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NIGERIA @ 60: DON’T DESPAIR, EXPECT A GREATER NIGERIA, SAYS GOV. DAPO ABIODUN

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Ogun State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun, on Sunday called on Nigerians not to be despair saying a greater Nigeria is possible in the foreseeable future.
Gov Abiodun said no matter the prevailing circumstances, the country has proven to be an enigma, defying all predictions by pundits that it would not survive but “Nigeria has always wriggled out of the most difficult situation better. I have no doubt that Nigerians should be hopeful and we all must be ready to contribute to that future which we desire. Be hopeful. As a nation we are moving towards a better Nigeria.
Prince Dapo Abiodun expressed this optimism at the Special Church Service to mark the 60th National Day Celebration, held at the Cathedral Church of St. Peters, Ake, Abeokuta.
He noted that the task ahead “is a collective one. We shouldn’t allow the prophesies of doom to define us. With prayers and given the human and material resources available, believe that things would get better.”
Governor Abiodun recalled that many countries that gained independence with Nigeria are no longer together. “They have either been balkanized by their internal realities or civil war. We have survived many vicissitudes and our despite her numerous challenges, especially in the area of economy and security, the country is still together and would move forward more prosperously”, he said.
“Despite all predictions, Nigeria is still standing. Our diversity is our strength. We are a resilient and confident people. We surmounted the Civil war, Boko Haram. Tomorrow will bring the best in us. All we need to do is to work together. Nigeria will move forward. We must not prophesy doom. Nation building is not for government alone, but the responsibility of all.
“We were able to manage COVID-19 very well. We defeated Ebola which was deadlier. About seven million people died in the United States and thousands are affected on a daily basis; but we thank God that is not the case here. There are a lot to be done in the area of economy and security and I believe with everyone on board, we shall overcome”, he said.
He said the nation has produced men and women of substance who have distinguished themselves in all spheres of life, adding that a lot needed to be done towards economic sustainability and nation building. Abiodun who also affirmed his conviction that the country would continue to grow stronger as the democracy it currently enjoys continues to fledge, added that with the collective prayers of every Nigerian, all problems being faced by the country would be overcome.
While reeling out some programmes of his administration, the Goverrnor disclosed that the State government in conjunction with the Federal government would embark on the construction of 10,000 low cost housing units across the State.
Prince Abiodun said the houses which would be built under the Social Housing Project, in the next three years, would provide accessible and affordable houses to Nigerians at the cost of N2m.
He said though the COVID-19 pandemic has taken a toll on the economy of the country, his administration was addressing the issues of power and infrastructure by ensuring that interrupted power was made available for small and medium business concerns, as well as inter connecting roads to neighbouring states.
On housing, the Governor said his administration has constructed affordable housing in Abeokuta and currently constructing similar units in Ijebu-Ode, Sagamu, Ilaro and Ifo, while efforts are on to revitalize the educational and health sectors of the State.
While urging the people not to lose hope, Governor’s Abiodun enjoined them to continue to pray and remain united as the future of the country was looking good.
In his sermon, the Retired Primate, Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, Most Reverend Peter Akinola, decried the State of bloodletting in the country, saying that for the nation to experience development, efforts must be made to stop bloodletting, while the people must repent of their sins.
The retired Primate of the church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) who took his sermon from the book of Ezekiel 22 vs 3-6, traced the era of spilling of blood in Nigeria to the time of independence, opined that no land full of blood could move forward, called for repentance and tendering of apology to the families of those who lost their love ones as a result of killings.
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Why we didn’t distribute looted COVID-19 palliatives – Official

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The Osun Food and Relief Committee on COVID-19, on Friday, said the looted items at a warehouse in Ede town were not hoarded, but rather kept for flag-off of official distribution.

Bayo Jimoh, secretary to the committee, in a statement in Osogbo, said that the looted items were donated to the committee as palliatives to the people by Private Sector Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID).

Some angry youth in the early hours of Friday broke into a warehouse in Ede town and carted away COVID-19 palliatives meant for distribution.

