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Why we want to revolutionise agriculture in Ijan – Ijadare

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Why we want to revolutionise agriculture in Ijan – Ijadare

Ijan Ekiti in Gbonyin Local Government Area of Ekiti State is an agrarian community where people are predominantly farmers. It is also blessed with prominent sons and daughters both at home and in the Diaspora among whom is Engr. Olajide Ijadare, who is based in the United States of America. He plans to boost palm oil production in the community and Nigeria as a whole by establishing an agro- based project in Ijan Ekiti. He speaks with ADEWUMI ADEMIJU

 

 

 

What prompted you to bring the project down to Ijan and not Ado-Ekiti, the state capital?

Well, as I have said, I was born and bred in Ijan-Ekiti. We are endowed with too much in agriculture here and coming back from the US, after many years, I saw how my people are trying to make ends meet but stuck in old ways of production. We are not tapping the God’s given endowments as much as we should. There’s no mechanisation introduced after so many years of promises.

So, for that simple reason, I decided to locate this particular factory in Ijan-Ekiti, my home town and for the benefit of the peasant farmers, who happened to be the backbone of everyone of us that came out of the town either by sending us to school up to secondary, before scholarship or toiled to sponsor ourselves to achieve educational qualification that you can think of.

 

I commenced the project in my community to industrialise and uplift Ijan-Ekiti, Yoruba land and Nigeria. As Ijan is today, we have no electricity. We have no pipe borne water, and our hospital is dilapidated. So, it requires doing little by little. In criticism, I can criticise till tomorrow but that won’t fetch my people anything. I’m just trying to give back to the society that has been very supportive of those of us that grew up in the town. So that the future generation will understand that we can do this on our own. We don’t need to wait for anybody either from the foreign land or big cities to do it. That’s why the factory is sited in Ijan.

 

What are the facilities already on ground to take off with?

 

In the factory, we have 500 metric ton crude Palm Oil Storage Tank. We also have 500,000 litres, 100,000 storage for refined Olein. We also have the weigh bridge that will be weighing the palm oil tanker trucks that would be coming in to deposit or sell Palm oil to us. We also have our own 10,000 litre tanker truck for the distribution of our products. Our products are going to be refined palm Oil and to be shipped out to our customers in Lagos. By the time we get to the third or fourth month, we will plan on exporting 50 per cent of our products to generate hard currency.

 

Also, there’s a weigh bridge house that will be equipped with the 21st century computer systems that display the weight of incoming Crude Palm Oil. Upon arrival, they would mount the weighing bridge before offloading to our 500 empty storage tank. On their departure, they would also weigh out and the weight would be subtracted from what they brought in. All would be displayed on the system; they would see it and invoices, payment vouchers and receipts would be issued to them from the weigh bridge house.

 

There’s gate house which will serve as a means of security to ensure that all access given and exits are timed, monitored and recorded. We expect little or no disturbances. However, we are going to have armed guards.

 

 

What number of workers are you looking forward to having for a start?

 

Initially, when we begin operation, God willing in June, this year, we would have up to 50 staff members. Forty of them will be skilled because the factory will run to produce maximally. We are going to run three shifts and everyone that will be working here would be highly skilled and qualified professional.

 

What’s the economic implication of the project for the community and Ekiti State as a whole?

The main objective of this establishment is to spur economic condition of the underdeveloped enterprises of Ijan-Ekiti, and Ekiti State. No less than 300 jobs would have been created indirectly from the use of inputs for plantation management; process machines and allied equipment operation and management, services to staff and customers, transportation, etc. Other downstream job opportunities are cumulatively projected at over 400. So far, about 230,275,000 has been committed into this project and still more to be pumped.

 

How much on the average, how much are you projecting the business to generate for the community and state as a whole?

The company expects annual turnover average of 1,000,800,000.00, one billion and eight hundred thousand Naira.

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The Mega City / Life

Monarchs, Araromi-Obu, Ikale battle over land

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Monarchs, Araromi-Obu, Ikale battle over land

BABATOPE OKEOWO reports that the Ajobu of Araromi-Obu in Odigbo Local Government Area of Ondo State, Oba Aderemi Adelola and the Abodi of Ikale, Oba George Babatunde Faduyile, are at war over the ownership of large hectares of land

 

 

D

uring the struggle for the abolition of Apartheid regime in South Africa, Late Sunny Okosun sang a song titled “who owns the land?” between the White minority and Black majority. This song is now apt in Ondo South Senatorial district of the Sunshine State where the Ikale and Araromi-Obu people are battling over the ownership of land.

 

 

The battle for the ownership of the land has stoked bitter rivalry among the people who have intermarried and have been relating with one another for centuries. But the judgment of an Akure High Court, which ceded some lands to Ikale has stoked bitter war between the two neighbouring communities.

 

 

An Akure High Court presided over by the Chief Judge; Justice Olanrewaju Akeredolu, had resolved the dispute over the ownership of the land where the state-owned Araromi Obu Rubber plantation is located in favour of Ikale people comprising Okitipupa and Irele Local Governments in the South senatorial district. Justice Akeredolu granted the customary ownership of the expanse of land where the plantation is located and many other lands in dispute to the Ikale.

 

 

The court’s verdict came 15 years after the case was instituted by the monarch of Araromi-Obu, Oba Aderemi Adelola against his counterpart in Ikoya; Oba Faduyile. Another defendant was the Lisa of Ikoya, Chief Aderoloye Netufo. The disputed land ceded to the Ikale by the court’s pronouncement included Araromi-Obu, Ajebamidele, Aiyesan, Tenola, Koseru, Oniparaga, Kajola, Imorun, Laleipa, Aiyetimbo, Ajebambo, Adewinle, Akinseye, Okefara, Omowole, Agoidogun, Obadoore, Ogunlepa, Onipetesi, Mile 49, Labon, Temidire, Sakoto1 and 11, Basola 1 and 11, Ago Alaiye, Ayetoro 1 and II, and Onitea. Others included Enujowo, Agirifon 1 and II, Igo, Sidigi, Komowa, Oke-Ojakoparun, Lokuta Libara, Araromi Oil Palm Estate Camp, Fesojoye 1, Oduduwa village, Mogaji Village, Chief Marcel’s village, Ajibodu and Bolorunduro 1 and II. The disputed land measured about 43,212.612 hectares.

 

 

Justice Akeredolu, in her verdict, held that the defendants (Ikale) have by traditional history been able to prove that the disputed lands belonged to them.

 

 

She said: “I hold that they (defendants) are entitled to the customary right of occupancy over the lands.”

 

 

Armed with the verdict of the court, the Ikale moved to implement the judgment by writing to the management of the Rubber Plantation and occupy some farmlands in Ago-Alaye, a community in Odigbo Local Government.

 

 

A bloody clash that broke out in the community led to the death of four persons and the destruction of properties and farmlands worth millions of Naira. In fact, the traditional ruler of Araromi-Obu, Oba Aderemi Adelola escaped being killed by suspected hoodlums when his convoy was attacked when he was returning from an official trip from Akure, the state capital. The first-class monarch, according to residents, escaped death by the whiskers as his vehicle and the backup car were attacked by suspected hoodlums, who were laying claim to the land in the community.

 

 

Since the incident, July 16, the Ikale and Araromi-Obu people have held several press conferences where they laid claim to the disputed territory. The contending communities back their claims with history and law.

 

 

  In one of the press conferences held by the Ikale recently, the traditional rulers described the Araromi-Obu people as settlers in their hand who migrated from Ondo town because of the dispute over who occupies the exalted stool of Osemawe.

 

 

The Ikales said the Ajobu and his chiefs were settlers in Ikale land after Ajobu attempted to wear a crown and escaped from Osemawe’s wrath into Ikaleland as a refugee, and finally settled at the current site of Araromi Obu as customary tenants of Ikale people by the Lisa Oladokun of Osooro.

 

 

Hence, they adopted the new name “Araromi-Obu” (Araromi meaning: we are at ease at Obu)

 

Speaking on behalf of the Ikale, a former military chief, Major Gen Oluyemi  Bajowa, said: “Under the Colonial administration, the Ajobu resumed the wearing of a crown and wore it to the Palace of the Osemawe for a meeting. Osemawe seized the crown and imprisoned his chiefs. Ajobu escaped arrest and went into exile, first at Ubu, and later at Lomiro. It was at this time that Baale Nigwo of Igbotako-Osooro installed Adetimehin as the Baale of Obu after consultation with the Abodi of Ikale Land. “Obu settlers were largely farmers who easily intermarried with Ikale people. The letter written by Rev David Hinderer in 1875 about Obu is documentary evidence, from a third party that had no interest to serve and at a time when the current dispute was not anticipated, supporting the claim of Ikale people as the Landowners of Araromi-Obu and its environs.”

