The Lagos State House of Assembly, on Friday, announced the suspension of the Chairman of Ifako/Ijaiye Local Government, Mr Oloruntoba Oke, and three others over alleged misappropriation of N350 million.
The suspension was sequel a report submitted to the Assembly at plenary by Mr Rotimi Olowo, the Chairman of an ad-hoc committee constituted to investigate the alleged misappropriation of funds in the council.
Olowo noted that the fund was approved in 2012 for the funding of five projects in the local government.
The lawmaker said named others affected as the Council Manager, the Treasurer and the Engineer.
Contributing, Mr Abiodun Tobun (Epe I) lamented that some council officials were working against the law, urging them to embark on projects that would improve the lives of the people.
Tobun, while supporting the suspension of the council chairman, said it would serve as deterrent to others who had it in mind to misappropriate funds allocated for project execution.
In his remark, Mr Bisi Yusuff (Alimosho I) pointed out that the secretariat for which the loan was collected, amongst others, was still in a bad state.
Yusuff condemned what he called the inability of the Ministry of Local Government and Local Government Service Commission to monitor projects at the council.
He noted that it was their negligence that contributed to the misappropriation of funds in the council.
Also, Mr Sanai Agunbiade, the Majority Leader, commended the six councillors in the council, who petitioned the Assembly on the alleged misappropriation of funds, for their courage.
Speaking, the Speaker of the Assembly, Mr Mudashiru Obasa, said that the chairman could not be suspended in isolation, as other officials were also indicted in the report.
Mudashiru said that the council’s Vice Chairman, Mr Akanbi Hamzat, should take over the affairs of the council.
Edited By: Tayo Ikujuni and
Sanwo-Olu charges cabinet, officials to brace up for optimum performance
Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu on Tuesday charged members of his cabinet and Lagos State Government officials to brace up for optimum performance.
Sanwo-Olu gave the charge during the closing of the two-day Ministerial Performance Review Retreat organised by the executive arm of the Lagos State Government.
He urged them to deploy their physical and mental resources to bringing the administration’s development vision to reality.
According to him, Lagos possesses all that is required to attain Dubai development model.
He then urged the drivers of his administration’s vision of Greater Lagos to be articulate and purposeful in the discharge of the tasks assigned to them.
Sanwo-Olu commended the cabinet members and heads of the state government’s agencies for the progress recorded in the last one year.
He, however, said that people’s expectations of the administration’s efforts were more than what had been achieved so far, hence, the need to brace for more work.
The governor urged the cabinet members and executives of the parastatals to deploy more resourcefulness to the implementation of policies and programmes designed to transform the lives of the residents and the state’s economy.
”There are many takeaways from this two-day retreat which must energise us further to deliver on our goals and promises to the people.
”But, one key thing we must take away from this exercise is the fact that we have sustained our attempts to transform Lagos and these efforts are being acknowledged by those who understand what development is all about.
”We have many great actions and ideas we have implemented, which probably have not been properly communicated. Now we need to be smarter, more organised and articulate in the way we go about our programmes, so that our efforts can be more visible.
”The Ministry of Information and Strategy and everyone that has strength in communication should begin to magnify these efforts and show the world how Lagos is changing,” he said.
The governor said that in spite the slow pace of socio-economic activities across all sectors, which was occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic, his administration would not give excuses to residents.
According to him, the virus would not derail his government’s development agenda.
Sanwo-Olu charged all commissioners and special advisers to work together and exchange information for better service delivery.
“We need to work together and share information with one another. This way, we articulate our successes and progress better,” he said.
Edited By: Wale Ojetimi
I never accused NAN staff of fraud, says Lagos NUJ Chairman
Dr Qasim Akinreti, the outgoing Chairman, Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Lagos State Council, says he never accused any member of staff of the News Agency of Nigeria of fraudulent practices.
Akinreti, also declared that there was no iota of truth in the allegations making the round that he accused members of his outgoing executive of fighting him because he refused to share the N25 million building money with them.
According to him, journalists in the agency have integrity and pedigree.
Mr Debo Oshundun, the Chairman, Lagos State chapter of Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN), had demanded clarifications from Akinreti on the allegations of in fighting with his executive members over alleged non sharing of the said money.
Responding to the allegation, Akinreti simply said: “l did not say so”.
On the issue of substituting NAN nominee for the Ex-Officio position in the council’s executive, Akinreti also denied ever receiving name of any candidate from NAN for such position after his election in 2017.
Ikujuni said, “Mr Chairman, l could remember that at the burial of one of my colleagues, you told me in the presence of Mrs Bola Akingbeyin and Mr Moses Omorogevia that you can not work with the NAN nominee for the ex-officio position.”
He then called for issue-based campaign.
Raymond Tedunjaiye, an aspirant for the position of Secretary and Iyabo Wale-Eri, an aspirant for the position of Financial Secretary were on the campaign.
