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‘Russia will continue to help Syria protect its sovereignty’ – Putin

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Russian President , Vladimir Putin has said that the country will continue to help Syria protect its sovereignty and territorial integrity.

 

Putin on Sunday in a congratulatory message to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on the 75th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries, reechoed his  commitment to Syria.

 

“I would like to confirm that Russia will continue to support Syria’s government and people in their efforts to protect the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, as well as to ensure national security and post-war reconstruction,” Putin said in the message.

Putin added that through joint efforts, “terrorist forces on Syrian soil” will be defeated.

 

Putin also pledged to promote Russia-Syria relations, adding that it is in the “common interest” of the two countries to boost Russian-Syrian ties.

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Oyo: Get ready for unprecedented development, Makinde raises hope

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Oyo State Governor, Engineer Seyi Makinde said at the weekend that the people of Oyo State should get prepared for unprecedented development with him at the helm of affairs in the state.

Governor Makinde, who stated this while addressing a mammoth crowd that gathered for a civic reception in his honour at his ancestral village, Ajia, in Ona Ara Local Government Area of the state, said that he was already in talks with the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) for an upgrade of Ibadan Airport to facilitate Cargo operations and international flights.

A statement by the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Makinde, Mr. Taiwo Adisa, quoted the Governor as saying that agro-allied services would benefit heavily from the impending upgrade of the Airport.

“As I stand in front of you, I promise that I will not disappoint the people of the State. I am telling you here today, prepare yourself for the unprecedented development of the state,” the Governor said, adding that he will reward the people who trusted him with votes with unprecedented development across the state.

The statement also indicated that Governor Makinde restated his commitment towards fulfilling all his campaign promises to the people of the state, noting that his Government has begun different efforts to see to the development of infrastructure, education, agriculture and health sectors in the state.

Governor Makinde, at the event organised by the Ajia and Its Environs Descendant Union, declared that he would not disappoint the people of the state or break the trust that the people reposed in him by delivering good governance to the state and developing its nooks and crannies.

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He admonished the youths in Ajia and across the state to take their education seriously by making judicious use of the free education policy of his administration so as to become useful and productive to themselves and the society.

The governor further said: “It has been said that a prophet is without honour in his own town. But today, the people of Ajia, my kinsmen, have honoured me and you have not made selfish demands from us, you have asked us to govern with integrity and the fear of God; you have warned us to be wary of sycophants and to continue to pay attention to the welfare of the people as we have been doing. I assure you that we will do all these and many more in fulfillment of our promises,” the Governor said.

He maintained that as parts of efforts to develop the state, he had begun discussion with the Federal Airport Authority on how to upgrade the Alakia Airport, Ibadan to an international airport to boost the economy the State.

He further said: “I have begun discussion with the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria and they have given us certain conditions on the upgrade of our airport so that it can accommodate bigger aircrafts. When that is done, those travelling from Osun, Ekiti and Ondo will not need to get to Lagos before boarding flights and what that tells you is that Ajia and other rural communities around the airport as well as the economy of Oyo State, will soon witness a new dawn.”

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Governor Makinde told a jubilant crowd of Ajia residents that he would soon begin the reconstruction of the Ajia Road.

He said that as a private citizen, he had offered to construct Ajia Road but that the previous administration in the state turned down the offer.

Makinde also stated that he had equally faced similar hostility from the previous administration in the state whose agents destroyed the borehole and the equipment deployed by his contractor when he was trying to build a borehole for Alesinloye Market in the state capital.

He declared that in a matter of weeks the State Government would review the Iyana-Agbala Road Project and make it a priority, noting that his administration would pay full attention to the development of rural settlements across the State.

Earlier, a foremost Head of Service in the State, Pa. Theophilus Akinyele, expressed joy that Ajia Village could produce the Governor of Oyo State after producing about three Heads of Service in the State.

He urged Governor Makinde to continue to place premium on the welfare of people as he had been doing as a private citizen.

Akinyele called on Makinde to make Ajia a model village as it obtains in South Africa and some other places.

