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Seyi Makinde Signs 2020 Appropriation Bill Into Law , Says Civil Servants To Receive 13th-Month Salary December 28

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Oyo State Governor, Engineer Seyi Makinde, has signed the 2020 Appropriation Bill of the State into law.

The 2020 budget signing ceremony, which was held inside the State’s Executive Council Chambers, Governor’s Office, Agodi, Ibadan, was witnessed by the Deputy Governor, Engineer Rauf Olaniyan, the Speaker of the House of Assembly, Rt. Honorable Adebo Ogundoyin, members of the House of Assembly and other top government functionaries.

Governor Makinde, who declared that the Government would target a minimum of 70 percent implementation, stated that the budget would achieve landmark infrastructural development in the State.

He said: “So, as I stated in the budget presentation speech, our objective is to, at least, achieve 70 percent implementation at the end of the 2020 fiscal year.”

A statement by the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Makinde, Mr. Taiwo Adisa, indicated that the budget was geared towards achieving the plans outlined in the roadmap for accelerated development of Oyo State from 2019-2023.

Governor Makinde said: “The Appropriation Bill for the 2020 fiscal year, which I am about to sign into law, represents the aspirations of the people of Oyo State. It is geared towards achieving the plans outlined in our roadmap for accelerated development in Oyo State from 2019-2023. We produced this document during the electioneering period and it is exactly what we are following.”

The Governor commended the Oyo State House of Assembly for the prompt scrutinizing and passing of the proposed budget bill in order for the implementation of the budget to start from the beginning of the next year.

“Let me start by thanking the Oyo State House of Assembly for promptly scrutinizing and passing our budget proposal. This makes it easier for the Executive to do its part in implementing the budget from the beginning of next year. So, I want to, on behalf of the Executive, appreciate the Honourable Speaker and other House of Assembly members that are present here,” he said.

He hinted that all the civil servants would receive their 13th-month salary by the 28th of December, 2019.

“Before we draw the curtain on 2019 fiscal year, I mentioned it during my last media chat and I have also mentioned it this morning that our civil/public servants will receive their 13th-month salary by December 28,” he said.

Makinde noted that the drafting of the budget was holistic in nature as everyone in all the nooks and crannies of the state was carried along.

“We ensured that everyone was involved in drafting the budget proposal at different engagements and sessions throughout the state. I personally was engaged in the engagement session for Oyo South Senatorial District. The Deputy Governor spearheaded the engagement session for Oyo North Senatorial District and the Chief of Staff did that of Oyo Central. Our people were carried along.

“We believe so much in the document because a lot of work actually went into it and it will interest you to also know that even international agencies have been making references to it. I had a meeting with the World Bank, and they brought out the document and said they have been referencing it. So, it is our roadmap.

“The total amount passed by the state House of Assembly was N213,788,33,2.97. This is an increase of N4,935,60,124.97 compared to the budget proposal we submitted. So, in reality, the House of Assembly has graciously added more money to the budget, probably they did it on the expenditure side, they will still have to come back to us on the revenue side.

“Both capital and recurrent expenditure were increased by the House of Assembly compared to the budget proposal, which we submitted. So, the total capital expenditure is now N1,360,177,88.97 and the total recurrent expenditure is now N110,427,855,919. Even though, we have been consistently paying salaries as and when due, we managed to decrease personnel cost in the budget compared to the 2019 budget.

“We are all aware of the validation exercise that is going on. On one hand, we hope that it will allow us to eliminate ghost workers syndrome and, on the other hand, we have just set up the Committee to engage the Labour Union to seek alignment on the new minimum wage issue. So, we will keep a close watch on what has been approved by the House of Assembly on the side of the recurrent expenditure.”

The Governor added: “The top four sectors with the highest budgetary allocations are infrastructure, which has 23.93 percent; education 22.37 percent; health is 5.18 percent and agriculture which is 4.1 percent. These sectors were prioritized because they represent the four pillars that this administration is resting on.

“On infrastructure, we do have a couple of developmental projects that are coming in. We know for a fact that within the 2020 fiscal year, the rail corridor will become a reality. We will push forward with the dry port.

“As I said during the media chat, if you don’t want this place to be like Lagos, then we have to plan early. If we know the dry port is coming early, we have to design a new road network, plan for the influx of people. If you have a dry port, you should have clearing agents and different workers in there. So, what this means to us is we need hotel accommodation should they stay two or three-night here to complete their transactions. So, on all of these, we have to prioritize, pull those projects in before they turn into an emergency.