 

 

The Araromi-Obu people however described the claim of the Ikale as false and an attempt to falsify historical fact about who is the owner of the disputed land. They said the history of the town dated above 500 years contrary to the claim of the Ikale.

 

 

Bajowa said the Ago-Alaye where the bloody conflict started belonged to Ikale contrary to the claim of the Araromi-Obu people. He explained that, “the Ikale people both at home and abroad, are disturbed by the turn of events between them and Araromi-Obu settlers who have lived and settled on our land since the 19th century. Over the years, the Ikale people living around Araromi-Obu, have had to put up with a lot of indignities from the Araromi-Obu settlers because almost every Araromi-Obu settler has his mother or wife of Ikale origin. For example, the mother of the current Ajobu of Araromi-Obu, Oba Aderemi Adelola, is from Agirifon-Osooro, in Ikale Land.

 

 

“Since Oba Adelola ascended the throne of the Ajobu, the relationship between Ikale people and the Araromi-Obu settlers nose-dived on all fronts. These settlers began to address the Ikale landowners as non-indigenes. This unwholesome non-indigene narrative wrongly enjoyed the full support of Odigbo Local Government.

 

 

“Consequently, the relationship between Ikale people and Araromi-Obu settlers deteriorated. In 2004, Oba Adelola with some leaders of Araromi-Obu and Odigbo Local Government itself, filed an action in Suit No: HOR/2/2004, where they sought to evacuate the Ikale people from what they described as Araromi-Obu land which extended to and covered over 50 Ikale communities, all around Araromi-Obu.

 

 

“When this suit was filed in 2004, Ikale people pleaded for out of court    settlement, not because we had a bad case, but because the Ikale people did not intend to waste money on litigation and most especially, because almost every Araromi-Obu person is related, through their mother side, to Ikale people. The Ajobu, his Chiefs and Odigbo Local Government, derisively shoved aside our request for out of court settlement and chose the option of litigation!

 

 

“While the case was on, Araromi-Obu settlers, including the Ajobu, embarked on a dubious scheme to take over the lands being used by the Ikale people for farming and started planting cash crops on the lands. For a period of 15 years, the Ikale people struggled with the case. We placed before the court hard facts which effectively contradicted the unfounded stories of Araromi-Obu settlers that they came from Ile Ife and not Ondo, amongst others. Apart from solid historical facts, records which supported our claims were effectively placed before the court.

 

 

“Amongst such records is a letter written by Revd. David Hinderer, one of the Christian Missionaries from the CMS in England, who spent three nights at the then Araromi-Obu camp and, in his report back home dated May 14, 1875, he confirmed that the Araromi-Obu settlers were from Ondo living within Ikale territory.

 

 

“Another is a document which reported a meeting held at Aiyesan on 12th and 13th of October, 1922, where “Desami the Ajobu”, confirmed his Ondo origin and the seizure of his crown by the Osemawe of Ondo. The land case HOR/2/2004 ended in favour of Ikale people on May 13, 2019, when the court, in large measure, granted our “counter-claim” and restrained the Araromi-Obu settlers from trespassing unto the lands confirmed by the court of law to belong to the Ikale people.

 

 

“The Ikale people waited for well over a month after the judgment, primarily to avail Araromi-Obu settlers the chance to evacuate whatever they may have on the land and to see if Araromi-Obu people wanted to disobey the order of injunction restraining them from further acts of trespass on our lands.

 

 

“While this was on, we caused necessary court forms to be issued and served with the notice of the judgment on the leadership of Araromi-Obu settlers. Having discovered that they have stayed away from the land, the Ikale people decided to continue their farming on the lands, as pronounced by the court.”

 

 

Giving the side of Ikale to the bloody clash that took place on July 16, Bajowa said “when a group of Ikale people were on their way to their farms located on the way to Araromi-Obu, they were ambushed and attacked by Araromi-Obu boys, who were armed with cutlasses and sophisticated weapons, so badly that the intestines of one of the Ikale farmers spilled out, while others received severe gunshot wounds. There were also unfortunate losses of lives during the sporadic firing by the aggressors.”

 

 

But speaking on behalf of Araromi-Obu Development Council (ADC), Senator Omololu Meroyi, described as false the claim that his people migrated from Ondo over who occupied the throne of Osemawe.

 

 

Meroyi, who was flanked by prominent people of Araromi-Obu, including Prince Olu Falolu, Bisoye Monebi and Taiwo Adedimeji, said: “Although, it is not in our character as responsible citizens to join issues with a rabble-rousers masquerading as a community leader considering his jackboot background,  we are however compelled as peace loving people to set the record straight and inform the public of the true position as our silence could be misconstrued as acceptance of the tissue of lies being churned out by the Ikale people.”

 

 

  Meroyi, on behalf of Araromi-Obu people said: “It is imperative to inform the public that contrary to the deliberate falsehood, untruth, half-truth and sophistry being peddled by General Bajowa and his cohorts, Araromi-Obu has been in existence for over 500 years with the present Ajobu, Oba Aderemi Adelola as the 18th occupant of the throne in the ancient town. It is therefore shocking that in spite of the avalanche of documentary evidence freely signed by the Ikale as tenants of our forefathers spanning over a century, they could turn round to assert that Araromi-Obu people are settlers in their own land.”

 

 

He added: “It is pertinent to enumerate the roles played by the Ondo State Government and the security agencies towards averting the mindless bloodletting, arson, wanton destruction of lives and property and general state of insecurity unleashed on the people of Araromi-Obu by the Ikale on the instruction of the Abodi of Ikoya and General Olu Bajowa before, during and after the July 16 invasion of Araromi-Obu.

 

 

“It is on record that in order to prevent the outbreak of hostilities, several peace meetings were initiated by the Ondo State government, the Police and the Directorate of Security Services, all of which were attended by the Ajobu and his people but surprisingly shunned by the Abodi of Ikoya without genuine reasons.

 

 

“Also, the Ondo State Commissioner of Police, in a bid to avert the looming clash visited the area and appealed to both Araromi-Obu and Ikale people to maintain peace and allow the judicial process to be exhausted since Araromi-Obu has appealed against the judgment.

 

 

  “However, in a dramatic move, shortly after the visit of the Commissioner of Police, the attack on the people of Araromi-Obu by the Ikale assumed a more frightening dimension as farmlands were invaded, farm produce harvested and carted away, people molested, harassed and abducted on their farms and while pursuing other legitimate businesses.

 

 

“It is worthy of note that all the aforementioned nefarious activities of the Ikale people were reported to the security agencies, including the Police and Directorate of Security Services, while several letters were dispatched to the Ondo State Government for their intervention in order to nip the impending violent clash in the bud.

 

 

“We gathered from credible sources that the Ikale hooligans were being sponsored by the Abodi of Ikoya and General Bajowa (rtd) for selfish economic benefits, their intention being to turn the Rubber Estate Nigeria Limited to their the cash cow. It is therefore not a surprise to discover that following the judgment both the Abodi and General Bajowa have written several letters to the Araromi Rubber Estate Limited, demanding monetary gratification.

 

 

“We are deeply saddened by the event of July 16, 20,19, when the crisis reached a boiling point with the Ikale mobilizing in their numbers with sophisticated arms and ammunition, invaded Araromi-Obu township and when the dust settled, two indigenes of Araromi-Obu were brutally murdered, several injured and houses and other property belonging to Araromi-Obu people living in Ago Alaye which is predominantly populated by the Ikale people were set ablaze.

 

 

“These condemnable, unfortunate and dastardly activities of the Ikale people prompted the intervention of the Ondo State Governor as Chief Security Officer of the state, accompanied by the Heads of Security agencies to pay an unscheduled visit to the area for on-the-spot assessment of the situation and to put an end to the orgy of violence.

 

 

“It should be noted that the governor should be commended for the unscheduled visit by all peace-loving citizen as his prompt intervention and the deployment of security men has ensured that the return of peace to the area.

 

 

“We also wish to debunk the claims of the Ikale people who were arrested for their involvement in the wanton destruction of lives and property that they were part of the delegation to appraise the governor of their position and to state that their assertion in an afterthought fabricated to deceive the public as the visit of the governor was impromptu necessitated by the need to stop further bloodshed and break down of law and order.”

 

 

As if the vituperation was not enough, the Ikale and the Araromi-Obu also disagreed on the role of the governor and Odigbo Local Government where the disputed land is located.

