The Chairperson, House of Representatives’ Committee on Diaspora Affairs, Hon. Tolulope Akande-Sadipe on Friday said the informal meeting held with the Lebanese Ambassador to Nigeria, Diab Houssam yesterday was cordial, very constructive and set the stage for more collaboration, adding that the perceived walk-out was misconstrued.
The Ambassador, Diab Houssam was said to have arrived at the meeting venue around 11:00 am, but met journalists and some other government officials, including the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Zubairu Dada.
The chairperson said that the story circulating as to the Lebanese’s Ambassador storming out of the room was wrongfully presented. An executive session was not clearly presented to him by the foreign affairs Liaison officer and he stepped out of the meeting room not slamming any doors, to wait in the hallway till journalists were excused for the executive session.
In Hon. Akande-Sadipe’s words, “It was a misunderstanding; it was meant to be an informal meeting and the ambassador was not aware that even when we have our informal meetings it is documented. Because of the law of diplomacy, he wasn’t expecting to have media there and it was immediately resolved that it was going to be an ‘executive session’. The minister apologised on behalf of foreign affairs and the executive session commenced with all in attendance. Under Vienna convention an Ambassador cannot be summoned to a committee hearing and the initial presence of the media made it seem otherwise”.
She further said, “it was an informal meeting and the ambassador with his interest for long standing cordial relationship between Nigeria and Lebanon joined us to forge a continued progressive association and solutions to the issue of Temitope Ariwolo and the menace of human traficking
She appreciated journalists for their coverage, but enjoined them to avoid sensational headlines that are counter-productive.
She said, “Some of the headlines were clear distortion of the reality of what happened.”
“The session commenced and ended on a very cordial note, with a resolution to continue efforts to ensure that the long-standing positive relationship between the two nations continues, a stronger collaboration and a stronger resolve and commitment to end human trafficking.”
SWEGOP raises concern on Amotekun project
The Southwest Group of Online Publishers (SWEGOP) has expressed its disappointment with the slow pace of execution of the Amotekun security project in the geopolitical zone of the country.
SWEGOP also promised to do its best towards keeping the people in the region informed on the activities of Amotekun when the project eventually takes off officially.
While congratulating the governors of the Southwest states on the bold move to establish the Western Nigeria Security Network, SWEGOP’s chairman, Mr. Olayinka Agboola on Friday at the special luncheon organized by the group in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital implored the governors to make haste while the sun is still shinning.
Speaking further, Agboola urged other security organisations to cooperate with the governors to make Amotekun project to achieve its purposes.
“I will, however, implore them to make haste while the sun is still shinning. It is taking too long for them to activate the project. It is not rocket science. They should match action with words. Procrastination can dampen the spirit of our people. Our governors need to move faster,” he added.
Oyo, Osun commissioners restate FCC’s commitment to avert lopsidedness
The Federal Character Commission (FCC) on Thursday restated its commitment to averting lopsidedness.
It was also stated that the FCC was established to promote , monitor and enforce strict compliance with the guiding principles and formulae designed to ensure proportional sharing of all bureaucratic, economic, media and political posts at all levels of government ditto for socio- economic amenities and infrastructural.
The Commission’s Commissioners representing Oyo and Osun states, Professor Adeniyi Olowofela and Barrister Abdulrazak Âdeoye said this during a courtesy visit to the Broadcasting Corporation of Oyo State (BCOS) in Ibadan.
In their separate remarks, the federal commissioners said the Commission’s core aim was to avert lopsidedness, thus “the basis whereby when MDAs want to employ they come to us, we look at their list and we ensure compliance”.
They maintained that the FCC had successfully worked out equitable formulae for the distribution of all cadres of posts in the public services of the federation, state, local government and government owned companies, parastatals and agencies, adding that the commission was further mandated by the constitution to take legal measures against any individual, federal or state ministry, local government or government agency which fails to comply with the guiding principles and formulae prescribed or adopted by it.
