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Reps call for more funding for NTA, FRCN

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The House of Representatives through its Committee on Information, National Orientation, Ethics and Value has canvassed for more funding for the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) and Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN).

The lawmakers also lamented the dearth of facilities and transmitting equipments at the regional headquarter of the Federal Government owned stations located in Ibadan, the Oyo state capital.

The Chairman of the committee, Hon Segun Dokun Odebunmi who led other members to the federal government owned stations which include NTA, FRCN and Amuludun FM maintained that there is need for proper funding of these stations for effective operation.

While expressing his displeasure, Odebunmi noted that there was nothing on ground to show that these stations are ready for the digital switch over which is the current trend in the broadcasting industry in the world.

“ At FRCN, the building has been in place since 1961, no serious renovation on it, the same with NTA, old structures with obsolete equipments. We need to do something urgently to rescue the situation  and I want to use this medium to appeal to President Muhammadu Buhari and the Minister of Information and Culture, Mr. Lai Mohammed to please release funds to these stations.

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“ We don’t have to wait for the election period before we release funds to these stations to function, they should  be effective in the discharge of their roles of informing, enlightening and educating the general public at all time

”With the zeal and determination of the workers, I believe if they have the necessary equipments and other facilities in place they will operate effectively”, he said.

He, however assured that the Committee will influence more funds from the 2020 budget for FRCN and NTA as well as secure equipments from the available ones at the headquarters .

Odebunmi added,“ your role in  informing, educating and enlightening the public  about the development in the society cannot be underrated and the only way you can do this effectively is  when you work under conducive atmosphere with good facilities and just like I promised, wee will look into that and do something as soon as possible .

In his remarks, the NTA Zonal Director, Engr. Omolola Olorode who conducted the Committee round the station said lack of sufficient funding was  the major challenge facing the organization.

Also, the Director of Finance and Account,  Mr Michael Oluwole who represented the  Director General FRCN Ibadan, Alhaji Muhammadu Bello lauded the  Committee for their visit, urging  them to assist the corporation on increase funding and provision of basic facilities.

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We’re creating enabling environment for investors to thrive — Makinde

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The Oyo State Governor, Engineer Seyi Makinde, has stated that his administration is already creating an enabling environment for businesses to thrive.

He equally declared that his administration has kick-started the process of making the state investment-friendly.

Governor Makinde, who made this known while on an inspection tour of a private farm, Agrited Nigeria Limited, Fiditi, Oyo, added that efforts to turn Oyo State into an industrial destination in order for businesses to thrive were already in top gear.

According to him, the present administration would continue to assist investors with a view to expanding the state’s economy.

A statement signed by the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Makinde, Mr. Taiwo Adisa, quoted the governor as saying that his government places a premium on the promotion of agribusiness and would always create an enabling environment for businesses to thrive.

He said: “What the government can do is to create enabling environment. These are private people and I strongly believe we should support them to do more. Government should not be running businesses; and we are in the process of strategically turning over the businesses we have as a government to private people, in a most transparent manner, so that they can run it efficiently.

“This company is preparing to start operations and you can also see this is going to have a very huge impact as far as the economy of Oyo State is concerned. This is also because, as an administration, we promised that we were going to expand our economy exploiting and exploring areas of comparative advantage;  and agriculture is one of them.

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“So, when I see this kind of project coming o fruition, I become excited. Jobs are being created; suppliers will soon be flocking into this place. And we have inquired from them the type of support they would need from government.”

The governor assured would-be investors in the state to put their minds to rest about the chances of their businesses succeeding in the state, adding that the state has put in place the right security architecture and systems that will guarantee ease of doing business.

Earlier, the Deputy General Manager  Operation, Moty Ganon, appreciated the governor for deeming it fit to visit the farm, even as he sought for the assistance of the government towards the uplift of the farm.

He assured that the company would partner with the state government to promote agriculture in the state, so as to expand its economy.

