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Oyo: ‘We’ll continue to put people first in every decision’ – Makinde

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The Oyo state governor, Mr. Seyi Makinde on Thursday declared that residents of the state and Nigerians should be thankful to God for surviving 2020, stating that though many would describe the year as a tough one, God’s grace saw them through the various challenges that characterized the year.

The governor maintained that despite various events that set the state back economically, the state government was still able to record a huge reduction in the infrastructure deficit of the state.

Makinde, according to a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Taiwo Adisa, stated these in a 2021 New Year Address made available to newsmen in Ibadan, the Oyo state capital.

He noted that though 2020 was characterised by drop in oil prices, which led to a huge drop in revenue from federal allocations and the attendant economic meltdown, the COVID-19 pandemic and the aftermath of the #EndSARS protests, among other challenges, residents of the state could still count their blessings.

According to the governor, the efforts of his administration in fixing the health, education and security sectors have yielded positive results, while the administration was also able to grow the Internally Generated Revenue, IGR, of the state.

He said: “As 2020 closes, I am reminded of the words of the very popular 1897 hymn by Johnson Oatman Jr, “Count your Blessings.” This song encourages us to take stock of the good things that happened in our lives. “When we do this, we often find that we have overlooked many positives.  

“Many would describe 2020 as a tough year. At the beginning of the year, the drop in oil prices led to a huge drop in revenue from federal allocations and attendant economic meltdown. In March 2020, many states in Nigeria had cases of the coronavirus disease. “This necessitated an interstate lockdown by the Federal Government. Although we did not effect a total lockdown in Oyo State, we were not spared the economic and social effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. A few months later, we faced mass protests by the youths and others who were angry about police brutality. Events after the protests also set us back economically. 

“However, our 2020 is not defined by these events. As the first stanza of that song says: “When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost, count your many blessings, name them one by one, and it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.”

“So, let me recount some of the blessings that 2020 brought us as a people. 

“We continued working with our administration’s blueprint, the Roadmap to Accelerated Development in Oyo State, 2019-2023. And I am happy to report that we have continued to reduce our infrastructural deficit, slowly but surely. 

“As at September 2020, we had recorded an Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) of 25.6 billion Naira. And using the half-year figures, that represented a 26.4 per cent increase in IGR year on year. 

“Moribund industries such as the Pace Setter Quarry and Asphalt Plant, Ijaiye, Agbowo Shopping Complex, Ibadan and Pacesetter Fruit Processing Company, Oko, were handed over to concessionaires. All of these will be contributing to the economic development of our state.

“We are confronting the new challenges caused by the influx of people and businesses into Oyo State. More people are being attracted to our dear state because of our good governance initiatives and business-friendly environment. We believe that the complaints about the city’s traffic situation will soon be a thing of the past as we vigorously pursue road rehabilitations, expansions, and constructions. The bus terminals at Iwo Road, New Ife Road, Challenge and Ojoo will be commissioned in 2021.

“In Education, we have continued our strides with the construction of model schools, blocks of classrooms, perimeter fencing and sinking of boreholes. We have also engaged in teachers’ training and completed the recruitment of 5,000 teachers to reduce the student/teacher ratios in our secondary schools.

“We were able to resolve the lingering issue of the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH), and Oyo State is now the sole owner of the institution.

“In Agriculture, we signed the Oyo State Agribusiness Development Agency (OYSADA) bill into law which provided for the establishment of OYSADA. We began renovating and expanding the Headquarters in Saki. We also initiated the Start Them Early Programme (STEP) in collaboration with the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA). This initiative takes agribusiness education to secondary schools. Additionally, we started training our youths in agribusiness with the Oyo State Youth in Agribusiness Tomatoes Project. 

“The highlight of the past year in security is the commencement of operations of the Oyo State Western Nigeria Security Network (codenamed Amotekun). We know there will be teething problems, but rest assured that the corps will be serving the interests of the people of Oyo State. We also believe that all well-meaning residents of Oyo State will work with the corps to secure all 351 wards of our state. 

“Our Healthcare sector witnessed improvements not only in infrastructure but also in recruitment and training. We took advantage of the pandemic to upgrade and rehabilitate Primary Healthcare Centres (PHC) at Igbo Ora and Awe. We also renovated and equipped the PHC at Aafin in Oyo Town and ALGON Comprehensive Health Centre at Eyin Grammar, Ibadan. We now have one Infectious Disease Centre at Olodo. At Ogbomoso, we renovated one wing of the LAUTECH Teaching Hospital. Whereas at Saki, we took an incomplete project and turned it into a 100-bed specialist hospital. Our plan to rehabilitate one PHC per ward in Oyo State is in full gear.”

Governor Makinde, who urged residents of the state to maintain a positive outlook for the New Year, said the state is open for business and that his government remains committed to its promise to uplift the state, stating that it would never take the support of the people for granted.  

He added: “We will continue to maintain a positive outlook for 2021. Oyo State remains open for business. The Oyo State Investment and Public-Private Partnership Agency (OYSIPA) is always willing to discuss investment opportunities in Oyo State with both local and international businesses. 

“We will never take for granted your continued support for our administration, nor will we take lightly our promise to serve. We remain committed to our promise to put you, the good people of Oyo State, first in every decision we make. 

“And at the end of the year 2021, may we have even more reasons to look back and be surprised at the “many things that the Lord has done.

“May your year 2021 be better than your year 2020.”