According to Prof. Olowofela, the FCC was empowered to demand and receive returns on employment and socio-economic indices from any government enterprise or body, corporate and penalize any enterprise which does not comply with a request from the commission. The ex-Commissioner for Education, Science and Technology and former council gaffer of Ido Local Government also disclosed that the commission has devises a committee system to effectively monitor the implementation of its guidelines and formulae for the distribution of posts and socio-economic amenities amongst the federating units.
“We were created to avert lopsidedness. There is virtually no agency that wants to give people job that will not invite us at the FCC. The basis for inviting us is to ensure that the principle is followed. By and large, the commission is hopeful that whenever fresh recruitments are being made in your establishment, you would inform us accordingly for the statutory monitoring of the recruitment exercise. The monitoring exercise would give ample opportunities to candidates, especially those from under represented LGAs to fill their vacant slots, there by reducing whatever imbalances that may exist in the distribution of posts in your Broadcasting Corporation”, he said.
Olowofela, however solicited for the corporation’s support and cooperation for the implementation of the FCC principles so as to collectively achieve a strong, united and economically formidable state and nation of our dream.
Also commenting, the FCC Commissioner representing Osun state, Barrister Adeoye maintained that the FCC was a creation of the Military’s Decree 34 of 1996 following the yearnings of the people for correction of imbalances in the distribution of posts in the public services of the federation as well as Social and Economic facilities.
Adeoye informed that the commission was one of the fourteen independent federal executive bodies established by section 153 of the constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria, 1999 as amended. He stressed that its composition, functions and powers are as prescribed by the constitution and amplified by the Federal Character Commission Act Cap F7 LFN 2004.
“It is important to state that this particular commission was established with the aim of making this executive body independent, and answerable only to the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria”, he emphasized.
Speaking further, Barrister Adeoye noted that the Southwest have always been having misdemeanor lopsidedness. He explained that there are parameters which the FCC has set for every state of the federation, urging the region to take active steps whenever there is any recruitment exercise (s)
The Osun FCC Commissioner harped on the need for the people of Southwest to be sensitized, advising them to report any imbalance to the states’ representatives.
Responding, Mr Dotun Oyelade , the Executive Chairman of the Broadcasting Corporation of Oyo State (BCOS) who was represented by its General Manager, Mr. Tunde Ajayi assured the FCC of the corporation’s support.
” For us at BCOS, we have the consciousness that will need to uphold the unity of Nigeria”, he added.
Makinde vows to retrieve billions of Oyo’s resources ‘stolen’ in 96 months before his tenure
Oyo state governor, Engineer Seyi Makinde on Wednesday vowed that his administration was ready to retreive the billions of the state’s funds allegedly looted by officials of the previous administration.
Governor Makinde, who made the vow while kickstarting the construction of the 21km Ajia-Airport-New Ife Expressway road, in Ajia town, maintained that his administration was ready to put measures in place to retrieve all looted funds to develop the state’s infrastructure.
The 21-kilometre Airport-Ajia-New Ife Express Road, with spur to Amuloko, was awarded to Messrs Peculiar Ultimate Concerns Ltd, at a total cost of Eight Billion, Five Hundred and Twenty Million, Nine Hundred and Nineteen Thousand, Seven Hundred and Seventy-Six Naira, Forty-One Kobo (N8,520,919,776.41).
According to the governor, unlike the previous government, which, he said, preoccupied itself with how to corner state’s funds on a daily basis, his administration would drastically reduce the infrastructure deficit in the state within the shortest possible time.
He added that it’s only in doing so that the state can be positioned on the path of economic growth.
A statement by the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Makinde, Mr. Taiwo Adisa, quoted the governor as saying that the 21-kilometre road construction being launched was a product of the administration’s strategic way of reducing the state’s infrastructure deficit, which is known as the Alternative Project Funding Approach (APFA).
