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Nigeria’s corporate existence under threat — Lawan

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At the security summit organised by the House of Representatives in Abuja, the Senate President, Ahmed Lawan stated that Nigeria’s corporate existence is under threat.

In his remarks at the summit, Senate President Ahmed Lawan said that the incidences of kidnappings, banditry, and insurgency were threatening the corporate existence of Nigeria.

“Let me start by commending the leadership of the House for organizing this very special summit on national security. I want to say here that Nigeria is at crossroads today. The very essence of the existence of this country is under serious threat. What started as the insurgency in 2009 or so in the northwestern part of Yobe has now snowballed into a full-scale insurgency in the entire northeast. What was not known to us in the northwest is now today the home of banditry and kidnapping.

“The north-central as we all know is not safe. It suffers the clashes between the herders and our farmers. And the recent introduction in the southeast is another serious threat to the existence of this country. Where government institutions are targeted, our police and security agencies personnel are being killed on a daily basis. Our institutions, buildings are burnt. I believe that these are threats not only to those areas but to the entire nation. And our armed forces are doing their best.

“I must commend our armed forces and other security agencies for doing so much with the little we are able to give them. The National Assembly has always been on the side of giving the kind of support, either legislative or the kind of financial support that our armed forces and indeed all other security agencies require, even though we have our limits.

“The essence of this summit I am sure is to look for ways and means of improving the performance of our armed forces and other security agencies. This summit is essential because we are tested as a country. We are tested as a people. Criminals everywhere have found probably comfort in doing what they do. This is the time for the legislature and executive arm of government to come even closer in finding solutions. I want to take this opportunity to appeal and ask the executive arm of government to implement whatever would be the outcome of this summit.

There were previous summits by NASS. I recall we had a similar summit in the 8th Assembly and I believe that the legislative perspective is essential in finding solutions to the myriad of security issues affecting our country today.

I want to also appeal to all Nigerians for their continued support for the administration and for our armed forces and our security agencies. All hands must be on deck.

“A criminal has only one name and that is criminal. No criminal should have comfort in his ethnic enclave.

“Whoever, where that person is, once he is a criminal, he is simply a criminal and must be dealt with in the appropriate manner regardless of where he or she is coming from. It is also important that we provide resources more resources for our security agencies to enable them better tackle the criminal activities across the country.

“And our armed forces can do that. But the fact remains that we have not enabled them enough. Today in this country, there is no better investment than investing in the security of our people.

“We must ensure that we protect the lives and the property of our people. This is the essence of government. So while the NASS should work hard as it always does to provide more resources, I also want to say we must review procurement processes by the security agencies.

“While we are not going to open up how they do these things to the public, but as parliamentarians, those who approve the funding, we must understand how these procurement processes are undertaken.

“If the processes require that we change the way, we do that, because of inefficiencies, we should go ahead and do so. Because it is not enough to just put in more resources but how the resources are deployed with the economy, with prudence and efficiency.

“I want to once again appeal to us in the National Assembly. The security agencies we know are doing their best, but I think it is high time that we work with the executive arm of government to look at the architecture of our security system for better performance.

“And when I mention architecture, I also want to mention that all levels of government are responsible for securing the lives and property of Nigerians. The federal, state, and local governments. And of course, it is a well-known fact that the local governments do not function.

“The local government system does not function and that takes away a lot from our efforts at providing security for lives and property of people. And when I mention the local government system not functioning, our traditional rulers, who had played major roles in protecting us today have no function more or less. It is only when there are problems, we look for them.“

In the northern part of the country and I daresay all parts of Nigeria, our traditional rulers had played key roles in ensuring security in their domains. Why can’t we look at the possibility of providing an official function for them, even if it is in advisory capacity in the constitution.”

 

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28 Bethel Baptist students regain freedom, 87 still held

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Bandits have released 28 students abducted Bethel Baptist Academy along Kaduna-Kachia road in the Chikun Local Government Area of Kaduna State.

Two of the students had earlier escaped while the bandits had released one on health ground.
The gunmen who invaded the school on July 5th had demanded N500,000 for each of the students.
A total of 121 were abducted.
Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in Kaduna, Rev. John Hayab, said about 80 students were still held captive by the bandits while the released students will be reunited with their families.

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Land use act should be amended not abrogated – Erhabor

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By Dada Jackson

 

The unending controversy surrounding the Land Use Act seems to be escalating by the day considering the furore it is generating in the polity.

Over the years,there has been a clamour for the document to be either amended or completely discarded.

But the argument continues on what to do with the document.

Some professionals and stakeholders in the construction industry have also been expressing divergent views on areas of the document that has to do with the powers of Governors in granting Certificate of Occupancy(CofO) to prospective land seekers.

In an exclusive interview with Daily Independent, a chartered land surveyor, Mr. Gowin Erhabor, said that the act which was a creation of former military Head of State, General Olusegun Obasanjo in 1978 was to transfer the ownership of land to the government.

According to him,the idea which was lofty, had since been abused by some state Governors to the detriment of some people.

He said he does not subscribe to the outright abrogation of the Act but submitted,that it should be amended especially the section that confers absolute power on state Governors to grant approvals for CofO.

The land surveyor pointed out,that over the years,some Governors have used that power to muscle perceived political opponent’s thereby frustrating their efforts at acquiring and.

He said ” For instance if a Governor does not like the face of someone he sees as his political for,he would do everything at his disposal to deny such an individual yge opportunity of getting a land. This power conferred on Governors in the document us too enormous to allow it continue.I detest thus section of the Act,hence it should be jettisoned without much ado”.