“I want to use this opportunity to thank the good people of Oyo State for the overwhelming support they have given this administration.

“Also, on behalf of my colleagues seated here, I will remain bound by our commitment to serving the people.”

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JUST IN: Court Orders Orji Kalu’s Release From Prison

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The Federal High Court in Lagos on Tuesday ordered the release of a former governor of Abia State, Orji Uzor Kalu, from prison.

Kalu was jailed for 12 years on December 5, 2019, after he was convicted of N7.1bn fraud alongside his firm, Slok Nigeria Limited, and a former Director of Finance at the Abia State Government House, Jones Udeogu.

However, the Supreme Court, in a May 8, 2020 judgment, nullified the trial and conviction of Kalu and others on the grounds that the judge who handled the case lacked jurisdiction.

The Supreme Court’s judgment followed an appeal by Udeogu, contending that the trial judge, Justice Mohammed Idris, concluded the 12-year-old trial and gave judgment after he had been elevated to the Court of Appeal and ceased to be a judge of the Federal High Court.

On Tuesday, Kalu’s counsel, Chief Lateef Fagbemi (SAN), urged Justice Mohammed Liman to the release of the ex-governor from prison custody, based on the pronouncement of the Supreme Court in Udeogu’s appeal.

“Our application is brought pursuant to Section 159 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act.

“This is a fallout of the Supreme Court decision delivered on the 8th of May,” Fagbemi said.

In response, the prosecuting counsel for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Mr Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), the anti-graft agency would not, in principle, oppose Fagbemi’s application for Kalu’s release from prison.

“But we are also urging the court that the order made by the Supreme Court for trial de novo should be complied with by all parties; so that Your Lordship will give us a date when arraignment will be done.

“We want the trial to go on; losing more time will be dangerous for us,” Jacobs added.

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Banks, Hotels, Others Back As Government Reopens Businesses

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Businesses got on Monday a new lease of life as government commenced phase two of the ease of lockdown by gradually reopening the economy.

Banks were given immediate clearance to operate fully. Hotels got the nod to reopen “but must observe all mandatory non-pharmaceutical intervention”.

The Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 Control unveiled the new guidelines on Monday at the end of the first phase of lockdown easing ordered by President Muhammadu Buhari on May 4.

National Coordinator of the PTF, Dr. Aliyu Sani, who announced the reopening of the financial sector, said the restricted opening of worship centers will be granted by states subject to the PTF guidelines.

The Aviation Industry is also to be reopened this month.

Airlines and other stakeholders in the industry have been given till June 21 to work out all necessary plans and preparations for the resumption of domestic flights.

Dr. Sani said: “The goal of phase two over the next four weeks is to balance public safety with protecting livelihoods as well as allowing the full restoration of economic activities across the country.

“We are not opening places of worships across the board. We are saying that opening is conditional and it is based on these clear-cut guidelines and would only cover regular church and mosque services.

“Effective from tomorrow (today) Tuesday the 2nd of June, 2020, the easing of the lockdown will be characterized by the following:

“The nationwide curfew will remain in place but the timing of this will be reduced to 10 pm to 4 am. The purpose of the curfew is to limit social interactions and therefore reduce the risk of transmission of the virus.

“Persons that are on essential duty, including but not limited to those involved in the provision of health care services, media services, and critical infrastructure are exempted from the curfew.

“All interstate travels by individuals remain prohibited except for essential travels and the movement of goods and services. All restrictions on the free movement of goods and services are now removed in this phase.

“There will be a full opening of the financial sector with banks now allowed to operate normal working hours-five days a week.

“The mass gathering of more than 20 people outside of the workplace or places of worship remains prohibited.

“There will be controlled access to markets and locations of economic activities. But local authorities will continue to provide guidance on opening times.

“Restricted opening of places of worship will be based on state government protocols and restrict guidelines of physical distancing and other non-pharmaceutical interventions. This will apply to regular church and mosques services only.

“In terms of general movement, persons may go out for work, go to buy necessary food, and for exercise provided that they abide by the curfew hours.

“Movement between local government areas is strongly discouraged unless for critical reasons such as healthcare and work.

“I will like to emphasize that it is still safer to stay at home and avoid crowds. The pandemic is not over in this country and the relaxation of some of the rules doesn’t mean that it is safer to go out. If you do not need to go out please continue to stay at home.

“Hawking and trading are also prohibited and we will be looking into this in later details with state authorities.