 

 

Bajowa said:“Odigbo Local Government should desist from sponsoring the hate campaign by Araromi-Obu settlers in the unlawful and unethical demand for the evacuation of the Ikale people from their ancestral lands, and debarring the Ikale people from performing their traditional and customary rights in the land of their heritage.

 

 

“The Rubber Estate Nigeria Limited (RENL), should be prevailed upon to stop treating our people as slaves on their land and give equal opportunities to Ikale people and indeed all citizens of Ondo State, in conformity with the recent court judgment and the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”

 

 

In reply, Meroyi said: “We condemn in strong terms the ignoble conduct and vituperation of General Oluyemi Bajowa whose language is not only uncouth but deliberately concocted to tarnish the image of our governor as the Chief Security Officer of the state whose major preoccupation has been the maintenance of peace and the wellbeing of the inhabitants of Ondo State. We need to remind General Bajowa and co-travelers that we are no longer under military dictatorship and need to accord respect to constituted authority derived from the mandate of the people of Ondo State through the ballot and not through the barrel of the gun. We wonder what manner of legacies he wants to bequeath to the younger generation of Nigerians as a retired General and elder statesman. We are however surprised about his sudden emergence as a latter-day “messiah” and champion of Ikale people as no visible landmark achievement could be ascribed to him in the whole of Ikale land and Yoruba land as a top military officer who has held various positions in government both at state and federal levels.”

 

 

The state governor, in order to settle the dispute between the warring communities set up a panel of inquiry headed by Mr Tunde Atere to look into the immediate and remote causes of the crisis.

 

 

The panel, which has swung into action, has called for memoranda and it is yet to be seen if the solutions to be preferred would resolve the dispute between the warring communities.

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Putting smiles on their faces

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Putting smiles on their faces

I

t was a moment of smiles for Bauchi state communities  especially the people of Sabon Kaura, Miri, Muda Lawal, Sultan quarters and Ibrahim Bako estate when Governor Bala Mohammed Abdulakadir awarded road construction in their areas.

 

 

For the people, it was a miracle from above as their dreams for having a nylon road was becoming true.

 

The people living in those communities could not hide their feelings as it was visibly seen in their faces and expression that their most awaiting dream has come to fruition.

 

 

Speaking to New Telegraph, in Sabon Kaura a suburb of Bauchi metropolis, Mr. Joshua Hassan said that the roads would reduce their daily hardship playing the raid especially during raining season.

 

 

Mr. Hassan said the roads, if completed would further boost business activities and reduce movement conflicts and travel time. She said, for years it has not been easy for them to travel out during raining season and a journey of 10 minutes would take them longer time to get to main road due to the deplorable condition of the road.

 

 

He said, “if the road construction is completed, it will boost more economic activities and ease traffic congestion within the town and area.

 

 

Also speaking,  the District Head of Galambi,  Alhaji Shehu Jumba  presented a Horse to  Governor Bala Mohammed Abdulakadir as a sign of appreciation for awarding the road construction in their communities, “it was unbelievable to see the long awaiting roads that have cut them off, are now reality of being in good condition. This definitely will go a long way towards enhancing the economy, safety, livelihood and physical development of the affected communities.

 

 

Flagging off the roads projects, Governor Bala Mohammed Abdulakadir said that,  the roads construction include, Gombe Road to Maiduguri road Bye-Pass, Sabon Kaura to Miri, Jos road Bye-Pass and rehabilitation of Sultan Abubakar Road to Muda Lawal Market road and Yakubun Bauchi Quarters Road and Azare. He said his administration is embarking on the roads construction and rehabilitation and other projects in order to deliver on its campaign promises before his first 100 days in office.

 

 

The Governor who said the contract for Gombe Road to Maiduguri Road Bye-Pass and Yakubun Bauchi Quarters was awarded at the cost of over 2 billion naira, noted that, that, that of Sabon Kaura to Jos Road Bye-Pass and Sultan Abubakar Road to Muda Lawal Road was awarded at the cost of over 2 billion naira while Azare to gulped N2.3 billion naira.

 

 

The Governor noted that the contracts for the road construction and rehabilitation required compensation of lands and other properties calling on the people to corporate with his government for success of the projects. He assured the people that his government was ever ready to pay compensation. On his part, the Permanent Secretary, State Ministry of Works and Transport, Engineer Stephen Abubakar, explained that the construction of Gombe Road to Maiduguri Road bye- pass is 4.4 kilometers, Sabon Kaura to Jos Road bye-pass is 6.2 kilometers, Yakubun Bauchi Quarters is 1.8 kilometers while that of Muda Lawal market road is one kilometer.

 

Engineer Stephen Abubakar commended the Governor for awarding the contract, observed that, it will go a long way towards enhancing the economy, safety, livelihood and physical development of the affected communities.

 

 

The Managing Director of TRIACTA Nigeria Limited, the company handling the projects, Mr Elie A Farhat assured the State Governor that will justify the confidence reposed in them by completing the projects within six months.

 

 

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Tackling open defecation in Nigeria

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Tackling open defecation in Nigeria

 

 

Open defecation is still very rampant in Efut Akaietta-Mbutu community, Calabar South Local Government Area of Cross River.

 

 

The residents whose main occupation is fishing defecate in the same river, the source of water supply for their domestic use.

 

 

“We defecate in the same river we fetch our drinking water, bath and also fish to earn our living, because there is no standard place for defection in our community,” Mr Kufre William, a fisherman said.

 

 

“Most times, people in our community go to the river to defecate, due to lack of adequate toilet facilities,” Enobong Ekong, a resident of the community echoed.

 

 

William and Ekong spoke during a field trip to the community organised by UNICEF.

 

 

William and Ekong, attributed the prevalence of open defecation in the area to lack of toilet facilities.

 

 

They said that digging of pit latrine was very expensive because of the topography of the area.

 

 

William said: “We have appealed several times to the local and state governments to intervene, but we are yet to get help or get positive response from them.

“We know that as long as we use water from this river, it will affect our health, but we don’t have any alternative.

 

 

“To worsen the situation, there is no hospital or any medical centre within our community; we pay N500 transport to the nearest general hospital.

 

 

“Many families do not have toilets; most of them indulge in open defecation when the need arises for them to respond to the call of nature.”

 

 

The traditional ruler of the community, His Highness Ndabo Eyamba, who spoke, appealed to the government to come to the assistance of the community.

 

 

“Our people are facing a lot of challenges, the pit toilets we usually dig do not last up to six months before collapsing, because of the swampy nature of the environment.

 

 

“The people as a result of poverty cannot afford modern toilets with solid materials and proper sewage disposal facilities.’’

 

 

Eyambo lamented the absence of government’s presence in the community, pointing out that there is no public toilet, pipe borne water, good roads and hospitals in the community.

 

 

“We do not have pipe borne water here, the few boreholes we have here are through community efforts and few individuals, making it difficult for many villagers to access potable water, we do not have clinics and hospitals for handling emergency situations when our people fall sick”, he said.

 

 

A community leader, Chief Ene Antigha, said   that open defecation had impacted negatively on the health conditions of the residents.

 

 

He said that drinking water from unhygienic sources had contributed to cases of cholera, diarrhea, ringworm, among others recorded in the area.

 

 

According to him, the main challenges facing the community are lack of toilets, potable water and good roads.

 

 

“Adults in the community defecate in the river and gutters; we are begging government to come and look at how they can stop this, because of the bad water, diseases are rampant here.

 

 

“We do not have good source of potable water and as such, many lives are lost due to infection from water borne diseases.”

 

 

UNICEF Communication Specialist, Dr Geoffrey Njoku, says open defecation portrays Nigeria in bad light before the international community.

 

 

“Nigeria loses about 1.3% (N455 billion) of GDP annually due to poor sanitation as a result of illness, low productivity, loss of learning opportunities, among others.

 

 

“More than 100,000 children under 5 years of age die each year due to diarrhea, of which 90 per cent is directly attributable to unsafe water and sanitation.

 

 

“Nigeria is the second country with the highest children’s deaths due to diarrhea,” he said.

 

 

Mr. Ibrahim Conteh, Chief Field Officer, UNICEF, Enugu, who also spoke, said that by 2030, Nigeria was expected to achieve adequate sanitation by paying attention to the needs of women and girls, as they are the most vulnerable to water borne disease infection.

 

 

According to him, when that is done, it will reduce impact of open defecation on child development.

 

 

Conteh said: “1 in 4 children less than 5 years of age exhibit severe stunting, while 1 in 10 is wasted due to frequent episodes of diarrhea and other Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) related illnesses.”

According to available records, Nigeria ranks second among countries practising open defecation globally.

 

 

The 2018 WASH National Outcome Routine Mapping (WASH NORM) survey showed that 24 per cent of the population (47 million), still practice open defecation.

