The Lagos State government does not hide its desire to rid the state of criminal elements. But across the state and its borders with Ogun State, some unrepentant elements are still making life bitter for residents
Oshodi: Haven of criminals
As part of measures towards eradicating criminals in Lagos State, the state Commissioner of Police, Edgal Imohinmi, recently tasked the chairman of Lagos State Task Force to completely eradicate all criminal hideouts across the state.
The State Task Force chairman, Sp Olayinka Egbeyemi, stated that the new Commissioner of Police is poised at tackling all criminal challenges and making sure that criminal elements in the state were no longer allowed any free reign. He added that the criminals would not be given freedom of space to practice any of their criminal acts.
Going by this directive, no fewer than 118 suspected hoodlums were arrested in Oshodi and its environs by the state Task Force during an enforcement operations tagged ‘Eradication of Criminal Hideouts’.
Speaking to New Telegraph on how criminal activities could be reduced in Lagos State, some Lagos residents gave an insight on various measures the government could take towards ensuring the state becomes a peaceful state to live.
According to Adeola Adeleye, a resident of Ikorodu, the government should pay rapt attention towards the increase in job opportunities in the state.
“An idle man they say and truly is the devil’s workshop. If there is something productive or money making ventures to occupy and keep these guys busy, there would be drastic reduction in such criminal activities they get themselves involved in.
“When unemployment rate reduces, hoodlums and their activities will reduce. While it is unreasonable to resort to thuggery because there are no jobs, some youths actually become hoodlums owing to this. I believe if the problem is resolved, they would choose to have a better life.”
To Ishola Kabiru, a resident of Mushin, there should be a change in the process of recruitment of Policemen in the state. “Hoodlums can be reduced in Lagos when forces are brought from outside the state starting from the top of hierarchy to bottom and given total support by the government to do their work accordingly.
“This is because most of policemen in Lagos State are well known people to the hoodlums. So, they are not afraid to carry out their evil activities. But if this measure is put in place, the hoodlums’ activities can be reduced.”
Also speaking on the development, a septuagenarian, Mr. Peter Oladipupo, who lives in Oshodi area of the state, advised the government to enforce disciplinary actions on the people in charge of streetlight across the state. “Our population in this state is so high and the level of unemployment is high. What contribute to the increase lies with the government. If you look at the way the government wants criminal activities to be reduced, you will realise that they are trying to make streetlight available in many areas of the state because the hoodlums carry out their evil acts in darkness.
“The government should make sure that those people in charge of the streetlight should be of integrity and disciplined. For example, if they want to put off the streetlight, they should do so when the residents can vividly see their environment and not when it is still dark in the morning. If the light is on, one who is walking on the street can see the person moving closer to him.”
He added: “Police should focus on the main areas that need to be surveyed. Any areas that the police receive information from the people, they should not be far from there. They should comb the particular area they were given information. That way, the hoodlums’ activities will reduce.”
To Jegede Mary, a civil servant in the state, the most effective way of eradicating criminals is to prevent it in the first place. She added that skill acquisition program for the youths would pave a way towards eradicating criminals in the state. “There are many ways of stopping crime but one of the most effective ways is to prevent it in the first place. Although using a penalty as a deterrent may work, increasingly harsh penalties may increase crime due to the atmosphere these penalties encourage. Preventing crimes is a better idea.
“For instance, skill acquisition program can be organized for the youth and it can lead to the reduction of criminal activities.”
The story was however not different to Gbenga Olaniyan, a resident of Oshodi, who believed that huge fines to be paid by any criminal caught would reduce criminal activities in the state.
He further advised the government to impose curfew in the areas hoodlums are still hiding in the
state. “Policemen should be moving round from time to time. If they are always available in suspicious vicinities, I think criminal activities would be reduced. There should be restriction of movement from 11pm to 6am. This is the time the hoodlums usually carry out their evil acts.”
Sango market- new “headquarters” of hoodlums, petty thieves
Following the rapid transformation of the once notorious Oshodi and the mounting of an ever-present Rapid Response Squad (RRS) patrol vehicle with a CCTV monitoring passersby under the bridge, hoodlums have moved their base to another suburb now considered a haven.
Sango-Ota, a commercial hub that neighbours Lagos State, has earned for itself the title of the old Oshodi. According to findings made by New Telegraph, the Sango market situated at both sides along the overhead bridge, is where the traders displaced from Oshodi, during the tenure of Governor Raji Babatunde Fashola, relocated to. Conversely, this axis is now considered a haven for crime and this is not the place to go to for a first-timer without erring on the side of caution.
Sango has every features inherent in the old Oshodi – crowded; a commercial centre; thick influx of people and the bridge serves as protection for hoodlums, street urchins and thieves.
“Ever since the transformation of Oshodi, Sango and Toll-Gate are the new Oshodi. One dares not go through Sango market with an expensive jewellery on or they cut off the person’s ears in the process of snatching i///`1t,” New Telegraph overheard two women on an Agege-Sango bus saying in hushed voices.
The Sango-Ota bridge, which was commissioned seven years ago, now serves as the hideout of anti-social elements such as the street urchins, fraudsters and hoodlums, who wait on unsuspecting passersby and traders to swoop on them.
A huge police patrol vehicle mounted under the bridge is not deterring these miscreants from their activities.
“When Governor Fashola cleaned up the shanties at Oshodi and later turned things around, with stone-eyed Task Force officials to man the area, the hoodlums fled, only for them to reassemble at Sango. Today, Sango is the headquarters of street urchins, street-smart thieves and other undesirable elements”, a resident of Sango-Ota, who simply identified himself as Idowu, said.
Findings made by New Telegraph revealed that at least two attacks by these elements were reported to the police in this area on weekly basis.
Some victims of the nefarious activities conducted by these miscreants opened up to New Telegraph.
Abiodun Joel, a man in his late 20s, recollected his funny but sad experience in the hands of some of these miscreants to New Telegraph.
“I was heading for Dalemo market when some of these miscreants by the roadside after Sango market called me. I ignored them but one came over with two heavy slaps on my face, asking for the money I had on me. They collected the N10,000 which didn’t belong to me and a Nokia smartphone I had and gave me N100 as transport fare back home.”
One Miss Uche Nwokeafor, a mobile phone seller by the foot of the bridge, said that suspected hoodlums, who cashed-in on cult-induced riots and looted all her goods, once overran her roadside shop.
According to her: “There was a murder case said to have involved a cult group. People were running helter-skelter only for the hoodlums to suddenly stray into shops, which they looted. I lost five expensive phones. I counted myself lucky as others lost more valuables, when the dust finally settled.”
Festus Olokoba, another victim of the hoodlum, said he once fell victim to petty thieves at Sango. He narrated how he was trailed from his hotel room at the Oju-Ore axis by a four-man gang that later robbed him at the foot of the bridge. “I was beaten blue-black before I finally surrendered my wallet that contained my identity card and a sum of N4,000. A man, who took pity on me, pretending to be helping me, was later discovered to be part of the gang as he insisted on knowing how much the wallet contained. The man disappeared shortly afterwards,” he said.
However, findings made by New Telegraph revealed that most of the criminal cases at this area were never reported to the police despite the nearest police station, the Sango Ota Divisional Police Station, being just about some hundreds of meters to the foot of the bridge.
“Many of these cases were never reported to us,” a police officer said. However, the Ogun State Police Public Relations Officer, Abimbola Oyeyemi, an Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP), said: “Authorities have deployed enhanced patrol vehicles to areas considered as black spots throughout the state. The idea is meant to check the nefarious activities of criminals in the state. No criminal will ever dare to commit a crime in the presence of police officers; which is why the presence of our officers are felt everywhere in the state.
