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Activist lauds FG’s decision to grant financial autonomy to local government councils

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Mr Ambrose Ikenna, a human rights activist has commended the Federal Government’s directive to send local governments’ allocations direct to their accounts with effect from June 1.

Ikenna an Nsukka-based legal practitioner told the News Agency of Nigeria in Nsukka on Thursday, that granting local governments’ financial autonomy would help to bring government closer to the people, which was the main aim of creating local governments.

“If local governments in the country are granted financial autonomy by sending their financial allocations direct to them, it will help council chairmen to embark on more developmental projects that will impact positively on people at grassroots.

“I commend the Federal Government on its decision to start sending financial allocations direct to local governments in the country starting from June 1.

“The present situation state governments seize local government allocations and disburse to them any amount they like is not a good development.” he said.

He said that in a federal system, state and local governments were expected to have degree of financial autonomy for good governance and development to take place.

“For adequate infrastructural development and good governance to take place in a federal system, federal, state and local government are expected to enjoy degree of financial autonomy.

“What this means is that the Federal Government should not tamper with finances of the states and states should not also tamper with local government finances, this will help people to hold elected leaders accountable.

“With direct allocation to local governments, chairmen of councils in the country no longer have any excuse for non-performance and under-devlopment of their areas,” he said.

The activist, however, urged the Federal Government to amend Section 162 (8) of the 1999 constitution (as amended) that empowered states to distribute allocations to local government in such a manner as may be approved by state assembly.

“For the Federal Government not to run into legal hurdle in the implementation of this direct financial allocation to local governments, this section of the 1999 constitution should be amended, “he said

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Accord corps members warm reception, Oyo NYSC Coordinator urges monarchs, other stakeholders

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The Oyo State NYSC Coordinator, Mrs Eniola Ambekemo, has appealed to traditional rulers in the state and other stakeholders to accord  the new corps members posted to the state warm reception.

Ambekemo made the call in a statement made available to the Nigeria News Agency on Thursday, in Ibadan.

According to her, the people’s warm reception to the corps members will further motivate them into facilitating development to their host communities.

Ambekemo said that the 2019 Batch C (Stream I) orientation course closing ceremony would be held on Nov. 25, at the state NYSC permanent orientation camp, Iseyin.

She explained that in the course of the exercise, the corps members underwent various forms of training, such as military drills, leadership training as well as professional lectures.

“Gov. Seyi Makinde is expected to preside over the closing ceremony, deliver his goodwill message to the corps members and declare the orientation course closed.

“We pray God to keep us till that day and grant us successful closing ceremony,” she said.

Edited by Shittu Obassa and (NAN)‘Wale Sadeeq

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Monarch wants Ogun Govt to repair dilapidated roads ahead of Yuletide

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Prof. Adeyemi Obalanlege, Olota of Ota, in Ado-Odo/Ota Local Government Area of Ogun, has appealed to the state government to repair bad roads to reduce road accidents during the Yuletide.

Obalanlege made the appeal at the “2019 Ember Months’’ campaign organised by Sango-Ota Command of the Federal Road Safety Corps on Thursday in Ota.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that the campaign, organised in collaboration with the Shell Nigeria Gas Limited.

It was tagged: “Road Safety is a State of Mind; Road Crashes is An Absence of Mind. Stay alert, Stay Alive.’’

The monarch said that the appeal became necessary because many of the roads were no longer motorable to the road users.

Obalanlege attributed some of the road traffic crashes across the state to the deplorable state of the highways.

“We have lost so many innocent lives to crashes, as most of the roads are in terrible conditions,’’ he said.

The traditional ruler said it was only when the roads were in good conditions that the FRSC would be able to effectively enforce traffic rules and regulations across the state.

He implored motorists to do all necessary things before putting their vehicles on the roads and shun drinking while driving to avoid unnecessary crashes.

Obalanlege also cautioned uniform personnel against reckless driving that could lead to unnecessary mishap on the roads.

