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SSS3 student accuses Ogun commissioner of sexual harassment

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A Senior Secondary School 3 student, Melojuojuekun Barakat Mayowa, 16, has alleged that the Ogun State Commissioner for the Environment, Abiodun Abdu-Balogun, sexually harassed her by caressing her body and offering her money in a viral video.

She said she had to scream before the commissioner eventually let her go during the inicent that reportedly took place at Ibiade town in the Ogun Waterside Local Government Area of the state on December 31, 2020.

Mayowa said, “On December 31, one Lasisi came to my grandparents in the area, and said he knew someone who needed a computer operator and asked if I knew how to operate a computer.

“I said yes.

“He now said I should get dressed and that we would go together to the place.

“When we got there, it was the honourable’s (commssioner’s) house.

“A lady, Maryam Odunnuga, came to pick me and took me to a living room.

“Austin now came out and asked me to come over to a room.

“The honourable (commissioner) now came inside and Austin went outside immediately.”

She said the commissioner tried to entice her with money to get a chance to sleep with her but she turned down the offer.

Mayowa said, “The Honourable locked the door instantly and put the key in his pocket.

“So, he now moved close to me and asked for the name of my school. He asked for the amount of money I was paying as school fees.

“I replied by saying N30,000. He asked me who was paying my school fees. I told him my daddy. He asked if I had thought of starting a business before going to school. I said I wanted to go to a higher institution. Then, he said if I would need some money now. How much would I need? I said any amount. He said I should state an amount.

“He now moved closer and pressed (fondled) my breasts. So, I moved his hand away. He now said won’t I cooperate. He now started pressing (fondling) my breasts and my body.

“I was struggling to free myself from him. Then he started reciting some incantations. He wanted to touch my head. I now moved his hand away so that he would not touch my head.

“He now wanted to force me inside his bathroom. But I struggled with him and started shouting. He did not want people around his house to know what was going on.

“He now left me and gave me four N500 notes; that is N2,000 as my transport fare. I rejected the money. He said if I didn’t collect the money, he would not let me go. So, I collected it.

“He now asked Austin to drop me in our house. I want Nigerians to help me to take up this matter against him. This had never happened to me in my life. Right now, I am so shocked. I had never been harassed like that in my life.”

But Abudu-Balogun, who is also former member of the House of Representatives, denied the allegation.

He said he had used his position to empower young people and not to sexually harass them.

In a statement, he said, “On this said day, the girl was brought to my house by one of my loyalists who is her uncle, to assist her get a job as a computer operator at the ICT centre I facilitated while I was serving as a member of House of Representatives years back, which has been moribund but I am about to rehabilitate in order to empower more youths in our local government.

“I met her at my sitting room for few minutes where many of my loyalists were, people that came to visit me for the New Year. I chatted with the lady for a few minutes and as part of my usual gesture, I gave her some amount of money for her transportation.

“A day after, I was informed by some people that I have been alleged to have attempted to sexually harass the girl and I should invite the family for a meeting so as to settle the matter amicably. It was after my refusal to yield to their threats that they went ahead to make a teleguided video leading the lady on what to say to implicate me. This is purely a political blackmail by my adversaries.

“Let me state emphatically that I never attempted to sexually harass anyone. I, therefore, plead with my fans and loyalists to be calm and not engage anyone on the said matter as it is being handled by the police and my legal team.”

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Lagos govt revives sanitation competition among LG LCDAs

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By Dada Jackson

Lagos State Government has announced the resuscitation of the environmental sanitation competition among all local governments and council areas in the state.

Commissioner for the Environment and Water Resources, Tunji Bello, in a statement, said the competition was being brought back to reawaken the consciousness of every resident with local governments serving as the pivot of the campaign.

Bello explained that since the programme suffered a setback in 2017 through a court stoppage of the monthly environmental sanitation, adding that everyone had let down their guard, thus aggravating various environmental issues.

He stated that part of the benefits derivable was bringing about healthy competition in sanitation and hygiene practices amongst communities, markets and LG/LCDA.

Others are improvement in the environmental conditions of the state especially on highways, roads and streets, markets, schools and discourage illegal street trading.

The commissioner said the competition would take input of actors in the communities including local government chairmen, community leaders,  traditional rulers, transport unions and market leaders.

He informed that an assessment committee which would start work in May had been constituted with membership drawn from the Environment Ministry and Local Government and Community Affairs and other relevant MDAs to inspect all public utilities.