“Always report criminal activities in your area to us. Criminals live within your neighbourhood and we are no magicians to fish them out, unless you tell us,” he said.
Ikorodu, safer for criminals
With the ever-consistent effort of the Lagos State government towards the realization of a safer Lagos, the state government has successfully reduced to its barest minimum, the activities of the notorious “Badoo” gang in Ikorodu.
However, findings made by New Telegraph revealed that the people are yet to affirm the safeness of the area, as most of the residents still live in fear of the unknown. Some of the people spoke to New Telegraph on what the government can do to make their areas safe while revealing their many fears.
Mrs. Rebecca Badejo, a caterer, who resides in Igbo Soro area of Ikorodu said: “I don’t send my child out at night anymore because of the presence of kidnappers in this place. However, the government has really tried in this Ikorodu especially on the issue of the Badoo gang but they need to do more to make the state safer for the inhabitants. We need security operatives that would protect us, monitor any suspicious movements. Also, here in Igbo Soro, we need light; that is constant power supply and streetlights. When this is in place, it illuminates the dark areas; people would definitely not be attacked by hoodlums in a place where there is light.”
She also revealed that the area lacked a police station which could have been a scare to the criminals while pleading with the state government to make provisions for one.
Elder James Ajiboye, a land owner in Butterfly Estate at Agric bus stop, spoke with New Telegraph on the issue.
He said: “Concerning the issue of security in this area, I really commend the efforts of the Lagos State government, especially with the way they handled the Badoo issue. Ikorodu was almost becoming a haven for criminals. They have tried. The government has also made provision for pedestrian bridges at virtually every bus stop here. Ikorodu major roads are now like the roads of a mega city. However, the government still needs to do more especially in the area of security. Some bad eggs lurk around; they don’t want others to live in peace. All they seek is destruction but since it is the duty of the government to protect the people, they should please try to see what they can do? The Police should know their jobs and do what is required of them. You see, if this place is left this way and everybody folded their arms, a security threat deadlier than the Badoo issue might rise up again.”
He also recommended that the government should provide employment opportunities for the vibrant young men who have nothing doing. According to him, it is the lack of employment that makes them pick up guns and engage in criminal activities. James further mentioned the lack of adequate remuneration for workers as one of the causes of increase in criminal activities in Ikorodu. He therefore called on the state government to increase the rewards of current workers and those who are retired sufficiently.
In his words: “Government should make security tight, provide employment opportunities for people and take care of pensioners. This will help reduce the level of security challenge that the state is battling with.”
In a chat with New Telegraph, Miss. Opeyemi Ikubehimbu, a resident of the Idera, Odonguyan area of Ikorodu, revealed that the area is yet to be totally free from cultists’ activities. According to her, “Despite the fact that the Badoo issue is not really a source of worry to us anymore, the people here still live in that fear. Now, we see dead people everywhere with some parts of their bodies cut off for whatever use. As you can see, LASPOTECH is very near to this area and the cultism there is strong. It affects the people here. Asides that, the area itself is under the siege of cultists. Sometimes, cultists start their fight from Ogijo down there and bring it up here, people would start scampering for safety. There was a time the Aiye fraternity group was marking their 8/8, that is August 8. I don’t know what it is all about but you dare not go out. I had Bible study to attend that day but I could not go. That same day, my brother was coming from work, suddenly, it started raining bullets. People started running helter-skelter. The area is not yet free.”
Opeyemi however called out to the Lagos State government to do all they could to ensure the safety of the state, reminding the state government that Ikorodu is still a part of Lagos State.
She said: “Government should provide tight security for us here. We don’t really have a secured area especially in Odonguyan. People also, that is residents should be vigilant, we cannot wait for government to do everything for us.”
Miss Dorcas, a student of the Lagos State polytechnic at Odogunyan also spoke with New Telegraph on the matter. She said, “the Badoo issue was handled well by the Lagos State government but more work should be done. The area is not totally safe especially for students. The criminal activities of these cultists are taking another form. They are now fetish. They would kill people under the guise of Oro, ( a traditional rite). Everybody knows that Oro is something customary and even if they want to carry out such a thing, they would announce it ahead of time but these people are now using it as an opportunity to shed innocent blood. We don’t get to hear the announcement any more. The government should please help us with this issue of security. So many people have lost their lives: both residents and students even visitors, so many have mourned their loved ones because of these hoodlums.
A day out with Orphanage children
he children did not even know that they were playing host to their non biological parents. The occasion was the birthday ceremony organised by inmates of the orphanage home at the Onitsha Red Cross Society Centre GRA Onitsha for their father and the Anambra State chairman of the Nigerian Red cross society Prof. Peter Kachi.
The climax of the first ever event East of Niger of the humanitarian service was witnessed by a cross section of people from all works of life. Many people in South East however gathered to celebrate the birthday party with tears of joy, mixed feelings, and love. Those who had not been close to the inmate homes were moved emotionally to make open confession and resolution to join in the up keep of the children of circumstance. Tears also flowed when they moved to present their birth day gifts to the chief celebrant, Professor Peter Kachi and Chief Mrs. Ezinne Beatrice Okafor, a 67-year-old woman who also celebrated with the children. Speaking one after the other to New Telegraph, most guests described the occasion as worthy and passionate event. Chief Chike Belonwu, a business mogul based in Onitsha said, “I am a next door neighbour to these children and God has blessed me. I am excited with what I saw today.”
“Unfortunately, I have never set my feet in this compound to know what is happening here. Today, I have learnt a lot here that humanitarian services are duty for all. I promised my God after seeing these children today that every week, I will supply them 50 bags of water. I am overwhelmed with what the management of this home is doing.”
“It is a worthy gesture and I commend the State chairman of the Red Cross Society and his team in Anambra State for their good humanitarian services. I pray that God will always reward them.”
“It is also not enough bringing food items and other materials to them but a time like this, is very important in their lives.”
The beauty of the occasion was that some other children were invited with their parents to share love and humility with their less privilege counterparts at the home. The joy of the children and the guests know no bound as they watch them dance freely, drink and dine together. Meanwhile, some of the children thought the celebration was for the Christmas, (Chimdimma not real name) a 5-year-old said I am happy for the Christmas. I ate rice, drank Bobo, I say thank you my Aunty.”
In an interview with journalists, the Professor said he decided to celebrate his birthday with the children because he is their father and mother. “Here is my constituency.
All I know is charitable. I therefore charge the guests here to be charity particularly to these less privileged children.”
Asked about their hope for the future Professor Kachi said they have brighter future. They are all in school and they go to the best schools around. They are well taken care of and the public are doing wonderfully well to give them the best training any one can afford anywhere. It is obvious that God has been very good to me. I went to school from a poor background entered college from elementary four and today I am professor and God gave me this gift of humanity and I will die being a humanitarian,” he vowed. I had also escaped death severally not because I have security but because of the love of God unto my life. All I want to advice Nigerians and all well meaning people of this country is to do what is right, be your brother’s keeper, and serve the people with love and humanity,” he preached.
High point of the event was the inspection of the guard of honour and parade by the members of the Nigerian Red Cross Society as well as cultural dance displayed by the Odoakpu Catholic Parish women. Award and exchange of gift to the celebrants added colour to the occasion.
11 years after: Ibadan’s house of horror resurface
Another house of horror resurfaces in Ibadan
hen on Friday, February 22, 2008 the Oyo Police Command under Mr. Udom Ekpoudom as Commissioner uncovered an illegal detention camp in Ojoo area of Ibadan, Oyo State capital, where at least 60 inmates were said to have been tortured to death and buried secretly in the preceding two years, it was believed that an end had come to the nefarious operation.