 

 

A survey carried out by UNICEF and other partners, showed that only 13 out of the 774 local government areas in Nigeria have been certified Open Defecation Free (ODF).

 

 

Great effort is needed to ensure that Nigeria becomes Open Defecation Free by 25, and does not take over from India as the number one country practising open defecation, as India was expected to be open defecation free by 2019.

 

 

The State of Emergency in WASH, declared by  President Muhammadu Buhari in November 2018, should be boosted through sustained support and commitment by all stakeholders.

 

 

All stakeholders should show commitment to  the “Clean Nigeria: Use the Toilet” campaign and enlighten Nigerians on the dangers of open defecation and the need to sustain the universal access to safely managed sanitation in the country.

 

 

With sustained enlightenment and massive provision of toilet facilities, Nigeria may realise its ambition of becoming open defecation free by 2025.

 

 

• Musa writes for News Agency of Nigeria

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Umunya monarch, subjects at war

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Umunya monarch, subjects at war

 

 

The crowd chanted war songs, carrying placards, calling for the intervention of Anambra State Governor, Chief Willie Obiano. They believed he is the only solution to a seven-year-old land dispute involving the Traditional Ruler of their community Umunya in Oyi Local Government Area of the state.

 

 

Most of the protesters, who were women, lamented what they called intimidation and molestation of their husbands and children by some thugs allegedly being used by Igwe Kris Onyekwuluje, the traditional ruler.

 

 

According to a petition signed by two of the leaders of Odumodu Ebonabo Improvement Union Umunya, Mr. Obed Nweke as chairman and Sunday Esedo as secretary, they alleged that: “On or about May 2015, Igwe Umunya ,  assembled some of the “never do well” and miscreants in our villages and promised to make them millionaires, only if they can do his biddings. He thereafter took them to ‘Ada Achalla’ Shrine through one Sunday John Oneze, a notorious fetish doctor, where they were made to swear an irrevocable oath of allegiance to become Igwe’s hit men.    

 

 

On the 24th May, 2015, Igwe Kris Onyekwuluje summoned the miscreants whom he had labeled “Odumodu youths” and demanded that they sign an already prepared formal petition to him complaining about the leadership of Odumodu Community, so as to enable him swing into action of doing away with the leaders of Odumodu as that can only pave way for him to start selling our Community’s land.

 

 

Upon signing the aforesaid spurious petition, Igwe Onyekwuluje subsequently approached his police friends at all levels and falsely complained that he had discovered a plot to assassinate him, which he claimed were covered in a video tape. He mischievously included all the Executive members and principal officers of Odumodu Community as the alleged culprits. Having falsely conscripted the police into the plot to annihilate the leaders of Odumodu Community and consequently force the people into submission to his whims and caprices, the Igwe then illegally inaugurated his hit men, now labeled “Odumodu Youths” as parallel Executives of Odumodu with the mandate to machete, gun down and viscously attack any principal officers of Odumodu Community on sight.

 

 

“Recall your Excellency, that on the 1st day of August, 2015, five leaders of Odumodu Community, including the eldest man then, Ichie Dennis Nweke (now late), were physically assaulted and seriously wounded with axes, machetes, etc, by the so called “hit men” on the orders and directives of Igwe Kris Onyekwuje. Subsequent attacks were carried out (as our people were ever defiant) simultaneously for two weeks thus forcing all the reasonable men and leaders into exile for fear of their lives.

 

 

“As the people of Odumodu took refuge in exile, Igwe used the opportunity to call in a surveyor who surveyed all Odumodu lands. With the survey plan, he has been able to use his exalted position to illegally dispose our lands, using his surrogates in Odumodu to deceive unsuspecting new allies of his who are yet to ascertain his dubious nature.

 

 

It has therefore dawned on every Odumodu indigene that they do not have where to farm or where the future generation of ours will live.”                   

 

       

“Your Excellency, may we with utmost respect remind you that apart from our various letters to your humble self, the IGP, the Commissioner of Police, Anambra State and the State Director of Department of State Security etc, other concerned individuals and organisations have written as well to request for your urgent intervention in our ordeal. It is most pertinent to state that in spite of these appeals aforementioned, the police deliberately or tactically failed to rise to the occasion as no meaningful investigation was ever carried out since 2015 till date. Indeed, the police and the Umunya vigilante appeared to be tools in the hands of Igwe Kris Onyekwuluje with which he oppresses and victimizes our community. For three weeks running, our people are being hounded, attacked, unjustifiably detained and unjustly victimised by both the police at Nteje Division and the Umunya Vigilante for daring to stop unknown trespassers and illegal land speculators like FECAN Ltd, Coje Motors Ltd, Zikan Nigeria Ltd, Ikemba Int’l Market, Adkan Ltd etc, into their communal land. What a brazen intimidation and naked show of power!” “It is in the light of the above that we, once again appeal to you, as the Chief Security Officer of the state, to use your good offices to: urgently call Igwe Onyekwuluje to order as an immediate measure, direct Commissioner of Police, Anambra State to order the DPO Oyi Division to respect our dignity and freedom as citizens of Nigeria, set up high powered commission of inquiry which will include officers  of the police force and the DSS to investigate our allegations and events in Umunya in general.”

 

 

At palace of the Igwe, scores of reporters had stormed the area, demanding the monarch’s reaction to those allegations leveled against him. The Igwe, while fielding questions on that fateful day said that: “I saw the video of those protesting and most of the women I saw are neither from Odumodu nor from Umunya in general. I however saw some four or five men whom I recognised as people from my community and they are those who have been troubling us. When this issue of land started seven years ago, I tried to invite both parties from Odumodu Ana and Odumodu Enu to resolve the matter but some of them did not accept it. They are the people leading the protest.”

 

 

“These same people have been intimidating them and selling their lands and when the Odumodu people wanted to question their activities, they threatened them. In 2011 and 2012, the crisis deepened and there were cases of attack on innocent villagers and as a traditional ruler,  I came into the picture.”                                                     

 

 

          “Those allegations are plans to tarnish my image because I was never involved in the act of land grabbing or selling of land. I am going to take a legal action on all those allegations leveled against me,” he said.

 

 

Igwe Onyekwuluje further alleged that four persons from his community, who led the protest to government house have been plotting to kill him.

 

 

“Go to the state police command, special Anti Robbery Squad (SARS) and the Department of State Security (DSS) and you will see the records. They also have video clips of where they were holding meeting to assassinate me and they did not know that there was a device planted on the shirt of one of them by the police and it recorded their conversations. The community pleaded that I should forgive them which I did but the plot to assassinate me continued. This protest is aimed at discrediting me and our community and who knows their next line of action. They accused me of using some youths in the community to attack them which you know is not true.

 

 

“Even the allegation of conniving with the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) against my people is not true. In the last seven years, Oyi Local Government Area must have had about two or three DPOs and I wonder how only one man can pocket them all.”

 

 

Also speaking, the President General of Umunya Development Union (UDU) Engr. Kenneth Okafor, told reporters that: “Our Igwe has been doing all within his means to ensure peace in our community but these four people have been resisting it. They are those who have been selling Odumodu lands and pocketing the money and at some point, the people revolted against them and they started blaming our traditional ruler.”

 

 

Similarly, the secretary of Odumodu Youths in Umunya, Mr. Okwudiri  Okeke, dismissed the claim by the protesters, insisting that Odumodu people are tired of the actions of the protesters, who he said, have been selling their lands without recourse to the community.

 

 

Currently, the office of Town Union and Chieftaincy matters are said to be studying all the petitions, though it is not clear when its reports would be made public.

 

 

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Two years after, Mahin gets new monarch

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Two years after, Mahin gets new monarch

The Ondo State Government has filled a vacuum created by the demise of Oba Lawrence Omowole in September 2017. Babatope Okeowo reports that the people of the riverine community came out to witness the coronation of new Amapetu of Mahin

 

 

T

wo years after Oba Lawrence Omowole, the Amapetu of Mahin in the oil-rich Ilaje Local Government joined his ancestors; Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State has installed Prince Oluwasegun Williams Akinyomi as the new monarch of the riverine community.

 

 

The Amapetu’s stool is one of the first-class monarchs in the Sunshine State and commands respect both at community, Local Government and State level.

 

Akinyomi, 61 defeated other 16 other princes of Alagwe Ruling House to emerge as the Amapetu of Ode Mahin.

 

 

Although the Osuma Royal Family has dragged the state government to court for allegedly violating the rule of law, the people of the town irrespective of political party affiliations and social status trooped out for the installation of Akinyomi as the Amapetu of Mahin.

