Cities Programme of the British High Commission in Nigeria, Guy Harrison, agreed that it has become expedient to be futuristic.

The partnership drive between the Ogun State and the British government is captured under a programme called “Future Cities Nigeria”, a UKAID-funded urban renewal programme. It has a timeline of three years.

According to the programme outline, UK will provide support for the Ogun State transport sector.

The British Government will also fast track housing and urban development in Ogun, which is currently facing the challenge of absorbing spillover of the population explosion in Lagos State.

Speaking at the MOU signing ceremony held at the Governor’s Office in Abeokuta, Mr. Talabi commended the initiative, saying it would complement the various efforts of the state government in its desire to plan for a common prosperous future for the people of the state and for physical infrastructure.

Talabi noted that the present administration was duly committed to providing the enabling environment for such partnerships to thrive seamlessly.

“We thank the British Government and the Future Cities Nigeria for these laudable initiatives targeted at planning towards the future in Ogun State. This level of support cannot be diminished because the Prince Dapo Abiodun led-administration is determined to change the narrative on how things are being done,” he said.

These, he said, can be seen in the various interventions of the state government in road rehabilitation efforts, the security of lives and property, as well as the ease of doing business strategies amongst many others.

“Our desire is to make Ogun State, a place where you could live peacefully, and work prosperously for the future” he noted.

Mr. Talabi reassured the partners that the present government would not just pay lip service to governance issues, but would continue to accelerate even development and stimulate rapid investments within the state through workable collaborations with Lagos State.

“Part of our effort in this direction is beginning to bear fruits with the setting up of the Lagos-Ogun Joint Development Commission. It is meant to accelerate inter-state collaboration. We are already intensifying effort on road rehabilitation, provision of potable water supply, amongst many other initiatives still in the offing,” he added.

The State chief scribe thereafter reassured the partners of government’s commitment towards the realisation of the project in the state for the well-being of the entire populace.

On his part, Mr. Harrison, who is the leader of the British Deputy High Commission in Lagos, said that the team was in the State to support the policies of the Prince Dapo Abiodun-led administration in order to fully maximise all the benefits of urban renewal and transportation available.

He promised that the support of the British Government for urban renewal and public transportation in the State would be total. The primary focus, he noted, would be to develop the capacity of the people and the state at large.

“The British High Commission is extremely delighted with the State government on the various policies on sustainable development, job creation, poverty reduction and many others targeted at giving the people a new lease of livelihood,” he added.

Also, the Team Lead for the Future Cities programme, Mr. Simon Gusah, underscored the importance of planning as a prerequisite to nation building.

He said there was an urgent need for government at all levels to start planning for future challenges ahead, noting that the initiative was predicated on inclusive prosperity for all.

Mr. Gusah contended that the programme represents a catalytic intervention aimed at leveraging international and British expertise towards improving trade and investments between Nigeria and the rest of the world.

He asserted that the programme has the potential to facilitate additional finance and improved opportunities for international and UK businesses in Ogun State.

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REVEALED: How Policeman Raped Colleague’s 9-year-old Daughter In Lagos Barracks

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A 45-year-old policewoman (name withheld) on Thursday narrated to an Ikeja Sexual Offences and Domestic Violence Court how a fellow police personnel, Mohammed Alidu, allegedly defiled her nine-year-old daughter in a police barracks.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the policewoman was the second Prosecution Witness (PW2) in the trial of Alidu, a police sergeant, for defilement.

The PW2 was led in evidence by Mr Akin George, Deputy-Director, Lagos State Directorate of Public Prosecutions.

She said that the defendant accosted her daughter (name withheld) on her way home from school, dragged her into his house and defiled her.

“We live at Makinde Barracks, Mafoluku, Oshodi, Lagos.

“On June 29, 2018, I was at work when my husband, who was out of Lagos, called me to inform me that Sgt. Mohammed defiled our daughter.

“I went to the police station which is within the same compound of the barracks, and my daughter was in the police station.

“My daughter told me that when she was coming back from school, Mohammed called her, but she did not respond.

“She said he forcefully took her to his apartment, put her on a bed, tore her underwear and defiled her,” she said.

According to her, Mohammed was also at the police station, begging and telling the divisional police officer that it was the work of the devil.

The policewoman said that her daughter was taken to the Mirabel Center (a sexual assault referral center) for medical examination, and doctors confirmed that she was defiled.

During cross-examination by defense counsel, Mr Sunday Odise, the policewoman told the court that the defendant lived near her residence.

“He did not have a house within the barracks. He was sleeping in a shop opposite our home,” she said.

Earlier, the PW1 and the investigative police officer of the case, Sgt. Juweratu Ashiru told the court that shortly after the alleged defilement, the victim reported the incident at the police station.

“She told me that when Mohammed dragged her into the wooden house he lived, to defile her, she screamed during her ordeal and that no one rescued her.