Eleven years after, unfortunately, the same centre which was being run by late Sheik Abdulrasheed Akangbe Olore but now being operated by Khalifa Alfa Ismail Olore came on the spotlight carrying on the same activities where people were being treated like slaves or common criminals. The discovery of the illegal detention centre was unearthed on Monday, November 4, 2019 when an inmate who escaped from another illegal centre in Ibadan hinted the police.
Record has it that the late Sheik was treating mad people and rehabilitating them before his death many years ago. The mentally deranged being treated and rehabilitated were used to being tied down with fetters in order to prevent their escape from the Islamic correctional centre.
Though considered as illegal because the centre was not registered with the government, the centre was reported to have been in existence for ages to the knowledge of the people within the Ojoo community. Many parents were voluntarily taking their wayward and drug addicted children to the Islamic centre for correctional measures and rehabilitation. Such parents even pay some amount of money to the operator for the upkeep of their children.
When the incumbent Commissioner of Police, Mr. Shina Olukolu led his men to the locus in quo, where 259 inmates were rescued, he said that a 17-year-old escapee from the holding facility in another part of Ibadan hinted the police about the development, with some of the victims recounting their gory and blood-cuddling experiences in the torture camp.
While addressing journalists, the angry Olukolu said; “the young man said they were being maltreated; they were not being well-fed; they were being treated like slaves and they were engaged in forced labour, while deaths of some of them were not reported to anybody.
“On the basis of that information, the police decided to check it out. We got to Owode, Apata. By the time we got there, they have evacuated that facility. But from the surroundings, we knew that there were people in that place earlier than the time we arrived.
“However, the young man informed the police that there is another detention facility and that is where we are now at Oloore, Ojoo area of Ibadan. Actually, when the police got here, we discovered that young men, young women are being kept in captivity in a dungeon-like situation. As a matter of fact, man’s inhumanity to man is being manifested in this environment. And we are not happy about the situation.
“So, we got across to the state government and state government officials are around. They are here with a view of ensuring that some of these young men that are kept against their will are liberated and allowed to be in a position where they can talk to themselves and take care of themselves.
“Definitely, this area will be secured and the police will be able to do further investigation, further search and anyone at all, who is found culpable will definitely be arrested, investigated and prosecuted diligently to serve as a warning to others, who may want to operate such houses that serve as illegal detention centres”, the police boss said.
Having been rescued, the police moved the inmates who looked so haggard, skinny and sickly to the rehabilitation camp at Sanyo area of Ibadan where they were being treated. Some of them were even handed over to their parents and guardians.
Reacting to the ugly discovery, the State Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Inclusion, Alhaja Faosat Sanni stated that “after due profiling of the rescued inmates by the relevant State government agency and security agencies, over two hundred rescued inmates were handed over to their relatives and right individuals with an agreement not to return them to such centers again.”
She urged parents and guardians to always seek government assistance in correcting societal ills rather than subjecting their children to the care of unregistered correctional centers, as according to her, “Cases like this and many societal ills are better handled by social workers in the Ministry. Parents and guardians should always consult the Ministry for corrections and rehabilitation of their wards in a better way rather than subjecting them to torture,” she added.
Sanni stressed that government has continue to ensure that adequate food, water and conveniences were being provided for the evacuate es as about 23 of them were still receiving treatment at the Adeoyo State Hospital due to their critical conditions.
When Governor Makinde visited the scene, he was miffed that such heinous and inhuman operation could be going on in such a community without anyone informing security agents, noting that it was wrong for certain individuals to have used a mosque as a cover up for crime and criminalities. He said it was an eyesore and quite unbelievable that such facility could be operating in such an open and exposed area of the capital city.
Poised to put a top to the operation of the illegal centre, Makinde said, “What we have seen is something that we all have to condemn and this shouldn’t be happening in a modern environment. You can’t use a mosque as façade to perpetrate this kind of evil. Yes we have marked the entire structure for demolition. We have here the Ministry of Lands and Urban Planning and Ministry of Health and Justice. The government will do everything that is humanly possible to ensure that this kind of thing is stamped out in our environment.
“But, there are houses around here, and these are people. They see something strange and ideally, they should say something because this kind of things couldn’t have been going on without all of these people, particularly residents around here, not knowing about it. So, they should have reported this thing to the authorities and maybe we would have unravelled this a long time ago.
“And also, we want to encourage our people, the government, the parents and even family members that if you need to rehabilitate members of your family that are not behaving well, we have government institutions that can do that and we are trying to rehabilitate those places for the people of Oyo state.
“So, whatever is necessary, looking at the laws of our land regarding this kind of thing, we will ensure, we get this place away from those people doing this kind of things within the ambit of the law. And also you have the law enforcement agencies here. All those involved are going to be prosecuted to the full extent of our law.
“For the victims, we have mobi lized the Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Inclusion and the Social Welfare agencies there. First we need to have immediate palliative for them and then we have to look at the deeper issues and how to resettle them and reunite them with their families. We are not going to leave them alone at this point”, the governor said.
While addressing the victims at the temporary resettlement camp at Sanyo area, Makinde assured the people that his government was on the matter to ensure that those behind the illegal operations of the facility were prosecuted according to the law, disclosing that 22 of the victims were currently receiving medical attention at Adeoyo Hospital as a result of their critical health condition.
One of the rescued inmates who decided to conceal his identity revealed how they were being maltreated and tortured by their master. He said, “My parents bought foodstuffs and many items for me when they took me there, but they didn’t allow me to use any of them. They also collected the pocket money my mother gave me.
“We don’t eat until 2pm every day. They would give us three spoons of rice with poorly-prepared stew; no meat or fish. If we were lucky, we would have the same thing in the evening but most times, they would not give us anything again until 2pm the following day.
“They would bring us out in the morning to pray till 2pm when they would give us food. After eating, they would take us back to our rooms and we would not come out again until the next morning. Whenever my parents visited me, they (the clerics) stayed beside me so that I would not expose what I was going through. If I did, they would beat me after my parents left.
“Relations of one of us at the camp came to pick him. They were asked to bring a discharge fee. When they returned with the money, they said it was the parents who brought him that they wanted to see, whereas the parents had died.
“About 28 persons were crammed into a medium-sized room, with many sleeping on bare floor while few ‘lucky ones’ slept on mats. Many people were infected with bacteria which the camp operators didn’t bother to treat.
“I was in the same room with Abeeb and Sikiru. Abeeb also came from Mushin while Sikiru was from Sagamu. They are in their mid-20s. Females live in separate rooms and some of them already gave birth there. They were impregnated at the centre.
“Four people died while I was there. One of them was my friend and roommate, Wahab. He was sick and they didn’t allow his parents to take him away. He battled malaria for weeks without being treated. It was only paracetamol that they gave him.
“He died at night inside the room. He was from Ijebu-Ode. He was a tall and slim young man. They called his parents to carry his corpse. There was also somewhere inside the compound where they buried bodies.
We fetched water for the clerics and washed their clothes. If you were a new inmate, they would lock you up for one week. Throughout the time I was there, they didn’t teach me anything new in the Qur’an apart from what I had known before getting there.
“It is an offence for two persons to talk. If they catch us, they would accuse us of planning to escape and give us 40 strokes of the cane. I was beaten several times for an offence as minor as making a noise.
“Everybody was expecting that at least they would give us enough food on Eid celebration, but to my surprise, there was no difference from what we normally ate. They did not allow us to go for Eid prayer because they knew many people would run away.
One of the victims’ mother who simply identified herself as Aduni, explained that a family friend recommended the centre to them when they got tired of their son’s recalcitrant behaviour.