In his remarks, Mr Clement Oladele, the Ogun Sector Commander of FRSC, lauded the Sango-Ota Unit Command for rescuing 116 victims from 65 crashes in Sango-Ota and its environs in 2019.

Oladele, represented by Mr Olufemi Olonisaye, Ogun Head of FRSC Operations, said that the tanker accidents across the state increased in 2019.

“The responsibility of reversing this trend of tanker crashes required collective responsibility of everyone, both the government, individual and stakeholders,” he said.

Oladele said that FRSC had struck a partnership with the Department of Petroleum Resources, Ogun branch, to train over 500 drivers, adding that they were trained on tanker safety at the NNPC Depot, Mosinmi in Ogun.

The sector commander enjoined tanker operators to use safety valves on all loaded tankers as safety measure to prevent spilling in the event of crash.

Commenting, Mr Akeem Ganiyu, the Sango-Ota Unit Commander of FRSC, urged motorists to embrace safe driving culture and abhor the wrong use of highways.

Ganiyu attributed some of the crashes, which had claimed numerous lives and property, to bad attitudes of motorists.

The unit commander stressed the need for motorists to change their attitude in the use of phone while driving, shun speeding, avoid driving under fatigue, among others.

He said that life lost carelessly to road accident due to absence of mind could not be replaced as life has no duplicate.

Edited by Cecilia Odey/Olagoke Olatoye (NAN)

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54 persons die in auto crashes in Ogun in10 months- FRSC

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Accident

Sagamu (Ogun),  Nov. 21,  2019  The Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) on Thursday, said that about 54 persons died in auto crashes in different parts of Sagamu, Ogun between January and October this year.

FRSC’s Sagamu Unit Commander, Taofiq Iyanda, made the disclosure at the ‘Ember Months Campaign”, at the  Isale Oko Motor Park, Sagamu.

Iyanda said that within the Sagamu corridor, 104 road traffic crashes involving 143 vehicles were recorded, adding that about 897 persons were involved in the crashes and 329 persons sustained  injuries within the period.

The unit commander advised motorists to always ensure that their vehicles were in good condition.

He said that the tendency for more people to travel in December had in the past resulted in high number of road accidents.

“Drivers tend to overload their vehicles by carrying more than the permitted number of passengers, goods and luggage. During this period, commercial drivers also engaged in excessive speed to make more trips.

“These are traffic offences that happen during the ember months up to early January,” he said.

He said that the unit command would  deploy regular and special marshals as well as patrol vehicles, ambulances and power bikes along major corridors in the unit to check road crashes.

Contributing, the Corridor Commander of the LagosIbadan Expressway, Mr Kehinde Hazmat, enjoined commercial vehicle drivers to always obey traffic rules and regulations and to observe the 50km/h speed limit, especially at construction zones.

The Ogun FRSC Sector Commander, Mr Clement Oladele, called on motorists to avoid every form of distraction while driving before, during and after festive period.

Oladele said that the state command of FRSC would embark on a  24-hour surveillance during the festive period and appealed to motorists to bear with the inconveniences at every diversion point.

Edited /Dada Ahmed

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We’re back on Lagos roads to save lives, VIS tells motorists

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The Vehicle Inspection Service (VIS) in Lagos State says its officers are back on Lagos roads to carry out statutory life-saving mandates through enforcement of motor vehicles’ roadworthiness.

The Director of VIS, Mr Akin-George Fashola, made this known in an interview with the Nigeria News Agency in Lagos on Thursday.

He said that residents of the state, especially road users thought Vehicle Inspection Officers (VIOs) were off the roads.

NAN reports that the immediate past Governor of the state, Akinwunmi Ambode, banned VIOs from operating on the roads.

Fashola said: “Since the advent of this administration, citizens still believe that VIS or VIOs are still off the roads. We are not off the roads.

“As a matter of fact, we are back on the roads to do the needful.

“We have embraced a lot of new practices and procedures. We have embraced technology and that still needs the presence of VIOs on our roads in Lagos to mitigate where technology is limited.