“The aviation industry requested to start developing protocols to allow for domestic flights to resume anytime from June 21 onwards. Airlines must ensure physical distancing by reducing passenger capacity, ensure the provision of hand sanitizers, and appropriate personal protective equipment as well as carrying out temperature checks at points of entry and departure and ensuring that airports are not congested by either non-travelers or by airport staff.

“With interstate travels, movement across state borders remains restricted other than the free movement of goods and essential travels. Security services are requested to please cooperate with members of the public and ensure that goods are provided with the free passage as this particular phase is directed at ensuring the economy starts moving again.

“With intra-state travel, we will implement new travel processes for areas of the country with high burden local government areas and this will be restricted to essential travel but for the moment with intrastate travel, all the prior guidelines will remain, including reduced occupancy for buses and taxis, the need for a temperature check and where available, the provision of handwashing facilities and the maintenance of physical distancing.

“For the industry and labor sector in terms of working hours, normal working hours will apply to offices other than government offices provided this is kept within the curfew hours of 10 pm to 4 am.

“Offices are to maintain working at 75 percent capacity while maintaining the two-meter physical distancing.

“For government offices, they can open between the hours of 9 am to 2 pm. So, no change in opening hours but can work from Mondays to Fridays. Prior to this, we allowed a three-day working week. However, only persons that are within the grade level of 14 and above at both the federal and state government levels will be allowed to come into work. We will encourage staff to continue to work at home if possible, including the business and private sector, making the best use of technology that is now available.

“Hotels may reopen but must observe all mandatory non- pharmaceutical interventions.

“Restaurants, other than those in hotels must remain closed to eat -ins but are allowed to prioritize and continue practicing the takeaway system.

“The Federal Ministry of Education has been instructed to work with school owners to prepare students that require exiting exams to allow them to take exams early in the next phase of the lifting of the lockdown.

“State governments and security agencies are enjoined to ensure effective and strict enforcement of these guidelines while respecting the exemptions that have been approved by Mr. President.”

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BREAKING: Music Legend, Majek Fashek Dies

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Legendary Nigerian singer, songwriter, and guitarist, Majekodunmi Fasheke popularly known as Majek Fashek, has died.

According to reports, the “Send Down the Rain” crooner, aged 57 died in a hospital in New York on Monday, June 1. Our sources are yet to confirm the cause of his death.

His manager, Uzoma Omenka, confirmed this in a video uploaded on the late singer’s Instagram handle.

Omenka, who said he has been getting pressure from all over regarding the passing of the maestro, said, “Yes, it is true that the legend has gone to be with the Lord. But this time I want to say we should all celebrate him, his achievements. He has done a lot for Nigeria and for Africa.

“Whatever the family decides, I will get to you. This is all I have to say for now.”

Majek was born in Benin City to an Edo mother and an Ijesha father but identifies with his Benin roots.

In the early eighties Fashek, who at the time went by the stage name Rajesh Kanal, joined the group Jastix with McRoy Gregg, and Drummer Black ‘Rice. They were best known as the in-house band on the show Music Panorama on NTA Benin and toured with fellow reggae group The Mandators.

In 1988, shortly after Jastix disbanded Fashek, who now used the name Majek Fashek, signed with Tabansi Records and began a solo career by releasing the album Prisoner of Conscience and quickly became Nigeria’s top reggae artist after the song “Send Down The Rain” became the most popular song of the year, and in 1989 he won six PMAN awards for “Song of the Year”, “Album of the Year”, and “Reggae Artist of the Year” among others.

Fashek was married to Rita Fashek who inspired the song “Without You”; the couple had four children together, but have since divorced. In 2015, it was revealed that Fashek was bankrupt and battling drug addiction. After admitting that he needed help, he was admitted into a drug rehabilitation center in Abuja, but has since recovered, and returned to music.

Besides his struggle with drug addiction, other health conditions required his hospitalization on several occasions. He was rumored dead in September 2019 but his manager quelled the rumors, confirming that Majek had indeed been critically ill, hospitalized at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Woolwich, England, and in dire need of financial assistance

The ‘rainmaker’ as he his fondly called has worked with various artists worldwide including Tracy Chapman, Jimmy Cliff, Michael Jackson, Snoop Dogg, and Beyoncé.

Majek’s life and work are still prominently celebrated by Nigerian music fans and beyond. His legacy of excellence in music and worldwide impact through instrumentation will live imminently.

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