“They (the centre operators) charged us N150,000 the day we took him there and we were given a list of items he needed to bring, including clothes, foodstuffs, provisions, mat, soap, toothpaste- all which I bought. We paid N50,000.
“I went there once or twice in a month to check on him. I later discovered that they made it look like an Arabic school. Most of the persons I saw that first day looked pale. I was worried and complained to the person that took us there but he assured me that my child would be safe. He said the school also took care of mentally-ill people.
“They told us that over 400 persons lived there. I also saw exotic cars of people who were on a visit. Two weeks after, I went to visit him and took some foodstuffs along. When I got there, I asked for my son, unknown to me that he was among the people outside. He had changed. He looked lean and shabbily dressed. I asked him what was wrong but he did not say anything because one of the clerics was with us. Apart from the foodstuffs I took there, they collected N27,000 for his monthly feeding.
“I had to beg my husband on his behalf for him to come back home. By the time we brought him back home, neighbours could not recognise him again. He looked thin and emaciated. We paid N105,000 before they released him. They didn’t know we wanted to pick him that day. He was seriously sick when he got back home. I regretted my decision. I thank God he is becoming a changed person now with constant counselling,” she explained.
When he was being interviewed however, the Khalifa, Ismail Olore, denied the allegation of torture, illegal operation and deaths of some of the inmates, saying, “We teach Quran here and we rehabilitate cocaine users, Indian hemp smokers and those with mental illness. Through Quoranic lessons, many of them get rehabilitated and we release them to their parents.
“We only beat those that escape from the centre whenever they were brought back. Only two inmates died after they were released to their parents on account of illness. The parents of these inmates brought them by themselves”, he said.
Meanwhile, whole some Islamic clerics and Muslims have been kicking against the decision of Governor Makinde to demolish the illegal correctional entre, some rights activists have commended the government for the decision, saying that it was the most reasonable step to nip such inhuman operation in the bud.
Curbing indiscriminate dumping of refuse
auchi State like many other State capitals in Nigeria faces major environmental challenges associated with rapid waste generation and inadequate waste collection centers compounded by lacked of adequate waste disposal and treatment centers to curb the menace. It is in this regard that the Bauchi State Government has provided waste collection centers within the metropolis aim at reducing the burden of waste dumping by residents in the streets.
New Telegraph learnt that the current situation of indiscriminate waste dumping within Bauchi metropolis is on the high increase due to increasing urban population and negative impact on the environment and public health can no longer be tolerated anymore that is why the present administration of Senator Bala Mohammed Abdulakadir have to intervened through reviving the moribund Bauchi State Environmental Protection Agency (BASEPA) and reintroduction of mobile courts to prosecute defaulters.
Speaking at the commissioning ceremony of waste collection centers phase one, and the repaired BASEPA heavy duty vehicles, Bauchi State Deputy Governor Senator Baba Tella (Sarkin Ayyuka Bauchi) said the State Government has released the sum of N28.7 million for the construction of phase one of six waste collection centres at strategic location within Bauchi metropolis to boost public health in the state.
He explained that, “you may recall that, barely two weeks after takeover of mantle of leadership of our dear state, the Governor flagged off the special environmental sanitation exercise in Bauchi metropolis, with the sole objective of clearing out the piled heads of solid waste at various dumping centres and along the major roads which became an eye- sore and source of major concern to the public in view of the health hazards involve”.
Senator Baba Tella said that the beneficiaries communities include, Baking Kura, Railway, Jahun, IBB square, Gwallaga, and Murtala Mohammed way, adding that the projects were completed within four weeks at the cost of N5.6m and N3.8 m respectively.
“These projects were planned, designed and built to last test of time, with an expected utilisation period of 20 years. They are built with reinforced concrete wall of meters height, 12 inches width and a German floor of 12 inches mounted on hardcore materials aggregate and hard laterite soil, one meter deep in the ground to carry the weight of caterpillars par load, trucks and resist the effect of fire excessive heat and heavy rainfall.”
He said, the project may look small in the eye but it will go a long way improving the health indices of beneficiaries’ communities through improving and sustaining clean and healthy environment.
“These collections centres regulate the orderliness and proper manner of solid waste disposal and its subsequent evacuation to the approved landfill sites at outskirt of the city and it conversion from waste to wealth.
He said, to further demonstrate commitment of the current administration towards maintaining and sustaining a healthy environment N9.7 million has been released to BASEPA to repair eight vehicles namely, 938G caterpillar, six tippers and one septic tanker.
Senator Baba Tells said, “the five vehicles parked here before you today, were refurbished at the cost of N7.8 million. The repair work is in progress on the remaining three tippers attached to Headquarters, Azare and Misau areas offices.
He also commended the efforts of the management and staff of BASEPA for the excellent job done through direct labour saying they have justified the confidence reposed on them.
Speaking on the Mobile court Ciroman Bauchi said the mobile court is meant to checkmate those offenders, or defaulters through environmental protection act base on the Nigerian Constitution as amended.
He said further that the court would serve as an emergency court of law to prosecute defaulters especially those who dump refuse in front of their houses without minding the health implication on the community.
He explained to the people that the court has the right to prosecute and deliver instance judgement on whoever violet established the law.
He said the court would take care of cases within short period of time, also have the power to cease goods or property belonging to the offender or to pay fine.
While the in case of not cooperating with the law of the mobile court, they have the right to take the case to competent court of jurisdiction for hearing and possible punishment base on the act establishing the court for that purpose!
The Commissioner for Housing and Environment, Honorable Hamisu Shira said waste dumping have been one of the challenges that the state capital has been facing for the past 10 years but it is now over with provision of the collection centers in strategic location with the state capital
Honorable Shira hinted that Governor Bala Abdulakadir has indicated his willingness to provide more funds for the construction of additional six waste collection centers as well as repairs of additional eight trucks.
A path of sorrow called Erio-Aramoko road
ommuters/transporters in EKiti state are seriously lamenting over the damaged Erio-Aramoko Road.
When New Telegraph visited Erio, where the disjointed road is located, the damages indeed posed life threat to commuters.
Commuters plying Efon-Itawure-Erio -Aramoko road are not finding transportations along the axis easy at all as the usual lane in Erio, which is the major road for travellers, have been totally disjointed.
Vehicles going to Ibadan, Lagos, Ilesha, Ife…. from Ado-Ekiti or coming from these towns to EKiti have to extend hours of their journey by taking an unusual alternative which entails them passing inside Efon town all in a bid to boycott the damaged Erio-Aramoko road to get to their destinations.
The situation is critical considering the fact that heavy-duty trucks are regular passersby of the road.
As at the time of filling this report, there are big trucks that had fallen inside the bush very close to the road. This caused another tumult to vehicular movements. Vehicles coming in the opposite direction had to exercise patience for the other to pass the very little and dangerous space, the remaining part of the road being managing by commuters at their own risk.
Even the little space left on the road is prone to more damages if rehabilitation would be late.
A commercial driver, Mr Ayo Aladesua decried the situation and blamed the government over negligence.
“I wonder how a major road could degenerate to this level when there is government. We are not interested at all in all these arguments on state/federal road. All we want is construction, drivers who are not sure of themselves can’t pass the areas.
“There is no way, travellers can avoid the road, it’s at the centre of journey in the axis, the alternative being taken now is a long journey, and not everyone knows it, because it’s not as direct as this!” He lamented.
A commuter, Ojo Olawale said although night travelling is not advisable, deplorable roads are another factors to fall to especially when circumstance demands travelling in the night.
“The bad conditions of this road is another source of insecurity to travellers, those who still risk to pass the area are not safe from the hands of criminals.