 

 

Apart from the governor who presented the staff of office, his Deputy, Hon Agboola Ajayi, former Governorship candidate, Chief Olusola Oke, former Commissioner, Chief Olusola Ebiseeni, the Olugbo of Ugbo, Oba Fredrick Enitiolorunda Obateru-Akinruntan and other traditional rulers witnessed installation of the new monarch.

 

 

 

The Osuma Royal Family in a suit filed by their counsel, Mr Olusola Oke said the government has given staff of office and instrument of appointment to Akinyomi as the Amapetu despite the pendency of a suit in court and the assurance given by the Attorney General and Commissioner of Justice that it would obey the rule of law.

 

 

The Osuma Royal House had said it is its turn to produce the new monarch of the town and consequently filed a suit to challenge the government’s action, which they argued violated their right. The suit which had Chief Thompson Adepiti, Yemi Saanumi, Chief Omolebi Adepiti and Folorunso Obebe as claimants had Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice and Akinyomi as defendants.

 

 

The governor however presented the staff of office and instrument of appointment to Akinyomi and asked him to reconcile with all princes who contested the stool with him.

 

 

Akeredolu said it was natural for all princes to be interested in the throne but added that only one of them would ascend the throne at a time, as such he appealed for their cooperation to bring development to the entire Mahin kingdom speedily. He also advised the newly installed first class monarch to make deliberate efforts to reconcile with groups and individuals not pleased with his enthronement.

 

 

In his prepared speech at the ceremony, Akeredolu said his counterpart in the southwest geo-political zone would involve the traditional rulers, local hunters and youth groups in tackling insecurity especially kidnapping in the zone.

 

 

Akeredolu who is the Chairman of the Southwest Governors’ Forum said the idea was one of the security models agreed at the last security summit held in Ibadan, Oyo State.  He harped on the veritable place of the traditional institution in the acceleration of development, and, said in the emerging Security Model initiated by Governors of Southwestern Nigeria, Royal Fathers, local hunters, and youths would be given strategic roles to play to secure the geo-political zone effectively.

 

 

While saying that security of lives and property has become multidimensional to be left for the government without citizens’ collaboration and cooperation, Akeredolu said genuine information to burst potential security threats must be made available on time to ward off all forms of criminalities.

 

 

The governor showcased some of the landmark achievements of his administration which he called, “share of the developmental strides” of his government. According to him, many of the projects which have been completed and some were nearing completion included the construction of Okitipupa- Igbokoda bypass, construction of Igbokoda-Ayetoro Phase 3 Road,  rehabilitation and asphalt overlay of Igbokoda-Ugbonla Road Route and bridge repair.

 

Other projects which have been completed, he said included the clearing, opening, and filling of Igbokoda-Ayetoro Oropo spur and Oke-Ipare-Olopo spur, construction of Aboto-Atijere road and clearing of waterways which are being carried out.

 

 

On the Araromi Seaside-Ibeju Lekki-Akodo Lagos Road, which had been facing some challenges, Akeredolu said in no time the project that was originally to be undertaken by the Niger Delta Development Commission, Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and the State Government would take off.

 

 

The Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Mrs Lola Fagbemi said the installation of the monarch was a demonstration of the promise made by Governor Akeredolu that all vacancy stools in the state would be occupied in a peaceful manner. The Caretaker Chairman of Ilaje Local Government, Hon Otito Atikase in his speech lauded  Akeredolu for the unique way the administration introduced into the presentation of Staff of Office and  Instrument of Appointment to Royal Fathers while ascending their thrones in the State.

 

 

 

In his speech, Oba Akinyomi who adopted the name Alagwe V11 promised to maintain a cordial relationship with the monarchs in Ilaje, fellow monarchs in Yoruba land as well as other traditional rulers in other parts of the country. The new monarch promised to promote peaceful co-existence among the diverse ethnic groups in Nigeria and enhance the social-cultural and economic values of Mahin land.

 

 

While appreciating the State Government, for his appointment and presentation of Instrument of Appointment, the monarch said his appointment was in due compliance with democratic principles and rule of law.  “I promise to work diligently and selflessly in collaboration with individuals and corporate bodies for peaceful coexistence and development of Mahin in particular and the entire Ilaje land in general.

 

 

“It is also my desire to maintain a cordial relationship with the Obas in Ilaje land, my fellow Obas in Yoruba land as well as other traditional rulers in other parts of the country. Certainly, this will further promote peaceful co-existence among the diverse ethnic groups in Nigeria and enhance the social Cultural and Economic values of Mahin land

 

 

“I salute the good people of Mahin land especially the chiefs, elders and elites who strive to ensure that there is no perpetual interregnum in the land for my timely enthronement as Oba from Alagwe Ruling House and the Amapetu of Mahin land.

 

 

“Against the foregoing, I humbly call on our people, home and abroad to join hands with me for the peaceful co-existence an development in the land. In my own capacity, I shall make unflinching efforts to make Mahin great again.  It is our assurance that my people will at all times co-operate with the state government in order to engender meaningful development in the land.”

 

 

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Odo Ora: Sitting on keg of gun powder

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Odo Ora: Sitting on keg of gun powder

The crisis rocking the installation of  Obalemo of Odo Ora-Ekiti in Ido/Osi Local Government of Ekiti State, Oba Akin Adeyemo, took another turn last week as youths of the ancient community took to the street of Ado-Ekiti to protest.

 

 

The youth, totaling about 50 in number, displayed various placards urging the Governor of Ekiti State, Dr Kayode Fayemi to instruct one of his aides, Mr. Wale Fapohunda to stop interfering in the Odo Ora monarch tussle.

 

 

According to them:”We demand justice over the protracted Court case instituted to dethrone the current monarch over alleged forgery and irregularities surrounding his installation.”

 

 

The aggrieved youths claimed that several attempts had been made to express their grievances but all efforts to do so proved abortive.

 

 

Some of the placards they carried read thus: “We want peace in our country home, Odo Ora-Ekiti.”   “The rule of Law must prevail.” “Governor Fayemi, please save us from injustice.”  “Odo Ora-Ekiti deserves peace, “Judges should not prevent us from getting justice.”  “Attorney General should stay-off Odo Ora case,” among so many other placards.

 

 

Speaking with newsmen during the protest, one of the leaders of the aggrieved youths, Comrade Sesan Ojo, said all what they want is justice on the Odo Ora Obaship matter.

 

 

According to Ojo:“We heard it from a reliable source that the judiciary may be bought-over in order to pervert justice on Odo Ora monarch crisis.

 

 

“We are appealing to Governor Kayode Fayemi to ensure that justice prevails. We have been making frantic efforts to see the governor in order to express our displeasure but to our own dismay, we were being prevented from doing so.”

 

 

Another protester, Mrs Tayo Ajayi, disclosed that they have no confidence in the matter the way it was going because of the so many challenges facing the community.                     

 

 

She said:“Our purpose of staging this protest is to express our feelings as a community and to tell the whole world that the Commissioner for Justice and Attorney-General should steer clear from the Odo Ora Obaship case. We appeal to the present government to come to our aid. We want justice and nothing more,” she appealed.

 

 

Oba Akin Adeyemo and Chief Samuel Fayigbe were arraigned before a Chief Magistrate Court sitting in Ado-Ekiti recently for allegedly stealing the community right.

 

 

The monarch is currently facing four count charge, ranging from conspiracy, stealing, forgery to fraudulent conversion of the sum of N2.453,000  (two million, four hundred and fifty three thousand naira) belonging to minor Chiefs of Odo-Ora Ekiti in Ido/Osi Local Government Area of Ekiti State.

 

 

Oba Adeyemo, alongside Chief Fayigbe were docked for forging the signatures of other Chiefs on the Odo Ora-Ekiti in Ido/Osi Local council Chieftaincy payment vouchers.

 

 

The Chief Magistrate, Adesoji Adegboye, had earlier granted bail to Chief Samuel Fayigbe on condition of N200, 000 with two sureties and N250, 000 each while Oba Adeyemo was granted bail on self recognition.

 

 

Efforts to reach the monarch for his reactions to the incident proved abortive, as several calls put across to his telephone lines were unattended to.

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Executive Order, Sallah: LAWMA begins waste evacuation in Apapa

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Executive Order, Sallah: LAWMA begins waste evacuation in Apapa

Following the removal of trucks and containerised vehicles in Apapa axis of Lagos, the Lagos State Waste Management Authority, (LAWMA) has begun massive clearing of waste generated during Eid-el-Kabir celebration in line with Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s executive order Muritala AyInla reports

 

 

W

aste generation and management have always remained one of the challenges confronting most developing countries. It is even more in Nigeria given the attitude of most residents towards waste generation and disposal. In Lagos State, Nigeria’s commercial nerve centre, environmental challenges resulting from indiscriminate waste generation and disposal remain most daunting that successive governments have to contend with Municipal waste generators in the state including household, commercial, industrial, agricultural and institutional establishments and among others. The quantity and type of waste generated vary from one area to the other. Those of the markets are different from the generated industrial areas. The composition of waste generated at abattoir is certainly not the same with that of domestic waste found in most residential areas. 