Also in his address to welcome dignitaries to the event, chairman, Ajia and Its Environs Descendants Union, Engr. Amos Fakayode, commended Makinde for making Ajia and Oyo State proud through his achievements within the first 100 days in the office.

He noted that the community was neither disappointed nor surprised at the giant strides of Governor Makinde, adding that as a private citizen, the Governor had singlehandedly provided electricity to the community.

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He said: “We welcome Governor Seyi Makinde to Ajia, his ancestral root. We are grateful to God and proud of you. As you have started well, may you end well. We have been hearing of you, many states are making you the reference point. We, your kinsmen, are proud of your achievements in 100 days. We believe you can do more and we want you to do more, because we want to remain proud of you after you might have left office.”

He appealed to the Governor to provide good road networks into and out of Ajia; pay attention to the employment and empowerment of its youths and above all, make it a model village with model primary, secondary and tertiary institutions, among others.

He noted that Ajia community would remain solidly behind the Governor and continue to pray for his successful tenure in the office.

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Mixed Reactions Trail Oyo Speaker’s  ‘Hasty Approval’ Of N7.6b CBN Loan

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Reactions have continued to trail the action of the Oyo State House of Assembly Speaker, Hon Adebo Ogundoyin, as lawmakers expressed dismay against his decision to overrule their submissions and further approve the N7.6b  CBN loan requested by Governor Seyi Makinde to upgrade farm settlements in Akufo and Eruwa areas of the state to farm estates.

The lawmakers  are of the opinion  that there is a need for Governor Makinde to spread the scope and usage of the agricultural loan to other zones in the state and not limit it to Akufo and Eruwa farm settlements alone.

 

The governor, had in a letter sent to the State House of Assembly urged the lawmakers to allow him access Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) loan to develop Akufo and Eruwa farm settlements into farm estates.

The letter, which was presented on the floor  of the assembly during Thursday’s plenary informed that the proposed farm estates are to serve as pilot projects which will be used to develop other farm settlements across the state.

Other farm settlements in the state, which were not covered in the CBN loan facility as requested by Governor Makinde included; farm settlements in Ipapo in Oke-Ogun geo-politcal zone, Fashola farm settlement in Ilora Afijio local government Area, Iresaadu, Ijaiye, and Lalupon in Lagelu Local government area.

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This approval makes it the second loan so far approved for Governor Seyi Makinde by the lawmakers within five months having earlier endorsed a N10 billion infrastructure loan request in July.

It was reliably gathered that the two farm settlements are housed  in Ido/Ibarapa East Federal constituency where the Speaker, Ogundoyin  hailed from.

However, not satisfied with the choice of the two farm settlements to enjoy the loan facility out of the many others in the state, the lawmakers insisted that the loan should be spread across other farm settlements.

In their separate reactions, Hon. Isiaka Tunde representing Oyo East/ Oyo West State Constituency and his counterpart from Iseyin/Itesiwaju, Hon. Dele Adeola expressed their dissatisfaction on concentration on the loan, challenging the rationale for selecting two farm settlements within only one Federal constituency (Ibarapa East/Iddo). They maintained that the loan be spread to other parts of the state.

Also corroborating the lawmakers’ position, the Deputy Speaker, Mr Abiodun Fadeyi and the Minority Leader, Mr Asimiyu Alarape further called for the extension of the loan facility to other farm settlements in the state .

 

The duo, however urged the  executive arm of government  to ensure judicious use of the agricultural loan to enable it achieve the purpose for which it is sought, while other lawmakers, also enjoined Governor Makinde to spread the loan facility to take care of other areas.

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Despite heated debate by members on the issue, the Speaker, Hon. Ogundoyin finally ruled that the loan would be approved as presented by Governor Makinde.

“Other states have been accessing this agriculture loan facility, especially in the North. But we thank God the state government is ready to work with the federal government and provide counterpart funding to show seriousness in accessing this loan.

“We know that the CBN and federal government are interested in agricultural development and this is a blessing to Oyo state. Moreover, our own goal is to develop the state through agriculture. If we decide to spread the money as requested by some lawmakers, we might end up not achieving anything and have abandoned projects.