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Oyo govt. moves to prevent crimes, introduce identification cards for commercial cyclists

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The Seyi Makinde led Oyo state government on Thursday  expressed its readiness to introduce an identification system for commercial motorcyclists operating within the state in order to check crimes and the influx of bad elements into the state.

The governor also ordered the immediate reduction of the daily levy to be paid by commercial cyclists from N200 to N100 per day.

The State’s Commissioner for Public Works, Infrastructure and Transport, Prof Raphael Afonja, who made the disclosure while addressing newsmen in Ibadan added that Governor Makinde does not want to add to the burden of the people of the state.

The Commissioner stated that in order to control crimes being associated with motorcyclists and the influx of commercial motorcyclists into Oyo State, the government will, in due course, issue Riders’ Card to all registered commercial motorcyclists in the state.

He noted that this will enable the government to differentiate registered commercial motorcyclists from criminal elements, who are using motorcycles to operate.

“We have concluded that, due to what happened in Lagos State, which has led to an influx of people moving from Lagos into Oyo State, there is a need to have Okada Riders’ Card to identify people coming into the state.

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“So, in collaboration with the revenue collector for the state and FRSC and the unions, we will start this to gather information on those who are engaging in commercial or private cycling businesses in the state. This is possible through profiling. The security agencies are in need of these pieces of information”, he said.

Afonja explained that the Riders’ Cards would afford the government the opportunity to have a database of the riders across the state, saying: “So, this registration of motorcyclists through the Riders’ Cards will be a database for us to know who is who; who owns what; who they are, where they live and the rest. We will also add their BVN to know who they really are.

“Recently, you may have heard about snatching of bikes and robberies using motorcycles. That is why we are trying to make sure that all motorcycles in Oyo State are properly registered. We will ensure they do what is needful to make sure they obey the law.

The commissioner added that Governor Makinde ordered the immediate reduction of the daily levy charge on commercial motorcyclists and tricyclists in the state from N200 to N100 to ameliorate the suffering of the riders.

He said: “This press conference is being held in response to the recent pronouncement by the Ministry of Finance and the Oyo State Board of Internal Revenue regarding the state revenue that we have been collecting from tricycles and motorcycle riders in the state.

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“From the information that was passed down to us by the Ministry of Finance and BIR, we were told that it was agreed upon that the consultant was to collect 200 Naira as a daily collection from these commercial bikers including tricycles and motorcycles.

“Upon escalating this issue to the governor, Engineer Seyi Makinde, we found out he was not in support of this increase in the revenue collection from N100 to N200. So, I want to apologise to the unions and other stakeholders who are affected by the increment.

“The governor has instructed me to pass this information on that his goal is to ensure that people’s money remain in their pockets to take care of their families. So, he has gracefully reduced this fee from N200 to N100.

“He also believes that this change will trickle down to the people who are in the markets and will help people and their families.

“In addition to that, we have met with those in the quarries to include the union people. They are excited, understanding that the fact that the governor has listening ears. The governor met with them physically. He understands their cry and he has assured them of his support.”

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Professor Afonja added that the revenue collectors would be at every park from tomorrow morning [Friday], urging the commercial motorcyclists and tricyclists to cooperate with them.

“Moving forward, commercial motorcyclists and tricyclists will be paying 100 Naira to a revenue consultant daily and this will commence tomorrow morning (Friday)”

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Restore Democratically Elected NURTW, Not ‘Park Thugs’, Oyo SPN Tells Makinde

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Oyo State Chapter of the  Socialist Party of Nigeria, SPN,  on Thursday urged the Seyi Makinde led government to restore the state’s  NURTW and its democratization under the control of elected representatives of registered commercial drivers, operators of motorcycles and tricycles not ‘park thugs’.

SPN condemned the decision of Governor Makinde  to impose and force on mass of poor but struggling commercial drivers and operators of motorcycles and tricycles in the state a newly established park management system, PMS and appointed park managers for the control and management of parks, and quarries across the state.