 

 

Yet indiscriminate waste dumping remains the practice among the residents such that public places like, parks, bus stops, markets are easily identified with heaps of refuse and garbage. In Lagos, drains are constantly blocked by refuse, (mostly sachet water pack) on items and highways, roads, kerbs and other places are frequently abused with filth. Virtually, every open space in Lagos have been turned to illegal dump sites.

 

 

Worried by the ugly development, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu  signed an executive order on the environment which was meant to ensure a total compliance to the environmental laws. The executive order also meant to ensure a better traffic management within the state.

 

 

While signing the Order, the Governor declared: “I think we have to make some points about issues that happen around transportation, potholes on our roads, blockages and rest of it, I think it is something we need to tackle immediately.”

 

 

The Order is to also ensure the attainment of zero tolerance for environmental abuse, including illegal and indiscriminate dumping of refuse and construction of structures on drainage points and setbacks. Similarly, he directed the Office of Drainage Services in the Ministry of Environment to commence aggressive cleaning of all secondary and tertiary drainage systems across the state to ensure the free flow of rainwater during the rainy season, just as he directed the Lagos State Public Works Corporation to commence patching and rehabilitation of bad roads.

 

 

However, following complaints by motorists and other residents on the state of the environment in Apapa after evacuation of trucks and containerised vehicles indiscriminately parked on the road, the Lagos Waste Management Authority (LAWMA) has embarked on intensive waste clearing exercise in different parts of the Lagos metropolis to achieve its cleaner Lagos initiative. The agency said that the approach was also to clear state of the waste generated during Eid-el-Kabir celebrations.

 

 

Speaking on Apapa area of the state, the Managing Director, Chief Executive Officer of LAWMA, Dr. Muyiwa Gbadegesin said the exercise was in furtherance of the executive order on zero tolerance for reckless waste disposal. According to him, Apapa has been facing the environmental challenges  due to trailers parked on the road which made it difficult for highway managers to clean.

 

 

He said: ”We have to seize this opportunity of Sallah break when traffic will be a little free. We decided to come here to embark on massive clean-up of the axis, the LAWMA workers were all over the place clearing the silt and waste accumulated over several years because the area has been abandoned.’’

 

 

“We were there to monitor the ongoing clean up exercise of the Lagos metropolis which is in furtherance of the Executive order of the Lagos State Governor on environmental sanitation. You will recall a few weeks ago he issued executive order and we started the clean up exercise from Orile all the way down to Badagry Expressway. As you are aware, Apapa has been a major problem area, its being difficult to access this location. Gbadegesin appealed to Lagos state residents to support the government in its cleaner Lagos initiative and stop indiscriminate dumping of waste within the metropolis. To avert indiscriminate waste dumping, the LAWMA boss explained that the agency had before this year’s Eid-El – Kabir celebration distributed trash bags across the state to aid proper disposal of refuse during the period.

 

 

Gbadegesin said: ”We are pleading with residents of the state to use those trash bags to dispose their refuse properly. They should also make sure they have a waste bin at home. We don’t want people dumping their waste by the road side because this is something that can put us all at the risk of epidemic outbreak.’’

 

 

On when the government will begin enforcement, he said the state’s environmental laws on infractions are very clear, saying the executive order had since declared zero tolerance for environmental degradation. The agency said it has commenced massive waste evacuation in the Lagos West district which comprise Agege, Ikeja, Badagry, Ojo, Ifako-Ijaye , among others in compliance with the executive order.

 

 

He said the agency also commenced bulk waste evacuation from major locations between Lagos State University and Okoko using mechanical process (mechanical shovels, bulldozers, excavators and mechanical sweepers walking floor trailers and long chassis tippers).

 

Other strategies he said included, “Motorised collection for kerb side collection using compactors; Placement and regular collection of waste from appropriate receptacles and waste prevention activities which involves closure of illegal waste locations otherwise known as black spots, through deployment of waste policing personnel. “In addition to the above, same activities is on-going at the East district which has Lagos Island, Etti Osa, Epe, key, Mile 12 to Ikorodu etc.

 

“All these three districts are working simultaneously during the day but more at night to avoid activities being impeded by vehicular activities. The Authority is also planning to compulsory the usage of covered receptacles for waste collection,” he said.

 

 

According to him, the agency is equally encouraging culture of waste bagging as against loose waste which is unsightly; repositioning PSP operations for optimal services, while intensifying massive public awareness.

 

 

For emergency intervention on waste management across the state, the agency’s Public Affairs Officer, Mrs Folashade Kadiri said that the agency had given out numbers of officers to monitor and respond to waste management issues. She explained that: ”We have embarked on activities at West district which comprise Agege, Ikeja, Badagry, Ojo, Ifako-Ijaiye.

 

 

”We also carried out waste evacuation from LASU Gate to Seme which involves: bulk waste evacuation from major locations between LASU gate and Okoko using mechanical process (mechanical shovels, bulldozers, excavators and mechanical sweepers walking floor trailers and long chases tippers.

 

 

”We also embarked on motorised collection for kerb side collection using compactors and placement and regular collection of waste from appropriate receptacles. LAWMA engaged in Waste prevention activities which involve closure of illegal waste locations otherwise known as black spots, through deployment of waste policing personnel.”

 

 

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Celebrating New Yam festival in Akungba Akoko

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Celebrating New Yam festival in Akungba Akoko

BABATOPE OKEOWO reports that the people of Akungba Akoko in Akoko South-West shoved political and religious differences aside to celebrate the annual Akun Day and New Yam festival amidst pageantry

 

Hundreds of residents and indigenes of Akungba-Akoko in Akoko South-West Local Government Area of Ondo State thronged Holy Trinity Primary School, venue of the event to celebrate the annual Akun Day and the new yam festival amidst pomp and pageantry.              

Led by monarch of the town, the Alale of Akungba, Oba Isaac Sunday Adeyeye Ajimo, other prominent indigenes, traditional chiefs, princes, kingmakers, former Regent and the seven quarters in the town came out for the annual celebration.

Also, traditional rulers from adjourning communities, including Olubaka of Oka-Akoko, Oba Adebori Adeleye, state government’s representatives led by a son of former governor of the state, the late Chief Adebayo Adefarati Asiwaju Adegboyega Adefarati and an official of the National Council of Arts and Culture (NCAC) were on hand to witness the August Festival.

The agrarian town of Akungba was founded in about 1,650AD. It is situated in the center of Akokoland midway between the land area comprising the present Akoko North West, North East, Akoko South-East and Akoko South West.

This central position resulted in its being designated traditionally as an administrative headquarters of the Ikamerin zone. Akungba is situated on the rich cocoa belt of South Western Region of Nigeria and with above-average rainfall.

It falls within the sedimentary rock formation belt made up on Akumeren, Oke Oko Hill, Otapeje and Okerigbo. The town was named after a tree Igba by the first settlers following the trajectory of life that usually accompanied the people that left Ile-Ife, the revered cradle of the Yoruba, to sojourn elsewhere.

Akun people migrated from Ile-Ife and eventually settled under Igba trees (Okun Igba) in Akungba parlance. It was later shortened to Akungba. These settlers had a godfather, deity and, hero in Oroke, a mythological protector of Akungba Kingdom. He was a brave warrior reputed for his exploits in war.

However, an elated Oba Ajimo said he was happy to celebrate this year’s Akun Day and New Yam festival as he was not expected to eat new yam until the performance of the yearly rituals.

According to him, it was a joyous reminder of Akungba New Yam Feast, an ancestral heritage twhich was inherited from their forebears has being celebrated without rancour.

Oba Ajimo said the celebration “is a legacy bequeathed to us from generation to generation. It is, indeed, a historical event during which our ancestors rolled out the drums, sang and danced in appreciation of soil fertility, bountiful harvest, unity, and security in Akungba Community.”

He went on: “It is also a veritable forum to commemorate and celebrate our common cord of oneness and enduring philosophy of fraternity also known as the spirit and letter of: Akun ma wo no eero eero.

“As I stand before you here today, I am overwhelmed with joy and proud of the ability and capacity of Akungba people to disagree and agree, yet work in concert to chart a new developmental path for the Kingdom. No community is immune to conflicts. How we resolve ours makes all the difference.