“These two projects can be the engine room for the other projects. We are taking the projects one at a time. If we can achieve two projects out of seven then for the remaining five, we do another two next year and thereafter, then we will be able to make progress”, Ogundoyin responded.

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‘I stopped Ajimobi’s govt. from squandering N7.6 bn loan’- Makinde

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Oyo State government on Saturday observed what it described as misinformation, misconception and outright mischief in the interpretations being given to the N7.6 billion Agriculture loan, which the state government on Thursday claimed it secured the nod of the State House of Assembly to access.

According to a statement signed  by the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Makinde , Mr. Taiwo Adisa, the government had equally noticed the deliberate misconceptions and misinformation on the loan facility, saying it was an attempt to colour the truth to confuse the unsuspecting public.

The statement  also alleged that the administration of former Governor Abiola Ajimobi had obtained the said loan from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and that Governor Makinde, had, in the interest of Oyo State, prevented the past government from squandering the loan at the twilight of the administration.

“The misconceptions and misinformation that Governor Makinde was going for a loan of N7.6 billion is a deliberate attempt to colour the truth and it is an indication of a political move by certain commentators who are exhibiting apparent amnesia on the matter.

“Governor Makinde is not seeking for a fresh loan. The action that was taken by the House of Assembly of Oyo State on Thursday was to give the legislative nod to the State Government to access the fund that had already been domiciled with the government since the days of ex-governor Ajimobi.

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“The Governor’s decision to approach the House of Assembly was a mark of his belief in due process, the rule of law and its processes. Ordinarily, some state executives would just have proceeded to spend the funds since it was already in the coffers of the state, but Governor Makinde won’t do that.

“You may wish to recall that sometimes in 2017, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had approved some funds under the Commercial Agriculture Credit Scheme (CACs) for disbursement to four states including Ekiti; Osun; Oyo and Abia.

“Somehow, the immediate past administration of Governor Ajimobi chose to delay access to that money until April 2019, when the governorship election of 2019 election had been won and lost. That government intended to expend the said money on the purchase of “Agriculture equipment” in less than two months to the end of its tenure. Allowing access to that money within a month of Ajimobi’s exit could only be counter-productive for the people of Oyo State.

“It was the spirit of activism in Engineer Seyi Makinde that prodded him to smell a rat in the plan to access that money in the twilight of Ajimobi’s administration and that informed the suit filed by then Governor-elect Makinde at the High Court of Oyo State to secure an injunction restraining the then Governor from accessing that money. The suit, dated May 7, 2019, is referenced M/284/2019.

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“It is a well-known fact that the immediate past administration in Oyo State had spent millions of Naira on the purchase of agriculture equipment including excavators and tractors, whose locations cannot be ascertained just a year after the purchase.

“Besides, no one could estimate the value (if any) of the expended huge public funds

“In effect, the decision by Engineer Makinde to stall the access of Ajimobi’s government to the N7.6 billion was not only well-considered but completely in the interest of the people of Oyo state.

“As the Governor of Oyo State, Engineer Makinde had taken his time to x-ray the best way the loan can be applied in view of the four-point Service Agenda of his administration.

“He has, therefore, come to the inspired decision to devote the said loan to the reconstruction and standardization of the Farm Settlements in Eruwa and Akufo areas of Ibadan”, the statement reads.

According to the statement, the two farm settlements are to be built into Farm Estates in line with the vision of the Makinde’s administration to ensure the full utilisation of the Agriculture value chain for economic expansion and to boost of Internally Generated Revenue (IGR).

“It is expected that when the two Farm Estates fully come on stream, the output therefrom would easily offset the loan secured while also providing the seed money for the reconstruction of the remaining seven Farm Settlements.

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“The administration of Engineer Seyi Makinde has emphasised a Four-Point Service Agenda, which encompasses Education, Health, Security and Economic development using Agriculture value chain, its focus on this agenda for a quick turnaround of Oyo state’s human development index remains unshaken”, the statement concluded

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