Items such as beans, noodles, sugar, salt, garri, rice, pastas, vegetable oil, among others, were looted from the warehouse located within the moribund Cocoa Industry, Ede.

The incident, however, happened barely 24 hours after the state government announced the suspension of dusk-till-dawn curfew imposed following the #EndSARS protest.

Governor Adegboyega Oyetola had in April inaugurated a 21-member Food and Relief Committee to cushion the effect of COVID-19 on the people of the state.

Mr Jimoh, however, said that the looted food items had no direct bearing with the state government, adding that the items were within the purview of the Food and Relief Committee.

He said as such, the items could only be distributed after a formal flag-off by the CACOVID Office, Abuja.

The statement read partly, ”We do not have the authority to distribute the food items without approval from Abuja.

”Besides, the Committee is still expecting the rice component of the donated items, which is 40, 230 bags of 5kg.

“All these are part of the reasons the items were still in the warehouse up till the time of the invasion.

“The following items were donated; Pasta FMN – 29, 992; Pasta OLAM -10, 282; Noodles- 80, 644; Garri -40, 322; Salt- 40, 320; and Sugar – 40, 227.

“However, the rice components of the donated items are yet to be delivered until now. The Committee wrote to CACOVID as recently as Sept. 28, 2020, reminding it of the rice component, which is yet to be delivered.

“However, until this moment, we are yet to receive response from CACOVID.

“This is the truth about the status of the donated relief items until the unfortunate looting,” Mr Jimoh said.(NAN)

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LAGOS CONDEMNS VANDALISATION OF WAREHOUSE FOR CACOVID FOOD PALLIATIVES

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The Lagos State Government has condemned the vandalisation of the warehouse at Mazamaza housing the food palliative packages donated to the government by the Private Sector Coalition against COVID-19 (CACOVID) group. The items belong to the Southwest, contrary to social media reports that they are all for Lagos.

Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu had on September 22nd 2020, formally taken receipt of the food palliatives from the CACOVID team meant for distribution to the indigent.

The State had repackaged its share of the consignment and was distributing it before the protests that have affected activities in the State. The repackaging was being done to account for every beneficiary, according to the agreement with the CACOVID Group, which monitored the process.

The warehouse in question is not State-owned and its usage was made available to the CACOVID group.

The distribution was on-going but had to be halted due to protests, before the invasion of the warehouse today.

For effective distribution of the food palliatives, groups such as Transport Unions, Ethnic Groups, Religious Associations, Artisans and Tradesmen Association, Marketmen and Women Association, People Living with Disabilities, Orphanages and Old Peoples’ Homes among others were being used as the distribution channels to their members.

The State Government, however, regrets the invasion of the warehouse and appreciates the support offered by the CACOVID group to the citizenry of Lagos.

 

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WE DID NOT ORDER LEKKI SHOOTING – SANWO-OLU

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Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has, again, spoken on the ugly incident that happened at the Lekki Toll Plaza on Tuesday evening, in which military personnel used live ammunition to disperse EndSARS protesters who camped at the tollgate to demand for the end to police brutality.

Sanwo-Olu maintained that the State Government did not order the military shooting, which left about 11 of the youths severely injured. The Governor also sustained his earlier assertion that, no protester died in the incident, stressing that he and officials of the State Government had gone round private and public health facilities across the State without being able to identify bodies of those allegedly killed in the incident except one that died from blunt force trauma and another corpse that was recovered by the police in the Victoria Island area with bullet wounds.

The Governor appeared on The Morning Show programme aired live on Arise News, said the State was already investigating whether the deceased was a protester.

Sanwo-Olu asked members of the public with credible information on anyone or group of persons killed in the incident to come forward with the claim. He said the social media overblew the proportion of the incident with what he described as “false information” being shared by those who were not at the scene of the incident.

He said: “There have been several false information that we have seen over the incident and we will appeal to people to show more restraint in posting information that cannot be verified.”