“We learnt that the state government is working on palliative method, it will not work. The road needs complete rehabilitation. Let the state/federal government put heads together and save our lives.”
The Chairman House of Representatives Committe on Federal Road Maintenance Agency(FERMA), Hon Femi Bamisile, who visited the area for inspection appealed to the federal government to earmark a sum of N12 billion to the agency to rehabilitate Nigeria’s roads considering that Xmas is fast approaching.
The All Progressives Congress federal lawmaker, representing Ekiti South Federal constituency II, also enjoined the Minister of Works, Mr Babatunde Fashola to try and have a full grasp of the happenings on Nigerians roads, rather than saying the complaints over deplorable road situations, were mere media hype.
Bamisile said the comment showed that the Minister had not been plying the major roads in Nigeria, to be able to have a firsthand information about the decrepit statuses of the federal roads.
The lawmaker said he was dissatisfied with the situation on that portion of the federal road. He urged the FG to do something urgent to avoid unforeseen circumstances in that area.
Bamisile commended Governor Kayode Fayemi for releasing a sum of N19 million to contractor to carry our palliative assignment on the collapsed portion, but however warned that short lived method would not work, urging for permanent solution to nip the situation in the bud. “But temporary measure can’t work on this collapsed portion. We need to divert the road and do a thorough job here, because this road was built on old small culvert.
“Government must direct Dangote Company to remove all the accidented trucks inside ditches along the road, they are constituting serious problems on our highways.
“It is quite unfortunate that our federal roads are like this and if you look well, this road is gradually cutting off. Three quarters of the road had receded and it is unacceptable.
“We have just completed the process of budgeting and FERMA got a sum of N29 billion in the 2019 appropriation bill, this is too small to carry out major works on our roads, they are in bad shapes.The National assembly has made a good case that that would not be enough.
“The Committees in charge of FERMA in the House of Representatives and the Senate had requested an emergency fund of N12 billion to be released as a matter of urgency for this Yuletide for the sake of our people and country.
“As a minimum, a sum of N2b for each geopolitical zone to FERMA will go a long way in helping us carry out major repairs on our bad roads.
“The situations of our federal roads are bad and pathetic and our people don’t deserve this. The federal government must allow the states to attend to them to rescue our people and save them from pains”.
Bamisile disagreed with the Fashola’s claim that the pathetic states of the country’s roads, were exaggerated.
“I don’t know where the Minister got that information from. Our roads are bad and in sorry states and nothing more to describe it.
“I want to believe that whoever says people’s complaints about our roads are mere hype must either downplaying the situation or maybe the person doesn’t ply our roads at all.
“I saw a documentary about federal roads in Anambra state recently . In fact, I saw a road that had totally cut off. The Minister must accept the reality that our roads need serious attention”, he said.
Many travellers on that road who spoke with New Telegraph appealed to the government at all levels to do the needful in order to ensure safety of people and easy journey.
Border closure: Return of essential commodities
Border closure is no more news in the Nigeria economy scene, as this recent development has led to increase in prices of food commodities, especially rice.
The worrisome question however, is why locally produced commodities also increased in price. Since the federal government partially closed the western border of the country to Benin Republic and the Northern border to Niger Republic and Chad, prices of commodities in the country have gone up as most of the goods are being imported from the West African countries including the popular and common staple food in almost every Nigerian home-rice!
With increase in the price of rice, other food commodities have joined suit as food prices have gone times three against the formal prices. A trip to Elepo and Igando markets, rice dealers and other food stuff traders like palm oil, yam flour (Elubo), all, told tales of woe on increased prices and lamentations of customers. To most of these dealers and traders, the boarder closure is a curse and cobweb of poverty around them. Mr, Adeline Alanna, A general condiment seller told New Telegraph that, most of the condiment he sells have now become expensive because of the border that has been closed for some months now, he added that, “assuming the citizen of Benin Republic have been able to smuggle themselves to come into Nigerian, it could have been better but they can’t come that is why most of the things are now getting expensive. We sell a gallon of groundnut oil at the rate of N11,500 before but now is at the rate of N14,500, a carton of spaghetti (Golden penny)was N3,600 but now sold for N4000. Other brands in the pasta category have added money. Also, a 25kg Semovita was N2,700 but it’s now N2,900.”
Mr Alanna added that other ingredients and seasonings such as, tomato paste, thyme, curry, maggi and many others are not expensive, they are still sold at the old price, but by December if the boarder is not opened, then prices might increase. Naturally, goods are sold for higher rates by December than normal days,” he concluded.
Linda Okorie, also condiment seller said that a kilo of frozen chicken has increased also from N1000 to N1600, but other things like maggi, curry, tomato paste are stable. She also corroborated Alanna that if the border closure continues till December things will be more expensive than it is now.
A woman selling yam flour said yam flour has become expensive ‘gold’, even though the supply is from Oyo state. She added that yam flour is sold for N5000 naira for a big paint rubber and is now N7000. The woman’s worry is the high rate of lamentation on the new increase price. “Most of my customers question me if the border closure should have effect yam flour?” The answer of course is NO. But whatever that is been sold to us at a high price will surely be resold at another higher price by adding our own profits,” she added.
Adeolu Sadiat, a palm oil seller said the price of palm oil has also been affected. She said it has become expensive now just like every other commodity because of the closed boarder. Ordinarily, palm oil is sourced in Nigeria which shouldn’t be expensive, “but reverse is the case as we now sell it between N8000 and N8, 500 per gallon (25 litres) but it is now N12, 000 even more than that,” she said.
While speaking to New Telegraph, Emmanuel Ebere said that the price of a bag of rice depends on the type of the rice, as there are two types of rice-polished and unpolished rice. The polished rice, he explained that, is more expensive than the unpolished rice especially the one brought in from the north but the one sourced locally in the west is sold within the range of N19,000—N23,000 but wholesalers sell the polished rice for about N20,000 while the unpolished rice is sold between N17,000 and N19,000. He also said the prices of commodity aren’t that costly for the time being, as prices in the market are stable for now unlike few months ago because most of the things are now gotten from the north. He went further to say that the price of rice will definitely increase by December because the demand for rice is usually high during festive period. The border closure he said did not only affect the price of rice but also prices of other foodstuffs like.
According to Peter Agboh, A foodstuff trader, a bag of “Nigerian” rice is now expensive unlike before the closure of border, the one with ‘stones’ also referred to as the unpolished rice costs N18,000 while the one without ‘stones’ also called polished rice costs N20,000. He also said the border closure affected the price of rice as foreign rice which was sold for N15,000 is now N20,000—N27,000, and the price of local rice is now cheaper than the foreign one.
New Telegraph also met with Mrs. Oluwaseun Oluwashina, a rice dealer who said, “Rice is not in its stable price now as everything has increased in price, And there are two types of rice, there’s foreign rice and Nigerian rice”. She also explained further that foreign rice is expensive than Nigeria rice due to the border that has been closed for more than a month now . “We sell foreign rice N14,000 before but now is N26,000, but truth is some people don’t really like Nigerian rice. We are getting closer to the month of December now, if the border is still not opened by then, prices of commodities will go up,” he said.
Getting their nod in road construction
The Lagos State government has held a meeting with residents of Somolu on the planned reconstruction of Fadipe Street. MURITALA AYINLA reports
othing could make Lagosians happier than to see an aggressive rehabilitation of roads across the state metropolis. Certainly, most residents in the state are tired of countless potholes on major highways and inner city roads that make driving in the state a herculean task.
Although, worried by the deplorable state of the roads, the state governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu had declared emergency on the road, but motorists are yet to see difference as almost all the roads are still being left unattended to by the construction firms said to have been mobilsed for the rehabilitation projects. They are either laced with potholes or too deplorable for vehicles to manage. Some needed a facelift, others demand urgent and a total rehabilitation to make them past the test of a fairly manageable roads.