In a press release signed by its Secretary, Ayodeji Adigun, the party described the governor’s   decision as unlawful, stressing that it contravenes section 7(5) of the Fourth Schedule of the 1999 Constitution as amended.

SPN scribe said, “According to this section, the control of the parks, markets, and abattoirs is stipulated to be the constitutional responsibility of the Local Government Council and not of the state government. It is only expected of the state government through the state house of assembly to enact a law that will enable the local government to effectively perform and carry out the stipulated function”.

In a related development,  the party faulted  the appointment of Alhaji Mukaila Lamidi as the chairman of the disciplinary committee of the PMS and some others describing them as ‘ known park thugs with proven records of criminal and violent activities’ . It added that their appointments as park managers clearly show that, the PMS in itself is a dubious agenda to return through the back door, the control and management of the motor parks, to the section of the park thugs that are loyal to the Engr Seyi Makinde-led government.

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The statement  reads, ” Under this kind of arrangement one does not need to be a soothsayer to know that the exploitation, harassment including intimidation often suffered by mass of poor commercial drivers and operators of motorcycles and tricycles under the banned park thugs controlled NURTW will not only continue but deepen in multiple folds especially now that the PMS arrangement has provided an official and legitimate basis for the exploitation and extortion of poor road transport workers.

“SPN frown against the continuous proscription of NURTW. It is illegal and undemocratic.  We therefore demand the return of the NURTW that is democratically controlled by transport workers (registered commercial drivers and operators of bicycle and tricycle across the state) with guaranteed right to freedom of association and election of leadership devoid of imposition, force, violence and thuggery.

“While we recognize that the operation of the banned NURTW under the control and management of the park thugs is condemnable in all ramification, we do not believe that dastardly and criminal acts of a few known park thugs should be a strong reason to continue to deny other willing law abiding commercial drivers and operators of tricycles and motorcycles their fundamental right to association and peace assembly for an adequate defense and protection of both their economic and political rights.

“NURTW like other trade union organizations like NUT, NULGE is a registered union by the law and intended to be a union for interested road transport workers for the defense and protection of their interest.  As it is obtainable in other trade unions, members are meant to pay dues and democratically direct the affairs of the union through popular participation such as meetings, congresses etc. Proceeds realized from such dues are meant to be subjected to democratic and open administration of members through the co-ordination of their elected representatives strictly for the purpose of achieving the goal of the union.

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“Neither is the proceeds realized from the dues paid by road workers meant for the advancement of the self-serving interest of the few individuals as we used to have it under the proscribed thugs controlled NURTW nor a means of generating revenues for the government as being proposed by Engr seyi Makinde-led government that will be largely stolen by the privileged few.

“SPN rejects the argument by the Engr Seyi Makinde-led government that the range of levies planned to be imposed on poor commercial drivers and operators of motorcycle and tricycles are meant to boast the IGR of the state. If the transport operators are to be charged levies, such policy will have to be discussed with local government authorities and the transport operators with the aim of arriving at a levy/tax that is progressive and affordable, and such revenue generated are to be democratically transparently managed by government and transport operators for the purpose of developing the state and not to enrich the privileged few. We also demand that all big business owners and billionaires in the state many of who are currently enjoying tax holiday must be progressively taxed in order to raise some fund to finance public utilities.

“The SPN therefore charges the Engr Seyi Makinde-led government that if truly it is interested to curb the usual violent activities that often associated with NUTRW, the solution is neither by the proscription of the union nor the establishment of unlawful management system but to severe its relationship with park thugs with known criminal and violent records in the state with a view to arrest them and prosecute them in accordance with the law”, its continued.

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Adigun, however  called on the state leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) to initiate discussion with the state government with a motive to request all necessary logistics including provision of security that will be needed to convene a congress of all legitimate road workers in the state to democratically elect a new leadership for the union as a step to begin to reconstitute the union in the state.

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