Erhabor however commended the National Assembly for initiating the move to amend the Act,urging them to expedite action on its passage.

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Lagos to set up housing trust fund

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…..Proposed Workers’ Village gathers steam

 

By Dada Jackson

 

In a bid to make housing accessible to the less privileged in Lagos State,and in line with the transformation agenda of the Mr. Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu administration, especially in the area of housing, the Lagos State Government is working on plans to increase access to decent and quality homes for them.

This is as the state government is planning to providing houses for some of its workers to be known as Workers’ Village.

The Commissioner for Housing, Hon. Moruf Akinderu-Fatai disclosed this during a site inspection of some of the ongoing State owned Housing Schemes.

His words “Having successfully completed and commissioned 10 housing estates in the past two year, and working hard to deliver our various ongoing schemes, we are moving forward to implement strategies that will improve access to decent homes in the State”.

According to him,the State Government had completed various Housing schemes located at Igando, Lekki Phase1, Lekki Phase 2, Igbokushu, Nob Oluwa, Idale Badagry, Iponri, Igbogbo amongst others,adding that work on six others sited at Odo-Onasa/Ayandelu, Resettlement Scheme Agbowa, Sangotedo Phase1, Omole Magodo, Gbagada and Ibeshe which is being built by the Lagos State Property Development Corporation were nearing completion.

The Commissioner pointed out,that hopefully, the six schemes that are at various stages of completion in Odo Onasa-Ayandelu, Agbowa Resettlement Scheme, Sangotedo,Omole/Magodo, Gbagada and Ibeshe would soon be commissioned while others at LASU Ojo, Egan- Igando and Sangotedo Phase2 were also receiving attention towards a speedy completion.

He said that these schemes with others at Itamarun Epe and Ajara in Badagry as well as joint venture schemes would yield over 7000 homes by the third anniversary of the present Administration.

He said that the positive impact of governmental intervention is hampered by the twin issue of high cost of funding for investors and people seeking home ownership through mortgage.

The Housing Commissioner noted that the State Government was looking into the issue of accessibility of decent homes through a multidimensional approach that would reduce these financial barriers to housing.

He disclosed that the State Government is fine tuning a financial mechanism tagged Lagos Affordable Housing Development Trust Fund. This according to him is a financial product that would bring succour to both property developers and intending home owners.

Akinderu-Fatai said ‘ the Fund will reduce the challenge of

financing housing development as well as empower people particularly the low and medium income earners to access housing without undue financial stress.

He underscored the fact that the housing challenge in Lagos is complex because of the continued and uncontrollable influx of people from all over the nation. He noted that given the rate at which the population of the State is increasing, there must be proactive measures to ensure that governmental interventions result in substantial positive impacts in the lives of the people.

He also reiterated that the Lagos Affordable Housing Development Trust Fund which is being prepared in collaboration with Arctic Infrastructures is the State’s response to the need for financing products that are domesticated to solve it’s peculiar housing challenges.

He said while global financing models are attractive, they may not address the unusual problems of Lagos State.

The Commissioner pointed out that provision of mass and social housing is a key agenda of the State government but the impact can only be felt when there is a structured financing mechanism that is based on predictable population growth.

Apart from the Rent to Own scheme which gives opportunity of repayment over a period of 120 months, the State is also looking at more workable financing options that will help the informal sector.

” We have to formalize the informal sector through cooperative associations and artisans guilds so that majority of our people can take advantage of a financing product that supports instalmental payments”.

The Commissioner also said that the fund would encourage more vertical construction of homes by government and private investors to optimize the land space available in the state.

Akinderu Fatai siezed the opportunity to point out that the commitment of the State government is unequivocal and that “Lagos State would continue to work relentlessly until more Lagosians are brought on the home ownership ladder. Building more homes is our way of improving standard of living , increasing economic engagement through provision of construction jobs and also opening up our rural areas”

He said the State Government plans to construct two workers villages as part of a global plan to transform the State into a 21st century economy that is distinct and comparable to others in the world.

“In line with our passion for progress in the sector, funding is needed and assistance from our development partners will be highly appreciated.” he said

The Permanent Secretary Ministry of Housing Mr Wasiu Akewusola, said that “the uniqueness of the financing package is the fact that it will be targeted at low income earners and the informal sector and can be accessed by both construction companies and homeseekers and will be made up of contributions made by both public and private sector. The fund will also cater to training and capacity building and upgrading of artisans, development of innovative building technology, sustenable housing developments and renewable of slums. The suggested funding from government is expected to be sourced from contributions by local governments, subventions, infrastructure development charge, Housing fund surcharge and Lagos Pension fund. Private sector contributions can be in form of grants and donations from both local and international organizations. ”

In disbursing the fund, Akewusola said, “part of the financing would be used as Housing loans with repayment plan of 20years. This will channeled through micro finance banks with cooperative societies serving as intermediaries”. “Construction fund will also be granted to developers having vertical construction with sustenable energy idea, he discloses.

He noted that the idea of a Trust for the financial product is to ensure accountability, credibility and sustenablity.

Other plans that are being worked out by the State include an allocation structure that will reach the masses so that homes are not hijacked by the rich, continued maintenance of existing schemess to prevent rapid dilapidation, provision of homes for young professionals, introduction of cost saving techniques to reduce cost of building homes and increasing sustenability of future Housing schemes.

 

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