“This year’s Akun Day Festival has a theme that gladdens my heart: ‘Akungba Reunion for Peace, Unity, and Development’. Drawing from the subject matter, it is compelling to notice the place of unity in community development. Unity, equity and tranquility all play vital roles in often leads to conflict, crisis and, if unmitigated, war.”

The monarch said Akungba, being a university town, had the menace of urbanisation and plural society. Despite this, the monarch said effort was constantly in place for the university and host community relations. 

His words:“We also have a cordial relationship with the police, other security agencies as well as socio-political and religious stakeholders. No wonder the relative peace available to Akungba indigenes and settlers.”

Oba Ajimo commended Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, who had ensued that peace reigns supreme in the state and Akungba in particular.   He, however, asked for more amenities including electricity, piped water, paved street roads, modern public health centre, empowerment  for women and capacity building for business class and more seedlings to the teeming farmers of Akungba community. Besides, he implored NCAC to ensure that Akun Day Festival was not just listed in the country’s annual cultural calendar but also assisted technically and financially, to grow in leaps and bounds like the A-league of national festivals, such as Ojude Oba, Ofala of Onitsha, Argungu Fish Festival in Kebbi, and Osun Osogbo.

Meanwhile, Director-General of NCAC, Otunba Olusegun Runsewe, congratulated the Oba-in-Council and the good people of Akungba Akoko for initiating and putting together Akun-Day Festival. Runsewe said with the revival and rebranding of the festival, the community of Akungba Akoko has found a viable Cultural platform for preservation and marketing of Nigerian cultural heritage as well as a forum for unifying the people of the community, state and the nation at large.

He said the different events and segments of the Akungba-Day Festival would have a far-reaching socio-economic impact on the people of the community and the state both during and after the festival. 

Runsewe said the key to the development of the African economy lies in the Culture, Tourism and Travel Sectors. 

“We at the National Council for Arts and Culture are proud and delighted to be part of this worthy event. It is my sincere belief that this historic effort by the good people of Akungba Akoko, under the supervision of His Royal Highness, the Alale of Akungba-land, to provide a credible platform that would open up windows of opportunities for the marketing of Akungba Akoko’s cultural heritage and tourism assets.

“I, therefore, appeal to our youths to seize the opportunities inherent in this Festival to improve their creative works, and for economic empowerment and networking.”

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Feeding fat from Apapa mayhem

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Feeding fat from Apapa mayhem

The ongoing restoration of sanity in Apapa area is undoubtedly bringing life into the metropolis with businesses resurfacing and absconded landlords returning to their houses.  But as commuters want the Mile-2 TinCan axis to be cleared, stakeholders want the tempo of orderliness sustained even as those who are benefitting from the gridlock are lamenting. MURITALA AYINLA reports

 

 

When the Presidency inaugurated a task force headed by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo to clear up the gridlock in Apapa and its environs within two weeks, many residents and stakeholders in the area were not too excited. That was following previous series of such pronouncements which were never fulfilled.

The task force popularly called task team was set up as a result of a presidential directive, which ordered the removal of trucks on bridges and roads in Apapa as well as the restoration of law and order in that part of Lagos.

The directive mandated immediate removal of all trucks from the bridges and roads within Apapa and all adjoining streets leading into the Apapa axis.

The Presidential taskforce was headed by the Osinbajo

While the Vice President chairs the task force, its daily operations are supervised by an Executive Vice Chairman, Comrade Kayode Opeifa. The former Commander of the Rapid Respond Squad, RRS, Hakeem Odumosu, CP and ACP, Bayo Sulaiman , a former Chairman, Lagos Taskforce on Enforcement and Special Offence Unit led the enforcement team.

Other membership of the team is drawn from the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC), Nigerian Ports Authority and the Nigerian Shippers Council, representatives of the Truck Transport Union and the Lagos State Government through the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA).

The taskforce was among other things expected to facilitate evacuation of trucks and tankers indiscriminately parked on the roads and bridges to vacate the Port Access Roads within the next 72 hours. But sacrosanct in the implementation of the order was continuous stakeholders’ engagement. The taskforce was also given mandate to restore law and order to guide Port Area traffic via the deployment of an efficient and effective traffic management plan for the entire port area traffic, including the cargo, fuel distribution and business district traffic and effective traffic management integrated manual Call-up system pending the introduction of an electronic call-up system among other plans.

Prior to the latest intervention, Apapa and its environs had become “no go areas” for many Lagosians. Nuisances resulting from indiscriminate and senseless parking of containerized trucks and tankers had discouraged many from having anything to do on the axis. Transportation was literarily halted as no one could move from one place to the other. Going out and returning home for residents was a Herculean task. Businesses gradually shut down with increasing transportation frustration. Moving in and out of Apapa became a mission impossible with plethora of stationary trucks on the road which made the roads impassable.     

For years that the problem was allowed to linger, the state’s economy was badly affected as business activities in the area were crippled. The conundrum has also claimed so many lives while values of properties became depreciated with so many businesses closed down with residents fleeing the areas in droves.

The irrational indiscriminate parking of trucks on Lagos roads, bridges and other suburbs was certainly Lagos ‘most daunting challenges that successive government have made efforts to address. Rather than the problem to subside due to efforts put in to address it, it’s growing at a very alarming rate such that its negative impact is creeping into other parts of the state it has never affected.

However, today, through the involvement of the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo led Task team; the hitherto ugly narratives are changing. Residents and motorists on the popular Ikorodu Road no longer lament over the heavy presence of stationary containerized trucks, tankers and other Apapa-bound heavy duty trucks in front of their homes and on their roads. Those indiscriminately parked on the roads and bridges of Orile-Iganmu have also disappeared. For the inhabitants of Ijora, Gasikya, Mosafejo Amukoko and other suburbs, nothing else make them happier than having their roads free of trucks that have been parked for months.

Orderliness, sanity and decorum finally returned to their doorsteps.  Going in and out of the communities no longer create anxiety and apprehension for the people on the axis.

Why Apapa gridlock lingered

Speaking on why previous interventions failed, the Chairman of Amalgamation of Container Trucks Owners, Chief Olalaye Thompson, said they paid as much as N150,000 or more to access the port but they believe that has gone for good. He alleged that under the previous joint taskforce led by the Nigerian Navy, a lot of corrupt practices were responsible for the gridlock.              

“The way the previous joint taskforce operated was alien to the whole system. Whenever it is 9 to 10 in the morning, they stopped trucks from crossing until 8.pm, and by that time, terrible gridlock would have built up. People were forced to bribe their way to the port. Then, it became the highest bidder’s show. The drivers were forced to bid for the amount they can afford before they could be allowed to pass.  Somebody could offer to pay N100,000 while another one could offer to pay N120,000 or more.”

But commenting on the restoration of sanity in the area, Thompson said most Nigerians can testify to the fact that the new presidential task team has done perfectly well since the inception of its operation.

According to the haulage operator, the era of bribing security personnel and other touts who take as much as N150,000 or N100,000 to access the port has gone for good, saying only those who have genuine documents now have access to the port. 

He said: “I am saying this with all sense of responsibility. Nobody can say that he is paying N20,000 to access the port now. As the leader of the truck owners, if anyone is paying such, there is no way I will not know. Our members must have come to tell me that there is no difference between the presidential task team and other previous taskforce in the area.”

Also speaking, a member of the Presidential Task team, who refused to give out his name, said so many touts who disguised or attempted to swindle truckers had been arrested and detained, saying that some of their men are being criticised by those who benefitted from the old system.

Who benefits from the rot?

Investigations by New Telegraph revealed that needless blockage of roads by the previous military-led taskforce team gave room for extortion, which forced many truckers to always want to bribe their way into the port by paying large sum of money.

According to Thompson, previous taskforce operate through faceless people known as “Kelebe”. They help the law enforcement agents to collect bribe ranging from N100,000 to N200,000 from the drivers and truckers before they could allow them access the port.

“The military was using them (kelebe) to collect money from our members.  Among those who benefitted from the old system were street urchins also known as “Area boys” who disguise as council’s revenue officers to swindle truckers.

The implication of this, Thompson said, led to exodus of people from the axis, saying, “there was no single week that a business outlet will not close down due to transportation bottleneck that almost grounded the metropolis completely. In those days, you can’t go out of Apapa and return same day; it is impossible. Before now, so many houses were empty. So many people were contemplating moving out of Apapa. Already, so many have relocated. The residents’ complaints were dominant in the media. People went in the morning but can’t return home in the evening; access roads were also blocked. Many of them will be robbed in the traffic.  However, life is returning owing to the current approach by the task team.”