While many commuters and motorists attest to the fact that the men of the Lagos State Public Works Corporation were fixing some of the roads across the state, the others said to be handled by the construction firms are yet to get attention. Hence rhythm of lamentations over bad roads continue to dominate the air, weeks after the emergency declaration on the deplorable roads.
But amidst the lamentations over bad roads, some roads are lucky to have gotten approval for expansion, rehabilitation and total reconstruction.
One of them is Fadipe Street in Somolu Local Government Area where the sought the cooperation of the residents for the smooth commencement of the reconstruction of the road in the area.
Speaking during the Stakeholders’ Meeting in the Conference Room of the Ministry on Wednesday, the Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, Dr. Idris Salako stated that the stakeholders’ meeting was convened to sensitise stakeholders on the reconstruction of the road on Fadipe Street, Somolu and deliberate on the sustainable physical and socio-economic development of the area.
Dr. Salako who spoke through the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Arc. Foluso Dipe said that the existing road would be upgraded to a modern road infrastructure and would provide many benefits to the people among which are improved aesthetic value of the area, improved connectivity index, improved rental and capital value as well as improved level of socio-cultural interaction and evolution.
He said: “this road reconstruction is in line with the determination of the Administration of His Excellency, Mr. Babajide Sanwoolu to provide key infrastructure that is vital to development. This target can be achieved more easily with the cooperation and total support of the citizenry.”
He urged residents of the area to cooperate with the State Government and its agents, particularly the contractor in actualizing the project as it was intended to provide succor to the people.
“I want to reiterate that this project is your project which you all need to rally round and see to fruition. Therefore, it is in the paramount interest of members of the community to jealously guide and monitor the facility for it to serve us for long” he said. He stressed that the Lands bureau would be contacted to compensate the affected property owners within the Right of Way of the project as the process of payment of compensation was part of the package for owners of property that would be affected.
He enjoined members of the community to bear with some form of inconveniences that the road construction could bring about, saying that with the cooperation of the people, the project should be completed within the stipulated time.
On his part, the permanent Secretary, Ministry of Works, Engr.Olujimi Hotonu, who was represented by the Director Road Maintenance and Rehabilitation, Engr. Lateef Somide, said that the road which was 16m by 480m in dimension would be upgraded with modern facilities such as Paved Stone Surfacing Materials, Covered Drainage and Culverts, Service Ducts and Streetlights.
In her remarks,the Permanent Secretary, Office of Civic Engagement, Mrs. Rhoda Ayinde called for the cooperation of the people as the road construction was intended by the State Government to make the area more livable for the residents of Fadipe Street.
Speaking on behalf of the Residents, Mr. Anthony Oladele Idowu expressed his support for the project, saying that it would improve the lot of the people while he urged the Government to consider speed breakers along with the project as the road is a bye-pass to other major roads in the area.
Taking over Ibadan with OPay, ORide
Ride Street, since its launch in Ibadan in July, has literally painted the city yellow with its products and services. ORide is a service/platform in OPay app, owned by the Chinese company, Opera.
Opay is a Central Bank of Nigeria licensed mobile money operator. The app contains other platforms like ORide, OKash, OFood and OBus.
“There is currently over one thousand OPay agents in Ibadan,” Country Manager of OPay, Iniabasi Akpan, said.
Ajayi Tosin, an OPay agent at Bodija Market, stated uses the app fordifferent purposes including Cash Deposit, POS Withdrawal, Cable TV Subscription, Airtime and Data, Betting, and Electricity Payment.
Tosin said people come with cash or with their ATM cards and he helps them do mobile transactions with the app. “We charge our customers commissions, which can be any amount, depending on the type and the amount of transactions they do,” he said.
Another Opay agent, Durotola Sulaimon, who owns an electric shop at Agbowo, stated that he had OPay app two years ago before they stopped operation. “When they started again in July, with new packages, I reconnected.” He uses the app for cash deposit/transfer and for cable TV subscription businesses.
An agent could get the OPay POS by carrying out at least 150 bank transactions (cash deposit) with the app in one month. The monthly total value of the transaction should be at least N3.5 million. Once these conditions are met, the POS would be issued to the agent.
The modus operandi of ORide in Lagos is different from that of Ibadan. In Lagos, what is in operation is ORide Green, where new motorbikes, with 200cc engines, are purchased for the riders of OPay. However, in Ibadan, where it is called ORide Street, Akpan says they adopted a third-party model where motorbike riders use their motorbikes for the business.
ORide Street is currently offering discounted pricing (bonanza) for trips. About the discounts, Akpan noted that when ORide Street was launched in July, the bonanza was N50 for trips less than N1,000. For August, it was N100. For September and October, it is N100 for trips less than N800.
Some riders spoke on how they learnt about ORide Street. Samuel Obadaye said he heard about it through Facebook and joined because he believed he would make more money from it. Adejume Ismaheel said he learnt about it through his friend who is an ORide Street rider.
Olaleye Adekunle said he noticed some yellow helmets on the streets and became curious. He satisfied his curiosity and tried it.
According to Akpan, two major benefits OPay and ORide Street have brought to Ibadan are employment and security. They currently have three offices, about 500 staff, and over 2,000 active riders in Ibadan.
Asked if female riders are qualified for the business, Akpan answered, “There is no law preventing woman from being commercial motorbike riders. As of now, we have a number of female riders.”
In terms of safety and security, Akpan stressed that since ORide Street started in Ibadan, the rate of motorbike-related robbery and kidnapping have significantly reduced. He stated that with the ORide platform, which tracks the movement of both riders and passengers, location detection is very possible.
Akpan explained how ORide Street works. Once interested motorbike riders show interest, ORide inspects their motorbikes and accompanying documents and also test them to confirm if they can read and write. Applicants who cannot read and write will not be accepted.
There are forms to fill too. The forms contain fields like, but not limited to, physical address of applicant, next of kin and address of next of kin. Akpan noted that they have members of staff who verify the addresses. Once the application is successful, the prospective rider is scheduled for training by ORide training staff. Part of the training includes practising with a demo version of OPay app, which contains the ORide platform.
Some riders narrated their training experiences. Muhammed Audu said they were told to be friendly with customers and not to drink or smoke on duty. Mathew Ikape stated they were taught how to operate on highway and how to observe traffic laws. He also stated that ORide training staff checked their chassis number, plate number and engine number of their motorbikes, and instructed those without complete driving papers to get the valid documents to complete registration with the platform.
Samuel Ayoola said they were taught how to dress with the kits and how to observe personal hygiene.
Olaleye Adekunle said security and safety were stressed in the training. “You are not to carry a passenger who refuses to use the helmet, because whatever happens between you and law enforcement officers, you are on your own,” he said.
Part of the training involves letting the riders know the penalty associated with each rule they break. Akpan stated that serious infractions will lead to the termination of the rider from the business. “There is zero tolerance to fraud and reckless driving,” he said.
Once they are certified by ORide, the riders are given their kits: a smartphone, which includes the OPay app; a reflective jacket, for easy identification in the night; two yellow helmets; two yellow rain coats; and a hundred pieces of hair nets, to reduce heat from the helmet and to prevent hair infections.
Akpan says all the other kit items are free, except the phone. “The normal price of the phone in the market is N43,000. But we sell it to the riders at a discounted price of N27,000.
The mode of payment for the phone is on a daily basis for three months. The company deducts N300 from the daily earnings of the riders before paying them. These transactions are done through the OPay app.