“Mohammed was arrested at the wooden house where the crime occurred, and when we took his confessional statement, he said that it was the devil’s work.

“He said we should forgive him and drop the case, but we refused and said that he must face the full wrath of the law.

“The victim’s underwear was torn. I recovered the underwear and it was kept as an exhibit in the Gender Unit of the Police Force,” Ashiru said.

NAN reports that Justice Abiola Soladoye ordered members of the public to leave the courtroom when the alleged victim, now 10-year-old, was to give evidence.

After she testified, the judge adjourned the case until Jan. 15, 2020, for the continuation of trial.

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Revival! Dapo Abiodun’s Strides In Reviving Quality Education In Ogun

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That was the most apt and most resounding word coming from the vocal box of the then gubernatorial candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ogun State. Prince Dapo Abiodun minced no word about his intent to work round the clock to revive education from the near-comatose it had been plunged into in Ogun State, a state which was before then known for being among the best in Nigeria.

Empirical evidence, as well as historical antecedents, pointed to Ogun State as Nigeria’s cradle of civilization. But all that changed over time due to neglect and lack of deliberateness on the part of people at the helm of affairs then. Now that he is in the saddle, Governor Dapo Abiodun has unleashed his ingenuity to bring back the lost education glory of the state which has proudly produced many icons of global repute as well as thought leaders and political gladiators with an impact that has remained indelible for ages.

During the silver jubilee of the historic launch of the Free Universal Primary Education in January 1980, late Chief Obafemi Awolowo addressed the Government and people of Ogun State at the Ogun State House of Assembly. According to the former Premier of Western Region, “Education is a fundamental right, and it is the inalienable right of every Nigerian citizen to be educated free by the state. To treat education as a privilege, the opportunity to acquire which is limited to the children of the well-to-do and the rich, or which must be paid for from loan given to the student by the state, is a most misguided policy. For the avoidance of doubt, by free education we mean the abolition of not only of fees but also of all kinds of levies, by whatever name called that are still being imposed and collected in some parts of the country.”

With this speech, foremost statesman, Chief Awolowo, re-emphasized the significance of popular education of the masses, even though free education had been core of his politics. This ideal has equally been enunciated by Governor Abiodun whose has tasked his administration to get the state back to the enviable top. In his inaugural speech, Governor Abiodun made no pretence about the enormity of challenges in the education section. He lamented the state of the education sector, which he described as so worrisome, particularly in funding, white elephant projects some of which were moribund, unpaid salaries, controversial campus relocation, hasty appointment, among others.

Governor Abiodun brought his sense of duty to bear immediately he assumed duties. He made free education mandatory for pupils in primary and secondary schools. Prior to his coming on board, these groups of students were subjected to paying indiscriminate fees and levies with little or nothing to justify such payments. His declaration of free education put an immediate end to the N3,700 levied on students as adopted by the former administration on the advice of the Parents Teachers Association.

“The fee negates the free education policy of this administration. It is like payment through the back door,” Abiodun said when defending his administration’s decision to take the burden of school fees off parents whose salaries are already stretched.

When questions were raised about the sustainability of the stoppage, he assured that his team was on top of the situation and would be working with school principals and headmasters general to look into the issue and proffer ways in which the gaps created by the stoppage would be blocked.

“I hereby suspend the payment in all our schools. We will also look into the issue of principal and headmaster generals. I have told them to go and look at and how we can make it work without having to charge anybody because we promised we are going to offer free education.”

This has put paid to indiscriminate charges in primary and secondary schools, an initiative that has seen an increase in the rate of student enrolments in primary and secondary schools.

Governor Abiodun in his maiden address after the resumption, made it clear that his administration was going to tackle the hydra-headed challenged headlong. “We are going to bring our education sector up to standard.

“Yes, we have the largest number of tertiary institutions in this State, however, the performances of our students are not encouraging and we have to change that so we may be declaring a state of emergency in the education sector.”

One of the earliest actions Abiodun took as Governor was setting up visiting panels on tertiary institutions in the state to assess the challenges facing the institutions, evaluate them and recommend actions to be taken to address the issues. These Panels have been submitting their reports; and the governor has alluded to the fact that his administration has resolved the issues at Moshood Abiola Polytechnic, and the embattled Tai-Solarin College of Education (TASCE), Omu, Ijebu, adding that the state government has set up a Government Delivery Unit for education in the state.

Governor Abiodun has also demonstrated that he is for all institutions irrespective of their ownership structure. He has continuously visited and celebrated wins of privately owned institutions as well as those owned by both Ogun State and Federal Governments while also has pledged infrastructure development to aid their operations.

