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Religious groups, civil societies, political parties, Agbekoyas, others support Amotekun

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by Joshua Timi

Stakeholders across Lagos State have pledged their support for the creation of Amotekun in the state.

They spoke during a  day Stakeholders Forum on a bill for a law to amend the Lagos State Neighbourhood Safety Corps (LNSC) Agency Law, 2019 aimed at establishing the Amotekun Corps on Monday 24th February, 2020 at the Pavilion at the Assembly premises.

The representative of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) stated that the church is in support of Amotekun and that they would pray for the success of the corps, while commending the proponents of the concept.

Also supporting the project, a Security Consultant and Analyst, Mr. Dickson Osagie urged the government to emphasise proper training of the personnel of Amotekun, adding that insufficient parenting has been contributing to the high rate of insecurity in Lagos State.

In his comment, the Chairman of the Chairmen of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Lagos State, Chief Sunday Olaifa, who spoke on behalf of the party’s chairman in the state, Engineer Adedeji Doherty said that the party is in support of Amotekun. 

He however said that the party would want the state government not to employ personnel on party, religion or ethnic basis. 

He said that qualified people should be employed and that there are enough charms in Yoruba land to ensure the success of Amotekun.

In his contributions, a security expert, Mr. Gboyega Alowonle said that the state assembly should look at the recruitment of personnel and training. 

“Let us ensure that the personnel go through due diligence. You cannot rule out Nigerian Police in the area of security, and Community Policing is also important,” he said.

Also contributing, Mr. Lekan Otukoya advised that the government should give consideration to those who started neighbourhood watch in the state then. 

Otukoya said that members of the neighbourhood watch were laid off in 2016 without compensations, but that they had been doing good jobs since 1996, when they started.

Hon. Babatunde Adetunji, in his view suggested that irrespective of the qualification of the personnel, they should be people who understand the terrain, and that there should be penalty for erring officers. 

Ibrahim Abubakar, who spoke for the Seriki Hausawa of Alimosho suggested that people should be careful about provocative statements. 
Abubakar said that the Hausas should give people sense of belonging, and that  Community on board and let us communicate with our people.

The Chairman of Agbekoyas in Lagos State, Alhaji Davis said that they had the ability to fight crimes without using arms or weapons. 

“Let us employ those who know the job rather than using enemies. We should not use just anybody. Agbekoyas have the power to cope and fight criminals,” he said.

According to Yoruba Youth Council, banditry, raping, illegal fire arms and trespassing should parts of the crimes. Members of the state house of Assembly should be involved in the removal of the commanders.We should also note the issue of training and recruitment.

Another stakeholder, Mr. Adio Abiola stated that CDAs and CDCs members should be included in the recruitment of  members of the Amotekun Corps, saying that they know the terrain, and that the community leaders should also be involved in the process.

Babatunde Odunlami explained that hirng and removal of the head of Amotekun should not be left in the hand of the Governors alone, and that members of the Lagos State chapter of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA)  and those of the civil societies should be on the board.

General Secretary of Coalition of Oodua Group, Mr. Rasak Olokooba stated that the lawmakers should define the roles of states and federal on Amotekun clearly. 

“The police and the Nigerian Army do not have the ability to secure the states properly. 

“State police ought to secure the assembly and perform other security roles. 

“All these should be made constitutional. When criminals are arrested in Lagos State, can we hand them over to the federal police, who might not handle the matter well.

Comrade Gbenga Ekundayo from the Trade Union Congress (TUC) said that there could not be economic growth without security. 

Ekundayo said that there was need for creativity to ensure security in the state. 

He said that there should be a system to make an average adult parts of the security system. 

“We can make use of volunteers for our security system. We need technology such as data gathering and record of the people in the state,” he said. 

Earlier in his welcome address, Chairman of the House Committee on Information, Publicity, Strategy and Security, Hon. Tunde Braimoh said that  Section 14 (B) of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria stated that security is the number one job of the government.

Braimoh stressed that ciitizens enjoy all the amenities provided by the government only if they have life. 

“I welcome you all to the Lagos State House of Assembly, where we emphasise your interest. 

“What is being done is an amendment of Lagos State Neighbourhood Safety Corps (LNSC)  Law of 2016, Lagos State. The law came from the Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Mudashiru Ajayi Obasa.

“The public hearing is meant to stimulate discussions on the law. We want to establish a complimentary security network as provided for by the 1999 Constitution of the country,” he said. 

The Speaker of the House, Rt. Hon. Mudashiru Ajayi Obasa stated that the meeting was called to talk about security. 

“We can recall the killings, raping, armed robbery that have been happening all over the country. 