“If the phone gets lost, the rider can replace it with any smartphone of his choice, not necessarily the type the company initially gave him. In the event of loss or damage of the helmet out of negligence, a rider can buy another one from ORide. However, if the loss or damage is by accident and there is proof for that, ORide will replace it for free. Also, if the reflective jacket wears out or is lost, it could be purchased at ORide offices.
At the end of the three months, if a rider decides not to continue with ORide Street, he only needs to return the other kits. The phone is his. On the other hand, if he wishes to continue after three months, he keeps all the kits and pays five per cent of his daily earnings as a commission for using the OPay app.
Some ORide staff and riders explained the process involved in requesting for a ride by a customer till the customer gets to their destination.
Once a customer makes an order by selecting their current and destination locations through the ORide platform, riders closer to the customer will receive the order. The riders, through the platform, will see the customer’s current location, name and phone number. The first rider to accept the order will attend to the customer. Then, he will call or text to enquire the customer’s exact location for pick up.
Oladimeji Wasiu said, for instance, if he is around Makola Roundabout and accepts an order from Sango, he will call the customer to wait for three or five minutes for pick up. “If the customer can’t wait, I’ll know when he or she cancels the order,” he said.
If an order comes in and the rider refuses to accept it within twenty-four seconds, another rider will accept it or the platform will automatically cancel it. Also, once a rider accepts an order, another order cannot come in until the previous one is completed.
Lucky Ajige once had a network problem when he patronised ORide Street and had to pay N460. The real cost of his trip was N460, as was reflected in the app. But, with the bonanza, he would have paid N100.
Akpan stated that network problems are from network providers who provide data services and not from the app. However, he noted that it is rare to experience network problems with the app.
Olaleye Adekunle once had six orders that were not paid for, due to network problem. “I had to call the customers some hours later to inform them to pay me through the app,” he said. He was able to rectify the problem with OPay customer care service.
The professional aura OPay and ORide Street have brought into Ibadan commercial motorcycle business is unmistakeable. The owners of the business said they are ready to collaborate with the masses, the Oyo State government and the law enforcement agencies of the state to make one of their slogans: ‘Move around safe and fast, pay less with ORide’ a sustainable one.
Tafawa Balewa, Bogoro communities demand chiefdoms
he people of Tafawa and Bogoro communities in Bauchi state have cried with a loud voice to government, council of traditional rulers and other relevant stakeholders to hasten the implementation of the approved and gazette Zaar chiefdom as recommended by various committees and commissions. Speaking at this year Zaar annual festival, National President Zaar Development Association (ZDA) worldwide Engineer Isuwa Galla said that Zaar chiefdom is one of the major problem facing them as a community.
According to him, “lack of commitment by government, traditional rulers and other stakeholders to complete the implementation of the approved and gazette Zaar (Sayawa) chiefdom and the possible handing over of the staff of office to the Zaar people as recommended by various committees and commission is one of the major problem of the Zaar community.”
He explained that, the agitation of Zaar people in the two local government areas of Tafawa Balewa and Bogoro to have a chiefdom of their own, started long ago before they were born but wonder why the delay in giving their Paramount leader a recognition by giving a staff of office since it has been approved and gazetted. The President said, “may I seek the indulgence of this people oriented government to please do the needful as the Zaar people are counting on it for this same course and promise to be law abiding in its waiting days.”
Isuwa Galla said that lemp zaar is a time when the Zaar nation’s converse in Pusji (Tafawa Balewa) to thank God for a bountiful harvest and to also appreciates the hand of God over the land while calling on government to hasten the actualization of Zaar chiefdom to help them preserve their language and culture. He pointed out that they gathered to also show case their rich culture and art to the world hoping that the annual Lemp Zaar would be converted by government into a national festival to preserve minority tribes and their cultures I the northern Nigeria.
“May I aptly appreciate the grand Commander in chief of the Armed Forces, President Muhammadu Buhari, our Executive Governor Senator Bala Mohammed, Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadeeq Abubakar, and the minister of Education Malam Adamu Adamu and our most illustrious son Professor Suleiman Bogoro the Executive Secretary of Tetfund for dimming it fit to site Air Force University in Tafawa Balewa. Indeed, our joy knows no bounds for this development stride. It would no doubt boost employment and development levels in our land, state and Nigeria as a whole. We are ever ready and committed to support its full takeoff,” he said.
Speaking, at the annual festival, Bauchi State Governor Senator Bala Mohammed advised other tribes in the state to emulate Sayawa community in culture and language preservation. Represented by the Speaker Bauchi State House of Assembly Honorable Yakubu Suleman culture is a total way of life adding that celebrating cultural festival help communities to show case their heritage and traditions. “Whoever abandoned his culture has abandoned his original way of life and his life will be tasteless. I commend the Sayawa for preserving their culture in various ways including Lemp Zaar annual festival. Bala Mohammed further urged the Sayawa people to use the annual festival in preaching the gospel of peace and brotherhood among all tribes and religions in the state. He said the event should not be restricted to cultural dances and music but should be a platform for discussion and sober reflection on the status of Sayawa in term of development, economy, education and youths’ empowerment. In her remarks, the first lady of Bauchi State Hajiya Aisha Bala Mohammed urged Sayawa community and other tribes in the state to continue to live in peace and harmony assuring that government would be fair to all tribes I the state.
Speaking to our correspondent at the event, Bogoro Local Government Committee Care taker Chairman Mr. Iliya Habila, a son of the soil said the annual event was set aside specially to thank God express their gratitude to Almighty God for the protection, guidance and preservation throughout the farming season and provision of bountiful harvest. He said the annual cultural festival is known as lemp-zaar which brought all the Sayawa together from Diaspora and within to celebrate and share pleasantries together with families, friends and reunite for the future. His message at this year’s event include, calls on all the tribes around and those living in the area to unite together tolerate each other despite religious differences and Forge ahead for better development in the land. Mr. Iliya Habila a renowned Journalists recalls that in the past the celebration was done by their fathers who were known Christians or Muslims but since they people embrace religion they are doing it in a different way to glorify God even though their fathers do it to unknown God. The Caretaker Chairman, described the Sayawa people as law abiding citizens, humble, respectful to both traditional and constituted authorities and are well known for their hospital to all kinds of people “they are well informed in all fields of endeavors, with a common saying that, there are no illiterate in Sayawa land which makes them rank second to none in the state.
“We have every reason to thank God, because God has elevated sons and daughters of this land to high places in Nigeria one of them is myself, Late Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa of Blessed memory and many other in Army, Civil servants business men too numerous to mention.”
The people of Tafawa Balewa and Bogoro local Government Area are located in the southern part of Bauchi State migrated from the former Kanem+Borno empire presences in Ngazargamu in present Yobe state Nigeria and settle where they are today. The Sayawa’who are predominantly Christians by faith, farmers by occupation and generally industrious are also spread across the country in large proportion especially in states like Kaduna, Taraba, Adamawa Borno, Yobe, Kogi, Lagos, Kwara, Maiduri and Nassarawa States while some fraction of them can be found in Cameron, Chad and Ghana. The two Local governments share boundaries with Kanam, Mangu, Barkin Ladi, Panshin and Kanke in Jos south and North of Plateau state. The Zaar people who are popularly addressed by the Hausa and friends as Sayawa celebrate their annual cultural festival every 1st November every year in a unique and district way giving thanks to God for bountiful harvests and good health.