The assessment committee will also inspect the general aesthetics of the scheduled LG/LCDA and the commitment of each to environmental management.

Bello listed some of the criteria for the assessment of each LG/LCDA to include culture of bagging of refuse, clean and flowing drains, LAWMA PSP patronage and vegetal control.

Others are markets cleanliness; landscaping and beautification of LG/LCDA secretariat; control of illegal structures, shanties, black spots, illegal refuse dumps; encroachment on drainage setbacks; street trading, abandoned buildings, land and properties.

The assessment is expected to be rounded off in November with an award ceremony during which mouth-watering prizes will be presented to the winner and first runners-up LG/LCDA, according to the commissioner.

Consolation prizes would be given to the cleanest market, school, environmental sanitation friendly motor park/garage amongst others, he added.

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23 killed in Zamfara traders, vigilante group clash

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A clash between Fulani traders and a vigilante group in Zamfara State has led to the death of about 20 persons.

The killings were said to have occurred at Dansadau in the Maru Local Government Area of the state as a reprisal for the death of three people at Ruwan Tofa and the rustling of cattle.

A report by The PUNCH, quoted a resident of the area, Mohammed Nuhu, as saying some bandits attacked Ruwan Tofa, killed three people, including a member of Yansakai, a proscribed vigilante group, and rustled cattle.

Nuhu said the rustled cattle were then put on sale at Dansadau Market, where the Yansakai members from Ruwan Tofa had coincidentally gone in search of the stolen animals.

He said the vigilantes were enraged when they saw the stolen cattle and killed at least 20 traders in the village.

“Immediately they sighted some cows, they became wild, saying they were the stolen animals and wanted to know who had brought them to the market,” he said.

“They were shown three Fulani people who claimed to be the owners of the animals; they killed them and reclaimed their cows.”

Another indigene of the area identified as Alhaji said all efforts to get security agents to come to their aid were frustrated.

“We have begged the government and security agents to come to our rescue, but up to this moment there are no security personnel in the whole area,” he said.

The Federal Government had banned mining activities in the Zamfara to curb the spate of banditry.

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We will remodel danfo buses, not scrap them – Sanwo-Olu

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Lagos State Government will not scrap the yellow buses popularly known as ‘danfo’, but remodel them to meet modern standards, the state governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has said.

He stated this when he featured on a Channels Television programme on Sunday.

Sanwo-Olu said it would not be fair to scrap the ‘danfo’, adding that they had served Lagos residents for a long time.

He said, “It will be unfair for us. These (their operators) are important stakeholders. They served our citizens. They served Lagosians for a long time. It became the print of Lagos, the yellow buses.

“Let’s be very creative. Let’s see how we can remodel them without scrapping them. We are collaborating with them. You know that our citizens now deserve newer models of cars.”

The governor also said the state had signed an agreement with a local bus manufacturing company to replace buses burnt during the #EndSARS protest.

He said although the buses were insured, the insurance did not cover such “unforeseen circumstances”.

Sanwo-Olu said, “We are trying to replenish them, we have started the compensation and the interesting thing is that we are working with a local bus manufacturing company.

“And it is going to come almost with the same specifications of the ones that were unfortunately destroyed so that Lagosians can have the same feel of the buses. They were insured. Insurance will never cover you 100 per cent.”

Speaking on transportation in the state, Sanwo-Olu said a mega city like Lagos should not make use of one mode of transportation, adding that his administration was working towards exploring other options.

He said, “One-third of Lagos is water. That is natural. It will be unfair on us not to utilise that opportunity. Lagos in terms of area is also even below the sea level.

“About 33 per cent of our landmass is water. We need to create that infrastructure. The infrastructure for water is terminal.”

The governor also spoke on the construction of light rail in the state, saying the leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) at the federal level did not back the project when it was initiated.

The governor said his administration was determined to construct the red and blue light rail lines across the state.

He said, “Lagos was not with the Federal Government at that time so the PDP government never gave Lagos the right of way from the red line now which is from Oyingbo, Ebute Meta all the way to Agbado, which was where we all grew up, that rail corridor.

 “When I was in the BRF’s government, we never actually started the red line then. It was the blue line that we started in 2010. If we step back then, you remember we have always had that rail corridor.

“So the Federal Government never gave us that opportunity to be able to do the red line then. So it is just now that we are doing the red line.”

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