At the 40th anniversary and 19th convocation ceremony of the Federal Polytechnic, Ilaro, the Ogun State Governor offered Miss. Akintola Esther Modupe, the best graduating student of the institution’s automatic employment. Miss Akintola graduated with a cumulative average grade of 3.90 out of the maximum 4. She would commence work immediately after her mandatory one-year national youth service scheme. The same gesture was also replicated during the convocation ceremony of Ogun State Institute of Technology where Governor Abiodun offered immediate employment to the Overall Best Graduating Student with a CGPA of 3.85 on a scale of 4.0, Adedokun Yetunde of the Department of Accountancy.

Governor Abiodun’s administration greatly appreciates the importance of personnel in educational development. As such, he has not only been about renovations and building of a physical structure, even though that has been a front-burner activity for his government. He recently directed that promotional examination and interview for career elongation of primary school teachers to Grade level 15 be carried out. Recently, he approved the release of 2016 and 2017 promotion for 10, 000 teachers.The administration’s monthly commitment to timely payment of salaries and benefits of teachers has always been given 100% attention.

Ogun State Government pays an average of N791million pensions to retired Local Government Council workers and the State Universal Basic Education Board, SUBEB, retirees monthly. The present government has vowed to offset an outstanding debt of N32billion in gratuities and death benefits incurred between August 2011 and June 2019 under its Transition Pension Scheme.

Records from the Bureau of Local Government Pensions showed that the present administration has been facilitating prompt release of retirement savings account balance to retirees who had disengaged from the Contributory Pension Scheme with a view to ensuring that senior citizens enjoy better life after meritorious years of service to the councils. Apart from the N791 million being paid monthly as pensions, the Bureau has also paid N4,6 billion as monthly pensions between January and June 2019.

Governor Abiodun’s reinstatement of Deputy Director in the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, who was sacked by the immediate past administration for alleged dereliction of duty, shows his resolve to be fair and address all types of injustice meted out to workers. Also reinstated was the former Chairman, Nigerian Union of Teachers, Ogun State Chapter, Mr. Dare Ilekoya who had been compulsorily retired for alleged infractions, during the 2016 World Teachers Day celebration. Governor Abiodun, who announced the reinstatement during the 2019 World Teachers Day celebration held at the MKO Abiola Stadium, Kuto, Abeokuta, said the action was “to encourage teachers and also the right thing to do.”

The Ogun State Governor said that his administration would continue to ensure that the rights of teachers were protected and he called on teachers to be guided by the laws of the civil service.

Abiodun noted that the celebration of the World Teachers Day was a key element of nation-building and a catalyst for the mental, physical, social and spiritual development of humanity, adding that the celebration was a great day of joy for teachers and equally those trained or brought up by teachers.

“I know very much the sacrifices that teachers make on a daily basis to impart knowledge, considering the prevailing socio-economic situation where we have continued to see that students spend a longer part of their days with their teachers. The teachers are fast becoming foster parents as well, and as such, a good student is not just a reflection of the home, but also of the teacher.

Celebrating our teachers is, therefore, not a thing of one, but of all days,” he said.

Abiodun enjoined the teachers to double their efforts so as to achieve better performance from students in the Senior School Certificate Examination (SSCE) and other examinations, commending the academic excellence and sagacity of professional tutors and teachers at the national level through the exploits of Yewa College, Ilaro; Comprehensive High School, Ayetoro; Ijebu-Ode Grammar School; Adeola Odutola College; Mayflower, Ikenne; and, Abeokuta Grammar School.

In its bid to further encourage teachers in the state to do more, the Ogun State Government has disclosed that plans are underway to have the Governor’s Teachers’ School Excellence Award, with a view to creating healthy and meaningful competition among teachers in the state. Governor Abiodun made this known while welcoming the awardees that did Ogun State proud at the President-Teachers School Excellence Award (an award for teachers across the country) held in Abuja.

Abiodun expressed his readiness to domesticate the award to let the teachers know that they can also get their rewards on the earth before proceeding to heaven to get the ultimate laurel.

“I want to introduce a state challenge among teachers in our state. The challenge will be known as the Governor’s Teachers’ School Excellence Award. We are going to domesticate this. What we will do to those that excel will be bigger than what you got from the President-Teachers Award. We will expand it to accommodate more teachers. Today, you have done us proud, our heads are ‘swollen,’ you have done us proud. It is important we sustain it, and one of the ways is to establish the Governor’s Excellence Award,” he said.

He added that the state government will continue to give all necessary support to teachers in the state, saying that his administration would continue to do all in its power to return the state to its place of pride in the education sector.

“If out of 15 awards, we have won 4, that means there is 11 to share between the other 35 states. That means we have done well. I want to assure you that we will give you all the needed support to sustain all that you have achieved,” he said.

Abiodun also disclosed that the State Government would support the winners with cash gifts as a way of incentives, saying that no goodwill go without its reward.

In another development, the administration is currently embarking on the rehabilitation of Public Schools across the 236 Wards in Ogun State.

With the amount of focus this administration is giving to repositioning and strengthening the educational institutions, it is only a matter of time before Ogun State regains it pride of place in the educational sector nationally and globally.

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