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Lagos, Magodo residents agree on scheme 11 plan review

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By Dada Jackson

The Lagos State Government and the Magodo Residents Association have reached common grounds on contents of the review of Magodo Residential Scheme II Plan.

After several meetings, the two parties finally agreed to leave the estate as residential with no mixed developments, while those who had converted their uses would be made to revert to status quo ante.

It was also agreed among others that no development would be tolerated on Magodo wetlands, CMD road would remain mixed use, while the other side of CMD road would be recovered as buffer zone for the expressway.

The Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, Dr Idris Salako, who dropped the hint at a stakeholders’ meeting at the Magodo Community Hall,  said that the review of the  plan of the medium residential estate was important as it bordered on sustainability of the well-planned residential area for the benefit of all and sundry.

He recalled that the Lagos State Government, as part of its intervention of bridging the housing gap in the state, had created the Magodo Residential Schemes, strictly as medium residential estates, through the New Towns Development Authority (NTDA) which had the mandate to develop residential schemes for different strata of the society.

His words: “As a government scheme, it is a truism that your estate, at inception, had gone through the appropriate planning processes to bequeath a serene, orderly, organised and sustainable environment”

Salako added that standard partial and sectoral considerations had equally been made, in line with international best practices; while provisions had been made for all necessary services.

He decried the unapproved change of the estate plan by residents who had unilaterally and illegally altered their uses to allow offices, religious houses and commercial activities of different types  spring up in areas where they are not designated.

 “It is discomfiting how the Government vision of accommodating the elites of the society in an ambient environment is gradually supplanted by an unsalutary culture of arbitrariness, which, if care is not taken, may create planning disorder and throw up slumming challenges” he said.

The commissioner stated that given this background,  government  must  intervene to restore order in line with the planning regulations which stipulates periodic review of estate schemes to meet contemporary needs.

“Given this realisation, the News Town Development Authority has spearheaded a review of the Magodo Residential Scheme II with the sustainability of the estate in mind as the ongoing review is intended to better the lot of residents of scheme and further the realisation of the T.H.E.M.E.S Agenda of the Lagos State Government” he said.

He urged stakeholders to volunteer their contributions to the  review process and give their total support towards achieving a desirable outcome.

Also on the government side were the General Manager, Lagos State Physical Planning Permit Authority, Funmi Osifuye; General Manager, New Towns Development Authority, Kunle Aboyeji; and Bola Aliu, Director, Technical Services, while the MRA BOT chairman, Chief Owojori, Rotimi Abdul, Rev. Akindele and Former Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, Fransisco Abosede spoke on behalf of the residents.

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400 suspected Boko Haram, bandits’ sponsors arrested

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Security agents have arrested about 400 businessmen for allegedly funding operations of Boko Haram and bandits in the country.

Daily Trust reported that the businessmen were arrested in an operation coordinated by the Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA), and in collaboration with the Department of State Services (DSS), Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

President Muhammadu Buhari was said to have approved the operation in 2020.

The newspaper reported that an initial list of 957 suspects comprising bureau de change (BDC) operators, gold miners and sellers, and other businessmen is being acted upon.

A source told the newspaper that about 400 persons were arrested in Kano, Borno, Abuja, Lagos, Sokoto, Adamawa, Kaduna and Zamfara.

Names of the BDC operators arrested were given as Baba Usaini, Abubakar Yellow (Amfani), Yusuf Ali Yusuf (Babangida), Ibrahim Shani, Auwal Fagge, and Muhammad Lawan Sani, a gold dealer.

Those arrested are reportedly being kept in military and the DSS facilities in Abuja and other places.

“Because this is economic warfare against the insurgents and other militant groups, the president, when approving the operation directed that the NFIU take the lead as the country’s financial intelligence powerhouse,” Daily Trust quoted a source to have said.

The source added that “with the presidential approval, a task team was composed of personally selected senior officers who were deployed under the DIA to carry out the special assignment”.

“The main person coordinating the funding ring for Boko Haram is in our custody, he and his closest ally in the business,” he said.

Another source was quoted to have said about 19 BDCs owned by persons with “direct connection with Boko Haram” were uncovered, while over N300 billion was found to have been used in funding terrorism.

Apart from one person in Borno and another in Zaria, Kaduna state, the source said over N50 billion were traced in funding to the armed groups.

“A number of those arrested have divulged vital information including operational details of bandits and Boko Haram insurgents. But they are being kept to aid further arrests,” the source was quoted to have said.

Family members of those arrested, the newspaper reported, have been calling on the government for their release.

In 2020, six Nigerians were also jailed in the United Arab Emirates for allegedly funding Boko Haram.

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Former Ondo deputy governor agrees to return vehicles

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Former Ondo Deputy Governor Agboola Ajayi has finally agreed to return the two vehicles in his possession to the Ondo State Government.

The state government last week said it would embarrass Agboola if he failed to return the four vehicles.

But Agboola, who said he had only two vehicles, insisted they were part of his benefits.

The state government also petitioned the Ondo State Police Command to help recover the vehicles.

In a statement on Sunday, the former deputy governor said he was not the problem of Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu’s administration.

Agboola stated it was in the interest of everybody that Governor Akeredolu demonstrated good governance, transparent policy making and effective change.

He said it was unfortunate some members of the inner circle of Akeredolu have prioritised harassing him on a number of issues most especially the return of vehicles

Agboola said he hoped “these petty interactions would have ceased after the recent inauguration.

“To be clear – if the return of these two vehicles will make the administration focus more on the avalanche of pressing needs, challenges and predicaments facing the state most especially insecurity, the absence of governance and unpaid salaries across the entirety the Ondo public sector – then I’m ready to make the sacrifice and return the two vehicles which they so desperately need.

“I am not the problem of the present administration. I have moved on.”

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Pensioners demand payment of N35bn arrears

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Nigeria pensioners who retired from the electricity sector have urged President Muhammadu Buhari, to come to their aide in order to resolve the lingering issue of their owed N35billion pension arrears.

The pensioners under the aegis of Electricity Sector Retiree Welfare Association (ESREWA), led by its  President, Elder Benjamin Amako, asked President Buhari to save countless dying pensioners whose fate are tied to the delayed payment of their pension arrears.

Rising from its National Executive Council (NEC) meeting in Abuja, Amako said every Nigerian, including President Buhari, knows the pathetic situation of pensioners in the country.

Amako said: “First we thank God that Mr President returned from his medical trip healthier, stronger and successfully. The news of his return gave us pensioners so much joy because we know  he will not sit quiet and watch more pensioners lose their lives because of humanly inaction. So far, his administration has ensured that pensioners gets their rights and this arrears we are asking for is our right.

“Interestingly, President Buhari had already directed that this same arrears (N35billion) be paid to us, but for over five years ago he issued the directive, the relevant authorities who it is their responsibilities to ensure we get this arrears for our dying members seems to be working contrarily.

“So for the past five years, these arrears have always been part of the National Budget under Nigeria Electricity Liability Management Company (NELMCO) budget and accordingly transferred to Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate (PTAD). But sadly, we have not been paid a dime even as I speak, for reasons that are totally and obviously human making.

“So we are pleading with President Buhari, the SGF, Minister of Finance, Chairman Senate Committee on Power, Accountant General of the Federation, PTAD and other relevant authorities to save our lives by paying us this money without further delay.”

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