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Catholic bishops advocate review of Nigeria’s security architecture

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Catholic Bishops of Ibadan Ecclesiastical Province, comprising Ibadan Archdiocese, Ilorin, Ondo, Oyo, Ekiti and Osogbo Dioceses, on Tuesday called for a thorough review of Nigeria’s security architecture.

The bishops, who gathered at the Jubilee Conference Centre in Ibadan, the Oyo state capital, also expressed concern over the rising insecurity in the country, adding that it was unfortunate that the Federal Government has remained impervious to this call.

The meeting had in attendance, Most. Rev. Gabriel Abegunrin, (Ibadan), Most. Rev. Felix Ajakaiye (Ekiti), Most. Rev. Emmanuel Badejo (Oyo), Most. Rev. Felix Job (Ibadan).

Others are: Most. Rev. AyoMaria Atoyebi (Ibadan), Most. Rev. John Oyejola (Osogbo), Most. Rev. Jude Arogundade (Ondo) and Most. Rev. Paul Olawoore (Ilorin).

According to them, “With the current realities, it has become more necessary than ever to demand the review of Nigeria’s security architecture. Given  the campaign promises of the present government and the cauldrons of insecurity erupting all over the country, it is unfortunate that the Federal Government has remained impervious to this call. As a consequence, we parade a Nigerian Army that has not been able to effectively check the atrocities of Boko Haram for over a decade. How does one deny the allegation that kidnapping and banditry are abetted by government when  even State governments pay bandits and herdsmen as a means of placating them?

“How can we claim to have a Nigeria Police, when the body is no longer trusted to protect the same people it was set up to serve in many parts of the country?”, the bishops questioned.

The Catholic Bishops, in a communique jointly signed by the President, Most Rev. Gabriel Abegunrin and the Secretary, Most Rev. John Oyejola  at the end of  their first meeting for the year 2021, identified the ongoing effort of the governors of some South Western States  to regulate the activities of Fulani herdsmen within the zone, noting that insincerity, selfish interests and lack of political will had in the past, caused needless destruction of life and property and inflicted untold pain and hardship on innocent citizens.

However, they urged the governors to shun deceptive adulations and empty promises on issues that impact the security of life and property.

The communique read, “they must work with the security agencies to courageously implement the law in all cases and sanction those who blatantly and murderously flout it in their territories. No Nigerian or foreigner should be above the law in any part of the country.

“It is frustrating to see Governors, constitutionally empowered  as the first security officers of their States, being impeded and rendered ineffective by mitigating actions and pronouncements allegedly made on behalf of the Federal government, when they take lawful steps to respond to security needs in their States. Such manner of governance, that exerts itself to protect the interest of a segment of the population at the expense of the security of life and property of the majority, makes the emergence  of militias and self-appointed messiahs inevitable.

“We therefore join all well-meaning Nigerians who have called on the authorities to allow alternative and lawful initiatives which are established for protecting life and property like the South Western Security Network (SWSN), codenamed Amotekun, to thrive. Such initiatives deserve to be supported and optimised  as a complimentary security organization for the benefit of the people in different parts of Nigeria”.

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Properties worth over N50m lost to inferno – Sunday Igboho reacts

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Yoruba activist and Oodua  Republic agitator, Chief  Sunday Adeyemo popularly known as ‘Sunday Igboho’ has said that properties worth  over N50 million has been lost to the early Tuesday morning inferno at his Soka residence in Ibadan

Reacting on Tuesday, shortly after his house went up in flames, Sunday Igboho explained that the arsonists broke the gate to the building to gain entrance before setting the house on fire.

He stressed that the two people living in the house fled for their lives in the chaos.

“Around 03:30 am this morning, my siblings living in my old house came to alert me that some hoodlums were at the house, shooting sporadically, and that they had forced the gate open and set the house ablaze.

“My siblings escaped unhurt but my house was burnt. When we got there, the hoodlums had escaped so we called the fire service to put out the fire.

“I am surprised that some Yoruba people could be supporting killer herdsmen to destroy my house. This saddens me.

“My agitations are for all of us to come together against killer herdsmen who have been terrorizing the Yorubas by kidnapping, killing our brothers, and raping our women in Yoruba Land.

“To my amazement, some Yoruba people are aiding these killer herdsmen.

I expected them to come and attack my residence where I live now to show that they mean business.

“I assure you if they had, I would have been able to give you evidence of the hoodlums that did this.

“The property destroyed in that inferno would not be less than fifty million”, he added.

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2 Operatives Injured , As Youths Attacked Amotekun In Oyo {Photos}

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The Western Nigeria Security Network codenamed Operation Amotekun, in Oyo state has confirmed that two of its operatives from Ilesiwaju Local Government Area of the state were attacked by some ‘misguided youths’.

Oyo Amotekun also informed that though, there was no loss of life, but the officers were severely injured and are in critical condition at an undisclosed hospital.

It added that vehicles belonging to Itesiwaju Area Command were completely vandalized .

The state Command, in a statement issued on Monday explained, “On the 23rd of January 2021, two of our operatives from Itesiwaju LGA were travelling to Ago-Are enroute Tede were brutally attacked without provocation.

“They were granted free passage at Ago -Are end upon the explanation that they were from Itesiwaju LG and are on routine mission.

“However, at Tede end some misguided youths attacked the operatives with guns, matchetes and axes.

“Though there was no loss of life, our two operatives were severely injured and are in critical condition at the hospital.

 

“Unfortunately, after this unprovoked attack and assault, our vehicles belonging to Itesiwaju Area Command were completely vandalised and damaged”, the statement concluded.

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