Meanwhile, Mr Adeleye Ajayi, a Deputy Editor-in-Chief with the News Agency, and also former President, Maritime Reporters Association of Nigeria (MARAN), is contesting against Akinreti at the Sept. 29 Lagos NUJ Chairmanship position.
Edited By: Tayo Ikujuni/Olagoke Olatoye
Obiano inaugurates 18-member task force on human trafficking, irregular migrationar migration
Gov. Willie Obiano of Anambra has expressed concern over the growing number of indigenes falling victim of human trafficking in the state.
He spoke on Tuesday in Awka during the inauguration of an 18-member task force to curb human trafficking and irregular migration in the state.
Obiano, who was represented by the Secretary to the State Government, Prof. Solomon Chukwulobelu, described the development as “a serious subject matter in the state which we are already aware of.
“The trend seems to be growing that occasionally, the matter comes up at the state Security Council meeting,” he said.
He recalled that efforts were made in the past to receive evacuated indigenes of the state in Lagos and Port-Harcourt, who were rescued and repatriated back to Nigeria from different countries.
According to him, they were later rehabilitated and reintegrated successfully into society.
Obiano lauded the efforts of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) and pledged to donate a property to serve as the state command of the agency.
In a remark, the Director-General of NAPTIP, Dame Julie Okah-Donli, described human trafficking and irregular migration as a national concern with a large number of Nigerians trapped in other African and European countries.
“This is apart from hundreds that continue to die in the Sahara Desert and the Mediterranean Sea,” Okah-Donli said.
She said that more worrisome was the case of young girls, being trafficked from the South-East and neighbouring states to Mali, Burkina Faso and other countries in the West African sub-region.
She said that 528 indigenes of Anambra were rescued by NAPTIP between 2004 and July 2020, consisting of 426 females and 102 males.
Okah-Donli said the victims were mostly from Onitsha North and South, Anambra East, Anaocha, Awka North and South, Idemili North and South Local Government Areas.
“These victims were subjected to child labour, domestic servitude, recruitment for foreign travels, sexual exploitation and sales of babies.
“Between 2017 and 2020, the International Orgaisation for Migration (IOM) returned 34 indigenes of the state from various parts of the world, comprising 29 females and five males,” she said.
The NAPTIP boss, therefore, said the task force had a pivotal role to play in ensuring adequate sensitisation at the grassroots and among vulnerable groups providing services and support to victims.
She, however, called for strong political will and budgetary provisions by the state government, in addition to the commitment of traditional institutions, religious and community leaders to deal with the phenomenon.
Also, Mrs Ruth Mbugua, the Protection Officer of IOM, said coordination and operationalisation of the task force was key to tackling human trafficking.
Mbugua said her office had supported the establishment of six task forces in Rivers, Cross Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Lagos, Ogun and Oyo states since January.
“Task forces create a strategic, coordinated and collaborative framework for a more effective response to trafficking in persons,” she said.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that members of the task force were drawn from the Police, Civil Society Organisatiosn, Immigration, Federal Road Safety Commission, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps and youth groups.
Others were individuals from rights groups, Ministries of Women Affairs and Justice as well as offices of the SSG and Government House.
Responding, Dr Obianuju Nwogu, the Attorney-General of the state and Chairman of the task force, pledged the commitment of the state judiciary to the fight.
“We have able lawyers and we are expanding the number for the purposes of this job.
“We have all the apparatuses it will take, including regular courts, the Child’s Right Courts and the Administration of Criminal Justice Law to carry out the task,” she said.
Nwogu, who is also the state Commissioner for Justice, was represented by Mrs Ngozi Iwouno, the Director, Civil Litigation.
Earlier, NAPTIP was received by Mr Benjamin Okoye, the Traditional Prime Minister of Awka, when the group paid a courtesy visit to Obi Gibson Nwosu, the Traditional Ruler of Awka Kingdom.
Edited By: Sam Oditah
Suspect wanted by FBI for $6m scam surrenders to EFCC — Official
Okpoh is wanted by FBI for alleged involvement in a Business Email Compromise (BEC) scheme that allegedly defrauded more than 70 different businesses in the United States of six million dollars (N2.79 billion).
A spokesperson for the EFCC, Wilson Uwujaren, said in a statement in Port Harcourt on Tuesday, that Okpoh turned himself in to the anti-graft agency on Sept. 18.
“Okpoh, alongside Richard Uzuh, Alex Ogunshakin, Abiola Kayode and Nnamdi Benson were declared wanted by the FBI sometime in 2019.
“They allegedly defrauded over 70 businesses in the United States, of over six million dollars,” he said.
Uwujaren said that Okpoh allegedly provided over 40 bank accounts and conspired with others to receive fraudulent wire transfers from their victims totaling over one million US dollars.
“Okpoh was, on Aug. 21, 2019, indicted in the United States District Court, District of Nebraska, on charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
“He turned himself in to EFCC Lagos Zonal Office in the company of his parents on Sept. 18, 2020,” he stated.
Edited By: Dianabasi Effiong/Wale Ojetimi