“Our governors came together to form an outfit that could combat crimes, which was what brought about “Amotekun”. 

“The constitution of the country talks about protection of lives and properties. 

“We came up with LNSC law to support our police in crime control and prevention. 

“All the states of the country have been copying this. The LNSC Law will be amended to accommodate “Amotekun.” Security in Lagos State is different from those of other states. “Amotekun” has come to stay in Lagos State,” he said.

While doing the overview of the Bill, the Majority Leader of the House, Hon. Sanai Agunbiade said that it was not the first amendment to the LNSC law.
Agunbiade said that the law was made in 2016 and that it was amended in 2019. 

He said that Lagos State is not in isolation, and that it is working with other states that have experienced kidnapping, killings, raping, armed robbery, cattle rustling, terrorism and others. 

He emphasized that the Governors in the South West states decided to come up with “Amotekun” and that they incorporated it into the LNSC Law.

“It seeks to amend 39 Sections of the LNSC of 2019. The Bill has nine sections with threes incidental sections and six on critical amendments.
“The purpose of the amendment is to energise what we already have in the state and make it more impactful. 

“Amotekun is an animal that is brave, bold and vicious and that could operate on land and water. “Amotekun” Corps would be vicious and operate on land, water and even in the forest.

“Members of the “Amotekun” Corps would bear arms that would be licensed by the police to make it legal,” he said.

He said that they wanted to ensure that the state had the impact of the people on whom the law would be enforced.

“LNSC Law is good for us, but we want to have something better.

“Amotekun Corps would make use of the powers given to us by our forefathers. The police itself is short-staffed, so members of “Amotekun” Corps will add value to the force,” he said. 

Chairman of APC in Lagos State, Alhaji Tunde Balogun said that Amotekun was right and proper.

He said that Amotekun is a fantastic project and a good concept, and that there could be a collaboration amongst the states in the South West, and that Amotekun will provide information to the police and other security agencies.

Are Ona Kakanfo of Yoruba land, Iba Gani Adams stated that a lot of people in Yoruba land were saying that Amotekun could cause problem, but that he told them that the Yorubas were the most organised in Nigeria and that the meeting had confirmed that. 

“Amotekun has brought about unity in the South West, it has never happened before. 

“We informed them that Amotekun is not state police and that it is different. 

“I want to allay the fears of those who think Amotekun would harm them not to have any fear. 

“The interest of everybody in the state would be protected under Amotekun. We cannot sit here without security, and we thank the Lagos State Government for being part of the project,” he said.

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School building collapses in Ejigbo, no casualty recorded

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By Kareem Hassan, Ikotun

A three-storey building has collapsed in Ejigbo.

The building, located at 15 Ansarudeen Street, Ile-Epo Bus Stop, Ejigbo was housing a private school.

According to the Director General of the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency, LASEMA, Dr. Femi Oke-Osanyintolu who confirmed the incident,  the building collapsed at about 8:15am.

Witnesses said prior to the collapse, the building had shown signs of distress and the school was planning to renovate and refortify the structure.

The three-storey building has two wings conjoined, the wing that collapsed has seriously affected the second wing as visible cracks can be seen on the walls, pillars and decking.

Dr Oke’-Osanyintolu saud: “Fortunately, nobody was trapped, no injuries and no fatality has been recorded. Responders to the incident scene are LASEMA, LASBCA, Police (Ejigbo Division),”

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Lagos, FG seek partnership for infrastructural development

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The Federal Government and Lagos State Government have found a common ground to address degeneration of infrastructure in Festac Town – a federal housing estate situated in Amuwo-Odofin area of the State.

The resolve by the two parties to jointly confront the inordinate property development and facility deficit in the housing estate was the outcome of a meeting, held on Wednesday, between Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu and the Managing Director of the Federal Housing Authority (FHA), Senator Gbenga Ashafa, signaling an end to the lingering disagreement between the State and the Federal Government over the matter.

Ashafa led top officials of FHA – a department in the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing – on a courtesy visit to the Governor at the State House in Alausa. FHA’s Executive Director for Business Development, Hon. Abdulmumin Jibrin, was in attendance.

The FHA team presented four partnership requests to the Lagos Government, among which include knowledge sharing and technology transfer, cooperation on infrastructure delivery and quick resolution of development crisis in Festac Town.

Sanwo-Olu said the State Government took land administration and property development as critical, stressing that his administration’s urban renewal project was being implemented with the objective to open up remote communities for healthy living and investment drive.