He said: “Our administration means business. We will drastically reduce the infrastructure deficit in Oyo State in the shortest possible time. And this is how economies work: investors will only go where they can be assured of profits. If we do not develop basic infrastructure like roads, it will affect the cost of production which, in turn, means less profit for investors. So, we cannot be seriously discussing attracting investments into Oyo State when a majority of roads and other infrastructure are in a state of disrepair.
“In order to achieve this, we must strategize on how to increase our spending on infrastructure, because what we collect from Abuja every month from federal allocation is not even enough to pay the salaries. So, the new strategies on how to increase our spending on infrastructure is what we are doing here in Oyo State.”
While explaining the reason the Airport-Ajia road costs more per kilometre than the 65 kilometre Moniya-Iseyin road, the governor said there are more hydraulic structures on the Airport-Ajia road than the Moniya-Iseyin road, and that a lot of expansion and rehabilitation will be done on those bridges.
The governor also used the opportunity to explain the APFA approach through which he said many projects will be executed in the state, stating that it is the administration’s way of funding some infrastructural projects in the state, by having the contractors fund the projects with their own money while the state repays them over a period of time.
“What this entails is that the contractor carries the projects’ risk. At the same time, we get quality delivery and quick completion of projects. They will be bearing the risk of getting this project done in a timely manner, while we pay them over the next twenty-nine months. That comes down to roughly N300 million a month. So, while they will complete the project in one year, we have the option to repay in over twice the time.
“We will continue to actualise capital projects through budgetary allocations and have the additional option of carrying out other infrastructural projects outside of the budget, using the Alternative Project Funding Approach. So, you can look forward to other projects under this approach.
“Let me state that even when we are forced to look outside Oyo State for persons to execute the projects under APFA, we still put the interests of our people first. For example, Peculiar Ultimate Concerns Ltd has agreed that the construction labour will come from Oyo State, and we are holding them to that agreement.”
He added: “So, for projects under the APFA, because of the nature of spending on the projects, we decided that it would be best to open up the bidding process a little more so that contractors outside of Oyo State can bid as well.
“We reached this decision because we are looking for private entities who have the wherewithal to complete the projects on schedule, while at the same time, passing the tests of quality assurance.
“When we approved this project at EXCO, social media became agog with all sorts of insinuations. Those ones that you rejected during the last general elections were saying Seyi Makinde promised that he would give contracts to those within Oyo state. Indeed, I made that promise that Oyo state money must remain in Oyo state.
“Some have said the company we awarded the contract to is from Asaba in Niger Delta and that we want to take Oyo State’s money to my wife’s state. First, let me put it on record that my wife is not from Delta but from Rivers State. “Second, the representative of the company we awarded the project to, Engr Abel Adeleke, has spoken here today. He is from Osun State and they are using their money to start this project.
“We also opened the opportunity for all. Even if they had approached us and brought the money they stole while in government to fund this project, we will allow them. We all know there are certain construction works that their expertise may not be with a local contractor. If we want to construct a bridge and it is awarded to Julius Berger, they will also say Julius Berger is not from Oyo State. So, that is to tell you they have nothing to do. One thing I know is, if we build this road the way we are supposed to, on time and on budget, what concerns the people going to the airport, whether Julius Berger constructed the road or whether the contractor is from Osun or Oyo? Our major concern is that the road is constructed.”
Addressing the criticisms trailing the announcement of N100 billion bond issuance by the state, the governor stated: “I heard somebody criticizing us on radio concerning the N100 billion bond and was of the opinion that this administration wants to put the state in debt. I think our people need to start telling them that Governor Makinde is not like that. For the period of eight years they spent in office, they were only preoccupied with how to corner N1 Billion monthly into their private pockets everyday they went to the office.
“They spent 96 months in office, that means they have Oyo States N96 billion with them. We will retrieve every fund that belongs to Oyo people for the purpose of infrastructure development.
“So, tell them that the EFCC of Oyo State is coming for them. I want to assure you that we will retrieve the stolen money of the state from them and use the funds to build infrastructure like this.”
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