This year’s festival attracts eminent Nigerians who include, Tetfund Executive Secretary Professor Suleiman Eliars Bogoro, Speaker Bauchi State House of Assembly, Ambassador David Bala Gambar, Chief SD Gani former deputy Governor Taraba State, Dr. Biteus Pogu President Middle belt forum and General Marcus Take (Rt). In his vote of thanks, the chief host of the festival, the Gung Zaar Select Air Commodore Ishaku Komo said that Zaar people otherwise known as Sayawa are located in two local governments of Tafawa Balewa and Bogoro. He said his people are predominately farmers by occupation and industrious people while willing to welcome guest and visitors at any time. According to him the community have unique distinct and we’ll developed culture, traditional, religion and customary as well as defined social norms that stand the test of time.
A thought for workers with hearing impairment
o adderess the aged-long communication challenges among the workers with hearing impairment in the estimated 150,000 civil servants in the state, the Lagos State Government recently trained workers on signed languages.
Over 200 civil servants drawn from various Ministries, Departments and Agencies, MDAs, were trained in the 3-Day workshop which the government described part of the strategies to facilitate all inclusive government, Lagos State Government.
The government said that the training of 200 civil servants on communication skills was to enable them communicate effectively with people with hearing impairment.
Beyond this, the government said that special people in the society, especially those with hearing impairments, would be carried along in the developmental agenda of Lagos State.
Speaking at the end of the 3-Day training on sign language communication for over 200 civil servants drawn from various MDAs, the state’s Commissioner for Youth and Social Development, Segun Dawodu, explained that the training was to sharpen their skills to communicate effectively with people with hearing impairment.
He explained that the importance of sign communication as an effective method of communication between people living with hearing impairment on one hand and members of the public on the other hand could not be over-emphasized.
Dawodu, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Youth and Social Development, Yewande Falugba, said that LASODA, as an agency that promotes better welfare services; rights, privileges and social inclusion of People Living With Disabilities in Lagos State, was aimed to advance the special people’s law of the current administration.
He said: “It is in line of our responsibilities to facilitate workshops like this for greater public awareness and their participation in sign communication skills for better understanding when communicating with those concerned i.e. deaf/hearing impairment to be precise.
“Presently and for the past few years, our focus has been on training the Civil/Public Servants and to integrate them on the usefulness of sign language in bridging communication gaps.To further attest to this, sign language placards are hung at some MDAs to show the importance Government attach to sign Language communication.” Dawodu said.
He charged the participants to pay more attention in order to acquire the needed sign communication skills that would be of immense values and benefits to them.
“For the beneficiaries of this workshop, it is my believe that you will make good use of it as the objective of training you is to ensure that in every MDAs of the state government, the private sector and federal agencies in the State; there must be at least, one or two persons who should be able to communicate with persons with hearing impairment who may be there to make inquiries, solicit information or for other legal purposes and would need someone to interact with,” he added.
Acting General Manager, LASODA, Mr. Adegboyega Alejo, said that the training would expose participants to sign language communication and adopt pragmatic approach in their relationship with people with hearing impairment.
He added the training was aimed at breaking the barrier in communication experienced by people with hearing impairment when transacting businesses with government offices and others.
La Campagne, Radisson Blu launch boat cruise on Lagos waters
Poised to deliver on its promise of offering the best of experience in the leisure world to the people, the management of La Campagne Tropicana Beach Resort has launched a new project, which is aimed at exploring the beauties of Lagos waters and also cut down on the travelling hours from any part of Lagos to the resort, which is based in Ikegun Village, Ibeju Lekki axis of the city. Tagged La Campagne, Radisson Blu Boat Cruise Life Style, the new service by La Campagne in partnership with Radisson Blu Anchorage Hotel, Victoria Island, was launched recently at Radisson Blu during a colourful ceremony witnessed by a number of guests and stakeholders in the industry.
The formal launch ceremony climaxed with a boat cruise from the hotel’s jetty to the resort, with the over 40 minutes cruise time on the Lagos waters offering guests a foretaste of what the new service has to offer.
The experience on this day was quite unique and went beyond the normal boat cruise offerings. It was all embracing package, spiced with entertainment onboard and climaxing with a bouquet of dining and leisure packages at the resort, including an array of water sports and entertainment by Atunda Entertainment, as the trio of Anu Lady Ekwe, Olo midan bata and Ara (Thunder), enthralled the guests with a blend of African and contemporary tunes.
Speaking during the launch ceremony, the President of La Campagne, Otunba Wanle Akinboboye, who is also the founder of Motherland Beckons, an organisation devoted to building the continent of Africa through arts, music, culture and tourism, described the boat cruise project as harvesting the vast wealth of Lagos waters for the benefit of the people.
For him, it is a yet another dream come through even as he lamented the waste being visited on the vast coastal line across the country and Lagos, as it has remained under – utilised over the years by the government and Nigerians, a situation, which he said has contributed to the poverty and suffering in the land. He reeled off some astounding statistics to the amazement of the guests in underscoring the depth of wealth that is laying fallow across the country’s coastline.
For instance, he disclosed that Lagos lagoon spans a space of 211 kilometres, with over 198 kilometres of beachfront spread across while Nigeria as a whole boasts over 804 kilometres stretch of beachfront spread across over six states, with Lagos blessed with the largest beachfront.
The good news, he said, is the fact that La Campagne has now found a worthy partner with whom they can now explore the fallow Lagos water so as to offer a new experience in water leisure, as it is done in other saner climes, to Nigerians, especially tourists, who for years have hungered for the opportunity to explore the beauties and riches of the Lagos waters
. For him, Lagos waters is very calm and is a rich attraction for water leisure enthusiasts but like most other attractions in Nigeria, they remain attractions because no attempt have been made to turn them into tourist attractions or a tourist destinations. But with the new partnership with Radisson Blu Hotel, all that is now changing, as Lagos waters is going be turned into a tourist attraction that everyone will desire to explore in the coming days.
‘‘We are breathing life into Lagos waters with this new project,’’ which according to him, will make a difference in the way people travel and explore the waters because it is the break of a new dawn for lovers of water sports and leisure. As the boat cruise is not going to be the normal boat cruise,’’ adding that this is a leisure boat cruise with a lot of entertaining offerings attached to it.
‘‘It is not about cruising on water only,’’ said Akinboboye of the boat cruise, explaining that the boat will ferry guests from the hotel in the early hours of the morning after breakfast to the resort. While onboard they will be treated to lavish and savoury offerings such as live musical entertainment, dance and comedy shows of all sorts.
According to him, a fully equipped and stylishly fitted boat will be deployed for the service. Onboard entertainment, he said is going to be first class and nothing near what people are used to before. The onboard entertainment, he further noted will feature such sessions as sax time with popular saxophonists and keyboard time with popular keyboardist as well as time out with Atunda Entertainment crew, led by Anu, Olo and Ara.
At the resort, the guests will further be treated to exciting top packages designed in the unique style of the award winning and world acclaimed African theme resort. With the resort recently taken delivery of top class water sports and leisure equipment, he said guests will have enthralling moment at the resort with dining on the lagoon
On his part, the Director of Sales and Marketing of Radisson Blu, Wellington Mpofu, expressed delight over the project, disclosing that it is a way of the hotel contributing to developing the tourism business of the city hence it has partnered the resort in birthing the boat cruise project, which he said will not only boost the profile of both the hotel and resort, but also offers a new experience to their guests.
With the boat cruise, ‘‘you are going to have an amazing time of your life,’’ said Mpofu, adding that: ‘‘We are going to have a good ride on Lagos waters. This is going to revolutionise the way we view tourism in this city. It is a new paradigm shift and what we do with people visiting the city.’’
Furthermore, he said it is not only going to typify what the city has to offer visitors but that ‘‘the synergy between the two organisations is a development that is going to change the face of tourism in the city.
People have been seeing this waters doing nothing with it, but now we have both decided to build an exciting packages around it that our people will find difficult to resist.’’
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