The Governor spoke on the alleged removal of Close-Circuit Television (CCTV) security cameras at the Toll Plaza before the shooting started, debunking the claims that he ordered the action. Sanwo-Olu said the cameras that were removed were not security cameras but laser cameras meant to capture vehicles’ electronic tags and number plates. He said the removal of the laser cameras was a decision taken by Lekki Concession Company (LCC) that owns the facility.

He said: “When I spoke to the Managing Director of LCC over the matter, he told me the company took the decision to remove installations critical to their service when the curfew was announced. Those cameras that were displayed in the viral pictures were not security or motion cameras. They are laser cameras for vehicles, specifically designed to pick electronic tags and number plates on cars. Security cameras installed at the Toll Plaza are still there as I speak and the footages from them are the ones that we will be using in probing the Lekki incident. Since Tuesday, the security cameras at the Toll Plaza are still there and nobody can touch them.”

Sanwo-Olu said multi-agency investigation into Lekki incident may begin next Monday when order would have been fully restored across the State, pointing out that the recordings of the CCTV security cameras at the Toll Plaza would be useful in unraveling the circumstance that surrounded the incident.

Members of the public, the Governor said, will be part of the investigation for transparency. He added that security experts would be involved to analyse the recordings of the CCTV security cameras to ensured the footages captured since the time the protesters started camping at the tollgate were not tampered with.

On the allegation that he influenced the switching off of the billboard that illuminated the Toll Plaza area at night, Sanwo-Olu said the concessionaire that operates the billboard took the decision independently after the curfew order was announced.

Speaking on the aftermath of the organised attacks on government properties, iconic buildings and private assets, Sanwo-Olu said the nature of the destruction indicated an attempt by the arsonists to keep the State in limbo. He said the attacks were specifically targeted at emergency response infrastructure of the State to weaken its response in the case of large-scale violence.

The Governor disclosed that the arsonists, in the organised destruction, razed four State-owned fire stations and five fire trucks. He said the reconstruction of the damaged assets would cost billions, but said the State would bounce back after the devastation.

Sanwo-Olu said it would be insensitive for him to buttress the narrative linking the arsonist attacks on public buildings to sectarian elements, saying his immediate priority was to salvage the damaged assets and prevent further attacks. He, however, said all materials suggesting the arson may have been organised by secessionists would be left for security agencies for proper analysis.

Clarifying his statement that forces beyond him were behind the deployment of troops to Lekki axis, the Governor said: “The hierarchy and chains of command in the military are not within my purview. This is not something I have responsibility for. I do not have such power to control or activate the military. That essentially is what I was trying to say in that particular phrase.”

He also explained that he reached out to President Muhammadu Buhari on two occasions to seek for more help as public assets in the State were being destroyed. He said the President responded, directing the Chief of Defence Staff to liaise with him.

He said: “I made phone calls to speak to the President twice yesterday (Wednesday). The first time, he (president) hadn’t come to the office. The second time, he was at the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting. Indeed, I haven’t spoken to him directly. He was actually the one who directed the Chief of Defence Staff to call me and I feel that it was when he got my message. Because, when the Chief of Defence Staff called me, he said to me it was the President that asked him to call. But, I haven’t spoken to the President directly; maybe later today, that might happen.”

Aftermath of the destruction, Sanwo-Olu urged the residents of Lagos to come together and heal the wounds inflicted on the State by the arsonists. He said the ugly incident put citizens’ patriotism to test, urging them to unite and re-build the State from the ruins left by the attacks.

He said: “We are at a point where all of us as a people living in the State must come together more than ever before. Our patriotism has been put to test and we need to re-engage ourselves and heal the several wounds that have been inflicted on us. We do not have any other country; this is our country.

“In Lagos, we cannot afford to put to waste what our forefathers and the generation of leaders before us have put in place. We need to preserve our heritage and we need to know that indeed we can build a future for our children. We need to put an end to any form of anger, protest, confrontation and bleeding. Let us come together and start a real healing process.”

 

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