By Modupe Gbadeyanka
Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State has approved a total sum of N740,461,432 as compensation for host communities of Parcel B comprising Yegunda, Abomiti and International Airport site of the Lekki Free Trade Zone (LFTZ).
Mr Ambode gave the approval on Thursday, pointing out that the development was in line with his commitment to engender a sustainable cordial relationship between the host communities and investors in the LFTZ.
Announcing the development at a media briefing held at the Bagauda Kaltho Press Centre in Alausa,
Commissioner for Commerce, Industry and Cooperatives in the state, Prince Rotimi Ogunleye, said ever since coming on board, Governor Ambode has seriously and holistically addressed the salient need to compensate the host communities, adding that remarkable progress had been recorded in that regard.
With Mr Ogunleye at the occasion were the Special Adviser to the Governor on Commerce, Mr Benjamin Olabinjo; Commissioner for Local Government and Community Affairs, Mr Muslim Folami; the Managing Director of Lekki Worldwide Investments Limited, Dr Tunde Sodade, among others.
Mr Ogunleye, while stating that the State Government has continued to engage the host communities ever since the LFTZ project started in 2004, noted that the engagement principally centred on the need for the communities to recognize the multiplier effects of the project in terms of employment generation and the value to be added to the socio-economic lives of the people.
He said already, modalities were being put in place to ensure hitch-free payment of the approved N740 million, adding that the payment would be effected with immediate effect.
Responding to questions, Mr Ogunleye said the compensation exercise was a continuous process, revealing that N65 million was paid early this year for land owners affected by the ongoing Dangote projects which included petrochemical plant, gas project, fertilizer and refinery project capable of refining 650, 000 barrels of oil per day.
He said before now, the host communities of the 3,000 hectares of land housing the LFTZ Development Agency, a company jointly owned by the State Government and a consortium of Chinese investors, were heavily compensated, adding that more land owners would be compensated in due course at the end of verification and valuation exercise.
“Let me reiterate once again, the commitment of this administration to Community Social Responsibility (CSR) and its readiness to continue to heed the yearnings of our people in the areas covered by the LFTZ and its complementary projects. I also need to assure both local and foreign investors that all our projects in the corridor are fully on course and as an administration, we are fully committed to them.
“At this time of economic downturn, our State as the nation and Sub Saharan economic hub is providing this investment platform with huge potentials as the best destination for direct investment. We are providing appropriate road infrastructure to ease the operations of investors in the zone and we will continue to sustain the friendly operating environment that now subsists,” Mr Ogunleye said.
We’re Yet to Receive Formal Report of Sylvester Oromoni’s Death—Police
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
The Lagos State Police Command on Saturday night said it was yet to receive a formal report of the death of one Sylvester Oromoni, a 12-year-old student of Dowen College, Lekki, Lagos.
The death of Master Oromoni has been trending online for the past few days and the video of his painful death sparked reactions after it was reported that he was bullied in school and allegedly forced to swallow substances believed to have eventually killed.
The incident forced the Lagos State government to shut down the school indefinitely for investigation.
On Saturday night, the spokesman for the Lagos Police Command, Mr Adekunle Ajisebutu, a chief superintendent police (CSP), said though none of the parents or the school has formally filed a report on the matter, the command has swung into action to get to the root of the matter.
According to him, “the Commissioner of Police, upon hearing about it instantly, directed the Divisional Police Officer, Maroko Division under whose jurisdiction the place of incident is to immediately visit the school to carry out an initial investigation into the incident.”
“This directive has been carried out as an investigation into the case has since commenced. However, in view of the seriousness of the case, the Homicide Section of the State Criminal Investigation Department, Panti, has also been directed to take over the investigation of the case immediately,” he added.
“Members of the public, particularly the deceased’s bereaved parents, friends and relatives, are assured that the Lagos State Police Command has deployed all available human and material resources at its disposal to unravel the circumstances surrounding the sad and unfortunate incident,” the police image-maker for the command stated.
“While a diligent investigation is ongoing, members of the public are advised against taking the law into their own hands. They are also enjoined to refrain from comments that could jeopardize the investigation,” he appealed.
Concluding, Mr Ajisebutu said, “The Commissioner of Police, CP Hakeem Odumosu, while commiserating with the bereaved family, has equally assured that the outcome of police investigation would be made public in due course.”
Adisa Receives Media Friendly State Lawmaker Award
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
For his contributions to the infrastructural development of his constituency and outstanding achievements as a lawmaker, the member representing Afijio constituency in the Oyo State House of Assembly, Mr Seyi Adisa, has been given the Media Friendly State Lawmaker Award.
The award was conferred on the state legislator by the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Oyo State Council during its press week at the Press Centre, Iyaganku, Ibadan.
Chairman of the NUJ Oyo chapter, Mr Demola Babalola, disclosed that the award was in recognition of Mr Adisa’s outstanding performance as a lawmaker, who has excelled in his calling as well contributed to the development of society.
He said his contributions to the development of his people, communities in his constituency and his senatorial district of Oyo North are laudable.
“You are given this special award of exemplary performance and also awarded as the Media-Friendly State Lawmaker of the Year in Oyo state because we believe you deserve it,” he said.
While receiving the award, Mr Adisa declared his appreciation of the gesture, saying “big thanks to the Oyo State Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) for this special recognition and Award of Exemplary Performance that also doubled as an Award for the Media-Friendly State Lawmaker of the Year.
“I do not take this for granted.”
We Will Defend Free Press in Nigeria—US Government Assures
By Adedapo Adesanya
The United States government has promised to do everything possible to defend free press in Nigeria, which it said remains vital to democracy and good governance.
The American government expressed this with a partnership, through its Embassy, with the Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE) for the first of the six media-focused Town Halls and Workshops in Lagos on Thursday.
The event will also take place across the country in the next several months.
The capacity-building programme will provide a forum for over 200 participating Nigerian editors and leaders of the independent press to discuss and share best practices and to also hear from the United States government.
Experts on topics such as journalistic standards, identifying bias, and conducting fact-based investigative reporting to better inform the Nigerian public will be provided.
Delivering keynote remarks at the opening programme in Lagos, the US Ambassador, Mrs Mary Beth Leonard discussed the challenges faced by Nigeria and other democracies across the world and highlighted democracy’s greatest strength: the ability to improve upon and reinvent itself.
She quipped that when belief in democracy, good governance and elections are restored, Nigerians will want to be a part of that system and will defend it.
Ambassador Leonard noted, “Our hope is that in this forum today is that you will lead and serve as catalysts for further discussions on countering disinformation; increasing transparency; solution building; and encouraging media literacy and their contribution to a democracy that is accountable to its people.”
The US government is committed to initiatives that build media capacity in Nigeria, she added.
According to her, for years, the US Mission has funded partnerships that promote Nigeria’s democratic governance, unity and stability by improving government transparency and accountability, the rule of law, free and professional media, as well as civil society capacity and engagement.
On his part, the General Secretary of NGE, Mr Iyobosa Uwugiaren, said, “At the end of the project, we expect to see a pool of Nigerian editors, senior journalists and media managers, who will be galvanised and committed to the highest ethical standard and to take robust actions towards this.
“Editors who will be committed to the promotion and protection of the right to an independent press, freedom of expression and deepening democratic space; and constantly projecting issue-based governance in defence of the mass of the Nigerian people.”
The Town Halls and editor workshops are supported through a grant from the US Embassy’s Public Affairs Section in Abuja to the NGE.
In addition to Lagos, the programmes will take place in Kano in January 2022, then Yola, Abuja, Port Harcourt and Enugu will follow in subsequent months.
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