Return of life in Apapa

As life seems to be returning to Apapa, some of the residents, hoteliers, traders, truckers, agents, shippers and other stakeholders in the area expressed happiness, calling on the Federal Government to sustain the tempo of sanity to forestall return of the indiscipline which crippled the economy.  Speaking with New Telegraph, Mrs Augustine Chukwuemeka, who runs a shopping mall, said since enforcement of the Osinbajo-led presidential taskforce, has been recording remarkable improvement on her sales.  Also speaking on relative restoration of orderliness in the area, Gbade Amodu, a truck owner, said the manual call up being worked on by the task team would bring about an electronic call up that would finally put an end to the human interference which breeds corruption.

“For me, old glory of Apapa is being restored. Many of our colleagues who left the business now want to come back. So far, so good. We are impressed with the progress made so far. The current task team met a system that was not transparent and they adopted better strategies after listening to our plights,” he said.

Restoration: Different strokes for different folks

As truckers and other businesses are rejoicing over efforts of the presidential task team, those who benefitted from the old and corrupt system are lamenting over the evacuation of the trucks on the road.

For instance, those who collect tolls and other levies from truck drivers and traffic are dissatisfied with the current development.

Among those who benefited from stagnant of movement of trucks on Apapa roads were Okada riders also known as motorcyclists. They are also worried that they can no longer demand spurious charges as transport fares from residents due to free flow of traffic. Traffic traders no longer have their business as usual.

Mile 2-Tin Can: The Snag

Despite successes recorded on Apapa tanker and truck gridlock, Mile 2 to TinCan port axis remains the major challenge. New Telegraph gathered that despite palliative measures put in place, bad portions of the road are rendering the efforts futile.  While some residents and commuters are apprehensive over the delay or inability of the presidential taskforce to clear the axis like other areas in Apapa, others blamed the continued presence of trucks on bad portion of the roads.

“The road is really bad. Contractors are not helping matters. They start work in the morning and close by 5pm. They are causing the problem. There is no efficiency. We have tried to complain to the Vice Chairman of the presidential taskforce, but no serious changes have been made,” a trucker said.

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The Mega City / Life

Jakande-Ejigbo Road cries for attention

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Jakande-Ejigbo Road cries for attention

The Jakande-Ejigbo road has over the years been a known as home for constant and unfathomable traffic.

Residents and business owners in this neighborhood have always complained bitterly about the road and have sought help from the government countless times to no avail.  Before the road was tarred in late 2015, residents of the estate and other places, especially women from the Jakande Estate took advantage of opportunities the traffic brought about for them by selling by the roadside.

As a matter of fact, the estate gate became a mini-market place, consequently, causing unbearable human traffic for people walking and plying the roads in their cars.

Commercial Motorcycle riders, yellow buses and tricycles were not left out as they also turned the road to a park where they pick passengers going to Ijegun, Isheri, Bucknor road, among other roads.

After the road had been fully constructed and tarred, the normal thinking would have been that the illegal and malicious activities would come to a sudden halt. It unfortunately gave room for a little larger mini market by the roadside of the other side, thereby, abandoning the small market built at the back of the road known as Borokini.

Touts also eke home their daily income by constantly harassing the market women and Okada riders for who do not mind playing along as far as they also have the chance to carry out their activities.

Unfortunately, these touts, otherwise called agbero cause heavy traffic snarl along that axis. Their daily routine is to stop commercial vehicles to extort N50 or N100 in some cases.

New Telegraph visited the road as early as 6pm to observe car movements and traffic report and it was able to categorically tell that the traffic on that road starts as early as past 5am each Monday morning.

From  the look of things, one would tell the frustration on the faces of commuters, both those in their cars and passengers in the uncomfortable Lagos Danfo buses.

Recently, after much rainfall and mismanagement from the road users, the road has given way to a big ditch which according to most commercial drivers, was as a result of so much rain and flood. Apparently, the rain had swept dirt dumped by the residents and market people into a small demarcation in the middle of the road and required construction workers to break the road just to get rid of the refuse.

The traffic is worst between the hours of 6-10pm as vehicles stay on a spot for more than five minutes without movement simply because those are the hours people who had gone to work are making their ways back home.

The other side of the road is greatly affected by the street of the road, so that people going out of the estate find it hard to leave the traffic early enough to their destinations.

New Telegraph further observed that the increased traffic in the past one week is very heartbreaking as it has left commuters fighting incessantly as they try to avoid the hole on the side of the road.

Speaking to some residents, commercial vehicles and private vehicle users on how they get by with the big hole posing as barrier for smooth road usage, some of them had quite some tales to tell.

Oparinde Akinlabi, a commercial driver plying the road from Jakande gate to Ijegun, said the road has reduced the number of passengers he carries within the past one week because passengers don’t see the reason they have to seat in the bus for such long hours. Instead, they start walking the distance using legs.

He said: “I’ve been driving on this road for the past three years and I have never experienced this kind of traffic. Usually after carrying passengers to their destinations, I have to turn back to gate. The  worst feeling is that I have to stay in that traffic for a long period of time. I’ll be calling passengers even while in traffic and only few people will enter my bus because they know I will spend several hours there. The only times the road is free is in the afternoon, between the hours of 12pm to 3pm and by that time people are already settled at work; only few people are moving from one place to another. This hole is causing a big problem. We were managing before but this hole has made things worse,” he responded.

Another passenger, Lawal Babalola, said the road has been a traffic zone since he has known it and with this hole, people should expect drastic increase in traffic and transport price. In his word: “Every time I come back to Jakande estate gate from work, what I meet does not surprise me because Jakande gate is popular for traffic. The only thing I do not like about the bad road is that they increase transportation fare. On a normal traffic day, going from gate to Iyana-Isheri should be N50 but when in traffic, it turns to N100 and from the Gate to Ijegun, if one wants to use tricycle, it can skyrocket to N200  especially when they notice any form of  rush,” he said.

For a  food seller by the roadside, Ifeanyi Ijeoma , the traffic and ditch are a blessing in disguise. She told New Telegraph that the traffic has helped her business because commercial drivers park and buy food from her while they wait on the traffic to reduce but that sometimes her market does not move.

She added that, “people buy food from me, some of them get out of their cars and buy takeaway from me and eat while in the traffic.”

A resident, Adelole Olotu, a medical doctor at Ikeja, told New Telegraph about how long he spends whenever he decides to follow this road to connect to Pako at Oke-Afa.

He said: “From my house at Iyana Isheri to Oke-Afa takes me roughly more than one hour if I leave home around past six. I have a dental clinic at Ikeja and sometimes, I give my patient appointment for 8 am.  I can categorically count how many times I’ve ever met up with the appointment. I get stuck in this Jakande-Ejigbo road traffic and I know it is about to be a very rough ride. Okada riders will almost enter your mouth. They will bash your car left, right, entering any available space they find. Truth is, this road needs a very serious attention and a quick intervention is very well needed. When I’m leaving work in the evening, the thought of getting into that traffic jam just weakens my bones but it has become a very unavoidable evil”

Another road user, Bolajoko, expressed her dissatisfaction to New Telegraph that whenever she wants to go pick up her children from their grandparents, she prays she doesn’t get stuck in traffic. “My parents in law live in this Jakande Estate. Sometimes, I go to visit them or drop their grandchildren with them for a week holiday. When I am going to greet them or get my children, I fall into deep thoughts about the traffic I will face. The very surprising thing is that when there is traffic at Jakande gate, you will already see the signs from NNPC-Ejigbo or even from Pako at Oke-Afa depending on where you are coming from. I usually try to leave early in the morning to visit them or I wait till around 1 or 2pm when the traffic would have reduced drastically but sometimes my calculations don’t work in my favour. I still get stuck in the traffic for some time.”

A resident, Mr Abbey Olubiyi, told New Telegraph that, “residents of this estate do not listen. They pour dirt into flowing rain water whenever they noticed it was raining just because they do not want to pay a certain stipend to LAWMA to cart their refuse for them. One late Wednesday night, one of those days it rained consecutively for few days this month, I saw this roadside sellers pouring their  refuse into the flood. Little did they know that it will further ruin the road and they too will suffer the consequence if the road gets eaten up by tide. Little  carelessness like this is what has cause the hole that appeared at the centre of the road which has now birthed the worst traffic on the lips of everyone using this road” he retorted.

The final visit to the road on Sunday evening showed the level of frustrations in the eyes of stranded passengers as they waited for the unavailable vehicles stuck in the traffic. The vehicles were supposed to turn back and carry passengers but because of the bad road, turning at the roundabout took a lot time and effort and from their expressions you would see they really need the government to come to their aid really quick as the broken road is making movement in and out of the estate really difficult.

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