The Governor described development crisis in Festac Town as “unpleasant”, pointing out that the population growth and influx of people led to the degeneration of the neighbourhood. He also said failure of oversight on activities of property developers in Festac Town distorted the original master plan of the area.

He said: “Festac Town as it is today is not what it looked like from 1970s to 1990s, given the degeneration of infrastructure and the unpleasant development observed in the community. The original master plan did not consider population growth, which reflected in the calibre of allotees that got the property then. As a result of lack of monitoring and enforcement, people took advantage of this weakness to build indiscriminately on every available space.

“I think we can still correct this irregularity and regenerate the entire area for healthy living and business, now that the Federal Housing Authority is headed by a highly knowledgeable indigene of Lagos. Once the Federal Government is ready, Lagos State will cooperate fully and work through our Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development on agreed plan. We are ready to give waiver on statutory issues that may aid the progress of this move. Lagos is not the owner of the estate but we have a sense of duty to prevent the depreciation of the asset on that corridor.”

The Governor also conceded to FHA’s request to collaborate in the area of technology transfer, pledging to work with the federal housing agency to raise its capability by creating electronic solution that would further ease allocation of property, land administration and approval of survey plan.

He added that the State would be willing to work with the federal housing agency on estate property development in the Lagos East and West senatorial districts.

Sanwo-Olu praised President Muhammadu Buhari and Minister for Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, SAN, for the choice of Sen. Ashafa as the head of the federal housing agency, noting that the FHA boss’ tenure as Executive Secretary on Land Matters in Lagos boosted the value of land and property in the State.

The Governor said: “We want you to succeed in this new assignment you have taken up, because we believe that you have vast knowledge in land administration matters. Development is critical to us in Lagos, and we will be willing to cooperate with you for more development. We are convinced that your tenure will bring about solution to challenges the nation faces in land administration.”

Ashafa, a former Senator representing Lagos East, said FHA was ready to resolve all lingering crises delaying the re-modelling and regeneration of Festac Town, expressing confidence that the mid-way approach adopted by the agency would yield positive outcome for the both Governments and residents of the estate.

He described his meeting with the Governor as “productive and fruitful”, pledging to take the discussion further.

He said: “ All the four issues we presented were taken in by the Governor positively. With some of the relevant cabinet members in attendance at the meeting, we will be engaging in further discussions on how to go about our plan for urban regeneration in Lagos.”

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Lagos East bye elections :Tokunbo Abiru emerge APC candidate

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By Timi josh

The immediate past Managing Director of Polaris Bank,Mr Tokunbo Abiru on Thursday emerged candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for the Lagos East Senatorial bye election, scheduled for Oct.31.

Abiru emerged at the party’s primaries conducted across the 72 wards in the five local government areas in the senatorial district.

The council areas that make up the senatorial district are Kosofe,Ibeju- Lekki, Ikorodu,Epe ,and Somolu.

Alhaji Ibrahim Masari, Chief Returning Officer,said 111,551 party members voted to affirm Abiru as flagbear of the party.

He said the affirmation was necessary as the former bank boss was the only contender for the ticket.

“We are here to affirm the nomination of our candidate in the person of Mr Tokunbo Abiru.

“As you all know,there was no contest , however;we have done the affirmation starting from the wards,local governments up to the senatorial

“The total number of accredited voters ,111,551;total votes cast ,111551;valid votes ,111,551and invalid votes,none.None because we did direct primary.

“This is to certify that Tokunbo Abiru,having scored the highest total number of votes ,is hereby declared winner and returned elected”,he said.

Addresing media, after the declaration, the State Chairman of the party,Alhaji Tunde Balogun,commended the process,describing it as transparent and free.

He said the successful adoption of the consensus approach during the primaries showed that the party operated based on understanding and discipline of the constitution.

“The process has been thoroughly and meticulously done in line with the constitution of our party.

“In the constitution of APC ,we have the two options for selecting our candidates,which are consensus and contest.

“So Lagos APC decided to use the consensus approach and that is proper and constitutional .

“We are happy with the outcome and the understanding of our members ; it all shows APC is a great party”,he said.

Balogun described Abiru as a formidable candidate ,saying the party had absolute confidence in him to win the election.

He said the party would prepare well for the election to ensure emphatic victory.

The Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC)declared the senatorial seat vacant following the death of Sen.Bayo Osinowo on June 15.

Also, present at the collation centre are the party state excos state chairman Mr Tunde Balogun , state legal adviser that hon Gbamgbala Hakeem, central vice chairman, atipka kaoli, vice lagos east, hon Ogunyemi Lanre secretary, hon sunny Ajose, vice chairman lagos west, party spokeman seye oladejo, deputy spokeman hon abiodun salami

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