“The presence of VIOs is required, so we are on the road. A lot of people still believe that we are still under the previous ban from the road.’’

According to him, the period of ban, was an avenue for the vehicle inspectors to strategise and come back with fresh and new ideas and ways of performing the statutory duties the VIS is charged with.

He said that for the entire period, when the VIS was off the road, most drivers and vehicle owners became careless about roadworthiness, particulars and conditions of their vehicles.

“For the period that we were not on the road, a lot of people became relaxed and do as they pleased, whereas part of the reasons for that our off-road operation was to allow citizens to do their civic responsibilities.

“Part of such responsibilities is to ensure that their vehicles are always in top shape as well as obtaining driver’s licence and renewal of vehicles’ particulars but that was not the case.

“Some of the citizens are having difficulties with us being on the road now and we are also having difficulties with them because they don’t want to believe that we are back on roads,’’ the VIO boss said.

On the impact of the VIS, Fashola said that VIS was progressively moving in the right direction and improving on its services toward the citizens of the state.

According to him, going forward, the VIS will make adjustment in its daily procedures and how it interacts with the citizens of the state.

On the roadworthiness of most vehicles plying Lagos roads, the VIO boss said that only 50 per cent of the volume of traffic in the state could be said to be roadworthy.

He said: “I give the roadworthiness of vehicles on our roads 50:50 score marks.

“There are citizens who take pride in driving safe vehicles and those that do not care as long as the car is moving, nothing concerns them. These are some of the things we have to contend with and deal with.’’

Fashola called for the cooperation of motorists, urging them to obtain all necessary documents that guaranteed and qualified them to be on the road.

He said those driving without driver’s licences and other genuine particulars should desist from such habits, saying that they should either get or renew their particulars.

Fashola warned: “If you are caught driving without a licence, no plea for that failure. It is not a difficult document to get.

“It is a licence that guarantees and qualifies you to use the road. If it is expired, go and renew it.’’

He said that the minimum fine is N20,000 for not having a licence.

He said: “If you think of the money you part with, the time it will take you to go through the process and collect your vehicle, you will go and get the genuine documents,’’

Edited by Adeleye Ajayi (NAN)

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Bauchi Govt. enrolls 100 orphans into technical college

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The Bauchi State Orphan and Vulnerable Children Agency (BASOVCA), says it has enrolled 100 Vulnerable and Orphan Children (OVC) in technical college for the 2019/2020 academic session.

The Chairperson of the agency, Mrs Hassana Arkila, disclosed this in an interview with Nigeria News Agency on Thursday in Bauchi.

She said that the students were selected from 20 Local Government Areas of the state through the Orphan and Vulnerable Children Agency (OVC league) in the state.

“The agency has enrolled 100 OVC from all the Local Government Areas using a non political structure known as OVC league.

“The OVC league is a structure that exists from the state level to all the LGAs, to the 323 wards and 660 units to ensure that OVC were reached,” she said.

She said the agency also operates nursery and primary school for basic education with more than 108 new enrolment.

Arkila said that the agency would continue to ensure that vulnerable and orphan children in the state were provided with basic education and health among others.

Edited by Joseph Edeh/Felix Ajide (NAN)

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Buhari meets Speakers of 36 states Houses of Assembly at Aso Rock

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Meeting

Abuja, Nov. 21, 2019 President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday met with speakers of the 36 states Houses of Assembly of the federation at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that the speakers were led by their Chairman, Mr Mudashiru Obassa, who is also the Speaker of Lagos State House of Assembly.

NAN reports that though the agenda of the meeting was unknown as at the time of filing this report, President Buhari and the speakers are expected to deliberate on national issues,  including security and autonomy of the Assemblies.

Those at the meeting included the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila; Chief of Staff to the President, Malam Abba Kyari and Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha.

Others include the Permanent Secretary, State House, Jamil Arabi and the Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters.

Edited /Wale Ojetimi

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